Coefficient Road Race Handlebar review

An innovative out-front bridge finds a loophole in the UCI’s ‘invisible aerobar’ ban – but what’s this new position like to ride?

Cycling Weekly Verdict

The Coefficient Road Race handlebar has an innovative design with its out-front bridge, intended to provide a UCI-compliant hand position similar to the recently banned ‘invisible aerobars’. I found the bridge didn’t extend out quite far enough, and so wasn’t a massive improvement over simply gripping an ordinary set of bars near the stem clamp. But the ergonomics of the drops make for a highly comfortable handlebar that we can recommend – if it happens to be within your budget.

For
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    Ergonomic shape

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    Out-front bridge adds extra position

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    Drop notch helps with descending

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    Lots of options for internal routing

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Against
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    Bridge position isn’t a massive step up over just holding the centre of the bars

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    Difficult to mount certain attachments such as bike lights

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    High price

Perhaps the most striking element of the Coefficient Road Race Handlebar is the innovative out-front bridge which provides an additional hand position – and one that takes you some of the way to replicating the ‘invisible aerobar’ position recently banned by the UCI.

Although the handlebar is called the Road Race, there are aspects of this bar that can be enjoyed by many styles of rider.

If you want to increase your riding distance – without reaching for a little e-assistance – getting more aero is an effective way of doing so. It’s free speed in terms of effort, although quite the opposite monetarily.

There’s also something for gravel riders, with the drops flaring out by seven degrees and featuring a notched design for resting your thumb and providing a more secure grip.

Coefficient Road Race Handlebar: construction

Starting with that out-front bridge, it features an integrated computer mount, with options for Garmin and Wahoo coming shipped as standard. If you have a Lezyne or any other head unit, additional mounts are made for essentially every option on the market and are available to be bought separately.

If you have a proclivity towards recording your rides, a GoPro mount can also be attached underneath the bar.

Coefficient Road Race handlebar

Moving along to the tops, they have a flattened profile to reduce their frontal area and increase the aerodynamics of the bar. A particularly nice touch is that the depth of the tops varies with the handlebar width, meaning that even in the smaller sizes the tops remain a viable hand position.

Following the bars around now to the drops, I’d still count these as compact compared to the long and deep curvatures of traditional bars. However, with a drop of 127mm and a reach of 77mm, it’s not an extreme example.

 

Coefficient Road Race handlebar

The flare is similarly modest at seven degrees, splaying your hands out by about one centimetre on either side as measured from the hoods. It’s enough to feel a difference, but not so much that it requires any ‘getting-used-to’ period. Unlike other bars, there’s a notch on the inside of the bend on each side, which Coefficient says is to enable a more secure hand hold when descending.

Coefficient Road Race handlebar

When it comes to setting up the bars, there are good markings at the bend of the drops for setting the hoods up at an even height. There are also really good markers for making sure the roll of the bars is set up correctly and that the stem clamp is right at the centre of the bars.

Sometimes these markings are so small that if you have a bar clamp that doesn’t have a cut-out centre, you’re left flying blind – but that’s no issue here.

With the internal routing, there's a whole host of options for you there, with a vast array of different ports which should cater for most, if not all, shifter/frame combinations.

The ride

Coefficient Road Race handlebar

Starting again with the out-front bridge, the Coefficient Road Race bar did feel noticeably faster when hunkered down with my thumbs hooked in, my arms close and my back low.

However, the bridge doesn’t protrude overly far away from the bars, making for a much more cramped position than in the ‘invisible aerobars’ position or with a set of actual aerobars.

To be fair, the position is much more secure than one where you’re not touching the bars with your hands. So, unless you have bike-handling skills worthy of the pro peloton, you’ll likely be able to spend a lot more time in that aero position with these bars than you would with your forearms resting on the tops.

Coefficient Road Race handlebar

But considering how short and cramped the position is using the bridge of the Road Race bars, I didn’t feel there was that much of a benefit over just holding an ordinary set of bars on either side of the stem.

Don’t get me wrong, the out-front bridge of the Road Race bars is definitely an improvement over a standard set of bars – and does stretch you out a little bit more. But for me personally, I don’t think the improvement is so great that I could justify the extra cost.

Coefficient handlebar

Happily, there is plenty more to these bars than just the bridge. I got on well with the shape of the drops, the combination of the flare (7°) reach (77mm) and drop (127mm) had a very comfy result and I was happy to spend a large proportion of my time riding low and hooked in.

Coefficient handlebar

The notch surprised me in just how positive an effect it imparted. I did feel a lot more secure with that closer grip which was made possible. It turned out to be the best of both worlds in having the diameter reduce only at the thumb – I find if the whole bar is a narrower diameter, the grip of my lower three fingers feels a lot less secure.

Value

This is hard to compare as there aren’t many examples like it. Compared to another bar which has interesting aero details – beyond simply flattening the profile of the tops – is the Enve SES Aero V2 Compact Road Handlebar. This is a particularly narrow bar with a large degree of flare to retain its handling characteristics when on the drops. It comes in at quite a bit more at £420.

At the other end, there is the Farr Aero Gravel handlebar which also has an out-front bridge. This one is significantly larger than the Coefficient Road Race bar and we found that it actually mimicked a set of clip-on aerobars rather well.

However, as a gravel bar, the narrowest size it comes in is 42cm, the flare is a generous 25° and the construction is aluminium – all of which make it a lot less suitable for road riding. It is a lot cheaper though, at £99.99.

Compared to just a standard aero handlebar, the Road Race bar does cost a fair bit more than the Easton EC90 Aero Road Handlebar which comes in at £279 and is a fairly typical price. This is sharply undercut by Wiggle’s in-house brand, Prime, and its Primavera Aero Carbon Handlebar which we found to be comfortable, lightweight, and easy to live with and only costs £149.99.

Stefan Abram
Stefan Abram

Starting off riding mountain bikes on the South Downs way, he soon made the switch the road cycling. Now, he’s come full circle and is back out on the trails, although the flat bars have been swapped for the curly ones of a gravel bike.


Always looking for the next challenge, he’s Everested in under 12 hours and ridden the South Downs Double in sub 20. Although dabbling in racing off-road, on-road and virtually, to date his only significant achievement has been winning the National Single-Speed Cross-Country Mountain Bike Championships in 2019.


Height: 177cm

Weight: 67–69kg