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Easton Havoc Cockpit Reviewed

Carbon For The Gravity Crowd

Words by Kaz Yamamura. Photos by Kaz Yamamura.
June 9th, 2016

I previously spent some time aboard Easton’s Haven 35 carbon bar and stem combo, which I was a big fan of – apart from the 750mm bar width which was a little narrow for my liking. I used to be wary of slapping carbon parts on my downhill bike, but after a season and a half of carbon on my trail bike I decided to spice up the big bike. Enter the Easton Havoc carbon bar and direct mount stem.

Easton Havoc

Big bike, bigger cockpit.

Easton sent us some test product so my downhill bike could transition from 31.8 to 35 – the Havoc 35 carbon bar, Havoc 35 direct mount stem and Easton lock-on grips (Which I reviewed when I first came on board with NSMB).

Easton Havoc 20mm Rise Carbon Bar

The Havoc bar has the same specs as its AM counterpart, the Haven. 9° sweep combined with a 5° bend make for a somewhat standard, comfortable bar. However, the Havoc is only available in a 20mm rise – 15mm when combined with the Havoc stem, as the stem itself has a 5mm drop. The bar comes stock at 800mm wide. Too wide for me, but that’s the sweet spot for many riders. I cut mine down to 770mm, my preferred length for full-suspension bikes. The only downside I can see for this bar would be that there is only one colourway, black with white graphics, as well as only one rise option. Riders looking for a higher or lower rise 35mm bar could look at RaceFace or Chromag for more selection.

Easton Havoc

9 back and 5 up, that’s the way I like to…

Easton Havoc Direct Mount Stem

The Havoc stem has a pretty neat design. It looks like a 4-piece but it’s actually a 2-piece. To clamp the bar, you first need to remove the bolts, then carefully slide the bar into the stem. Take this step slowly, as you are sliding carbon along aluminum. I decided to marinate my handlebar with carbon grease to prevent slipping; I don’t want to over-tighten carbon. The stem itself is unremarkable looking apart from the wide grip clamps.

Easton Havoc

Back when my bike was brand new its reach numbers were just right for a DH bike. Fast forward to 2016, and it’s shorter than my trail bike, prodding me to run the stem in the long position.

The stem comes with two sets of holes, one for 50mm length and one for 45. It would be nice to see direct mount stems get shorter, especially with 35mm length stems available for pinch clamp stems, as well as top tubes on bikes getting longer in general. However, with the Havoc stem having a -5mm rise, making it shorter would be impossible because the bar would contact the fork crowns. I ran the Havoc stem in the longer 50mm position, as my 2013 Commencal DH bike has a somewhat short reach, a few millimeters shorter than my 2015 GT Sensor trail bike.

Easton Havoc

An aesthetically pleasing 2-piece design.

The Easton Havoc stem has two arrows pointing to towards each other at the front and there are angle markings on the Havoc bar.  This combo makes it easy to line up the bar just the way you like it. Nice touch, Easton.

Easton Havoc

I tried the bar in the -1°, 0° and 1° positions, and found that 1° rolled forward was the most friendly on my wrists.

Easton Lock-On Grips

Since I first reviewed Easton grips I’ve had more time aboard other brands and my thoughts have evolved. A lot of thought went into creating these grips, and they are some of the best. After riding without gloves, they felt too hard. Wearing gloves would be a solution, but I prefer bare hands when I’m on a shoot for quick camera access. In terms of softness, Sensus grips are at the top of the list for me right now.

Easton Havoc

Wait, what brand are these grips?

It’s hard to look past the thought that went into creating these grips, though. The end clamps are covered on the inboard side and partially covered on the outboard end, creating comfortable lips for your hands to butt up against. And those end clamps don’t clamp directly onto the bar. Instead, plastic tabs are cut into the inside of the grip, which then press onto the bar. Easton says that these tabs are more friendly towards carbon bars than metal lock rings. And it’s not just the plastic tabs. Easton’s logo is raised in 3D in a fin shape all around the bar, making them left and right specific, as well as extra grippy. What’s that, you like throttle grip? Well, that’s too bad, your hands will stay put with these bad boys on your cockpit.

Easton Havoc

Shark fins for extra grip.

To recap, the Easton Havoc stem is good, their Havoc carbon bar is great, and their grips are one-of-a-kind and loaded with features. Though the stem and bar come in only one size and colour (white on black), Easton’s grips come in more colours than the community center on multiculturalism day; 12 to be exact. Blue, yellow, orange, black, white and purple to name a few. Not only that, but Easton makes all 12 colours in 2 different sizes – the 30mm size I rode, and a 33mm version for those with bigger mitts.

The Havoc Carbon bar runs for $169.95 CAD, the stem for $69.95 and the grips for $22.95. It’s hard to top quality products like these for those prices.


Looking for a new DH cockpit? It’s tough to choose these days with many different choices out there…

  • qblambda

    I bought the stem and bar right away when received my brand new DH bike. It’s a very good compromise at first sight in between price, weight and product reliability… but for the Bar only. Yeah because the 1st day I’ve been using them, I just slipped the front wheel in a corner because of leaves : it was a very slow speed and soft crash I had and the bar just touched the ground while the bike was slipping, despite it, the stem twisted itself and made my cockpit angled for few degrees and was impossible to fix it.

    For the stem I swithed to a RaceFace directmount which is a little bit heavier but a way stronger with only 1 position which makes the back support wall thickness bigger. I had then another crash in a brunch of trees : the bar is really good one tho, lightweight, large and stiff and indestructible. I killed a tree, the bar had nothing even the new raceface stem!.

    • Nat Brown

      Twisted a direct mount stem? Did you bend or break it?

      • qblambda

        One of the rear support did bend (50mm position) just in front on the screw head in the 45mm slot. The bolts were properly tightened and the crown didn’t move at all. I wont bet if it’s gonna break or not because once alloy is bent it’s definitely weaker so I changed immediatly to the Raceface which has only one position (50mm). And there’s no hole on the front of each screw so makes it a way stronger in this local area.

      • Nat Brown

        I understand you now. Cheers.

  • James

    I don’t have the Havoc handlebar or stem but I do have the Haven 35 handlebar and 50mm Haven stem and I love the combo. Never had an issue and the bar is strong/stiff for all the stuff I put it through. Something about having 35mm carbon handlebars makes me feel more confident.