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3T Superergo Team bars review

14 Nov 2019
Verdict:

The 3T Superergo handlebars’ weight is on-par and and their price is at the top end, but their shape sets them apart

Cyclist Rating: 
For 
Neat ergonomic touches make these bars comfortable to use
Against 
While the brand has its reasons for not plugging the gap, the £190 price jump between 3rd and 2nd tier versions of the bar is a little incongruous

To hear 3T tell it, the brand basically wrote the book on drop bar architecture, claiming it became the first company to focus on incorporating complex ergonomic shapes into handlebars that were previously a simple round tube bent into shape.

The 3T Superergo bars are the latest incarnation of the brand’s ‘comfort’ handlebar design. Made from unidirectional carbon fibre, they prioritise functional shaping over other attributes like weight and aerodynamics.

Comfort

The most comfortable bar from the self-proclaimed masters in ergonomics? It sounds like 3T can certainly talk the talk when it comes to the Superergo bars, so I’ve been using this design on both road and gravel to see if it can live up to the hype.

I would say for the most part the design does indeed justify 3T’s marketing information. The tops in particular incorporate a number of features that make the bars uncommonly comfortable in a number of riding positions over varying terrain and ride durations.

Starting from the bottom up, the drop portion of the bars is a fairly conventional compact drop - a tight bend directly from the tops where the shifters mount, which unfurls into a more gentle curve towards the Superergo’s bar ends.

Buy the 3T Superergo handlebars from Wiggle for £183

Groupset compatibility

3T says the top portion of the drop is deliberately designed to mate smoothly with modern shifters from the big three groupset manufacturers. Having used the bars with both Shimano and Camapgnolo levers I’d say the shape pairs better with Shimano, but that the slightly bumpier pairing with Campagnolo is due to the lever shape’s foibles rather than the Superergo's curve.

There are provisions to neatly route cables from those levers through the inside of the bar - the holes are sized and positioned well enough to not make internally routing hoses and cables more of a chore than it needs to be.

Ergonomic attention to detail

Top to bottom the drop portion measures 119mm, which is much shallower than a traditional drop bar. They tend to have values in the region of 150mm which is created by a bigger, steadier curve from the tops. That compact distance of the Superergo drop felt nicely balanced - not too shallow to prevent an aggressive road position but also not too deep to undermine my control on technical gravel trails.

As the tops and hoods are where riders spend most of their riding time, it seems appropriate that the most attention has been paid to incorporating ergonomic features in this area.

The shoulders of the bars (the portion curving back from the levers to the tops) is flatter and wider than regular bars. 3T says this creates a more secure grip, which I’m not sure I could really experience, but I did notice it spread the pressure from my palms uncommonly well when riding on the hoods, making general riding a comfortable experience.

It was a similar story on the tops - this portion of the Superergo bars have been ovalised. Not to the extent of an aero bar, whose totally flat shape can reduce grip, but just enough so that the surface area of the tops increases. On prolonged road climbs and cruising on easy gravel paths it was a design feature that made that hand position markedly more pleasant.

Price tags

Considering the premium pricetag, the Superergo's weight is nothing special, coming in +/- 20g of most competitors in this price bracket. But then again weight isn’t the Superergo’s main priority - 3T has the Superleggera design for weight weenies, which eschews any complex carbon shaping in favour of dropping a few grams.

£290 is a huge sum to spend on bars when this is not even the top-tier offering: the Superergo design has a ‘LTD’ tier above the ‘Team’ tier tested here which costs £360. There is an aluminium ‘Pro’ version that is a lot more wallet-friendly at £100, but that loses some of the ergonomic shaping that helps make the carbon Superergo bars stand apart from the crowd.

It would be good to see a third carbon bar offered that uses a lower grade of carbon. Presumably it would cede a little weight but it could preserve the ergonomic shaping and sit in between the £100 Pro bar and the £290 Team bar, balancing the range out better.

Buy the 3T Superergo handlebars from Wiggle for £183

I asked 3T’s brand manager at its UK distributor Saddleback, Dan Duguid, about the perceived discrepancy. He admitted the price difference between carbon and alloy is large but ‘a lower grade of carbon would compromise the quality of the bars, which is not something 3T is willing to do.’

While not a perfect scenario it is heartening to hear the situation is recognised at least and 3T has the confidence to justify its product offering. In my experience that confidence is not misplaced - functionally these are among the best designs on the market, as stiff as you could need and exceptionally well shaped.

If versatile comfort is your top priority and you don’t mind the outlay it is hard to look past the 3T Superergo Team bars.

Price: 
£290

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