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The new Deda Elementi Alanera integrated stem and handlebar setup is one of the most expensive on the market. It's also one of the stiffest, it's nicely shaped and easy to set up – but wow, what a price!
Deda has focused on aerodynamics in the design of the Alanera bar, not only in its wing shaped top and smooth transition to the stem area but also with the internal cable routing.
I've set up quite a few handlebars with internal cabling and while some have been simple to thread through, others have been an absolute pig. The Alanera is one of the better ones.
First of all, Deda has created holes which are oval shaped and plenty generous enough to accept both a brake and gear outer cable without too much hassle.
The holes themselves are well positioned too, with entry towards the end of the bend where your shifter hoods will be positioned and exiting just a short way either side of the stem. This creates a pretty straight line which makes feeding the cables through easy, plus it doesn't affect shifting or braking performance from tight bends in the cables.
If you're running Di2 or any of the other electronic gear systems things will be even easier.
The stem has an elongated shape to it to keep the aero theme going, so you get a selection of spacers in the box plus a headset cap to make the transition between a round tube and the spacers. You have to use the 5mm one directly underneath the stem, but the 10mm and 20mm ones are optional. Each one interlocks into the others to keep everything in line.
Deda specs quite a tight tolerance between the top of the stem and the top of the steerer tube – a minimum of 3mm and a maximum of 4mm gap – so you might need to do a bit of trimming to your fork to get things just right.
On the whole, though, setting it up is relatively easy.
Performance-wise, the Alanera is hard to criticise as long as you like a firm ride. I had it fitted to the B'twin Ultra CF I tested last month, a bike that is impressively comfortable. With the Deda setup fitted in place of the basic aluminium alloy components the bike came with, the front end became quite a bit harsher.
There is none of the flex and vibration damping that some manufacturers design into their carbon fibre bars.
It wasn't firm enough to give my hands and wrists a battering, but the vibration became noticeable over rough road surfaces. If you already have a bike with an unforgiving ride, the Alanera isn't going to make things any better.
If you're a bit of a sprinter, though, this stiffness will be welcome; it doesn't matter how hard you yank on this bar, you won't get a single bit of flex. Heavy braking at high speed, or nailing it down fast technical descents won't see any play either.
The shape of the bar is very comfortable, though. The flat top gives a good platform for your hands to rest and it's a pleasure to grip when taking in long climbs even without any bar tape.
At the hoods, the profile transitions from flat to round and with decent bar tape is a nice place to rest your hands.
Deda has long used its Rapid Hand Movement (RHM) design for its handlebars and you'll find it here on the Alanera. It's basically a compact bend to the drops, with a reach of 75mm and a drop of 130mm to give a quick transition between the hoods and drops.
It's all pretty standard stuff dimension-wise, comparable to others on the market, so I didn't really find things any better or worse than many other bars I've ridden with.
Being integrated, it's obviously pretty crucial to get your stem length and bar width correct right from the off; hopefully your size is available 'off the peg'.
It's available in three widths: 42cm, 44cm and 46cm (measured from outside to outside; some brands measure centre to centre).
The 42cm comes with 90mm, 100mm, 110mm and 120mm stem length options. If you go for the 44cm you can choose from 110mm, 120mm and 130mm, with the two longest stems being available with the 46cm bar width. I reckon it's a pretty sound set of sizes to cover the majority of riders.
I've avoided it so far, but let's talk price and, more importantly, value.
The outlay is a whopping £699.99!
We haven't had an integrated handlebar/stem in for testing for nearly six years, so it's difficult to compare the Alanera directly to anything else when it comes to performance.
A couple of other choices out include the superlight Bontrager XXX Integrated, which will set you back £449 and weighs a claimed 234g for a 42cm width.
Or MOST, Pinarello's in-house brand, has the Talon Aero 1K, which creeps up in price to £599.99 but is heavier than the Deda at 410g.
There are a few accessories in the Deda box but they don't go far enough to justify the price. One is a Garmin mount which bolts to the underside of the stem part. It works, but doesn't have the defined click of the locking position when you twist the computer like I get on my K-Edge mount. A few times my Edge 810 would start to vibrate round on rough roads.
Also, it makes your computer sit at slight downward sloping angle as it projects away from the bar. I like to have my Garmin at the same angle as my stem; it might sound a minor niggle but it drove me nuts. And if you use a brand of GPS computer that isn't compatible with a Garmin mount you are going to struggle to fit it.
If you are running Di2 you can also get a mount to fit under the stem to attach the control box, which is a neater solution than the usual rubber band around the stem. It's an extra, though, and not included in the kit.
If you are after ultimate stiffness and smooth looks, nothing that I've used quite compares to the Alanera, but some have come very close for a lot less money. The majority of those have been separate stem/handlebar combinations, too, so you still get the adjustability should you need it.
If you've got the cash, go for it, but for me it's hard to justify the rrp on performance alone.
Ultimate stiffness at an ultimate price
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Deda Elementi Alanera
Size tested: 110x44
Tell us what the product is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Deda says, "Developed to be aero, the new Alanera offers the full cable and wire integration including an easy fixing system for di2 unit under the stem.
"Specific aero spacers with an innovative mounting system complete the design of the handlebar when assembled on the bike, resulting more integrated with the frame. A special aero topcap and the integrated Garmin® bike mount complete the accessories line.
"The optmized design of stem and handlebar and the rhm shape guarantees a very compact reach and drop for a fast change from the shifters to the drops."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Shape: RHM – Rapid Hand Movement
Material: UD Full Carbon Construction
Handlebar Dia: 31.7mm
Weight: 350g (110x42)
Notes: Garmin Bike Mount, Aero Headset Spacers and topcap included. (Garmin 500 and 800 compatible).
It's a solid feeling unit.
Not a massive saving over a separate stem and handlebar of similar design.
Great shape but slightly harsh.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
As a performance handlebar/stem setup, for racing applications, it's hard to fault.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Impressive stiffness for when you are riding hard.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Sloping Garmin mount.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
The Alanera is pretty much the most expensive setup I could find, with the two mentioned in the review and many others coming in a few hundred cheaper.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Not at full rrp.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
Deda has got a lot of things right with the performance, the shape and the ease of setup, but it is a huge price to pay and that is what knocks the score down.
About the tester
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed
As part of the Tech Hub here at F-At Digital, our senior product reviewer Stu uses the knowledge gained from putting well over a 1,000 products through their paces (including hundreds of bikes) to write in-depth reviews of a huge range of kit. After first throwing his leg over a race bike back in 2000, Stu's ridden more than 160,000 miles on road, time-trial, track, and gravel bikes, and while he's put his racing days behind him he still likes to smash the pedals rather than take things easy. Although, as he spends a fair bit of his time reviewing ebikes these days he's becoming an expert in letting the motor take the strain. He's also waiting for 23mm race tyres to make a comeback!