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Remember those goofy Coefficient Wave handlebars I reviewed a few months ago? Well, it turns out that I inadvertently set off an ugly legal battle between that company and a one-man Australian outfit called Eyropro that is claiming to be the rightful owner of the original concept. We’ll let the courts decide the winner in the legal sense here, but in the meantime, it seemed only fitting that I review the “original” version as well.
Comparing the two handlebars side-by-side, it’s impossible not to see some extraordinary similarities, particularly in regards to the unusually angled tops that set this design apart from everything else on the market.
The vast majority of road drop handlebars feature tops that are either dead-straight from one drop to the other, or have some slight amount of rearward or forward sweep. But the tops on the Eyropro — and the Wave — have a radical 10° of downward angle as well as 10° of backsweep, which company founder Zidaz Izaz claims to provide a more natural alignment for your arms and wrists.
Further outward from there, things are decidedly normal. Eyropro is clearly targeting a more aggressive rider than Coefficient, if only based on the numbers. Whereas the Wave sports an ergonomic-type bend with a modest 120mm of drop and 77mm of reach, the Eyropro features a Merckx-style classic bend with 125mm of drop and 85mm of reach that places the rider in a lower and more aerodynamic posture.
Carbon fiber construction helps keep the actual weight of my 42cm-wide (center-to-center) sample to just 205g. Retail price is AU$500, or roughly US$340 / £260 / €300 depending on currency exchange fluctuations (and as of press time, Eyropro is also running a sale for about 40% off). Unfortunately, Eyropro currently only offers the single 42cm size, so anyone seeking a narrower or wider fit is out of luck.
Getting it done
Given the similarity of the shape, it should come as no surprise that I found the upper portion of the Eyropro handlebars to be just as comfortable as the Coefficient Wave. As promised, the distinctly angled tops really do let your arms and wrists to settle into a more natural orientation relative to more conventional shapes, although they’re not without one small catch. While the kink really does seem more ergonomic than straight tops, they also sit you up slightly higher than usual, too. That said, I hardly found it to be objectionable, and if anything, I almost preferred the greater positional variance it provided relative to most other bars.
Along those same lines, I also preferred the more aggressive dimensions and shape of the Eyropro’s drops relative to the Coefficient Wave (which I found to be a little too cramped, at least for my liking). When set up to provide the same position in the hoods as usual, the deeper drop and non-anatomic shape seems better suited for riders with better back and hip flexibility that are able to take advantage of the more aerodynamic posture.
Those same riders might also appreciate that the Eyropro seems slightly stiffer than the Wave, too. This also makes for a slightly firmer ride quality, mind you, but with the upside of a stouter-feeling foundation when sprinting or climbing out of the saddle.
I’m no big fan of internal cable routing (especially on handlebars), but at least Eyropro hasn’t made things any more onerous than necessary. The entry and exit ports are logically located for smooth cable and hose paths, and the ports themselves are generously sized so it’s refreshingly easy to feed the lines through at one end and fish them out at the other. Eyropro insists those bigger openings don’t have any negative effect on the handlebar’s strength, either, with ISO-certified fatigue and impact testing, plus a generous two-year warranty.
The devil is in the details
Choosing which of the two similar shapes here is more appropriate for your particular riding style is obviously a matter of personal preference, with the Coefficient Wave arguably better suited to somewhat more casual riders with its milder drop and softer ride, and the Eyropro favoring a more aggressive position and a firmer feel.
However, I’d also argue that despite arriving later on the market, the Wave feels like the more mature product in some ways.
For one, while Eyropro’s decision to offer just a single width is likely financially based (multiple molds are expensive, especially for a one-person operation), that lone 42cm size certainly limits its appeal. In contrast, Coefficient currently offers the Wave in four different widths, from 38cm to 44cm.
Coefficient has also had the benefit of being developed well after the mass acceptance of out-front computer mounts, with a relatively long center section of straight tubing that can easily accommodate various models from K-Edge, Bar Fly, and others. The Eyropro, unfortunately, has a very short section of straight tubing that greatly limits your options to a very small handful of niche brands.
Izaz doesn’t sound all that interested in changing that design, either.
“I wouldn’t change the center just so customers can use existing front mounts,” he said. “The closeness is a feature riders like, besides, you can purchase mounts to fit. Riders have also just shaved their existing mounts and they fit.”
And if I really want to nitpick, I find the graphics to feel a little clumsy, and don’t bother with the glossy finish if you’re planning to leave the tops untaped; it’s far too slippery.
Waiting for the dust to settle
How the current litigation will end up between Eyropro and Coefficient is something I’m not in a position to predict, and it’s unclear how the result will affect the losing party. But whichever way it ends up — and whichever drop shape suits you best — consider me convinced.
The difference isn’t so dramatic that it should prompt you to ditch a bar you’re currently happy with, but I have a hard time thinking that someone laying their hands on this wouldn’t be as surprised as I was with how good a couple of extra bends can feel.