Buyers Guide: Handlebars for the Track


Manufacturer of handlebars used by Olympic champions, Terry Dolan, talks us through which handlebars to use on your track bike

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In the showroom of Dolan Bikes are quite a few samples of the company’s Track bikes including one with the name of a certain icon in British cycling, Bradley Wiggins. On these track bikes, VeloUK noticed a variety of handlebars giving riders a wide choice of bar to use for their specific events.

Alpina (click for website)
Alpina is a longstanding Dolan Bikes brand that was given to seat posts designed by them 10 years ago and used by the British national team. Dolan Bikes followed the seat post up with forks which are used not just by Dolan Bikes on their own frames but also by other bike manufacturers.


Jason Kenny at the London World Cup using an Alpina sprint bar.

And now they produce a handlebar that has been used by Olympic champions and is available to the public. A rider wearing the rainbow stripes at the London World Cup back in February who went on to win two Olympic titles in London 2012, Jason Kenny no less, had the Alpina bar on his UKSI bike at the World Cup back in February.

But the Alpina bars are much more than just a Sprinter’s bar. Laura Trott for example was pictured using them at the London World Cup and because of their narrow widths (down to 33cm), more and more female riders are using them.


Endurance rider Laura Trott had the Alpina on her UKSI bike at the London World Cup. 

The handlebar is made from carbon fibre and comes in sizes from 33cm to 38 cm and weighs only 300 gms. The drop on an Alpina is 180 mm. It’s the only track bar to come in these sizes made from carbon fibre and the design came about between a collaboration between the British National Cycling Team and Terry Dolan.

It was noted by GB riders racing in Japan that narrow steel bars were popular and after wind tunnel testing using prototypes, the narrow bar was put into production with the riders in the GB team getting it first and after around a year when full production was on-stream, more of the bars became available to sell to the public and other nations.

As strong and stiff as a normal sprint bar weighing a lot more, the Alpina is not just light but also provides an aerodynamic position on the bike which is why it has proved to be popular not just with GB but also other nations.


The Alpina on a Dolan DF3 bike in the Dolan Bikes showroom.

3T Handlebars
Dolan Bikes though are not just about that one track handlebar. Another famous name in handlebars is 3T and customers can purchase them direct from Dolan Bikes. These are not at the moment listed on the website but will be soon and you can get details by giving Dolan Bikes a call 01695 581 166

The Scatto is a carbon-fibre track sprinter’s bar that Terry Dolan explained can also be used by Endurance Riders in events like the Scratch race or Points. Australian Anna Meares won the Olympic Sprint gold medal at London 2012 using it.


The Scatto fitted to a customers bike by Dolan-Bikes

Windtunnel tests show that the aerodynamic design produces way less drag than any standard round-section bar but crucially in contrast to the Alpina Sprint bar, the Scatto’s narrowest width is the 35 cm model with 128 mm drop and 37 cm width with 148-mm drop. Hence a more aero position probable with the narrower Alpina bar which also has a bigger drop on it (180 mm) than the Scatto.
Weight: 364g | Width: 35/ 37 cm | Drop: 128/148 mm |

MISTRAL PRO (Pursuit or Time Trial)
The Mistral is the workhorse of 3T’s race-proven range of pursuit/time-trial bars. It has a carbon-fibre base bar with alloy extensions/cradles and the Mistral has multiple cradle mountings in the top skin of the base bar, providing 16 positions from narrow-aero to wide-aero. Riders of very different body shapes and aerodynamic posture should find a perfect bike fit. The Mistral meets UCI rules on aerodynamic form factor and can be used in any UCI event. Width: 42 cm | Weight: 727 gm


The carbon fibre Rotundo is a traditional, medium-deep, all round drop bend used by riders on road or track. Weight: 178 g (42 cm) | Widths: 40, 42, 44 cm | Drop: 139 mm |


This is a dedicated endurance carbon fibre handlebar that World Points racing champion Cameron Meyer helped 3T engineers design providing optimized positions for Points and Madison races that alternate between level high speed and all-out sprinting.


Cameron Meyer using an early version of the bar in 2010 at the World Championships.

The bar provides a unique forward ‘bend’ that supports the rider in the ‘sphinx’ wide-aero position pioneered by Spanish former track champion Joan Llaneras. The ‘wingtips’ of the aerofoil meet the upper part of the round-section drops, which are slightly tilted up – this allows riders to hook their wrists inside the bend, palms facing outwards.

Vertical part of the ‘bend’ flattens into a narrow aerofoil section, and then joins the bottoms which provide a conventional round-section handhold for the sprint.

The UCI Technological Coordinator evaluated SPHINX and confirmed the bar meets UCI regulations however, stem length is critical to staying within the rules. Weight: 350 g | Width: 40 cm | Drop: 148 mm |


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