PRO Brand Discover Big Flare Bars: Getting Rolling – by Guitar Ted
Handle bars for gravel bikes continue to evolve and proliferate. In this review, we have a new offering from Shimano’s accessory and component brand, PRO. The model is dubbed the Discover Big Flare Bar, and is a part of PRO brand’s gravel oriented Discover accessories which also include frame bags. Here we will get to know the Discover Big Flare Bar a bit better. In subsequent posts both MG and I will be relating our impressions and experiences with this handle bar.
Living up to its name, the Discover Big Flare Bar features 30° degrees of kicked out, drop section goodness. That’s the most flare on a bar that we have tested. (Note- For a glossary of drop bar terminology, see our post on the subject HERE– Editor) Not only that, but the extensions are swept, however, PRO doesn’t give a specific degree of sweep on that part of the bar. Here, from the PRO website, are the specs listed:
- 30 degree flare for ultimate control and stability
- AL-6066 construction for increased rigidity
- Shimano DI2 integration
- Shallow bend for comfortable ride in drop-position
- The ideal handlebar for technical and challenging terrain
The Discover Big Flare comes in two widths, a 42cm and a 44cm. Curiously, there is no 46cm offered. Weight is claimed to be 285gm for the 44cm version. Bar clamp diameter is 31.8mm and the only color offered is black, of course. I found that the PRO Discover Big Flare bars retail at around $60.00 after a quick search on the web.
Shimano doesn’t give a figure for the reach, drop, or swept extension angle, but after some careful measuring on my own, I came up with a 80mm reach, a 110mm drop, and a sweep of approximately 35°. That’s a bit more sweep than a Cowchipper but not as much as the vaunted Luxy Bar, for comparison. Width of the entire bar, from tip of extension to opposite tip, is 60cm. Weight for our 44cm bar was measured at 260 grams, so a bit lighter than spec. The extension ends are bar end shifter compatible, by the way.
First Impressions: Both MG and I have seen the Discover Big Flare Bar before this review, and it hit us as an intriguing take on the flared drop bar genre. MG will chime in when we get to the “Checkpoint” part of this review. My take was that this bar has a less severe, but similar look to a bar made under several names but perhaps is best known as the Dajia Far Bar. The drop section has a very tight radius to start with from the top and then opens up very quickly to a sort of “sloping” section and finally gets a bit more toward a horizontal position to the ground, depending upon how you set it up.
I find this sort of bar has a very specific “sweet spot” where the extensions actually work. A bit off by a few millimeters makes them difficult to use, or nearly impossible to use, depending upon where your saddle is in relationship to the bar. Careful set up is advised.
I set my bars up on the recently tested Noble Bikes GR5. This bike is a 1X and the addition of the Discovery Big Flare has now given that bike a decidedly more “adventurous” feel. The width is wider and the flare is massive compared to the original bars on the bike. The stock bars were essentially road drops, so that isn’t a big revelation there.
The comparisons to a Salsa Cycles Cowchipper will certainly be drawn here, but they are two completely different feeling bars, in my opinion. The Cowchipper has a much “roomier” feel, and while not as swept in the extensions as the Big Flare, I think most folks would find the sweet spot on a Cowchipper is much more forgiving than on the Big Flare, which is shorter in the extensions and has a less friendly drop, as far as hand positions.
So Far…. The PRO Discovery Big Flare lives up to its name with 30° of flare and approximately 35° of sweep in the extensions. That said, it has a lot more in common with road drop bars when it comes to the shape of the drops and the length of the extensions. The bar is aluminum in construction and feels well made. We will be getting MG’s opinions on this bar, and a look at how they feel on gravel roads, in our next post. Stay tuned…..
Note: PRO sent over the Discover Big Flare handle bars to Riding Gravel for test and review at no charge. We were not paid, nor bribed, for this review and we will always strive to give our honest thoughts and reviews throughout.