Katie Compton's long standing relationship with Thomson resulted in multiple cyclocross podiums for the iconic alloy stems and seatposts. And when Thompson decided to branch out into the handlebar market, it leveraged her valuable input when designing the KFC Carbon Cross Handlebar.
The bars are carbon fiber, and 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 an inflatable bladder, is used during the layup and molding process to avoid wrinkles inside the bar. 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, but ergonomics and ride quality is another story. Because this is Thompson first foray into carbon handlebars, they have the advantage of starting from a clean slate. By working closely with Katie Compton, Thomson dialed in a bar shape that is destined to become preferred on muddy courses across the globe.
There's a nice round top profile that's as wide as possible for auxiliary levers and to provide plenty of room for your hands. The shaping on the underside of the top section permits cable housing to be routed cleanly, while maintaining a round profile.
This is one of the first products not manufactured at Thomson's US facility, and one of the first products 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 that pushes out carbon fiber components for Boeing and Airbus. And to ensure a Thomson level of quality, the bars are certified to EN and tested to DIN+ standards.
Reach is 78.5mm and drop is proportional to width. They are: 40cm/131mm, 42cm/133mm, and 44cm/135mm. 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 KFC Carbon Cross Handlebar comes with friction paste for installation.