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The new Ritchey WCS Streem III handlebar now comes with internal routing while maintaining its traditional shape. With a bit of flare and sweep plus a flattened top section there are plenty of hand positions while offering a good balance of stiffness and comfort. Unless you are running an electronic groupset I wouldn't bother with the faff of the internal routing.
This Streem III has the same bar shape as the non-internal version, with a much more traditional curve than the anatomical shape of its predecessor, the Streem II.
I'm still using the standard Streem III on my winter bike, and get on with it very well indeed. The upper section has a wing shape to it, which provides a large platform for you to rest your hands on – something I find is more comfortable than a round bar, especially on longer rides.
Other touches are that from the centre of the bar to the top of the drops, the Streem sweeps back by 4.5 degrees, which brings it a little closer to you than straight bars.
The drops have a slight flare of two-degrees front to rear, which isn't as extreme as those that we see on gravel bars, but it's enough to give you a touch more control when in a crouch and feels less restrictive too.
The Streem III is available in five widths, measured from the centre of one drop to the other. You can go for a 38cm, 40cm, 42cm, 44cm or 46cm, with each having a drop of 128mm and a reach of 73mm, so it's great for those with small hands.
The only difference to the internally routed version is that the material has changed from 7050 aluminium alloy to 6066. It's still triple butted, though, to blend stiffness with comfort. I had no issues with bar flex when sprinting out of the saddle, but neither did I find it harsh at cruising speeds.
There are plenty of alignment marks for the stem, and it has a sandpaper-style effect there for grip, as well as where your shifter hoods mount.
Like the standard version, this one is drilled underneath the right-hand drop to accommodate the wire from the new Shimano EW-RS910 Di2 junction box, which inserts into the bar like an end plug. It also has four extra slots under the top section – two either side to run your brake hoses/cables through.
I'd say that if you're also running a mechanical groupset, you're going to find getting two outer casings through the holes a complete faff, as it's tight enough just running one through it. For the distance you are going to hide the cable – about 70mm – it just ain't worth the hassle.
The finish and build quality are top end though, which all of Ritchey's WCS components are; well, the ones I've tested at least.
At £92 it's not that cheap for an alloy bar, but the overall quality and comfort/stiffness ratio go a long way to justifying it. It has some tough opposition comes from the likes of the Profile Design DRV/AEROa, which I especially like. It has an rrp of just £69.99, but at 338g is noticeably heavier than the Streem's 275g.
The Easton EA70 ergo handlebar (I tested the AX gravel version here) lacks the internal routing of the Streem, but it's a similar weight. These days it'll set you back £84.99.
Overall, I think the WCS Streem III is a great handlebar when it comes to shape and the stiffness, but I don't really see the point of the internal cable routing over the standard version.
Lightweight alloy handlebar that offers great stiffness, but the internal cabling can be a faff
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Ritchey WCS Streem III with internal routing
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?
Ritchey says, "Built from a lifetime of riding and racing experiences, and inspired by life itself, the latest generation of the Ritchey WCS Streem brings fully internal cable routing to this legendary handlebar.
The Streem bar has long combined the performance and advantage of an aero bar with all-day comfort. A generous aero-formed top section provides sleek performance and ergonomic support. While its comfort is bolstered by the stress-relieving compact drop, ever so gentle back sweep and slight drop flare, its increasing radius drops offer multiple hand positions.
Now updated with the ability for fully internal cable routing, the new WCS Streem ups its advantages to fortify its position as the perfect choice for road racers and serious enthusiasts who demand performance without sacrificing comfort in the everlasting quest for great ride experiences.
Internal cable routing
Compatible with Shimano EW-RS910 junction box
Increasing radius drops"
It's still a quality handlebar, I just don't see any massive benefits to the internal cable routing.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Material: triple-butted 6066 alloy
Bend style: compact
Top section: ergo-aero
Width: 38, 40, 42, 44, 46cm
Drop flare: 2°
Back sweep: 5°
Clamp diameter: 31.8mm
Accessory mount diameter: 31.8mm
Compatible with Shimano EW-RS910 junction box
Cable routing: full or partial internal (wider cable housing may interference with routing)
Clip-On compatibility: yes for all sizes except 380mm
Compatible with Ritchey C260 stem
Weight: 287g (42cm)
Nothing wrong with the actual bar's performance, it's just the internal routing is sub-par.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Quality handlebar for all types of road riding.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Comfortable geometry for multiple hand positions.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Cable routing slots are quite tight.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
It's quite pricey for an alloy bar, with some competitors coming in cheaper, such as the Easton and Pro Design offerings mentioned in the review.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? No, I'd stick with the non-internal cabled version
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes, if they were running an electronic groupset
Use this box to explain your overall score
It's still a good bar, but the new internal routing could be better and the price is quite high.
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!