At road.cc every product is thoroughly tested for as long as it takes to get a proper insight into how well it works. Our reviewers are experienced cyclists that we trust to be objective. While we strive to ensure that opinions expressed are backed up by facts, reviews are by their nature an informed opinion, not a definitive verdict. We don't intentionally try to break anything (except locks) but we do try to look for weak points in any design. The overall score is not just an average of the other scores: it reflects both a product's function and value – with value determined by how a product compares with items of similar spec, quality, and price.What the road.cc scores mean
Good scores are more common than bad, because fortunately good products are more common than bad.
The Easton EA50 AX handlebar is a great value gravel bar with just the right curve, and enough flare in the drops for control off-road – but not so much it looks weird for the road. If you don't want something full-on gravelly wide it's ideal, but on long rough rides it's hard to miss its unyielding rigidity.
The finish is clean and tidy but there aren't any fancy details: no recesses for cables nor holes for electrics, and a simple round profile which might feel skinny if you've been spoiled with ergo and aero flat-top bars. That's to be expected at the price though, really, and you do get markings on the bends to ease lever set up.
The central bulge tapers in from the underneath, leaving the top of the bar flat, and they extend out as far as possible before turning into the forward curve – meaning there's little bit of extra room for bikepacking bags than on some. There's 38cm of luggage room between the levers.
Easton's MCD ('Maximum Contact Drop') shaping gives a nicely radiused curve that, well, looks very similar to a lot of other shallow drop bars. It's easy to find a comfy position on.
The 80mm reach and 120mm drop keeps things compact and close, while the 16 degree flare offers improved control off-road. On these 42cm bars that flare means the bar measures 45cm across the bend where your lever clamps might be and 49cm (centre to centre) at the end caps.
Against some other gravel bars that flare is barely noticeable, but Easton says extensive testing and research has shown that 16° is the sweet spot for control without compromising lever use or comfort on the hoods. I'm inclined to agree.
One of the reasons I dislike fashionably wide flares is that they cant the levers excessively, making the tops of the hoods uncomfortable and ensuring gear shifts are a tiring, wrist-straining affair.
I also don't like the broad stance a gravel-wide bar creates – while it might give you oodles of off road control and confidence, I like to cover distance on my bike and the elbows out spreadeagle can be a solid effort into a headwind. Maybe I'm just not Gravel(TM) enough.
Coming in at about the same price is the £49.90 Ritchey Comp Venturemax XL handlebar, which ticks all the gravel boxes and is the antithesis of the Easton – it's crazy wide, bellbottom flared and full of lumps and bumps. Our reviewer Mike liked it for its extreme-terrain high and low-speed control, super-comfortable angles and acres of luggage space.
The Salsa Cowchipper Drop Bar is close too at £48, and its width also brings extra compliance and bag space. The Ritchey Butano is my go-to bar for gravelling, and it has not too dissimilar numbers, though less flare and a bit of backsweep. Which is quite nice, actually. In its Comp form it's £40.99.
The EA50 is a firm handlebar. For the money I'm not expecting a particularly nuanced bit of kit, but this doesn't do much to smooth vibrations or take the edge off bumps, and it can get tiring on the hands and arms after a couple of hours off road.
Beyond that it's very much like a compact road bar, but with a subtle yet useful amount of flare blended in for better off-road control, and the price is good too.
Good value adventure bar with a comfortable shape and flare, but too stiff for very long, rough rides
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 EA50 AX Handlebar
Size tested: 42cm
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?
Easton says: 'The new AX series now includes our budget friendly EA50 AX flared drop bar. With the same MCD drop technology as our top of the line road bars, flared to 16 degrees for comfort in the drops and control on gnarly terrain or long gravel assaults.'
Yup, it's good budget bar; love the MCD shape and flare.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
MATERIALS: EA50 ALLOY
FINISH: BLACK ANO / WATER TRANSFER GRAPHICS
BAR WEIGHT: 325g (42cm)
CLAMP DIAMETER: 31.8mm
WIDTH: (CENTER-TO-CENTER) 40, 42, 44, 46cm
FLARE: 16 degree
DEGREES REACH: 80mm
It's a low tier alloy bar but it's well made and tidily finished.
Great shape and flare for me, though not particularly compliant for long off-road rides.
It's been clattered off road and seems okay, plus I've never had to retire an alloy bar – this should be fine.
It's a value alloy bar, it's not going to win any lightweight competitions. Depending on how you use (and abuse) your gravel bike, this might be a bonus.
The shape and flare are spot on for me, but the stiff alloy liked to make itself known after a couple of hours.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It's a good basic alloy bar for your on/off road needs, with great shaping. It's a bit firm for prolonged off road use, though.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The shape, curve and flare.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
It's a bit solid.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
Coming in at about the same price is the Ritchey Comp Venturemax XL handlebar, which ticks all the gravel boxes and is the antithesis of the Easton – it's crazy wide, bellbottom flared and full of lumps and bumps. Our reviewer Mike liked it for its extreme-terrain high and low-speed control, super-comfortable angles and acres of luggage space.
The Salsa Cowchipper Drop Bar is the same price too, but it's width also brings extra compliance and bag space.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes, although I might cough up for a more sophisticated version for a bit more compliance
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
For the money the Easton EA50 AX is a great bar, with a good curve and just enough flare to be genuinely useful without looking too gravel. The only downside is its unyielding stiffness.
About the tester
I usually ride: It varies as to the season. My best bike is: The one I\'m on at the time
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, cyclo cross, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb, Fun
Jo Burt has spent the majority of his life riding bikes, drawing bikes and writing about bikes. When he's not scribbling pictures for the whole gamut of cycling media he writes words about them for road.cc and when he's not doing either of those he's pedaling. Then in whatever spare minutes there are in between he's agonizing over getting his socks, cycling cap and bar-tape to coordinate just so. And is quietly disappointed that yours don't He rides and races road bikes a bit, cyclo-cross bikes a lot and mountainbikes a fair bit too. Would rather be up a mountain.