FARR Aero MTB handlebar

Not everyone will be a fan, but the Farr Aero MTB bar is actually a good upgrade if you’re into endurance riding.

By Jon Minster  |

You can always count on Victor Momsen’s FARR brand to raise a few eyebrows. I reviewed the FARR Carbon Aero Bolt-On handlebar extension last year, and since January I’ve been riding with the new and improved Aero MTB handlebar – a conventional alloy flat bar with a similar kind of extension out front.

One of my riding buddies rolled her eyes and said, ‘That’s just over-engineering!’ Another asked how comfortable the aero position was. Everyone did a second pass when my bike was parked at the coffee shop. 

So, what does the Aero MTB handlebar offer, and is it worth buying?


The bar is 760mm wide (the modern standard for an XC-style flat bar) with cut marks down to 700mm. The bore is 31.8mm and the diameter of the extension is 22.2mm – more about that later. There’s a 6° rearward sweep – hardly noticeable. FARR claims a weight of 423g, which I verified on my dodgy kitchen scale before I installed the bars. That’s about 100g heavier than an equivalent alloy bar of the same length, without the extension. (For example, the Lyne Pulse Alloy Flat Bar is also 760mm wide and weighs 312g.) The graphics are subtle and the silky finish has a quality feel. 

Installation was easy, although I did spend some time trying to get the angle of the extension right. Every time you tilt the bar you have to adjust your brake levers and shifters accordingly.

I mostly do a mix of cross-country and trail riding and I’m a big fan of a wide handlebar paired with a short stem. The bar I removed was 780mm wide. To compensate for the slightly narrower FARR handlebar, I swapped the 40mm stem I was using for a 60mm stem.  

The extension is substantial and allows you to get down and forward on the bike.

Ride feel

If you’re used to an alloy handlebar, there are no surprises with the Aero MTB. It’s stiff and it feels solid. The party trick is the extension, which gives you the option of different hand positions and offers some neat real estate to mount a GPS or a light. 

With the Carbon Bolt-On attached to my older mountain bike handlebar with the 40mm stem, I complained that the riding position was still quite upright. However, with a 60mm stem I found the tucked position using the Aero MTB extension to be much more comfortable. It’s great to be able to stretch out your back and get a bit lower while you’re powering down a dull section of tar or dirt. The gentle curve of the extension gives you an easy grip; I also enjoyed holding the bar just next to the extension.

‘What’s the point?’ you might ask yourself. And to be honest, there is no point if you’re a trail or XC rider who does short loops. On my standard two-hour rides through Kirstenbosch and into Tokai in Cape Town, I seldom found myself using the extension except during the obligatory no-pedal race down one steep tar road in Bishopscourt. (I still lost.) 

But there’s definitely a point if you’re into long-distance riding on your mountain bike. It’s undeniable that a suffer-fest like the Freedom Challenge or the Munga – or even a stage race with long sections on district gravel roads – will be a lot more bearable if you can alter your position the bike from time to time.

To get the clamp of my Extreme Lights Endurance+ light to work on the extension, I had to wrap it a few times with insulation tape.

What’s it like to live with?  

The updated design of the Aero MTB handlebar features a straight 31.8mm clamping area between the ends of the extension. It’s designed like that so you can use the FARR Arm Rest Kit or their Headspace stem – or both – but it does also give you enough room to mount a light or GPS, as long as they don’t interfere with the extension or your cables, or get in the way of your hands reaching the extension. 

This is where you need to experiment. I found that mounting my light to the front of the extension worked much better than mounting it to the bar. I do a lot of pitch-dark, pre-dawn riding and the light positioned there lit up the trail beautifully. I’d imagine your GPS head unit would look snazzy there, too, just be mindful of the very narrow 22.2mm diameter – most standard clamps won’t work on that size. (I had to bulk it up with a few layers of insulation tape.) FARR is aware of this and they’ve got an adaptor for the purpose. Other third-party adaptors from the likes of K-Edge are also available. 

Speaking of that 22.2mm diameter, it does feel quite cold and narrow when you’re holding on in the aero position, which is why lots of people wrap the extension in handlebar tape. If I was going to use the Aero MTB on a long endurance ride, I would definitely consider doing the same.

Many riders wrap the extension with bar tape to make it more comfortable to hold. FARR sells a Garmin-mount adaptor for the extension, too. Picture: FARR

What’s the verdict?

The Aero MTB handlebar sells for R1 250 via Two Wheels Trading – a little over double what you’d pay for a standard alloy handlebar. But considering the practical advantages for long-distance riders, this is good value. It’s well made, lightweight and it definitely adds personality to your bike. If you decide to go for it, you’ll probably have to think about your other accessories and you might have to work out different mounting solutions. But once you’ve sorted all that out, it’s a winner. 

Check out FARR on Instagram to see what riders around the world are doing with their Aero MTB bars.  

READ MORE ON: aero bar endurance farr farr aero bar long-term test new equipment tested

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