Race Face counters arm pump with new compliant Era and Turbine handlebars

Race Face Era handlebar against a wood chip back drop
(Image credit: Graham Cottingham)

Race Face has launched two new compliance-focused handlebars, the new carbon-fiber Era and an updated alloy Turbine handlebar. The new handlebars are designed with Race Face's new GL Tune and use different flex profiles to offer a consistent feel for different widths, different rises, and different materials.

The new Era handlebar is Race Face's best MTB handlebar and the latest component to be added to Race Face's growing Era line-up which includes the Era carbon cranks and the recently released Era wheelset.

Race Face Era handlebar being ridden on a trail

The Era and Turbine bars have a category 4 rating and approved for e-MTB use (Image credit: Nicholas Kupiak)

Race Face started to investigate the causes of arm pump, including strapping accelerometers to the rider's arms, and considered several different factors within the handlebar, geometry, handlebar physics, compliance, and natural frequency vibration damping.

Race Face concluded that vertical compliance has the biggest effect on rider comfort but is also the most controllable factor in a handlebar. It was also determined from the testing that 85 percent of the riders Race Face sampled all preferred a similar bar feel. This was developed into the GL Tune, GL standing for Goldilocks, and would form the basis for a range of six carbon and six alloy bars, all optimized to the GL Tune ride feel.

Race Face Era handlebar taper and rise detail

Reduced clamping area allowed Race Face to bring taper and rise closer to the center of the bar for improved compliance (Image credit: Graham Cottingham)

Race Face has focused on several areas of the handlebars to achieve its compliance sweet spot. The bars use the larger 35mm diameter clamp size which is structurally stiffer however the clamping area has been narrowed to 60mm so the rise and taper can start earlier. This narrowed the bar's diameter sooner and introduced more compliance.

The bar's construction also plays a big part in the handlebars ride feel, with each rise, width, and material combination being optimized for the GL Tune flex profile. For the carbon Era bar that involved creating bar-specific carbon layups, tuning the placement, angle, and quantity of nearly 100 pieces of unidirectional carbon. Although intricate, according to Race Face the internal butting used on the alloy Turbine was more difficult to tune as varying the wall thicknesses throughout the bar section involved small thickness increments down to tenths of a millimeter.

Race Face Era handlebar against a wood chip back drop

The new Era handlebar comes in width and rise optimized layups for consistent flex profiles (Image credit: Graham Cottingham)

Race Face Era and Turbine handlebar specs and pricing

The Era and Turbine handlebars have 8 degrees back sweep and 5 degrees up sweep with 10mm, 20mm, and 40mm rise and 760mm, 780mm, and 800mm width options. The handlebars are trimmable by 40mm but Race Face recommends opting for the handlebar closest to the desired width as trimming more than 20mm off is noticeable for compliance 

The Era bars have a claimed weight of 220g while the Turbine's weigh in at 315g, both measured in the 800 x 40mm configuration. 

There are several color options available too. The Turbine bars come in black with either white or stealth grey graphics plus a range of anodized colors (yellow, orange, red, purple, and blue). All the Era bars come in black with grey, gold, orange, red, blue, or stealth graphics.

The Era Handlebar will retail for $169.99 USD / $215 CAD / £TBC and the Turbine Handlebar will cost $89.99 USD / $109 CAD / £TBC.

Graham Cottingham
Senior reviews writer, Bike Perfect

Graham is all about riding bikes off-road. With almost 20 years of riding experience, he has dabbled in downhill, enduro, and gravel racing. Not afraid of a challenge, Graham has embraced bikepacking over the last few years and likes nothing more than strapping some bags to his bike and covering big miles to explore Scotland's wildernesses. When he isn’t shredding the gnar in the Tweed Valley, sleeping in bushes, or tinkering with bikes, he is writing tech reviews for Bike Perfect.

Rides: Cotic SolarisMax, Stooge MK4, 24 Bicycles Le Toy 3, Surly Steamroller

Height: 177cm

Weight: 71kg