What's Cool In Road Cycling

Ritchey Streem II Handlebar Review

The Ritchey Streem II carbon handlebar offers innovative shape, design features, and light weight. One of my favorite advantages of the carbon revolution in cycling has been the development of carbon handlebars – which has opened up endless shapes, sizes, designs, and stiffness characteristics that can simply not be had with good ol’ aluminum.

 
 

Ritchey Logic’s Streem II handlebar ($299.95) was intro’d in 2015, and I bolted them onto the Ritchey Carbon Break Away bike build I did here. I’ve been riding it for over a year now – which qualifies it for this long term test.  The Streem II is Ritchey’s answer to the lightweight, fully carbon, handlebar conundrum that may or may not be a question in your life.  The only thing left to answer is whether you like the shape and feel for yourself.

 

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The Streem name refers to the air flowing past these bars – which feature a lowered profile front across the tops before the curve to the drops.  The bar tops sweeps slightly back from the center, the wide top platform is actually tapered to meet UCI aero-standards – a nice way to lower the frontal surface area for anyone looking for every advantage.

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The curve at the drops allows for lever placement in a variety of angles, but I like a nice flat extension of the tops, and these accommodated perfectly to make a very nice flat platform for my hands.

 

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The curve and length of the drops fit me perfectly, my 42cm testers have a 126mm drop and 70mm reach for a riding position that I don’t always get with standard issue bars, and allowed my SRAM levers to be always within my reach.  I found myself spending a lot more time being low and aero than on a lot of other bars I’ve ridden.

 

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Underneath, the bars add to the wind-cheating with moulded grooves to get cables neatly tucked away – there’s enough room for both cables if you like.  I used Ritchey’s Superlogic Carbon C260 stem as a hi-zoot mate for the bars (another impressive piece of gear) – you can read my review of it here.

 

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Setting handlebar positions is easy thanks to the easy to read and detailed markings on the inside of the drops.

 

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The same goes for centering and setting the bar tilt at the stem – the markers are big and easy to read.  Another nice touch is the roughed-up grippy section in the bar center that allows for excellent grip to the stem, and eliminates the need to dig into your tool box for that old tube of grippy-goo that you probably left the cap of and has welded itself to some loose allen keys at the bottom.

 

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Along with the nice shape of these bars, which is usually the most important criteria for my own personal bar choices, I also really liked the amount of stiffness built into them.  The section across the top and to the hoods felt as stiff as I want for all situations from standing and climbing to hard accelerations.  Reaching down to the drops, there’s just enough flex to add some comfort when riding rough roads (gravel, wash boards etc), while being stiff enough for handle amy sprint I could muster.  And anyways, if they’re stiff enough for Ritchey’s pro sponsored riders to us, they’ll likely be just fine for you too.

With over a year of riding on these, I’ve seen no signs of wear or fatigue – nor do I have any plans to swap em out any time soon.

 

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The bar end caps are a cool item too – that allow for insertion and securing with a flat blade like a screwdriver or coin, and virtually eliminate any dangly bits where the bar tape extends past the drop-end.

 

Ritchey Streem II Handlebar Specs

  • Carbon Monocoque
  • Available in 40/42/44cm widths
  • Measured Center-to-Center where the levers mount
  • 31.8mm O/S center section
  • Drop/Reach:
    40cm = 124/70mm
    42cm = 126/70mm
    44cm = 128/70mm
  • Available in Matte UD Carbon Finish
  • 235g (42mm)

See more info at the Ritchey Website here.

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