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Genetic offer a range of mostly very good value products, from bottom brackets to headsets, and almost everything in between. The Flare bar is one of their most interesting, with an 11-degree flare to the drops – hence the name – that proved very comfortable, offering plenty of hand positions and good control.
The bar is made of 6061 T6 butted, heat treated aluminium alloy, which makes it robust, if a little on the heavy side – our 42cm test model came in at 325g, which is fairly heavy in the grand scheme of things, though about right for a £29.99 bar. The tubing is 23.8mm diameter, with a 31.8mm stem bulge for clamping.
The Flare is actually a compact bar in all but name, with a 130mm drop and 80mm reach. The flare adds 40mm to the width (bar widths are measured at the lever clamp area). It also has an anatomic, or pistol grip, shape, which is fairly rare nowadays; the only person of note really using this shape on a day-to-day basis – though he probably won't be for a while now – being Fabian Cancellara.
I found the bar surprisingly comfortable when in the drops. Having always ridden with either regular compact bars or track drops, I was initially sceptical of the benefits of a flare. I was worried primarily about shifting my hands to reach the levers. In reality it wasn't a problem at all, the levers are simple to reach – even allowing for single finger braking, if you're into that sort of thing.
In fact I found that it gave me greater control over the bike when in the drops, though adopting an aero position was more of a challenge. Flared shapes tend to be used more in cycle-cross or gravel racing, so aren't necessarily going to be found on a traditional road bike, but if you are looking for stability you could do worse.
One aspect I really liked was that the flare and pistol grip give you loads of possibilities for where to put your hands. Even in the drops you can be at the front of them at a slight angle, or at the back which feels like it is considerably more.
The bar itself is fairly stiff and didn't flex too much when really pulling on it during climbs. This does mean it's a fairly harsh ride, and I was grateful for the padded bar tape I'd used.
Of course, this isn't a bar that you would find on a top end machine, but if you're on a tighter budget or even if you want to have some more flexibility in hand placement, it works well. One downside I found, which I am sure I would learn to get over in time, is when leaning the bike against a wall. With a traditional flat sided bar the bike will sit flush, but the flare means you have to carefully balance it against a far smaller area. Once or twice I had to quickly grab the bike before it fell after I'd propped it against railings or a wall at a coffee shop.
For the variety of hand positions the Flare gives you, and the good degree of control the shape provides, £29.99 is a good price. It won't be for everyone and I doubt you'll see this in the professional peloton, but I enjoyed using it.
A shape that works well for control, but unlikely to be seen in the peloton
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Make and model: Genetic Flare Road Bar
Size tested: Black, 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?
Genetic say: "A great design for CX and gravel racing, as well as a neat option for touring or commuting."
It provides more control when in the drops and I would say that with the long days in the saddle that touring has, the multitude of hand positions would work well for many.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
6061 T6 butted, heat treated aluminium alloy.
Durable shot peened and anodised finish.
23.8mm tube with 31.8mm stem clamp bulge.
11 degree flare angle.
80mm reach, 130mm drop.
38,40, 42 or 44cm widths.
Widths are measured at the lever clamp area.
(Flare adds 40mm to the overall).
Control cable groove indents.
Weight: 325g (42cm).
Colour: Black anodised with laser logos.
It's heavy at 325g but uses a decent aluminium alloy that creates little flex even when pulling hard.
Works well and allows for a decent level of control and hand positioning.
Feels solid, likely to last a long time.
325g is heavy, but this is never going to be a bar for the weight weenies.
The variety of hand positions mean that you can always find somewhere you feel comfortable; lack of flex could be uncomfortable without padded tape, though.
£29.99 is a decent price.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Performed well, certainly gives you an extra level of control in the drops and it's good to have many hand position options.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
I liked the choices in where to put your hands, especially on longer rides; it meant that I could always find a comfortable position.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The weight isn't great.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? On a tourer
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Age: 27 Height: 6 ft Weight:
I usually ride: Cannondale Supersix Evo 6 My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Under 5 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed
George is the host of the road.cc podcast and has been writing for road.cc since 2014. He has reviewed everything from a saddle with a shark fin through to a set of glasses with a HUD and everything in between.
Although, ironically, spending more time writing and talking about cycling than on the bike nowadays, he still manages to do a couple of decent rides every week on his ever changing number of bikes.