The Beast Components Hybrid Bar is neither fish nor fowl, or rather, neither gravel nor MTB. In fact, it falls somewhere in between: a drop bar designed for mountain bikes. The handlebar requires the installation of mountain bike brakes and shifters, the rest is up to your personal choice. Is it revolutionary or just plain crazy?
Where boundaries blur, innovations, or at least new approaches, emerge. Beast Components offer German-made carbon parts for various types of bikes. The team uses simulations for the calculation and development of components, and has already been awarded the Design and Innovation Award for their RX60 road wheelset, amongst others. From rims to bottle cages, Beast Components manufacture all of their high-end components in-house in Dresden. The Hybrid Bar is a small novelty – a carbon drop bar designed for MTBs. While there have been similar approaches like Surly’s angular, steel Corner Bar, the Hybrid Bar stands out with its carbon construction and ergonomic shape. Is the Hybrid Bar a versatile solution or does it venture too far into crossover territory?
How does the Beast Components Hybrid Bar work?
The Beast Components Hybrid Bar is compatible with stems that have a 31.8 mm clamp size. The hoods are positioned 460 mm apart. Due to the double flare in the drops, which consists of two outward bends of 14° and 20°, the drops have a width of 600 mm. Due to the shallow 95 mm drop, the upper body remains fairly upright. There is also a small backsweep of 4°. With its generous support surfaces, the handlebar not only provides ample support surfaces for the hands but also boasts a high-end finish and exceptional craftsmanship. It is designed for use with MTB brakes and shifters, featuring a designated clamping area for them. Road bike brake levers cannot be fitted. The focus during development was on ergonomics and comfort, making the handlebar particularly suitable for long off-road rides.
Where do my hands go? Beast Components Hybrid Bar in the test
Installing the Beast Components Hybrid Bar is quickly done. However, it does require long cables and a four-bolt stem due to the extended reach of the brake/shift levers compared to a flat bar. The handlebar does not feature internal cable routing. When aligning the controls in the dark-coloured clamping area, it is recommended to roughly follow the alignment of the hoods in the riding position. For roadies, the feeling of starting off is at once both familiar and alien. On one hand, the hoods provide a familiar feel, but on the other hand, neither the brakes nor the gears can be accessed in that position. Initially, there is often a sense of grasping for something that isn’t there, which can lead to a significant sense of insecurity. Even for MTBers, the start is a bit strange at first because of the many possible hand positions. It takes a few kilometres or a few times of using the shift/brake to instinctively transition into the drops when braking or changing gears. The Beast Components Hybrid Bar provides hand positions – handlebars, drops, and hoods – that are familiar to roadies, but may be new to many MTBers. The hoods are most suitable for smooth straight-ahead sections, challenging climbs are best tackled from the top handlebar, and for any manoeuvers that involve braking and shifting, the drops are the (only) correct hand position.
The hoods on the Beast Components Hybrid Bar are noticeably smaller than those on a road bike. But, you can comfortably slide your thumb and forefinger into position and maintain a reliable grip. The short drop allows for comfortable rides in the drops for extended periods, while the flattened top of the handlebar also provides a pleasant feel. Overall, the Beast Components Hybrid Bar performs best on variable, changing surfaces. For demanding riders on technical, challenging descents, it might lack some of the leverage and control provided by wider flat bars.
The Beast Components Hybrid Bar may not be revolutionary, but it is undoubtedly a noteworthy new approach. In addition, you get countless incredulous looks from other bikers, as well as outstanding manufacturing quality. The handlebar turns almost every MTB into a monster gravel bike or a drop bar MTB. This is particularly appealing to those seeking a gravel bike feeling but who only have a mountain bike, those who want to make their off-road machine much more suitable for touring, or those who want to fit MTB components to their gravel bike.
- innovative approach
- excellent ergonomics, making it highly suitable for touring
- extremely high quality workmanship
- braking and shifting is not possible while in the hoods
- not enough control on rooty trails and steep descents allow for smaller jumps.
Test duration: 2 months
Price: € 499.90
Weight: 353 g
Manufacturer’s website: beast-components.com
Intended use: Gravel, MTB touring, long distance
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Words & Photos: Martin Staffa