Prime Primavera X-Light Carbon handlebar review
Prime's ultralight carbon handlebar has a pretty unique shape
I've been really impressed with the Primavera X-Light handlebar in terms of performance. I was skeptical of it's super-low weight since it costs less than half the price of equivalent weight carbon handlebars but it has yet to yield any short comings. If only Prime could expand the range to include a 38cm width - then it really would be a perfect upgrade for any cyclist.
Comfortable hand positions
Only available in three sizes
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The Prime Primavera X-Light was selected for an Editor's Choice award in 2020. This year's list contains 78 items which scored a 9 or 10/10 with our tech team - this gear is the best of the best, and has received the Cycling Weekly stamp of approval.
The Primavera X-Light handlebar is just one of the ways Prime is expanding outwards from 'just' being know for its reasonably priced and highly regarded wheels. Developed off the back of the knowledge and understanding the brand has furthered in its work with carbon fibre, it represents a component that fits in within Prime's ethos of creating premium parts for reasonable prices.
How to choose the right road handlebar for you
The same can also be said for the drop, in this case 125mm from top of the bar to the drops, so it should suit riders with both small and large hands.
This handlebar is available in the three most common widths, 40, 42 and 44cm but I'm a bit disappointed Prime hasn't catered for riders with narrower shoulders and has forgone a 38cm. A groove at the front of the bar enables cables to be routed neatly and to create a nicely rounded profile when taped.
To keep weight to a minimum Prime has stuck to a round profiled top section rather than a more flattened, ergonomic style. It has also opted to make the X-Light out of carbon to reduce weight further.
Prime state that a 40cm bar weighs 169g, the 42cm bar on test weighed 180 grams which is pretty featherweight when even compared to top end brands such as Lightweight and Enve. Strength is obviously going to be something riders will query with such a light handlebar but Prime is confident enough that it even states the Primavera X-Light is suitable to be used with clip-on aero extensions.
How to wrap handlebar tape correctly
Where the Primavera deviates from the norm is in the shaping of the drop section. Rather than sticking to a traditional round profile Prime has opted for an unusual triangular cross section - think Toblerone without the gaps - covering the section you're most likely to place your hands.
When pulling the bar out of the box and gripping it feels very odd and just a little bit uncomfortable. However as soon as the bar is mounted and wrapped the pronounced edges are soften and actually make for a superior, more secure hand hold. Prime's reasoning behind this is pretty logical; when you make a fist your fingers don't actually curl but tend to make a more triangular shape. Check it, it's true!
Read: Prime RR50 Black Edition x CeramicSpeed DB50 wheel review
Riding impressions are good with the Primavera exhibiting very little unwanted flex when muscling the bike in a sprint or wrenching on the bar when climbing super steep sections. The shaping has really grown on me and whilst I would prefer a flatter, ergo shape on the tops I can't say the Primavera has been uncomfortable when climbing - bar tape of course being an obvious contributing factor to this. What I do appreciate is the triangular shaping of the drops. it makes for a really secure hand hold even with sweaty palms, it has almost been a revelation.
If you are in the market for upgrades changing your handlebar has often been an area where the price versus gram saving versus performance gains has always been a bit questionable. The Prime Primavera X-Light, being considerably cheaper than many other carbon bars, being lighter and with a distinct performance advantage due to its unique shaping for once actually makes this upgrade seem worthwhile.
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James Bracey's career has seen him move from geography teacher, to MBR writer, to Cycling Weekly's senior tech writer and video presenter. He possesses an in-depth knowledge of bicycle mechanics, as well as bike fit and coaching qualifications. Bracey enjoys all manner of cycling, from road to gravel and mountain biking.
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