Luxury Bikes

Era & Turbine handlebars | Counter arm pump – your height and body size – mountain bike press release

AThe pumping effect and hand fatigue make driving more demanding, and not in a good way. No one wants to feel a loss of control or loss of confidence, and we don’t want to cut short our driving session because of fatigue.

Many handlebar manufacturers sell compliant handlebars with a width of 800mm. The problem is that less than 20% of mountain bikers actually ride their handlebars at an 800mm height and often cut the handlebars to the correct size. When you shorten a bar, it becomes stiffer and less compliant. On average, this is 24% stiffer when an 800 x 20 mm handlebar is shortened to 760 mm.

We wanted to make something better, but we didn’t want the rider experience to be compromised due to fit and preference. So instead of making one or two handlebars that worked pretty well for all riders, we made twelve. Three width options, three rise options, both carbon and aluminum.


To make the best handlebars on the market, we launched a study in 2019 to examine all the factors that can affect arm and hand fatigue: vertical compliance, natural frequency of materials and vibration dampening.

After hundreds of tests, with both world-class athletes and average riders, we came to clear conclusions.

  1. Natural frequency is directly related to vertical compliance: more compliance = lower frequency and a better ride.
  2. Vibration dampening features (e.g. foam-filled rods) showed no benefits.
  3. Vertical compliance is the most significant and controllable factor in driver fatigue.

We set out to find the optimal balance between vertical compliance and lateral stiffness (based solely on rider feedback) and found that 85% of riders preferred a specific optimal point of vertical compliance. We will now refer to the number (which we cannot reveal, but which is measured in N/mm).
to Goldilocks Tune or GL Tune. Anything higher than this value was too stiff, anything lower was too flexible.


Designing carbon or aluminum bars for the GL Tune required reworking the external shape of our previous Next R and Turbine R bars. The new Era and Turbine bars feature:

  1. A narrower clamping area for stems
  2. A rise and taper that begins earlier (the narrower clamping area allows this)
  3. Faster taper results in a 10% smaller handlebar diameter (compared to previous bars) throughout the climb, while still maintaining standard diameters in the stem and control clamp areas.

These three things allow us to achieve the vertical compliance we want while still sticking to a traditional round bar shape.


With our GL Tune in hand and the external shape determined, it was time to optimize the bars for each rider using different widths, different rises and different materials.

We’ve developed a full range of flex profiles and layups to ensure a consistent feel of compliance across all width and rise options on all Era and Turbine bars. We did this in different ways with carbon and aluminum (see the following two pages).

We developed six carbon and six aluminum bars to ensure all riders receive the benefits of vertical compliance – not just those riding 800mm bars.


With Era carbon handlebars, we optimized compliance by developing handlebar-specific carbon layups. That meant adjusting the placement, angle and quantity of nearly 100 unidirectional carbon pieces, each about 1/10th of a millimeter thick.


With the turbine control arms made of aluminum, we have achieved a flexible driving feel through internal butting. The inner walls of the Turbine handlebar vary from thick to thin in different areas to achieve the strength and flexibility required for a great handlebar. For all turbine variants this meant changing the position, magnitude and speed of these changes, requiring extremely precise aluminum construction.


Era and Turbine bars are the most advanced bars Race Face has ever made. After five years of development, they have undergone more than 4,000 hours of field testing and we can confidently say we have an answer to arm pump and hand fatigue. Era and Turbine bars allow you to ride harder, faster and longer, providing consistent compliance at every width and climb, for every rider.

The Era and Turbine handlebars are covered by our lifetime guarantee including drops. You can find a complete overview of the insurance conditions on our website Lifetime Warranty Information Page.

Find out more about the new Era handlebars:
Find out more about the new turbine handlebar:



Oval handlebar designs are currently popular, but optimizing vertical compliance using an oval handlebar requires two big assumptions:

  1. That most people don’t roll their handlebars to get a better fit for the bike when setting it up.
  2. All forces exerted on a rod all act in a single plane.

We disagree with these assumptions.

Rolling the handlebars is a matter of personal preference and bike fit. However, rolling the handlebars forward or backward puts forces on the handlebars in directions that are not optimized for vertical compliance. That is, rolling the bar makes it stiffer and less pliable.

When rotating the leading oval carbon handlebar from -20 to +20 degrees – the typical adjustment range – our testing found up to a 20% change in vertical stiffness. That’s more than three times the change in stiffness that occurs when moving an Era bar in the same range (just 6%). For comparison, our studies found that the average driver could see a change in stiffness of more than 15%.

When it comes to forces acting in a single plane, the reality of mountain biking is that the rider’s weight – and therefore the forces acting on a handlebar – are constantly shifting fore and aft. When you take into account rocks, roots, and other terrain features encountered on a bike, the level of force application is constantly changing.

Oval just isn’t right for Race Face.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button