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Specialized Traverse SL handlebar review

Specialized’s new ‘premier’ handlebar promises shredding strength at a super low weight but is it worth the expensive investment?

Specialized Traverse SL handlebar
(Image: © Guy Kesteven)

Our Verdict

Light, tough, well-shaped trail/enduro bar with a great ride feel but seriously expensive

For

  • Light
  • Precise
  • Comfortable enough
  • Classic sweep shapes
  • Subtle branding

Against

  • Very expensive
  • 30mm rise only

Specialized have had top-end S-Works flat and riser bars in their range for a while but the new Traverse SL bars are their first 35mm diameter pieces. They’re a great lightweight, heavy-duty bar too, but very expensive.

At just under 230g the Traverse SL’s are competitive on weight with other premium Enduro/Trail bars and the 780 or 800mm options mean most riders probably won’t have to trim. Very subtle graphics mean they’ll slip under the brand clash radar whatever bike you ride too. Specialized has added a textured stem clamp area to help avoid any slipping when everything is tightened up.

While some 35mm bars can feel harsh, Specialized have balanced the Traverse feel well between precise enough for rich tire and trail feel but without numbing your hands when you’re hammering baked hard or rocky trails. The shape is good too with similar (6º upsweep, 8º backsweep) numbers to most bars available. 

They only currently come in a 30mm rise though which won’t fit with everyone. The price is also well above normal and comparable with US handmade options from ENVE. 

Image 1 of 2

Specialized Traverse SL handlebar

The bars have very subtle logos there is no brand clashing (Image credit: Guy Kesteven)
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Specialized Traverse SL handlebar

The stem clamp zone is textured for grip (Image credit: Guy Kesteven)

Verdict

Specialized’s new Traverse SL is bang on the weight and shape for an aggressive trail/enduro bar and it’s got a great ride feel too. It only comes in one rise currently though and while it’s a premium construction piece you’re paying hand-made prices for a mass-produced bar.

Tech Specs: Specialized Traverse SL

  • Price: £170.00
  • Weight: 228g (780mm)
  • Sizes:780 or 800 x 35mm
Guy Kesteven
Guy has been riding mountain bikes since before they were mountain bikes and is right handy on an offroad tandem (of course he is).