The Genetic Drove is a flared version of a drop handlebar ideal for riding off the beaten track as well as touring. For the money it is comfortable enough while being a decent weight, and makes the perfect upgrade to OE (original equipment) on a budget.
- Pros: A medium width flare for added stability when loaded or on the rough stuff
- Cons: Not the lightest; cable groove could be a little wider
A lot of gravel and adventure bikes these days come with a flared drop bar, the thinking being that when riding fully loaded or on less stable surfaces, the added width of the bar gives you more stability and control at speed without affecting your standard position when on the hoods.
We've got the smallest size here of the Drove, aptly named after a track used for moving animals, with a nominal width of 42cm (44cm and 46cm are also available), which Genetic says is measured centre to centre (some brands measure outside to outside) at the top where your hoods will be positioned. In reality, I'd say it comes up a little narrower, about 41.5cm.
With a 16-degree flare, that gives a width at the bottom of the drops of around 57cm, a suitably wide stance for maintaining control when descending on loose terrain.
My local gravel byways have had a top dressing (they are military tracks for transporting tanks and the like) of large aggregate, and while they are slowly being levelled out by the trucks and tracked vehicles there are still some big rocks pronounced from the smaller grit and gravel. Descending has become a lot more technical, trying to maintain speed while keeping an eye out for that one monster that is going to destroy your front wheel or, at the very least, write off your tyre.
The added width of the Genetic bar gives you that extra confidence to let the bike fly over the surface but, if you need a change of direction quickly, it'll help you keep the bike and your bodyweight balanced.
With a reach of 86mm and a drop of just 130mm it's a compact bar with an anatomical shape: a tight radius at the top before a flatter section, also known as a 'pistol grip', before smoothing out into a gentle curve to finish. It's a completely different shape to a traditional drop bar, but brings all of the aero advantages without making you too front-end-heavy.
Made from 6061-T6 aluminium alloy, it's certainly stiff enough for the majority of riding and its shot-peened, anodised finish will stand up to plenty of abuse.
The central section is 31.8mm in diameter and gives you plenty of room for fitting brackets for lights, computers and so on.
The top section is grooved for cables and hosing, and while it does the job it could do with being a little bit wider for a really smooth job under the bar tape. In its current guise it is wide enough for a single run, but with nearly all shifters these days running both the brakes and gears against the bars, one will always be more pronounced than the other.
On the whole, though, it delivers everything a £29.99 handlebar should. True, it's not the lightest, but in the grand scheme of things the £340 carbon fibre Enve G Series Gravel bar is only going to save you about 80g. It will give you a better ride quality, mind.
Other flared bars I've tested, such as Pro's Discover at £44.99, or the £52 Ritchey Comp Ergomax, have performed very well but the Genetic's delivered most of the same qualities for about a third off the money.
On the whole, if you want to try the flared route on your bike, whether you are on or off-road, then this Drove bar is a very good place to start.
A solid and comfortable handlebar for those who want to try going flared, on the road or off
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Genetic Drove handlebar
Size tested: Width 42cm (C-C, measured at the lever clamp area) Reach 86mm Drop 130mm Handlebar Clamp Diameter 31.8mm
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?
Genetic says, "Ergonomically comfortable with extra 'flare' for added control. Ideal for CX, gravel, touring and commuting, these bars are favoured by off road, drop bar riders in particular.
"The Drove bars feature enhanced bar width, flaring outwards 16° through the drop section. Durable shot peened and anodised finish with cable groove indents."
If you want to try gravel or adventure riding on a budget then this is an excellent entry-level bar.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
6061 T6 butted, heat treated aluminium
42, 44 or 46cm (C-C, measured at the lever clamp area.)
Handlebar Clamp Diameter
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
The flare angle is just right for a racy yet stable position in the drops.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
All-round quality and shape for the price.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Slightly heavy and the cable groove could be a bit wider.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
I'd say the Genetic is right on the money from a weight vs performance point of view. We haven't tested many this well priced on road.cc.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
There are lighter out there, but for the money the Drove is hard to knock for general performance. The shallow drop will suit the majority of riders too.
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
With 20 years of road cycling and over 150,000 miles in his legs it's safe to say Stu is happiest when on the bike whatever the weather. Since writing his first review for road.cc back in 2009 he has also had a career in engineering including 3D-CAD design and product development, so has a real passion for all of the latest technology coming through in the industry but is also a sucker for a classic steel frame, skinny tyres, rim brakes and a damn good paintjob.
His fascination with gravel bikes is getting out of control too!