When you do something time and time again, you can become insensitive to the world around you. In manufacturing, designs grow old as one becomes comfortable with what works. Thomson, on the other hand, not only has its hands in the cycling industry, but aerospace as well -- always keeping its approach fresh. It has also consistently expanded its cycling line over the last two decades, and the Carbon Road Handlebar is a milestone for this stalwart company.
This is the first product not manufactured at the US facility, and the first product not cut from a piece of aerospace grade aluminum. But the aerospace connection remains with these bars, as they are made by Toray, the same plant the pushes out carbon fiber components for Boeing and Airbus. And the to ensure a Thomson level of quality, the bars are certified to EN and tested to DIN+ standards.
The bars are made using Nano Epoxy Resin for very high impact resistance, and they are made in one piece -- not three pieces co-molded and glued together. An EPS mandrel, unlike other manufacturers who commonly employ an inflatable bladder, is used during the layup and molding process to avoid wrinkles inside the layup during molding. For added strength, 1.5K woven impact ends prevent damage to the uni-directional fibers during impact.
This results in an incredibly strong structure with stress risers reduced to an absolute minimum. Structure is one thing, ergonomics and ride quality is another whole story. Because this is Thomson first foray into carbon handlebars, they have the advantage of starting with a clean slate. By working closely with athletes, Thomson has dialed in a shape that is destined to become a favorite of the pro peloton.
There's a mild wing shape along the top, with a clamping area that's wide enough for aero bars, yet subtitle to not restrict hand movement when riding on the tops. The shaping on the bottom side of the wing permits cable housings to be taped out of the way without narrow channels or internal routing -- both of which can hinder bar strength and lifespan.
Reach is 78.5mm and drop is proportional to width. They are: 40cm/137mm, 42cm/140mm, 44cm/140mm, 46cm/143mm. The finish is a natural carbon fiber with graphics applied before a clear coat for a long-term, quality sheen. Thomson recommends a torque of 5nm, and the Carbon Road Handlebar comes with friction paste for installation.