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Verdict: 
Strong, comfortable and stiff bar, at a decent price too
Weight: 
219g

Easton's EC70 SL Di2 handlebar is a comfortable carbon bar for road cycling and cyclo-cross, with a shallow, ergonomic drop. It features clever cable routing and impressive strength alongside excellent stiffness, though the Di2 integration isn't as good as others. 

  • Pros: Strong; comfortable; stiff
  • Cons: No huge weight saving here; only Di2 for a 1X system

Borrowing design features from its more expensive EC90 sibling, Easton's EC70 SL Di2 is your carbon handlebar upgrade with a decent price tag but not a crazy one.

> Find your nearest dealer here

So, what's the difference between the two, and what do you lose when you save £80 by picking the EC70 SL? Well, for starters you lose one size option, the 38cm width that is becoming increasingly popular with racers as everyone tries to get tiny at the front end to save some watts. For the average rider this won't be a problem, but as one of those watt-saving racers, I'd have to look at the carbon Pro PLT at the same price for a 38cm option.

The other difference is in the carbon – Easton doesn't state exactly what carbon it uses for its bars, it's just EC70 carbon instead of EC90 – and an extra 25g.

Apart from that, the bars are identical. The drop of 125mm results in a very accessible low hand position and the shape gives you a great hold for sprinting efforts. An 80mm reach also creates a very comfortable position, with a smooth transition into the brake lever.

Even the recesses for the cables are identical, tucking the cables into the bar very neatly.

Easton EA70 Handlebar - detail 1.jpg

Out on the road the switch from my much-loved aluminium Zipp Service Course SL 88 was instantly noticeable. Replacing such a deep drop bar with a shallow one felt slightly strange but I was focusing more on the incredible comfort offered by the EC70 SL.

My hands were noticeably more comfortable over the rough roads of Somerset. The Easton bar does a great job of absorbing road buzz and keeping it away from the hands and wrists.

> Read more road.cc reviews of handlebars here

Stiffness isn't sacrificed, and although I am, admittedly, not the strongest up top, I still appreciate a properly stiff front end for getting every bit of power out on the climbs.

After testing this on the road, I popped the bar onto my cyclo-cross bike for a summer league race. It coped really well with the extra impact forces of the rough terrain and didn't move a millimetre out of place, suggesting a very good clamping surface.

Easton EA70 Handlebar - detail 2.jpg

Setting the bar up with a bar-end Di2 junction box was pretty straightforward, but it'll only integrate cables properly for a 1X setup. The hole at the base of the right-hand drop is easily big enough for two Di2 cables to pass through, but there are no holes around the shifter area for cables to escape from. That means you can't take full advantage of the junction box's ability to conceal all Di2 cabling on a 2X system. It's a small point, but one that really annoys me seeing as Pro's Vibe range gets it right, though the cost does shoot up.

That's partly the reason Easton has avoided the full internal routing that comes with its aero bars. The focus here is a durable lightweight design at a respectable price, which Easton has achieved.

> 9 ways to make your bike more comfortable 

For my 1X cyclo-cross bike with my rear brake in my right hand, the cable can be run under the bar tape and then along the hydraulic brake hose using heat shrink tubing to keep things tidy. But for proper Di2 integration, look elsewhere.

Overall, it's a strong, comfortable and stiff carbon bar that can cope with the abuse of cyclo-cross. The only real annoyance is the lack of true Di2 integration, but that's not something users of mechanical drivetrains need to worry about.

Verdict

Strong, comfortable and stiff bar, at a decent price too

If you're thinking of buying this product using a cashback deal why not use the road.cc Top Cashback page and get some top cashback while helping to support your favourite independent cycling website

road.cc test report

Make and model: Easton EC70 SL Di2 Handlebar

Size tested: 40cm

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?

From Easton:

"THE COMPLETE ROADBAR PACKAGE

We took our lightest, most comfort-advanced bar – the EC90SLX – and used our second-tier carbon fiber for a more affordable package. The EC70 SL features the same top of the line MCD shape technology for easy position transferring; Taperwall ™ to maintain stiffness while reducing weight; and Intelligent Flexibility for added vibration dampening comfort. It also features recesses for cables and comes in four lengths. The EC70 SL is the full race package deal. Please see below for our handlebar measurement guide."

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

Easton lists these details:

FINISH MATTE UD CARBON / WATER TRANSFER DECALS

BAR WEIGHT 220g (42cm)

CLAMP DIAMETER 31.8mm

WIDTH (C-TO-C AT HOODS) 40-, 42-, 44-, 46cm

REACH 80mm

DROP 125mm

MATERIALS EC70 CARBON

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
7/10

Everything is well made, but the Di2 'integration' feels like a half-finished job.

Rate the product for performance:
 
8/10
Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10
Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
 
6/10
Rate the product for comfort (if applicable)
 
9/10
Rate the product for value:
 
6/10

It's bang on the same money as Pro's PLT carbon bar, and that doesn't have any Di2 integration.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Very well. Out on the road, this is comfortable, stiff and strong.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

The comfort is the biggest thing you'll notice. It kills road buzz really well.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

The half attempt at Di2 integration frustrates me. Yes, putting holes in carbon things adds complications, but if Easton had got it right it would have blown the competition away.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? No, for my Di2 setup I'd look for better integration.

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your overall score

Out on the road, the bar performs really well – the stiffness, comfort and strength are all very good, and it's a good weight too, but the Di2 routing could be better.

Overall rating: 7/10

About the tester

Age: 24  Height: 177cm  Weight: 62kg

I usually ride: Cannondale Supersix Di2  My best bike is:

I've been riding for: 5-10 years  I ride: Most days  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo-cross, commuting, club rides, general fitness riding, I specialise in the Cafe Ride!

Son of a Marathon runner, Nephew of a National 24hr Champion, the racing genetics have completely passed him by. Liam spends his time plodding his way through cyclocross races, very busy not winning. As an advocate for perfectly clean chains, he can be found cleaning his bike instead of training. A shop mechanic, Liam has many helpful skills, such as being able to identify 'cross tubs by the tread pattern alone. If you bump into him, he'll probably be eating.

8 comments

Avatar
Freddy56 [421 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes

Only 2 carbon handle bar reviews between £180 and £450 this week?

What percentage of the readership is this actually helpful to?

Honestly? 

Avatar
dave atkinson [6527 posts] 1 month ago
5 likes

£450 is small change. these are 700 notes:

https://road.cc/content/review/248885-deda-elementi-alanera-integrated-h...

Anyway, lots of more affordable options here: https://road.cc/category/review-section/components/handlebars-extensions

What percentage of the readership is this actually helpful to? £180 isn't exactly top of the market for carbon bars, so i'd think a decent wedge; £450 is pretty spendy so i doubt there's many people will be taking schmolke up on them. but you know, if you tell me what your specific budget range is i'll make sure the site only caters for that. facetious face emoji.

Avatar
Freddy56 [421 posts] 1 month ago
1 like
dave atkinson wrote:

£450 is small change. these are 700 notes:

https://road.cc/content/review/248885-deda-elementi-alanera-integrated-h...

Anyway, lots of more affordable options here: https://road.cc/category/review-section/components/handlebars-extensions

What percentage of the readership is this actually helpful to? £180 isn't exactly top of the market for carbon bars, so i'd think a decent wedge; £450 is pretty spendy so i doubt there's many people will be taking schmolke up on them. but you know, if you tell me what your specific budget range is i'll make sure the site only caters for that. facetious face emoji.

Thanks for the flippant, dismissive reply to a honest question- not a complaint.

I could afford thankfully to buy the bars, but the constant promotion of the exotic, I think, builds the elitest nature of our sport and (I think) affects the inclusivity lacking among some riders.

So the question to the percentage of road.cc readers who would actually give £450 for a set of bars is a relevant one. Should there be 33 reviews of £50 bars to each RRP£300?

Straw pole: We had 33 on the chaingang tonight. A few FSA carbon £90 and one Ritchey WCS £199, rest £20-70 alloy bars.

I'm just a punter- interested. 

So begs another question, Should Road cc  be interested in a readers opinion...not hand-to-the-head emoji.

Avatar
Tass Whitby [85 posts] 1 month ago
4 likes
Freddy56 wrote:

dave atkinson wrote:

£450 is small change. these are 700 notes:

https://road.cc/content/review/248885-deda-elementi-alanera-integrated-h...

Anyway, lots of more affordable options here: https://road.cc/category/review-section/components/handlebars-extensions

What percentage of the readership is this actually helpful to? £180 isn't exactly top of the market for carbon bars, so i'd think a decent wedge; £450 is pretty spendy so i doubt there's many people will be taking schmolke up on them. but you know, if you tell me what your specific budget range is i'll make sure the site only caters for that. facetious face emoji.

Thanks for the flippant, dismissive reply to a honest question- not a complaint.

I could afford thankfully to buy the bars, but the constant promotion of the exotic, I think, builds the elitest nature of our sport and (I think) affects the inclusivity lacking among some riders.

So the question to the percentage of road.cc readers who would actually give £450 for a set of bars is a relevant one. Should there be 33 reviews of £50 bars to each RRP£300?

Straw pole: We had 33 on the chaingang tonight. A few FSA carbon £90 and one Ritchey WCS £199, rest £20-70 alloy bars.

I'm just a punter- interested. 

So begs another question, Should Road cc  be interested in a readers opinion...not hand-to-the-head emoji.

But what was your original comment actually asking? I just had a look at the last 20 reviews of handlebars we've done - 10 are below £100, 4 are below £50, and one is £52...

Avatar
hawkinspeter [3909 posts] 1 month ago
2 likes
Freddy56 wrote:
dave atkinson wrote:

£450 is small change. these are 700 notes:

https://road.cc/content/review/248885-deda-elementi-alanera-integrated-h...

Anyway, lots of more affordable options here: https://road.cc/category/review-section/components/handlebars-extensions

What percentage of the readership is this actually helpful to? £180 isn't exactly top of the market for carbon bars, so i'd think a decent wedge; £450 is pretty spendy so i doubt there's many people will be taking schmolke up on them. but you know, if you tell me what your specific budget range is i'll make sure the site only caters for that. facetious face emoji.

Thanks for the flippant, dismissive reply to a honest question- not a complaint.

I could afford thankfully to buy the bars, but the constant promotion of the exotic, I think, builds the elitest nature of our sport and (I think) affects the inclusivity lacking among some riders.

So the question to the percentage of road.cc readers who would actually give £450 for a set of bars is a relevant one. Should there be 33 reviews of £50 bars to each RRP£300?

Straw pole: We had 33 on the chaingang tonight. A few FSA carbon £90 and one Ritchey WCS £199, rest £20-70 alloy bars.

I'm just a punter- interested. 

So begs another question, Should Road cc  be interested in a readers opinion...not hand-to-the-head emoji.

I bought a set of Prime Primavera bars (rrp £150) after seeing them reviewed here on Road.cc and I like seeing reviews of expensive kit as it gives you an idea of what the latest kit is like. (It's also like sticking your nose up against the sweet shop window and staring at all the elaborate expensive treats on offer.)

There's sometimes reviews of the cheaper stuff, but with cheap equipment it's more a case of does it work or not rather than a lengthy field test, so I can see why there's more reviews of the top end stuff. Also, I expect the Road.cc team are more interested in testing top end kit.

I think they strike a reasonable balance.

Avatar
philhubbard [201 posts] 1 month ago
2 likes

Also, I'd just like to pop this one in here on behald of Road.cc (No affiliation, just like what they do) I know areas are different but one of our social ride last night of 11 people there was only 2 with aluminimum bars. 

 

Different horses for different courses and I appreciate the reviews of the more luxury products as I think these are a more considered choice than sub £50 bars. Also, it's almost hill climb season so we all want that exotic lightweight stuff!

Avatar
Rapha Nadal [1124 posts] 1 month ago
4 likes
Freddy56 wrote:

Only 2 carbon handle bar reviews between £180 and £450 this week?

What percentage of the readership is this actually helpful to?

Honestly? 

Probably quite a few really.

This board has members who scoff at paying anything above £10 for something, others that see the value and/or justification in higher priced items, others who simply don't care & will buy whatever they want, and others that sit in the middle.

You can't be all things to all people. 

Avatar
Liam Cahill [186 posts] 1 month ago
4 likes

I like reviewing the expensive kit. My fellow bike nerds and I really get to nerd-out at the cafe stop.

Then I can sometimes point to the stupidly expensive kit and say that the cheap alternative works really well for vastly less.