The Prime Primavera Aero Carbon Handlebar couples an incredibly low price with an excellent performance. The cable routing ports and space near the stem clamp for an out-front mount make it very easy to live with, while the shape and stiffness make the handlebar both comfortable for long rides and positive in hard efforts. The only criticism to make is that it doesn’t come in a size smaller than 38cm.
Good cable integration
No markings for positioning the shifters
38cm is the narrowest size
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Prime’s Primavera Aero Carbon Handlebar offers a cockpit upgrade (opens in new tab) at a much lower price than the competition, as well as being packed full of thoughtful touches which make these bars easy to live and ride with.
Although there are measurable gains to be reaped from the flattened tops of an aero handlebar, these aren’t huge and won’t make a significant difference to your riding speeds.
More important is the ergonomics of the handlebar, as the rider is responsible for far more aerodynamic drag (opens in new tab) than the bike or any of the individual components. For instance, if the shape of the bars means you avoid the drops, that’ll cost you far more than what you’d gain from flattened tops.
Primavera Aero Carbon Handlebar: construction
As the name would suggest, these handlebars are party to a carbon-fibre construction. But what might not be immediately obvious is that a lot of work has gone into refining the characteristics of this updated version over the original Primavera.
Prime says that stiffness has been increased in both the vertical and horizontal planes, as well as rotationally. On average, the updated Primavera is said to be 20.6% stiffer than the original.
Now, increased stiffness isn’t always a good thing — too much and the result is a bar that feels harsh to ride. But equally, no one wants a flexy bar when they’re putting the power down in a sprint or hauling up a climb. I’ll touch more on the overall feel of the bar in the ride section below, but for now I'll just say that it does feel like a good balance has been struck here.
Regarding the internal cable routing, it’s designed to play nicely with Shimano Di2, and with exit ports under the tops and at the back of the stem clamp area, most other shifter/frame combinations should be catered for.
With a drop of 122mm and a reach of 76.5mm, the Primavera Aero Carbon Handlebar is definitely on the more compact end of the spectrum — which many people find they prefer to the traditional long and deep handlebars of old.
The drops themselves have an interesting profile, being quite angular rather than round. This is said to match up better with the shape your hand takes when you make a fist — which makes a lot of sense when you think about how your fingers actually bend.
Thoughtfully, the bar diameter stays at 31.8mm for a bit on each side of the stem clamp, before broadening out to the wider, flattened tops. This means that it’s easy to fit a standard out-front mount, rather than having to go to the added expense of getting one which attaches directly to the stem bolts.
We’re seeing many more people opting for narrower handlebars (opens in new tab) as an effective way of decreasing aerodynamic drag by reducing the frontal area. While a narrowest size of 38cm might not stand out as particularly old-school at the moment, there is an increasing number of brands offering smaller sizes such as 36cm and smaller and Prime risks being left behind here.
Putting in some efforts on the Prime Primavera Aero Carbon Handlebar, to me the bars felt rock solid — I certainly couldn’t discern any flex in them. That said, this didn’t have the consequence of a harsh or rattly ride — even when paired with 25c tyres.
The shape of the bars I found to be pretty spot on. I’m quite keen on compact handlebars, especially as the shallower drops allow your arms to be bent when you’re in them, exposing much less surface area to the wind.
The angled shape of the drops is less pronounced once wrapped in bar tape, but they were still very comfortable — although not significantly more so than a traditional rounded profile.
The best part about these bars — which is can be something of a stumbling block for other aero handlebars — is that the run-off from the bars to the shifters is really quite flat and seamless. Other handlebars can have quite a sharp drop off before transitioning to the shifters, which I find to be quite uncomfortable in certain positions on the bike.
With a traditional round set of bars this is easy to remedy. You can just roll the bar forwards and that will flatten out the transition between the bar and shifters. But the same trick can't be pulled with an aero bar, as that would tilt the flattened tops up into the wind and completely defeat the point.
So it’s great to see that there are no such problems with the Primavera.
The Prime Primavera Aero Carbon Handlebar is quite simply extremely good value. At £149.99, it undercuts most of the market. The Easton EC90 Aero Road Handlebar, for instance, comes in at £279, which is fairly typical price.
When the qualities of the Primavera bar are taken into consideration, with its ergonomic shape, helpful cable routing and stiff feel, it’s hard to justify spending much more on a different brand.
The one area where the Primavera doesn’t perform so well is availability in narrower widths. The Enve SES Aero V2 Compact Road Handlebar is 35cm wide at the tops, and therefore allows for a much narrower position. It is over 2.5 times the price, though, at £420.
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After winning the 2019 National Single-Speed Cross-Country Mountain Biking Championships and claiming the plushie unicorn (true story), Stefan swapped the flat-bars for drop-bars and has never looked back.
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