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Product Review: FSA K-Force Compact Handlebar

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The K-Force Compact uses the same materials and construction as the New Ergo, with unidirectional carbon fiber reinforced with Kevlar. The shape is our newest compact design, with a shallow drop, short reach and slight outward flare on the drops.

The top section features an extra-wide bulge extending either side of the stem, ideal for mounting clip-on aero bars or other accessories. Clamp areas have additional reinforcement and a textured finish to avoid slip. Gear and brake cables can be routed through the double-width cable groove, shaped to improve stiffness and fatigue resistance.

Features:

  • Material: Continuous UD carbon/kevlar composite construction
  • Reinforced and textured stem clamp zone
  • Finish: UD Carbon
  • Clamp Area: Ø31.8
  • Drop: 125mm
  • Reach: 80mm
  • Outward Bend: 4°
  • Weight: 210g (400mm)

Fsa K Force Compact Handlebar Review:

Build Quality and Design

I was attracted to this particular handlebar because the length of a second generation New Ergo at a go. I began to see an emerging trend on Youtube and elsewhere, with companies and individual riders introducing a new generation of bars. Some of these companies manufactured their own products, usually the first time they actually made an ergonomic handle.

Many riders liked and used the bars they had, but wanted to ride a few more miles and get faster, without spending too much money.

For this reason, many riders switched over to FSA’s New Ergo. Why? Because it was the right product at the right time.

In terms of build quality, the FSA K-Force Compact is identical to the FSA New Ergo. The shape and skin are a bit different, but the dimensions of both are the same.

The FSA New Ergo is up to the challenge of being light, being carbon, and offering excellent performance; but it does have some measures of failure, most notable in the area of the bumpstop grooves and bends.

Chances are you’ll not see any changes right away, but as the years pass, some of the material around the bumps will become less effective at holding on to the bump, and some levels of fatigue will become more apparent. In the case of the K-Force Compact, I hadn’t tapped in my brakes recently, and noticed the upper grip sections were starting to feel a bit less comfortable.

Durable:

Coming in at the third best on our list, you can see the durability and value that is offered by the K-Force Compact. It’s made with the same high-quality, lightweight materials as the New Ergo, and it’s there to give you good performance for years to come.

In terms of construction, the K-Force Compact is all aluminum, with a core and shoulders made from stainless steel. The inner and outer band are made of polypropylene. This gives the bar a nice, smooth ride.

Colors and Differences Between the K-Force Compact and New Ergo

Although the New Ergo is probably the more unique of the two, the K-Force Compact is essentially the same tool.

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Both the New Ergo and the K-Force Compact come color-matched to matching bolts on the left, between the cams. These are double-sided carbon hex bolts.

The normal plug bolt for the New Ergo is double-sided, but the only difference is the bolt shape. The K-Force Compact is double-sided, also with a shape from carbon hex bolt. The bolts will be color-matched to the cockpit parts.

For production, the K-Force Compact comes in two colors; black and orange. I had the opportunity to ride the first generation (black) and the second generation (orange) at the 2016 Race Week.

The first generation K-Force Compact was essentially the same as the New Ergo, with the exception that the bottom of the stem was relatively short, and the drop was a bit more pronounced.

The K-Force Compact is one of only a few companies to hold the patent on its handlebar support network.

The K-Force Compact has a bit more rise, and a bit more width. It also has a better design for the outside of the jaw, and a subtle rearward flare. The stem is shorter, but this helps in the kiss view of the hands.

Relative to the New Ergo, the K-Force Compact has more input and takeoff, but less rebound; this is also true for the third generation (New Ergo XS) and the second generation Advanced versions (New Ergo ULT).

From the top of the K-Force Compact, you can see the shape of the bar is similar to the New Ergo, and quite a bit different from the Ergo. The end can be adjusted all the way back, as well as an inch lower by to around 45mm. That’s a lot more adjustment options than a simple pullback.

Over time, the bottom of the K-Force Compact has a slight flex. That’s common when aluminum is being used, whether for the actual bar or for the frame.

Sound and Feel:

Like the New Ergo, most riders like the K-Force Compact in terms of sound and feel. It’s comparable to the New Ergo in this regard, although it does have some extra-long (200mm) reach.

The sound you hear is a bit more akin to the LF handlebar in appearance. The same can be said for the feel. I mentioned the slight flex, and this plays a role in the sound.

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Written by Mark Adams

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