This is a 3T Ergonova Pro Review from my main man Joe. The man's a walking bicycle encyclopedia!
The bars are your cockpit for steering and braking, and one of the three contact points with the bike - so the right or wrong bars can make or break your ride.
True to their name, the Ergonova line of handlebars from 3T (a favored brand in the pro peloton) are built with fatigue-reducing comfort in mind at every step.
To check the current pricing of the Ergonova's - click here
In this review, I go over why these bars made for a really enjoyable riding experience.
3T Ergonova Pro Review
A note on 3T’s model lines and materials:
3T offer these in each of their three lines; the entry-level Pro bars reviewed here are 7075 aluminum, while the up-market Team and LTD lines are carbon fiber.
While carbon fiber is lighter in weight and can dampen road chatter a bit better, aluminum is reliable and perfectly light enough for all but the most weight-conscious and quite comfortable. In fact, they’re still used by a large percentage of professional riders.
- A shallow drop, and just a slight amount of flare, might make for an easy reach and solid control in the drops
- A relatively short reach takes some of the strain off of the back (of course, a longer stem can be used to add a bit of length if preferred.
- Unique top tube shape give more surface area to the hands, adding comfort and ease
- Aluminum's inherent stiffness can allow more vibration from rougher surfaces to impact hands and wrists
- Not as comfortable or stable on singletrack or off-road as bars with more flare
- At around $100, these are quality at a cost
A unique oval- or egg-shaped top section, combined with a shallow drop and a slight flare to the bend, result in a smooth-riding, extremely comfortable cockpit that stays easy on the hands, neck, and shoulders for as long as the road will take you.
Why look elsewhere for a great product?
The first thing you need to ask yourself before getting these handlebars is what type of riding are you going to be doing?
- If you're a competitive rider and flexible enough for a very aggressive aerodynamic profile, you'll likely want a bar with more reach and a deeper drop.
- If you ride off-road a lot, you may want a bar with more flare from the hoods to the drops, like the innovative Salsa Woodchipper.
- If a lot of your local roads are rough and festooned with potholes, the stiffness could be fatiguing or hand-numbing after a while.
Who Are These Made For?
- Speedy recreational riders who want to hand with the fast club rides, but maybe aren't as flexible as the pros are.
- Anyone who loves to hit the road before dawn and stay on it comfortably till the sun is setting.
A Comfortable Cockpit
I’m no racer, but I love long rides at a nice quick pace The meandering country roads just outside my urban home base offer beautiful, smooth riding among the farms and woods, the perfect place to get into a meditative rhythm and cadence for a few hours of healthy effort.
The benefit of the ergonomic top bar’s flattened-oval shape was immediately apparent; it made for a comfortable place to rest my hands and a great perch on long climbs.
A few millimeters make a big difference in the way a bike fits and the way it feels. As miles ticked by, my neck and back felt no encroachment of stiffness or discomfort, a credit to the slightly shorter reach forward to the drops.
Getting into the drops for quick, hard efforts and descents was an easy and natural shift, and I was more comfortable here than on some other products I’ve used due to that shallow bend.
I’m not chasing Strava KOM’s (or any of the local riders here who set them), so I personally didn’t feel adequately ‘aero,’ but as it was a slightly less forward positioning, particularly on the drops, I probably could have squeaked out a slight gain with more race-oriented bars.
That being said, Cervelo, the leaders of the take-no-prisoners aerobike market, outfit their entry-level R3 with this bar, so, you know, it’s fast enough for most of us.
At the end of a day’s worth of riding, with barely 2 or 3 stops for coffee and calories, I felt really good and I’m pretty sure it wasn’t just the 20 minutes of tailwind I had. I didn’t feel fatigue in my hands, neck or back.
I was really happy with the way the Ergonova performed, and how I felt both during and after the ride.
That's not all!
Watch the video below by Art's Cyclery to see how to choose road bike handlebars
A Well-Loved Product
Cyclists love to debate every product. Spend enough time trying to research a purchase and the wildly divergent impressions will make your head spin.
So I was more than a little surprised to find virtually universal praise for these bars from every corner of the internet I searched. Riders absolutely love these!
I’ll speculate, wildly, that it may be due to the all-out comfort of these bars. Some quarters of the industry give us the hard sell on the fastest, lightest, most aggressively aero components rather than the most comfortable, and well, a lot of amateur riders buy them, hoping it’ll make them just that little bit faster.
But when a truly comfortable component, especially such a critical piece as the handlebars, is experienced, it’s often with great relief and enthusiasm.
What To Know Before Buying
That slight flare means these are a bit narrow at the hoods than the drops. Because of the way they're measured you may want to size down; one review remarked he sized down to a 40mm from a 42mm and felt just right.
Know your source when buying! This goes for every purchase, but some higher-end bike components do get counterfeited. I don't know if that's the case with these, but one buyer on a cycling forum recounted buying them from an eBay seller in Asia.
He found the measurements quite far off the specifications clearly noted by 3T, which raises suspicion.
A Crowded Field
Another compact product worth looking at is the well-liked FSA Omega (much, much cheaper).
Similar in style, this bar has just a bit more drop, and some riders appreciate the more aggressive position here for hard sprints, aero time-trial style efforts and descents.
All-Day Comfort At Any Price
3T is an industry leader with good reason, and for years now have been able to claim dominance in the compact marketplace with the Ergonova line.
The aluminum Ergonova Pro is a universally-loved bar combining strength, reliability and a supreme, fatigue-fighting comfort level due to their innovative flat-top design.
And that's the end of that. I hope you enjoyed this review.