Whisky Parts Co. Spano Drop Bar: At The Finish – by Guitar Ted
The time has come to wrap up this handle bar review on the new Spano Drop Bar from Whiskey Parts Co. My mid-term report on this handle bar can be found here. The bar has been ridden on hundreds of miles of gravel, dirt roads, and broken up pavement. Here I will review my previous thoughts on the bar and wrap up my thoughts including my take from riding this handle bar with a new wrap job, which I will detail momentarily. Don’t forget to refer to our “Drop Bar Terms Defined” article for any terms concerning flared drop bars that you may be unfamiliar with.
Now let’s get updated on the last set up used before this review finishes up. I am reviewing the unusual Grepp Handle Bar Tape and one of their recommendations was to use an innertube as a base layer before wrapping the bar tape. So, I have done that with this handle bar being reviewed here. I’ll get to the Grepp tape in a separate review, so I won’t say much about that now, but I wanted to see what a thicker layer of tape might do with the ergonomic features of the Spano Bar.
Wrapping an innertube and an outer layer of fabric tape increased the diameter of the Spano Bar overall to a much greater degree. My expectations were that this thicker layer would mask much of the subtle shaping of the handle bar, especially in the drop section, where there was just a slight bit of ovalization there. Now, I thought that would happen with the previous Wolf Tooth tape, but it did not. Surely though, this crazy-thick layer of rubber and Grepp tape would erase the ergonomic feel of the Spano Bar.
Much to my surprise though, the shaping was still evident and it did still make a difference. Not to the same degree as before, but everything else going on there also has to be taken into account, so I don’t think I lost any comfort or advantage due to the thicker tape. But that has something to do with the Grepp tape set up, so I’ll leave that there for now.
At The Finish: So, what we have in the Whisky Parts Co Spano Drop Bar is a carbon fiber handle bar that features some pretty nifty ergonomic shaping, a clever multi-angle flare to the drops, and an extended amount of grip in the extensions. The ride quality is really good- not too noodly and definitely enough to take the bite out of sharp hits and enough damping to lower the buzz factor on the hands to a noticeable degree.
I was interested in what, if any, differences there were between these Spano Bars and another Whisky Parts Co bar, the No 9 24° Drop Bar. I use that handle bar on my single speed gravel bike. I found that the shaping was very noticeably absent in the No 9 bar as compared to the Spano Bar. I also noted the difference in the drop, the flare, and overall compliance between the two bars. Both are carbon fiber, by the way. If I had to choose one, I’d likely go with the Spano Bar, just for that extra bit of comfort which comes with the ergonomic shaping. But my ‘perfect’ bar would be a mix. The No 9’s flare matched with the Spano’s ergnomics. Hmmm…….that would be a sweet handle bar!
But taken as it is, I like the Spano Bar because it is not all that far away from a traditional, road racer drop bar, and yet it has some decent flare and the overall feel isn’t completely alien for those coming from road drop bars. Those who have had big flare but are thinking about this handle bar for the ergonomics will be pleased with how this compound flare works and how it keeps the levers more vertical. The longer extensions are a nice feature here to, allowing for longer periods of riding down in the drops without uncomfortable hands, since you have room to move a bit.
As I said in my “Checkpoint” post on this bar, the Spano Bar is not perfect, but it is pretty darn close. I’ll stick with that assessment. It’s a really good gravel road bar. Especially if you are one that wants to cover a lot of gravel in a fast manner with comfort. Then this bar is pretty much unbeatable at this point. Bike packers, those that partake in ‘underbiking’ on mountains, and road bar traditionalists may disagree. I get that. The Spano Bar isn’t ‘that’ handle bar though. It is the bar for those who don’t like the weird, laid-out levers look, and for those who don’t want a lot of flare to the drops. It’s the flared drop bar that looks ‘normal’. It’s the drop bar that takes advantage of what carbon fiber can bring to the table where other carbon handle bars have not. It’s got great ergonomic features, and it rides really well. What more could you ask for in a drop handle bar for gravel riding?
Learn more about Whisky Parts Co here: https://www.whiskyparts.co
Note: Whisky Parts Co. sent over the Spano Drop Bar at no charge to Riding Gravel for test and review. We are not being paid, nor bribed, for this review and we will always strive to give our honest thoughts and views throughout.