Easton EC90 Aero Handlebar Review
Review of the Easton EC90 Aero Handlebar
As the EC90 moniker suggests, the EC90 Aero handlebar is Easton’s top of the line carbon fiber, aerodynamically shaped handlebar. Featuring an anatomic sculpted wing top section, the EC90 Aero is designed not only to cut through the air but to also be comfortable on long rides thanks to a wide flat section on the tops for your hands and flared drops for wrist clearance. But don’t let this suggestion of comfort fool you, the EC90 Aero is all about performance.
The Easton EC90 Aero handlebar is available in the three most popular widths, 40, 42, and 44, and features a 2 cm flare in the drops. This means a 42cm wide bar measured center-to-center at the hoods will measure 44cm center-to-center in the drops. The reach of the EC90 Aero is 80mm and the drop is 125mm, so its a compact. The EC90 Aero has a claimed weight of 230 grams for the 42cm wide bar and my 44cm tipped the scales at 242g. The EC90 features a matte carbon finish with the same subtle graphics as Easton’s Aero55 wheel set.
With ports for full internal cable routing, installation of the Easton EC90 Aero handlebar is a little tricky. This is normally the point where the reviewer tells you to take it to a professional mechanic to get the routing done, but, as the one you would be taking them to, I can tell you that its tricky for anyone particularly if you are running shifters that have both cables exiting on the same side.
At the clamping area, the EC90 Aero has cable ports on each side of the bar, which is great if you are running Shimano Ultegra 6800 or Dura-Ace 9000 which had the brake and gear cables exit on opposite sides of the hoods. But if you are running a Sram groupset or the new Shimano hydraulic disc groupsets, you are forced to try and fit both cables/hoses through one hole which is a tight squeeze. So initial setup was tricky and time consuming but the internal cable routing does make for a clean look especially when you stop the bar wrap just after the hoods, leaving the subtle Easton graphics across the tops visible.
Basically, Easton needs to update the cable routing for the EC90 Aero handlebar. It is also not compatible with the new bar end junction box for Shimano Di2 due to the 3 piece construction of the EC90 Aero which makes the bar solid at the shifter clamping area. There’s not as much concern of over clamping but no way to run Di2 wires to the ends of the bar.
Another small thing that is quite annoying about the Easton EC90 Aero handlebar is that there is not enough space in the stem clamping area to fit an out front computer mount. I managed to fit my BarFly mount on securely but it sits at a slight angle which is enough to drive anyone insane and makes getting good GoPro video tricky. And mounting computers to stems suck. So if you want to run an out front computer mount on the EC90 Aero bars, you have to find one that interfaces with the stem face plate bolts.
At this point in the review, you might be thinking that I don’t like the Easton EC90 Aero handlebars but you should notice that my complaints have had nothing to do with the actual performance of the handlebar. And this handlebar is all about performance.
The first word that comes to mind when I go to describe the EC90 Aero handlebar is STIFF. You don’t loose anything from this bar when sprinting or climbing out of the saddle because its not moving. And while it is very stiff, I would not call it harsh but it does allow a lot of little vibrations to reach your hands which can add up over long rides. But if comfort is more of your concern and you still want an aero handlebar, Easton has the EC70 Aero available.
While the wing shape of the EC90 Aero was designed to improve aerodynamics, the flat top does other a comfortable position for your hands. If you leave the tops unwrapped, the matte finish can become slippery due to sweat which is especially a problem if you like to get aero by resting your forearms on the tops of your bars like being in some invisible TT bars. But who would want to cover up those sweet looking graphics?
Ultimately, the Easton EC90 Aero handlebar is a high performance piece of equipment aimed at those seeking every edge in the sprint or across the flats. With an aerodynamic profile and uncompromising stiffness, the EC90 Aero is a great choice for any race bike looking to go fast. And the matte carbon finish and subtle graphics is a perfect addition to the looks of your bike. While it does need an update to its cable routing and initial setup is a bit of a headache, those irritations are over shadowed by the performance of the Easton EC90 Aero handlebar once you get it on your bike and out on the road. The EC90 Aero has found a permanent home on my bike.