BikeRadar Reviews the Compass Handlebars

At Compass, we design our components over thousands of miles on the (often rough) roads we ride, so we have full confidence that others will enjoy them as much as we do. Still, we were pleasantly surprised when the world’s biggest cycling web site, BikeRadar, tested our handlebars and awarded them 4.5 out of 5 stars.

That puts our bars somewhere between “one of the best you can buy” and “a genuine class leader.” BikeRadar’s tester Jack Luke was impressed by the “supremely comfortable position.” He noted that the shape works well with modern shifters, unlike other ‘classic’ bars that create an “awkward scoop before the hoods.”

The only downside he noted was that some lights may be difficult to clamp on because the 31.8 mm center bulge is relatively short. He also noted (playfully) that you cannot use them with aerobars, for the same reason.

He concluded: “From gravel nonsense to fast-ish centuries, the Compass Randonneur handlebars have proven to be an exceptionally comfortable option, and I expect I’ll be swapping these between bikes for many years to come.” 

Thank you, Jack, we’re glad you enjoyed the bars so much!

For Jack’s full review on the BikeRadar site click here.
Click here for more information about our handlebars.

About Jan Heine, Editor, Bicycle Quarterly

Spirited rides that zig-zag across mountain ranges. Bicycle Quarterly magazine and its sister company, Compass Cycles, that turns our research into high-performance components for real-world riders.
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5 Responses to BikeRadar Reviews the Compass Handlebars

  1. jon h says:

    congratulations on the thumbs-up review! i love my compass 31.8 maes parallel bars on my sportif – but i agree with the reviewer the taper while aesthetically elegant doesn’t allow for mounting lights, bells and with a tinge of sadness the aero out front mount for my wahoo bolt – i have zipp service course sl-88s (a very similar bend to the maes) on my road bike which have a longer flat section before the taper – this provides a much better mounting area – maybe something to consider if there is a compass maes parallel 2.0? 🙂

    • Thank you for your comments. For the ‘Randonneur’ handlebars that BikeRadar tested, the short bulge is necessary, otherwise, the upsweep would start too far outward, and the shape wouldn’t be comfortable. On your ‘Maes Parallel’ bars, we could make the bulge wider – that would actually be easier to make. We prefer the shorter bulge because it allows using more of the tops of the bars for your hands, and for aesthetic reasons. A long bulge that isn’t needed always looks unfinished to me.

      On my Specialized Diverge long-term test bike, the light clamp is narrow and mounts to the edge of the bulge without problems. Otherwise, it would be easy to build up the diameter of the bars with handlebar tape or a rubber shim.

      • John says:

        I made some shims for my Maes Parallel bars using 1″ carbon headset spacers and ground the inside with a dremel to match the taper so they fit the bars as close to the stem as possible. Use a little silicone or other sealant under the shim and it will stay put. The outside diameter of the 1″ headset spacer matches up with the diameter of the bulge. I mounted my Garmin out front on one side and light mount on the other. Works perfectly and looks clean.

  2. Jacob Musha says:

    I love my Compass Randonneur handlebars. I bought the 25.4 clamp diameter so I don’t have to worry about the taper from 31.8. I used them on many rides this year including my first double-century, and my hands were comfortable the whole time.

  3. Tim Nielsen says:

    These are indeed good bars. I learned to my surprise that ‘wider isn’t always better’ with handlebars (I’m tall and wide etc).

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