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Mountain Gear

Tested: Easton Haven Handlebars

Zach White gets a grip on Easton's alu and carbon bars. Stem too...

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MSRP:  $80
Width:  711mm
Rise: 20mm
Bend/Sweep:  9-degree bend, 5-degree upsweep
Clamp diameter:  31.8
Material:  Easton 7050
Weight: 270-grams

Easton uses their new TaperWall technology in the all-mountain Haven handlebars, which essentially smoothes out the old stepped-style handlebar tapers with seamless, fluid changes in the bar’s thickness. By doing this, many of the stress points typical of the older design are negated, thereby making a much more durable bar at the same weight, if not a touch lighter.

In addition to the newfound strength, Haven bars come in a roomy 711mm/28in width, too. This should allow plenty of leverage for those looking to handle their bike like they stole it. But be warned, it’s amazing how an extra ~.5 inch on either side of the cockpit can  magnetize trees.

Our opinion:
As for ride quality, the Haven aluminum bar has a rather standard bend and sweep, which allowed for a familiar ride position. They’re plenty stiff, yet not overly telegraphing with rough trail. Basically, this is a great option for those looking for a very strong, wide handlebar with a relatively low rise and normal sweep/bend.

MSRP:  $150
Width:  711mm
Rise:  20mm
Bend/Sweep:  9-degree bend, 5-degree upsweep
Clamp diameter:  31.8
Material:  UD Matte Carbon
Weight: 170-grams, 172-grams actual

Essentially a lighter version of the Haven aluminum bar, the Haven Carbon is a great option for aggressive riders keeping an eye on weight. Easton also uses similarly improved TaperWall technology in these bars, improving strength without weight penalties. What kind of strength? The new Haven Carbon bar was compared to the downhill-specific 2010 MonkeyLite DH bar, and came out ahead in all tests. So huck away, my friend, huck away.

Our opinion:
A slight increase in trail feedback damping was observed when compared to both the Haven aluminum bar and another brand’s aluminum bar that it replaced on the test bike.  Stiffness is still a notable characteristic on the carbon version, however it seemed a touch less so when compared to the aluminum Haven.

Preferring a 27-inch bar, we cut .5-inch off both ends, and did so via the shop’s hacksaw and some masking tape without any issue. With that minor modification, and a sweep, bend, and rise that fits my fancy, as well as a legitimate weight reduction over the 274-gram aluminum bars it replaced, the Haven Carbon won’t be swapped out anytime soon on my personal ride.

MSRP:  $100
Clamp diameter:  31.8
Lengths:  55mm, 70mm, 85mm, 100mm(tested)
Steerer:  1 1/8-inch
Material:  Easton CNC aluminum
Weight:  145-grams

Easton’s Haven stem is designed to not only hold up to all-mountain abuse, but to shine under such riding. Stating that the new offering has a higher stiffness-to-weight ratio than any mountain bike stem they’ve built in the past, the fully CNC machined stem gets there with new technologies.

Unlike a typical stem’s face plate that is designed to float on the handlebar, relying on proper bolt tension and adjustment to anchor to the stem body, Haven’s face plate is designed to clamp directly up against the stem body at the top two interface points.  This removes stress risers and is said to eliminate rocking that can be found in a floating face plate design.

It also improved strength enough to allow Easton the use of smaller and therefore slightly lighter 4-mm bolts.

Clamping surface area is increased, reducing handlebar stress points by distributing clamp pressure over a larger surface. Stem bolts are also moved away from the edge of the stem, again helping to improve a more even distribution of clamp pressure throughout the handlebar.

In addition, the shaft diameter of the stem body is increased. This not only improves stiffness, but allows for a slight reduction in weight, allowing the Haven to weigh in very competitively for an all-mountain stem.

Our opinion:
Installation of handlebars is a breeze with the Top Lock Technologies, as it takes that much less fuss to simply tighten the top two bolts to the proper torque etched in the stem, then follow suit with the lower bolts.

Stiffness is impressive to say the least, especially when paired with the Haven aluminum bars. Compared to anything short of a DH-specific stem, this stem should offer a noticeable increase in stiffness to even the most aggressive of riders.

MSRP:  $90
Sizes:  27.2, 30.9, 31.6
Head type: 0 setback
Material:  Easton aluminum
Weight:  270 grams

Designed to compliment the rest of Easton’s Haven line, the 7000-series aluminum seat post is targeted for the all-mountain market as well. Using the same TaperWall technology found in the Haven handlebars, Easton claims they’re able to put material where it’s needed, yet shave it away from where it’s not in order to keep weight to a minimum.

Our opinion:
Saddle installation was straight forward and without issue, as was angle adjustment.  Short of that, it’s a zero-setback aluminum post that held our saddle in place over a handful of trail rides. Solid, boringly simple, and issueless.

Homepage photo by Brad Kaminski

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