Wren Perseverance Handlebar Review: Funky Adventure Bar
Released last fall, the Wren Perseverance Bar features a massive aero loop out front and is the small brand’s take on the perfect handlebar for bikepacking and multi-day riding. We’ve been testing one out since its release. Find our review here…
Alt bars for bikepacking that offer multiple hand positions and other features aren’t anything new, and brands such as Redshift, Farr, and Jones are among the most recognizable and widely used. California-based Wren Sports, best known for their inverted suspension forks, entered the adventure handlebar game last fall in a big way with the Perseverance Bar.
Described as a “cockpit you can live out of,” the Wren Perseverance Bar is a combination of a fairly run-of-the-mill flat mountain bike handlebar with the addition of a giant aero loop out front. As they put it, “Your cockpit is your home when you’re out on big rides. This is a cockpit designed to live in, day-in, and day-out. While there are a lot of funky bars out there, we’ve found them all to be lacking in one way or another: too much backsweep with loops that are too small and limited in functionality.” The huge aero loop and conventional bar specs make for a unique option for anyone looking to add some versatility and hand positions to their current rig.
By The Numbers
As mentioned above, the flat portion of the Perseverance Bar is actually based around a fairly typical shape. It has a reasonable 780mm width, 25mm rise, and a 16° backsweep that is a little more relaxed than stock mountain bike bars, but not nearly as swept back as the Jones bars, Surly Moloko bars, or Velo Orange Crazy Bars—which are all 35° or more. The closest comparison I found was the Hobo Loop Handlebar from UK-based Brick Lane Bikes with its 15° backsweep, 760mm width, and mid-sized front loop.
The real kicker is that giant aero loop. At 300mm wide by 250mm long, the aero loop is the biggest we’ve seen offered in an all-in-one handlebar. The nose of the loop tapers together and has a 70mm rise to provide a comfortable angle for your wrists and helps get any accessories mounted out front up high above any bags strapped below. All of this extra metal comes with a weight penalty, though, and at 754 grams, it’s a pretty hefty handlebar. To offer some comparisons, the Chromoly steel Surly Mokolo Bar weighs 709g and the butted aluminum Jones H-Bar weighs 525g.
The Adventure Bar
Although it might look a little wild, Wren’s self-proclaimed “adventure bar” makes for an easy upgrade to most trail bikes with wide, flat bars. Because of its more conservative sweep, it doesn’t alter the riding position in a huge way, as some big-sweep bars do. While I recognize the value of handlebars with lots of backsweep, I prefer the stability and control offered by a more traditional bar when riding technical terrain. This is one of the main reasons why I don’t find myself using swept bars like the Jones H-Bar in my everyday riding. The 16° and 25mm rise bring things back and up just enough to create a comfortable perch for long-distance, multi-day rides without inhibiting control on tight and steep trails. I’ve also found these specs to work better with traditional bar ends, ergo grips, and other accessories that don’t always mesh well with hugely swept bars.
When installed, the Perseverance Bar offers several hand positions that aren’t available on a normal bar. Aside from holding onto your grips, there’s enough room between the controls and the base of the aero loop for a narrow, upright hold that could easily be wrapped with bar tape for more comfort. The aero loop itself offers a few positions as well, from a fully-tucked hands on the nose position to a semi-tucked position closer to the base of the loop. The loop is wide enough to offer enough control on gravel roads and likely not quite as foreign feeling as a dedicated aero bar setup.
As expected, the Perseverance Bar feels right at home on bikes with wide, lightly swept bars. The 780mm width is wide enough for most of us, especially while bikepacking, and the specs align well with modern trail bikes with short stems and progressive geometry. I installed the bars on several different mountain bikes, all with modern geo featuring long front-ends, and the standard hand position always felt natural and comfortable.
Even through the front aero loop isn’t technically in the way, it is somewhat distracting and wouldn’t be my first choice for day rides without being loaded up with gear. The loop is useful for adding new hand positions, including a slightly tucked aero position, but if you’re not using it, it’s an eye sore. After all, it’s a big loop. With my hands out at the end of the loop and my forearms resting against the flat section of the bar, I wished I had some proper padded forearm rests. Thankfully, Wren will be offering those soon as an add-on. As someone who doesn’t like to be in a full tuck aero position, I found holding onto the middle of the loop the most comfortable and stable (see the first photo below). No matter where you choose to put your hands, the Perseverance Bar gives the option for varying degrees of aero-like riding positions without sacrificing the control and leverage afforded by less-alternative handlebars.
Who’s It For?
While I agree with Wren’s opinion that aero bars aren’t just for those looking to set fastest known times, there’s no question that the Perseverance Bar is a lot of bar. In my mind, it’s best suited for expedition style touring and bikepacking where the added versatility of its massive front loop can be truly appreciated. I don’t think day rides and local overnighters will really subject the bar to its full potential.
I imagine those most interested in the bar will see the value of mounting a front light up an over the top of their handlebar bag, are expecting to tackle long days on rough terrain where having multiple hand positions is necessary, and might play around with a tucked position on smooth, non-technical surfaces. Unlike most of the components we review here on the site, it’s hard to imagine the Perseverance Bar staying on my bikes between big trips, and is instead something I’d pull out in preparation for something epic.
- Unique and well-executed design
- Front aero loop is wide and long, several solid hand positions
- Mount GPS-devices and lights up and over handlebar bags
- Extra long bar tape available from Wren
- Modern, mountain bike-friendly angles
- Not a swept-back, comfort bar for those looking for a more upright position
- That big aero loop takes some getting used to
- Tucked riding position requires arm rests to be truly useful
- Anodized gold/bronze won’t be for everyone
- Expensive for an aluminum bar
- Material: 6061 Aluminum
- Width: 780mm
- Backsweep: 16°
- Upsweep: 5°
- Rise: 25mm
- Loop Size: 300 x 250mm
- Stem Clamp: 31.8mm
- Weight: 754 grams
- Place of Manufacture: Taiwan
- Finish: Anodized Gold/Bronze
- Price: $149 USD
- Manufacturer’s Details: WrenSports.com
Considering their claim to fame and passion lies with inverted suspension forks, it’s no surprise to see Wren Sports behind the Perseverance Bar. It’s a totally unique handlebar option that merges the benefits of a front loop (albeit much bigger than the competition) with the familiar shape and feel of a more standard mountain bike bar. The bar’s angles and shape pair nicely with modern mountain bikes, it isn’t too swept back for proper trail riding, and you still get multiple hand positions for long days on the bike. While I can see the advantage of having an aero-like riding position, additional armrests are definitely needed for anyone hoping to spend time riding tucked. As tested, I think the biggest advantage is having the ability to mount a light or GPS device up and over a handlebar bag and the versatility of different hand positions and attachment points.
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