By Simon Smythe
The new PRO Vibe Evo handlebar is designed to take style, aerodynamic optimisation and ergonomic comfort to a new level, according to Shimano’s house component brand.
It has already scored two pro wins with Deceuninck-Quick Step’s Fabio Jakobsen at the Tour of Wallonie.
The Vibe Evo - which will cost £599.99 in the UK, making it PRO’s flagship road handlebar - features an integral stem, hose and cable integration - all of which are standard on modern ‘cockpits’, but what’s new is the rubber grips on the tops, which don’t require bar tape, and the fairing-like sections behind the hoods which are designed to smooth the airflow.
The angular shape is also very distinctive and unlike the curvier designs we're more used to seeing.
PRO claims a competitive weight of 390g for the Vibe Evo, which is made from T700 carbon. For comparison the Vision Metron 6D, a popular aftermarket bar in the pro peloton, weighs 427g.
But there’s no claim of saved watts for the uniquely shaped section behind the hoods and no mention of wind tunnel testing against the competition at all.
The drops can either be wrapped with regular handlebar tape or they can take PRO’s specially designed Ergonomic Drop-Grip (pictured) which PRO says ensures great control in all weather conditions with high-grade rubber and textured finish. Using regular bar tape, just one roll is enough for wrapping the drops only, while the grips on the tops of the bar are replaceable.
The Vibe Evo of course has an attachment point for an out-front computer mount.
The bars allow +/- 2 degrees of stem angle adjustment with a 1 1/8 shim. Fitting of 1 1/4 steerer tubes is possible with the removal of the shim. The bars come in widths of 38, 40 and 42cm with stem lengths of 105, 115 and 125mm.
PRO product development team manager Mark Kikkert said: “We looked at the cockpit as a complete system, not just a handlebar and stem. We took into consideration the placement of brake/shift levers and how the shape of the handlebar could provide a more seamless transition for more comfort.
"There’s ergonomic features for comfortable riding all day long, aerodynamic features with the top shape, and a provision for holding an aerodynamic/pursuit position on the bike. Plus being a one-piece design, the handlebar is plenty stiff enough for all-out sprint efforts. This means the handlebar can suit a lot of different riders."
“Finally," said Kikkert," the integration of the top grip is a unique way to offer comfort and control, while simultaneously keeping the aerodynamic profile and cutting down on the total system weight compared to using regular handlebar tape.
"With the new Vibe Evo we are entering a new era for integrated cockpits that PRO has been offering for over 15 years."
The bar allows +/- 2 degrees of stem angle adjustment with a 1 1/8 shim. Fitting of 1 1/4 steerer tubes is possible with the removal of the shim.
Bar width options are 38, 40 and 42cm with stem lengths of 105, 115 and 125mm.
PRO Vibe Evo handlebars will be available from retailers from July 2021 onwards. PRO Ergonomic Drop Grips available from November 2021 onwards.
It will be priced in the UK at £599.99.
Read more about road handlebars in our buyer's guide.
Simon Smythe is Cycling Weekly's senior tech writer and has been in various roles at CW since 2003. His first job was as a sub editor on the magazine following an MA in online journalism (yes, it was just after the dot-com bubble burst).
In his cycling career Simon has mostly focused on time trialling with a national medal, a few open wins and his club's 30-mile record in his palmares. These days he spends a bit more time testing road bikes, or on a tandem doing the school run with his younger son.
What's in the stable? There's a Colnago Master Olympic, a Hotta TT700, an ex-Castorama lo-pro that was ridden in the 1993 Tour de France, a Pinarello Montello, an Independent Fabrication Club Racer, a Shorter fixed winter bike and a renovated Roberts with a modern Campag groupset.
And the vital statistics:
Ethan Vernon to debut Hope TT bike at World Championship U23 time trial
First international appearance for the roadgoing version of the Great Britain Hope x Lotus track bike
By Simon Smythe •
Wout van Aert and Remco Evenepoel looking for extra one per cent at Worlds as task of beating Filippo Ganna looms
The Belgian duo hope for home advantage in order to defeat the Italian in the men's elite individual time trial
By Jonny Long •