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9th February 2020 / Comments (2)

Ritchey Butano WCS handlebar

Ritchey WCS Butano

Think adventure cycling and handlebars, and Ritchey is a name that’ll likely be the first name that comes to mind. Glance around any gravel gathering and you’ll spot at least one VentureMax clamped to a gravel rig with pride.

The broad flare of the VentureMax isn’t for everyone and for those that want something more conventional, there’s the Butano. Available in both affordable Comp and WCS versions, as tested here. WCS is Ritchey’s top tier component range, utilising lighter materials and fancier machining methods to keep weight to a minimum.

The satin black finish of this 7075 grade alloy bar has the look of a matte carbon fibre handlebar. Convincing enough to fool a few curious onlookers. The finish isn’t just smart, it is also hardwearing. Shrugging off the rigours of gravel cycling better than many bars which can look shabby after a few rides.

Ritchey WCS Butano

The Ritchey WCS Butano has a very smart look and finish.

Our 44cm Ritchey WCS Butano bars weighed in on the ADVNTR Scales of Justice at 289 grams. Neither super light nor a heavyweight.

Setting up the Butano is straightforward. The clamping areas have a rough finish to ensure good, firm contact with the stem and hoods. Some deeper grooves to better disguise the cable and hose runs wouldn’t have gone amiss however. Even with the most meticulous cable routing during setup, you’ll still notice the cables even with a thick wrap of bar tape.

Ritchey designed the Butano to suit the faster, competitive side of gravel cycling. Compared to the VentureMax, it feels a lot more like a conventional road bar, but with a  12-degree flare. The shape puts the rider in a confident position with a shallow 118mm drop and a comfortable 73mm reach. It’s a great bar for carving up the trails but without being quite so gawky feeling that you’d find it awkward on the road.

Ritchey WCS Butano

Just the right amount of flare? We think so.

The WCS Butano features some wonderful curves, as nice as they are to look at, they do serve a purpose. Ergonomic comfort was high on the design agenda, with a 4 degree sweep on the top and some slick shaping that make it a dream to ride on the tops. The shape is very organic, more akin to the style of a carbon bar than alloy.

When it comes to bars, I am admittedly a material snob. I prefer the trail damping qualities of carbon, usually finding their alloy counterparts too harsh. Riding the WCS Butano, I’ve had to eat a big slice of humble pie. It’s neither harsh or overly stiff. There isn’t the flex that you’d find in a carbon bar, but it still rides with relative comfort over rough roads and gravel.

Ritchey WCS Butano

Conclusion

With an RRP of £87.95 the Ritchey WCS Butano is never going to be heralded as a bargain in the world of alloy handlebars. But it’s premium quality looks would fool many into thinking it cost significantly more. The Butano also performs as good as it looks, making this a great addition to any gravel bike.

Ritchey WCS Butano

£87.95
9

Comfortable bar with great shape that also looks great.

9.0/10

Pros

  • Great quality
  • Good looks
  • Excellent hand positions

Cons

  • Cable channels could be deeper

Last modified: 9th February 2020

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There are 2 more notable differences — from the side VentureMax is more like > shaped, while this one like ), so VM is better in this regard IMHO because you have less steep front section. Secondly the VM has a ergo-bump in down section, which works great when riding in the drops (it is minor problem only when putting tape onto the handlebar 🙂 )..