The Salsa Cycles entry into the off road drop bar market, called the Woodchipper, has been out for awhile now. We’ve had them on a couple of bikes so far and now it is time for a final review on these bars.
The Woodchipper has been great in technical situations, slow speed handling, and works wonders for longer mixed terrain rides. The 25.4mm clamp diameter version especially has a nice give to it that helps take the edge off the smaller trail chatter. The 31.8mm bar is slightly stiffer, but not bad in that regard. The Woodchipper has the longer extensions which add to this comfortable flex when you slide your hands to the outside of the bar.
The Woodchipper is enough different from any of the other off road drop bars that I think that making any direct comparisons is somewhat unfair. You may find that the other offerings have enough of a different character that you may want to own one of each! The Woodchipper’s biggest differences lie in the swept and longer extensions and the more vertical hook. The Woodchipper leaves your levers in a more of a traditional position, so if you are seeking a more road bike-like set up for your levers, the Woodchipper will come closest of any of the available off road drops. From STI levers to levers like the Tektro RL 550, you can set up the Woodchipper to have a usable hood position, if you desire it, quite easily. Other off road drop bars will compromise this a bit.
Conclusions: The Woodchipper is a welcome addition to the off road drop bar scene. It isn’t a bar that is so similar to the competition that it doesn’t make sense, and Salsa shows us that it did its homework well before issuing the design. It works great with a more traditional road lever set up, yet it isn’t anything like a road bar, which is a feat in itself. If there is one thing that is a negative, it is that this very feature- the more vertical hook section- that causes some riders to have too little wrist clearance while climbing in the drops.
The Woodchipper does everything else quite well off road-wise though. It has a nice sweep to the extensions, it has a great shallow drop, it is wide, it comes in two different widths and two different clamp diameter sizes, and it is very comfortable. If you are looking to try an off road drop bar set up, the Woodchipper should be one of your top choices. If you already are an off road drop bar user, the Woodchipper does a lot of things well that the competition doesn’t. It might be worth a hard look for you too. I give it my hearty recommendo.
Note: Salsa Cycles provided one Woodchipper for review, and we purchased two more Woodchippers to be included in this review. We are not being bribed or paid for this review. We will strive to always give our honest opinions throughout. Look for a long term update coming in the following months.