The BP4 Handlebar Review By Cody Oakland
January 21, 2015
When Rich Laporte asks me to take a look and evaluate his new Breakaway Pro 4 Racing Handlebars, I agreed.
When I saw them for the first time I thought they looked a bit like a Rams horn. Anytime there is an innovation in an industry, there is a period of adjustment. That period lasted about 1 minute until I had them in my possession. I had to look at them from the perspective of an avid cyclist/triathlete and an exercise physiologist. My first impression was that they felt very natural in my hands. That natural feel is from the position of the mid bar angle. From a biomechanical standpoint they place the hands in a more ergonomic position than a traditional set of bars. The neutral position for the hand is a semi-supinated, semi – pronated (thumbs up), this keeps the wrist in a more biomechanically and physically straight forward position. Riding on the upper part of traditional bars can lead to sore wrists and numb fingers do to pressure on sensitive nerves in the hand. By assuming this neutral position, it spreads the pressure more evenly across the hand and allows the rider to drop into a more aero position without placing unnecessary pressure on the body.
Why is the BP4 Handlebar so much better?
There has not been much innovation in the basic design of the handlebar since its creation. The “real estate” between the stem and the beginning of the drops has been a vast wasteland, and the cause of lot wrist and hand discomfort for long enough. When aero/triathlon bars hit the scene, they gave the rider the ability to be more aerodynamic for long periods of time without the same level of fatigue and discomfort that come with trying to maintain that position with normal” bars. I found upon riding the BP4 that it gave me the best of both worlds. I was able to have the traditional hand placement that allowed for more freedom on the bar while giving me the edge of a more aerodynamic position without placing my joints in an unnatural, and often times painful, situation.
This hand position also offers a mechanical advantage over standard bars. When the body is in alignment, power output can be maximized since joint angles are in their most advantageous position. The same is true for seat position, proper angles optimize. If the seat is too high or too low, power is lost because the proper angles for torque have been compromised. The same holds true for angles of the upper extremities. There are positions that optimize power transfer from the upper body to the legs so that the entire mechanical system works in harmony to deliver the best performance. The new BP4 provides these benefits without losing the traditional aspects of the handlebar.
Upon conclusion of my trial of the Breakaway Pro 4 Racing Handlebars, I feel I have just been witness to the next great innovation in bike technology.
Cody Oakland M.Sc.