Whisky Parts Co. Spano Drop Bar: Checkpoint

Whisky Parts Co. Spano Drop Bar: Checkpoint – by Guitar Ted

The new Spano Drop Bar from Whisky Parts Co. is a uniquely shaped bar in a very subtle way. I’ve been riding this handlebar now for a month or so, and now I have enough of an impression that I can give a bit of my opinion on some aspects of this bar. Particularly on the compliance and the ergonomic shaping of the carbon. If you missed the opening post on this handlebar, please go back using this link to find out more on the specs and technical features of the Spano bar which I will be referring to here. Also, don’t forget about our “Drop Bar Terms Defined article which will help you understand the terminology used in this post.

Detail view of the Spano Bar on Guitar Ted's bike.
While the ergonomics of the Spano Bar are subtle, their overall effects are dramatic while riding.

Ride Performance: Okay, with that out of the way, I want to speak to the ergonomic aspects of the Spano Bar first. The ovalization of the inner part of the drops is really interesting. I thought that perhaps by wrapping the bar with the thick Wolf Tooth tape that this feature might be muted, or disappear to the hand altogether. However; this has not been the case at all, and rather I have been very pleased with how this part of the Spano Bar feels in the hand. I can immediately tell a difference between this and my other drop bars. It’s amazing how such a small thing can impart such a nice feel and allow for more comfort.

Overhead view of the Spano Bar on Guitar Ted's bike
You would be hard pressed to see the flare in the Spano Bar from the saddle, but your hands and upper body can feel it.

The other subtle effect that the Spano Bar has on the rider is in the area of the compound flare. From the saddle, I am not really seeing anything too far out of the ordinary here in terms of traditional drop bar design. However; I can certainly feel it when I am in the drops. The hand, forearms, and shoulders all are relaxed and not in tension as you will find with a traditional drop bar for road racing. But your levers are still really vertical and feel totally natural when you ride the hoods. There are other bars with more flare, but often these bars ‘lay-over’ the levers making the hoods position awkward for some folks. You will not find this to be the case with the Whisky Parts Co. bar here.

Side view of the Spano Bar drop.
You can see the extra rearward extension of the Spano Bar here in this shot.

The flattened tops section is great when cruising or when you have a long, grinding climb. The slightly hollowed out underside is a nice place for the finger tips to grip. There is also a bit of a corner in the place where the hoods transition to the tops and this position feels great while cruising as well. Most folks should have no problem finding a great place for their hands to hang out on this carbon fiber handlebar.

Finally, I mentioned how I was impressed by the amount of ‘give’ these bars display when you put pressure in the drops. That was mentioned in my introduction, and I still am impressed by this now. The thing is, you get so accustomed to this that it takes riding a more traditionally shaped handle bar to remember what that is like. I swapped bikes recently with my gravel bike outfitted with the Whisky Parts Co. No. 7 24° Bar, and while that handle bar has a fair amount of compliance, it is not as effective at rounding off bumps and depressions in the road as the Spano Bar is.

So Far… This handle bar actually has features that make a difference in ride feel and comfort. Plus, it is fairly light. That’s always a nice thing. Those coming from a more traditional road handle bar, or those for whom the flared drop has not found favor, may find this bar to be the perfect handle bar solution for gravel.

I sometimes wish that the drop section was shaped all the way back into the end of the extensions, but maybe I’m just curious as to what that would be like. Anyway, so far I am hard pressed to find fault with this handle bar. It isn’t perfect, because there are a couple of things I might change if I had my druthers, but it is pretty darn close. That’s saying a lot when you consider how many ways a flared drop bar can go wrong, and has with many other handle bars in the category.

The next update in this review, the “At The Finish“, should appear in a few weeks. Until then, 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.


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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