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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Strong, comfortable and stiff bar, at a decent price too
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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?
"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
MATERIALS EC70 CARBON
Everything is well made, but the Di2 'integration' feels like a half-finished job.
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.
About the tester
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.