PRO Discover Big Flare Handlebar: At the Finish

PRO Discover Big Flare Handlebar: At the Finish – by MG

Since August, Guitar Ted and I have been riding the PRO Discover Big Flare handlebar on our respective bikes. Today, it’s time to wrap up our review and give our final thoughts on the bar’s performance. You can catch up on earlier installments of our review here.

The Good Stuff
Pro Discover Big Flare bar
The PRO Discover Big Flare bar is a great choice for a gravel-going drop bar mountain bike such as MG’s Salsa Ti Fargo.

For fans of flared drop bars, the Discover Big Flare handlebar has a very good shape, with plenty of useful hand positions. The width of the drops (56.5cm center-to-center) is significantly wider than the 44cm width at the hoods. While I initially lamented the lack of a 46cm option, I’ve since realized the 44cm bar is plenty wide for my needs. That said, when compared to a 46cm Salsa Cowchipper, the Discover Big Flare bar has a less roomy feel in the hood position. The levers sit at more of an angle as well, which some may not find ideal.

When combined with the shallow drop, the increased width in the drops makes the Big Flare bar a great option for a drop bar mountain bike such as the Salsa Ti Fargo I used for testing. The position the bar puts your hands in while riding in the drops is super comfortable.

Riding on the hoods is comfortable as well, but as noted, the levers sit at a bit of an angle compared to less-swept bars, so the ride feel is a bit different. Guitar Ted and I both liked the lever position, but your mileage may vary. As with most fit-related bike parts, it’s always best to try before you buy.

Comparing the 44cm PRO Discover Medium Flare bar (left), and the 44cm PRO Discover Big Flare bar (right). While the width at the hoods is almost the same, it’s a different story at the drops.

While the width of the Discover Big Flare drops is a boon for control, if you’re the type of rider who highly values ‘aero’, you might as well stop reading now. There are plenty of other bars on the market that’ll better meet your needs on the aerodynamics front, even within PRO’s own line. The PRO Discover Medium Flare bar, for example, is a great, more traditionally shaped option that’s worth checking out for these riders.

Strong and Stiff

When riding, it’s easy to feel the strength and stiffness PRO designed into the Discover Big Flare bar. It’s a great choice for riders of stature, and others seeking a bombproof option for backcountry adventures. Some riders will notice it’s not the smoothest riding bar in the world, however. Compared to a Salsa Cowchipper, for example, it’s less adept at absorbing bumps and vibrations before they reach the rider.

PRO includes positioning marks that make it easy to install and dial in the angle of the Discover Big Flare handlebar.

Whether the increased stiffness is a good or bad thing is something you’ll have to decide for yourself. For my 165 pound body weight, it’s a little stiffer than I’d consider ideal. That said, the bar’s bend and hand positions are so good, it remains on my bike today. For the riding I do, the Discover Big Flare bar and a Redshift ShockStop stem would be a great pairing.

Final Thoughts

The shape and sweep of the PRO Discover Big Flare handlebar make it one of the more comfortable options we’ve tried. It’s a great choice for riders looking for a little more leverage, especially when riding in the drops. From our perspective, it has one of the most comfortable shapes available today. The stiff ride quality was really our only point of contention. That said, Guitar Ted and I both agreed it wasn’t a deal breaker.

We recently received the brand spanking new PRO Discover Carbon handlebar for testing. Compared to the Discover Big Flare bar, the Carbon bar reduces sweep to 20-degrees, but promises lighter weight and a smoother ride quality. Of course it comes at an increased price, but for riders looking for the ultimate in ride quality in a swept drop bar, it may be a compelling option. Look for our review of the Discover Carbon bar to come soon on Riding Gravel.

Learn more about the Discover Big Flare handlebar, and the rest of PRO’s growing Discover range of gravel components, at PRO-Bikegear.com.

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.

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by Riding Gravel 2014