Pro Taper has graced my test bikes for quite sometime now? Why? Simple. I get more flex and comfort out of a Pro Taper EVO bar than its competitors. Some people may not be as picky as me on bars, but I am very sensitive to rigidity when it comes to handlebars. Pro Taper has introduced its new ACF Handlebar (Aluminum Carbon Fiber) that is said to be the lightest 1-1/8 handlebar on the market. I stuck a pair on my bike for a while and came away with some thoughts for you to chew on.
Unlike traditional carbon fiber fabric, unidirectional carbon fiber is unwoven. Its fibers run parallel to one another in a single direction. This allows the fibers to lay completely flat with no gaps between them. These densely concentrated fibers provide unidirectional carbon fiber with maximum longitudinal tensile strength—typically twice that of a traditional carbon fiber weave. ProTaper® ACF Handlebars use a unidirectional carbon fiber core system to reinforce the aluminum tubing. The added strength is said to allow the aluminum tubing wall thickness to be safely reduced in key areas, greatly decreasing weight and producing unrivaled impact-absorbing flex.
The four-stroke era has pushed motocross technology forward at an unprecedented pace. As a result, handlebars are quickly becoming crowded with hydraulic clutches, ignition mapping switches, electric starters, and more. With PT’s innovative Control+ design, ProTaper® ACF Handlebars are addressing this growing concern. Control+ features 220 millimeters of control space—up to 40 millimeters more than conventional 1⅛” handlebar designs. This means that you’re free to move around your controls and switches where you please because you actually have some room now!
On The Track:
The first thing I noticed is how much the harmonics/vibration of the motorcycle is down from the standard EVO bar. There is less vibration to my hands than the standard Pro Taper EVO. I can really tell on a bike like the KTM because of how much vibration the steel frame has compare to an aluminum frame. The ACF bar reduces vibrations and gives the KTM a newer feel to the hands. Visually the SX RACE ACF bend that I tried on the YZ450F looked to have more height than the EVO SX RACE bend but Pro Taper assured me that this is because of the Control+ area and that the dimensions are the same on the ACF and EVO SX RACE bends. Once one and riding with the ACF bar the dimensions felt a little taller to me, but I simply rolled the bar back just a little to compensate for the taller height feel. Could some of this just be me? Maybe, but I am usually pretty sensitive to height and the ACF did feel slightly taller. Maybe you will feel this, maybe you won’t but it is worth noting.
As far as flex/comfort I will say that I do get more damping feel on slap down landings with the ACF versus the standard EVO bar. I don’t notice that much flex difference in small chop or braking bumps, but can definitely feel less sting when I over jump something or even case a double. This was a surprise to me as I would think adding some carbon into the bar would make it stiffer feeling but this isn’t the case. I did notice the weight difference between the EVO and ACF on the track but you can feel the weight difference when you pick each up. I have yet to take a digger with this bar so the strength test will have to wait for another day. So far I am enjoying my time with the ACF bar and look forward to trying a couple more bends out soon! The ACF bar comes in SX Race bend, Henry/Reed, Carmichael, CR High and runs $139.99. The Pro Taper ACF is available now!