I got the Soma Condor bars to review for Dirt Rag Magazine in spring 2017. I expected to ride them for the review period, not really like them, then take them off after writing the review. Two years later, the bars are still on my gravel bike. I have ridden them on countless all day rides, centuries, and my double century last fall. I love them and plan to keep them on this bike indefinitely.
From the review:
I didn’t expect to love or even like these bars, but they surprised me. I should have been a little more open-minded going in, because I did suffer from lower back pain while using traditional drop bars on rides longer than about five hours as well as occasional hand numbness. I previously attempted to fix these ailments by swapping stems, but soon resigned myself to accepting that they were just a part of doing long rides.
Enter the Condor bars. I won’t say my issues were magically solved – regular stretching and riding are also vital – but I will say that I did a 10 hour ride last weekend with absolutely no back pain whatsoever and a number of other all-day rides over the past few months that resulted in similar outcomes.
The shallow drop allowed me to spend much more time in the drops without discomfort than on “normal” bars. Most of my long rides on the gravel bike are mixed surface, with chunky dirt roads and even some singletrack thrown in occasionally, so having the extra control that riding in the drops offers while maintaining a less aggressive position is very advantageous. I used to dread long, loose gravel descents because I knew that being in the drops for so long would hurt my back and neck, but the Condor bars have all but obliterated that issue.
You can read my full review here.
Note: The original condor has been discontinued and replaced with the Condor 2.