PNW Coast Drop Bars

Wide Drops pulled from the rafters in the shop

Wide Drops are a reality today. Like many of you out there, I lived through a few decades of riding 440mm wide bars because they were the widest drop bars that were available at the time. Drop bars are available wider than ever and I like it! I’ve ridden a few wider drop bars over the last few years and after I broke a pair of carbon bars on my Cutty, I replaced them with a pair of aluminum PNW Coast Drop Bars. The Coast is what I would call a working man’s drop handlebar at just $50.

PNW Coast Bars (top 480mm) and (bottom 520mm)

Both my Cutthroat and the Corvus Cycles, Crow Pass bikes that I’m reviewing have the PNW Coast Bars. The Cutthroat has the widest 520mm version and the Crow Pass has the 480mm. I could tell the difference when I took the two different bars on singletrack. It’s one of those rare situations where anyone would get to experience the same bar in two different widths. Wide bars work well for me because I’ve got wide shoulders and because I come to “gravel” riding from the mountain bike side of things. The 520 gives me a hand position just wide enough to mimic the narrow flat bars that we used to run on legacy mountain bikes back in the day. For riding on easy mixed surfaces the 480 felt great. The difference was much more apparent off-road. It makes me wonder what an even wider drop bar would feel like!

Of course, there’s more to a drop bar than just width. The PNW Coast features a short reach (65mm) and a short drop (105mm) with a 20-degree flare. The shallow drop allows for easier access to the drops on long rides and the flare is in the midrange of what I’ve ridden. I’m not a huge fan of bars at the upper end of flare. (For me) too much flare messes with the angle of the brake levers and positions the hoods at an awkward angle. The flare on the Coast is set at a nice compromise position. The short reach on the Coast keeps your hands closer to shifting and braking for when things get braappy. I think that the Coast is pretty well dialed for my particular anatomy.

If you want to take your drop-bar adventure platform to the woods, the PNW Coast bars are a great choice. Between the two bikes that have these bars installed, I’ve ridden a little over two thousand miles of multi-surface adventures. They’re sturdy, smooth, and comfortable.

When I purchased the Coast bar for my Cutthroat, I was seeking a wide shallow drop bar that I could depend on. Having broken a carbon drop bar made me look for something sturdier. The fact that Corvus Cycles spec’s their Crow Pass with a PNW Coast Bar helped me to feel even more confident about the Coast as a reliable replacement handlebar. I think of these two bikes as drop bar mountain bikes. When you get into that territory, it also includes fat drop-bar mountain bikes, right? When you ask your drop bar to handle the rigors of mountain biking, wide, shallow and stable, is where you want to live. After a couple of thousand miles, I’m happy as a smurf on Sunday about riding the PNW Coast handlebar! I’d recommend it to friends and neighbors and I’d probably purchase one if I found myself in need of another set of drops. But I’d really like to try a set of 600’s.

The PNW Coast Hadlebar earns 4.75 out of 5 gnomes

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