Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Vision Metron 4D Carbon Handlebar Review



I have upgraded my wheels to Easton EA90 SLX (with ceramic bearings).  I love them and feel that this has been one of the best upgrades I have made to my 2012 Giant Defy 2 Comp.  It is a full carbon bike and I have really noticed the vibration dampening compared to my old Trek aluminum bike that I had before.  The standard bars that came with the bike are the aluminum Giant Connect 31.8.  They are decent bars, but several riding buddies have upgraded to carbon handlebars.  I was given the opportunity to test and review the Vision Metron 4D Compact full carbon handlebars.  I was curious about the benefits of the carbon bars versus aluminum so I started to do some research.

Would you be surprised to find out that 60-70% of professional cyclists still use aluminum handlebars?  It’s true, but the reason is interesting.  While there are benefits to carbon bars, the professional riders are required to have a bike that weighs a certain amount.  If they had carbon bars, the bike would not weigh enough.  Just a little trivia knowledge for you that you can use to impress your friends.

Carbon fiber handlebars are lighter than their aluminum counterparts.  While you might only save 100 grams or less with carbon bars, I was surprised to feel the difference.  I was blown away with how light the Vision Metron 4D handlebars actually were.  The second benefit that carbon bars offer is that they are stiffer than aluminum bars, which allows you to really get a good grip and get more power when you are out of the saddle.  The third benefit is that carbon dampens vibrations which will lead to less arm fatigue.  More on that later though.  The fourth benefit is that contrary to what you would think, carbon fiber handlebars have the same level of impact resistance as aluminum handlebars, meaning they are just as safe.  That fact really surprised me. (1)

So let’s look at the Vision Metron 4D Compact handlebars.  These bars are both aerodynamic and ergonomic.  They have the flat bar shape that makes it more comfortable to rest your hands and arms on, which also decreased wind resistance.  I love the flat bars and it really does feel much better when I try to rest my forearms on the bars and grind out some miles. 

The bars have a unique 10-degree forward bend that I have not seen on any competitor’s bars.  Why is this important you might ask?  Most handlebars are straight and have no forward bend.  The 10-degree bend allows your arms and wrists to be in a more natural position.  Your wrists are at a 90 degree angle, which reduces the stress on your wrists.  It also opens up your chest a little and makes it easier to breathe. 

There are two areas on each side of the bars that have indentations.  The first is at the top corner near the bend (behind your shifters).  This is another awesome feature and one of the most used for me. I find that it is the perfect place for my wrists to rest and it’s extremely comfortable.  There is another indentation on the drops that is ergonomically designed to fit your wrists when you are in the drops.  It really does make it more comfortable and I feel like you have a more secure grip in the drops.  It makes me feel more confident when in the drops to have that extra grip.

The Metron 4D handlebars also have a 2-degree outward bend, which means that the end of the bars are further out than where the bars drop down. It is one more feature that sets this set of bars apart from the competition.  This outward bend, like the forward bend mentioned above, allows you to have a more natural alignment and opens up your chest for easier breathing.  I felt extra confidence with the outward bend while in the drops.  

This set of bars are compact with a 125mm drop and 80mm reach.  I feel like the shape and positioning of the bars was perfect for me and I can feel the difference between these and my Giant bars.  My Giant bars were 420mm wide and the Metron 4D handlebars were 440mm, which also allowed my chest to open up more.  I really liked the fact that I could breathe easier on my hard intervals or sprints. 

The Metron 4D handlebars weigh in at 240 grams, which is insanely light.  That is due in large part to the continuous carbon composite construction.  My Giant Connect bars were about 300 grams.  While that doesn’t seem like a huge difference, it is.  The Metron 4D also features cable grooves that are compatible with the new Di2 systems and has a larger internal cable tunnel as well.  There are textured areas where the stem and shifters attach to the bars, which will reduce the chance of your bars or shifters slipping.  I think this is a great feature as well. 

Vision Metron 4D Handlebars (starts at 3:34 into the video)

So now that I have gone through the laundry list of features, let’s talk about my testing.  My riding partner is a beast.  He used to race crits when we was a young pup and on my best days, I can almost keep on his rear tire.  He always wants me to ride this road with him that would extend out ride by about 3-4 miles.  It is about the roughest road that I have ever been on and with my aluminum bars, it was absolutely unbearable.  The vibration fatigued my arms and even gave me headaches.  Needless to say that I refused to ride that road after a few attempts.  I got the Metron 4D handlebars and decided that road would be the perfect test to see how well the bars would dampen vibration. 

I was completely surprised that it took away most of the vibration and my arms had almost no fatigue from the ride.  My legs on the other hand were like jelly.  I am absolutely convinced that carbon bars are well worth the money.  Besides a good set of wheels, I think this is probably the most significant change you can make to your bike.  I am less fatigued on normal riding as well, which means that I am able to ride longer with less energy and enjoy it more with the carbon bars. 

Pros:
Dampens vibration
Carbon is as strong as aluminum but without the weight
The 10 degree forward and 2 degree outward bend put you in a better alignment
The flat (aero) bars are more comfortable and cut wind resistance
The indentations feel great when riding in and out of the drops
Internal cable routing can hid your cables

Vision’s Media Links:

I can’t say enough good things about the Vision Metron 4D Compact handlebars.  It almost made me feel like I was riding a whole new bike.  The bars retail for about $369 but is well worth the price.  Why spend $1,000 or more on a mostly carbon bike and leave the aluminum bars on?  The comfort, design, and features of the Metron 4D makes them a must have in my book.  You can find them online or at a local bike shop near you (click here for locations).  I don’t think I will ever go back to aluminum bars again.  If you have any questions about carbon bars or the Vision Metron 4D, please shoot me a comment and I would be more than happy to answer them.

Note:  I received this product in exchange for a review.  The review is my personal opinion of the product and I was not required to give a particular opinion of it.  I am not a doctor, so please use all of the products that I review at your own risk.

References:
(1) http://www.fullspeedahead.com/carbon-fiber-aluminum-handlebars/

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