Wilde Bikes X Country Bar: Checkpoint

Wilde Bikes X Country Bar: Checkpoint – by Guitar Ted

Note: Wilde Bike Co sent over the handlebar here on review at no charge to Guitar Ted. He is not being paid, nor bribed for this review and he will always strive to give his honest thoughts and views throughout.

Image of a mountain bike with the X Country Bar leaning against a concrete structure in a wooded setting.
The Wilde X Country Bar on GT’s On One Inbred 29″er.

So, what do I think about the Wilde Bicycle Co. X Country Bar? The handle bar I introduced HERE earlier. Well, it is a different ride feel for sure and it rides better than a lot of MTB bars I have tried. 

So that’s a good thing. But what does that mean. Well…. That’s the hard part. See, you cannot just say that it is “this or that” because you don’t notice a lot going on here. (I’ll come back to that point, so keep that in mind)

Of course, if you set any handle bar up in a goofy, inconsiderate way, it will feel awful, and the X Country Bar is no exception. However; I actually did consider how I wanted the up-sweep and how I wanted the stem height as I installed the bar. I considered the brake lever angle and set that up the way I generally prefer things. I angled and inset the Paul Thumbie mounts “just so”. I am particular about thumb shifter set up because I don’t generally use my thumbs to move the levers. I use my fingers and the back side of my hand far more than I use my thumbs. That’s from years of thumb shifter usage back in the 90’s. 

The X Country Bar as mounted to GT's 29"er leaning against a concrete structure in a wooded setting.

So, if I considered all those things, and I got that even close to “right” for me, then the handle bar would be a LOT more friendly and enjoyable. And the X Country Bar was just that. Fortunately there is a lot of space to set the controls just the way you might consider setting them up, so that’s also very nice. 

The 800mm width is plenty wide for my tastes. I really don’t think I’d want wider bars, and at times I choked up on the grips a bit and thought that I maybe could do with about 20mm less width. But since this is a test of the entire bar, I decided to use the entire bar. By the way, there are no cut down marks on the X Country Bar and Wilde doesn’t say you can cut them down. Another reason I left well enough alone. I do need to ask about that though…..

See, the thing is that our single track zips along and goes through some pretty tight spaces between trees at times. Ever smacked the end of your handle bar on a tree? It isn’t an advisable thing to do, by the way. Been there, done that!

So there were a few times I tried to think “skinny”, set my sights dead center, and held on tight. So far, I have not encountered any 799mm or less spaces. But I bet it was close a couple of times! Just another reason that, for me, I might want a slightly narrower bar. You? That’s for you to decide. 

So besides thinking about how wide these handle bars are from time to time, I didn’t think about these handle bars much. Yeah, I realize that I am supposed to be paying attention. It was just that I was ripping corners and honking up short steeps and, you know, generally having myself a bit of fun. Like you are supposed to do when riding single track. 

The X Country Bar as mounted to GT's 29"er in a wooded setting.

I guess I didn’t really think much about the bars and how they felt until I stopped briefly and leaned on the bars a minute. “Hmm…. These do have a bit of ‘give’ to them, don’t they?” And that’s when I noted that I hadn’t felt that dreaded “zing” in the palms of my hands when your front tire hits a trail feature, like an embedded rock, suddenly. Remember, this is a rigid fork. So, yeah. That was very nice!

The bars didn’t feel dead, but they weren’t giving me fits in corners or on climbs  when I was leveraging the bars for some added “grunt”. So again, very nice

What I didn’t notice and all that was “very nice” added up to a positive experience with the Wilde X Country Bar. I’d go so far to say it has been a pretty “moto” component so far. And you know what they say about components that ain’t moto. 

Stay tuned for some gravel travel experiences with the X Country Bar.


Author: Guitar Ted

Guitar Ted hails from Iowa. Home of over 70,000 miles of gravel and back roads. An inaugural member of the Gravel Cycling Hall of Fame and Co-creator of Trans Iowa in late 2004- Guitar Ted has been at the forefront of the growth of gravel events and riding since then. Creator of Gravel Grinder News in 2008, he produced the premier calendar of gravel and back road events. GT joined forces with Riding Gravel in late 2014.

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