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The Genetic STV Road Bar delivers a good balance of stiffness, comfort and weight at a decent price. It also has a compact shape that can be used by less flexible riders.
The STV does pretty much everything a handlebar needs to. Made from 6061 series aluminium alloy, it offers loads of stiffness, something that I wasn't too sure it was going to have, considering how narrow the profile is on the tops. Either side of the 31.8mm diameter clamping area it tapers down to a little over 20mm, which is a lot smaller than most.
It does leave plenty of room for the cable and hose routing, though, which is good as there are no specific grooves to run them through. You can run thicker bar tape too for extra comfort without adding too much to the bulk.
At the hoods the bar profile thickens again and continues down to the drops, so there is plenty of stiffness here for when you are mashing the pedals in anger.
Some bars have a sandpaper effect under the anodising for grip where the gear shifters sit, but the Genetic doesn't have this. The surface is very smooth and I did have a bit of an issue with one of the levers slipping on the first ride, but after a light rub down with a bit of wet and dry paper it was solved.
The drops themselves are pretty shallow at just 120mm and the reach is only 70mm, which makes everything quite compact: perfect for those riders with small hands or who still like to hunker down for the fast sections but maybe aren't the most flexible.
It's available in widths from 36cm to 44cm measured centre to centre, in 2cm increments.
The overall quality and finish are impressive for the money. The anodised coating is robust and hasn't scratched, nor have the graphics.
A weight of 308g (42cm) is none too shabby, and it's 5g lighter than the £52 Ritchey Comp Ergomax. Pretty good for a handlebar that is a penny shy of £30.
It's only a few grams heavier than the very good Easton EA70 AX bar, which costs more than double at £79.99.
On the whole, the STV bar delivers across the board, with a much higher performance than its price point would have you expect.
Decent performance and a quality handlebar for an impressive price
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Genetic STV Road 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?
Genetic says, "Our STV handlebars are a great product at a great price point.
These bars are made from 6061 series Aluminium alloy, for superior strength and toughness, whilst also being lightweight, with good fatigue resistance.
With 70mm of reach and 20mm drop, the STV bars also feature a flat transition from the bar tops to the brake lever hoods. While the five different size options from 360 to 440mm, in 20mm increments, make them the perfect choice for riders, trying to achieve optimal handlebar width.
STV bars are aimed at the road rider/racer, but are also suitable for Track, Cyclo Cross, Gravel, Touring and Commuter bikes."
It's a good quality and nicely shaped handlebar for all types of road riding.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Road, Track, CX, Gravel, Touring or Commuting
Flat transition from tops to lever hoods
Compact ergonomic style bend
Smart sandblasted and black anodised finish
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It's a competitively priced road bar with decent performance and comfort.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Shallow drop gives plenty of hand options for many riders.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Gear shifters can slip on smooth finish.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
A lot of the bars we've tested lately using this material are around the £45 mark and above, like the Ritchey and Easton mentioned in the review.
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
A really good handlebar: a lot stiffer than I was expecting from the narrow top section, plus it comes in at a decent weight. The price is impressive 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!