Short Review: Ritchey VentureMax XL

Overview

Review

I was never interested in being super aerodynamic, but I still drove the Ritchey VentureMax XL for a while, which looks like an aero bar. The handlebar doesn't necessarily claim to be an aero bar, but it has a special ergonomic shape that is reminiscent of one. In short: it should improve comfort and probably also aerodynamics and that's why I tested it.
It should be in the XL version so that you can also try out how a 520 mm drop bar rides - compared to the "standard" model with 440 mm.

As soon as I unpacked the handlebars, I noticed how wide they were. There is also a flattened top for a comfortable hand rest, holes in the handlebars for internal cable routing (e.g. electric bar-end switch) and of course the ergo curve in the drops for additional comfort.
So the old handlebar was removed and the new one was put on! Oh, you might also need a slightly longer handlebar tape for the extra width, at least with my “wrapping” technique.

Immediately after assembly, I went for a first short test drive. Wow, amazing driving experience! Very different from the standard handlebar model that came with the Kona Rove St.
Very wide, comfortable hand rest in the overhand grip and somehow more comfortable in the underhand grip. The accessibility of the brake levers in the underhand grip is also great.
And the extra width gives you more control off the road.
First impression: very positive! No wonder the handlebar is so popular.

The next ride was a longer one, motivated by the newfound comfort on the handlebars. While driving, the need arose to adjust the angle of the brake levers slightly, which often involves turning the handlebars.
Note: I'm very "monky" when it comes to the positioning and tuning of a drop bar!
And there was the first little disillusionment : Turning the handlebars also means that the angle of the flattened top changes.
The comfort immediately suffers!
A second observation was made during the tour: as the handlebars become wider, the angle at which you stretch your fingers towards the brakes also changes. This makes sense: If you move your arms further apart, your hands move in a virtual circle - with your fingers pointing in the same direction like your arms. This means: With wider handlebars, your wrists or elbows have to be bent slightly in order to reach the brake levers.
It wasn't really unpleasant, but it was noticeable.
Towards the end of the tour, disillusionment number 3 : The ergo curve on the lower part of the handlebars led to an unpleasant stinging sensation in the palms of my hands after a long ride - a nerve had probably been pressed for too long.
In the end, I couldn't really find a comfortable position because the ergo curve already predetermines certain positions. So with my hands in the front position of the drops - fingers on the brakes - I always had a pressure point on the ball of my hand.

 

Conclusion

The handlebars with their comfort features are a good idea, but they don't fit every hand. The ergo curve in the drops in particular can become uncomfortable in the long run. The important thing here is to try and find out.
Wide handlebars provide more control off the road, but it should be noted that very wide handlebars do not fit every anatomy, bike or riding style.
And lastly: A flattened top, whether for aero reasons or to improve comfort, has the disadvantage that the handlebar cannot be turned as desired - the bar has to fit straight away.

If you're interested in the handlebar but aren't sure: The VentureMax XL can be tested at rad-contact!

 

Pros & Cons

+ Comfortable if the handlebar shape fits your hand
+ Relatively low weight
+ Easy access to the brake levers in the drops

- Ergo curve in the drops can create pressure points
- Flattened top grip makes it difficult to adjust the handlebar angle

 

Specs

Width cc (handlebar end) 520mm (647mm)
Reach 75mm
Drop 102mm
Drop flare 24°
Flare out (bar end)
Weight 350g
Price RRP €54.90

 

Gallery

Ritchey Venture Max XL

 

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