First Look: ProTaper Evo Bar You can also check out a video of Big E talking about the new ProTaper Evo bar by clicking here.

The original ProTaper Taperwall was obviously the handlebar that broke through a lot of barriers, since a lot of people didn't think anyone actually make a bar for motocross that didn't need a crossbar. But as ProTaper's marketing manager, Erick "Big E" Bartoldus explained, "Since then, we've had a lot of people copying them and infringing on the patent. A couple years ago we came out with the SE bar, which basically stands for 7/8. We wanted to make a really premium 7/8-inch bar. I think we did that, and the SE Bar has really taken off like crazy. After that, we came out with the Contour Bar, which is a 1-1/8th-inch bar that comes in 18-20 bends, including bends for ATVs and minis. But that's more of a price-point bar. What we wanted to do with that was combat the guys who are making a lot of rip-off bars. But it's a 5mm Taperwall bar made with a different alloy, so it's a little bit stiffer. But we wanted to produce a value bar with strength and a ProTaper name that people could trust."

First Look: ProTaper Evo Bar That's why, after two-plus years of development, they've introduced their next-generation bar. As Big E explained, "We wanted a good/better/best scenario, and we wanted to come out with the best high-end, elite bar. The new bar is called Evo…just short for Evolution of the original Taperwall bar. What we wanted to do was fix all the things in the original Taperwall bar."

"Switching manufacturers, we've actually got a really qualified manufacturer making the bar. Yamaha has qualified this factory to make bars for the OE bikes, and the strength of the bar is through the roof. It far surpasses what the original Taperwall bar was, so we're really excited about it."

When asked about other features that set it apart, Big E told us, "What we wanted to do was create a product that has its own look to it, and we're actually coming out with more products that will share this color.  We wanted to come out with something that's different and people could say, "Hey, that's that new ProTaper handlebar, or new ProTaper whateveritis." Basically, we call the color magnesium. It's got kind of a Works look to it…kind of a frosted color."

How the Evo differs from the Contour bar is that this is a 4mm thickness, really high-end imported and premium tubing. It has the performance of the original Taperwall bar, but it surpasses that, thanks to some of the things we've learned after making the bar for the last 16 -17 years…sort of a special recipe that no one else knows.

"The next thing we've done is a nice aggressive knurling on the clutch side for maximum grip traction. There are also bar end plugs in the bar now, because a lot of people want that to stop the crud from getting in the end of their bars."

Big E also noted that there are a number of minor detail in the bar that are there for safety and durability. "One of the other things we've done is actually coated the inside of the handlebar. We've seen some handlebars fail…we're talking probably seven-year-old bars,  What was happening was that water was getting in there and corroding the aluminum from the inside out. Basically, they're going to help extend the life of the handlebar. It's something nobody can see, but we wanted to do to make the premium handlebar that we're doing."

"There's also a born-on date stamped into the bar, as well as a lot date and everything that's connected to this bar. When this tubing came in, when it was worked, all that stuff. So if there's ever anything that goes wrong with it, we can trace it back. All of our bars have that now. We can actually accurately go back and if there's a problem with anything we can trace it back to the lot or whatever. We also do random independent lab testing on all our stuff, just to make sure we're getting what we spec'd."

All the bars are now one consistent width, and they're equipped with cut marks in ¼-inch increments, though Big E feels that they might not be as needed as in the past. "The original Taperwall bars, they might have been 815mm wide, 812, 810, depending on the rise. That was because the old manufacturer made one blank, and whatever the bend was determined the width. That meant a lot of people ended up cutting the bars. All these handlebars are at 800mm wide, which is 31-1/2 inches, and that's the industry standard. All the pro riders are riding at 800mm. We're also holding the manufacturer to really tight tolerances. One of the things that we found with the old bar was that it wasn't as tight as we wanted it. These are all within 2mm of exactly where we want them."

"We're not going to make every bend in the world, just the most popular models that everybody wants. The Windham/RM-mid, CR high, Henry/Reed, Carmichael, RM low, and Woods high. We might add more as we go, but we wanted to intro it with these. One color, and six bends.

Last but not least, we've ditched the stickers. A chemically-applied un-sticker is what we call it. It's not going to last forever, but it's going to be a heck of a lot longer than the stickers we had. We also don't laser-etch the bar anywhere. From what we've learned, laser-etching, going into the bar, basically creates a stress riser.  That's why we went with screened graphics and chemically-applied stuff. Another thing we did was get rid of that nasty safety sticker on the throttle side. Now it's just screened on, and if you don't want it on there, you can just kiss it with a little contact cleaner to take it off. But you could just throw the throttle tube on there and not worry about it."

When we asked Big E about the bottom line, the cost, he had some good news. "It's going to retail for the same price as the original Taperwall, $89.95. All-in-all, it's a ten times better handlebar for the same price."

Look for the bars to be available in mid-November at your local dealers, and after you've had a chance to try them, be sure to write a review in the Product section.

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