Thoughts on Integrated Cockpits

Wondering what everyone’s thoughts are around the trend of integration, especially with cockpits. I appreciate the aesthetic…do you think it’s a worthwhile tradeoff: appearance vs. functionality?

I just got an integrated cockpit bike and that was on my list of wants. I like it a lot - I don’t notice or feel any difference except for the inability to adjust the bar angle. So, I feel it functions the same or better than non-integrated.

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Can’t stand them. I regularly wrench for a Bike Fitter and the lack of ability to make adjustments is nuts.

Even if the client is prepared to pay the cost of replacing the parts (which is horrendous in most cases), the range is strictly limited. Typically there is only one stem angle made, one bar shape, one reach per width and limited widths. And that’s assuming that the options are actually available to purchase separately. If the bike is current model you have a slim chance (in my experience). If it’s an out dated model? Forget it.

Telling a client that they need a different seat post offset to achieve their position, that it is proprietary and the only option will cost them $400 just stinks.

I know I’m not the target audience but I just can’t see that the aero and asthetic gains on the bike make up for the cyclist being uncomfortable/injured/not aero.


Sorry, seems you hit a sore spot there. :blush:


Love the integrated handlebar (“cockpit”—come on…)–contrary to the above, if purchased non-OEM, you have a range of choices, widths, stem lengths, shapes, and rises, reasonably priced (the ones I buy, at least) and very secure–there’s a reason that’s all you see on the pro Tour bikes. I use them on all bikes that I build/sell/ride. Of course, it has to be the right one, from the start, but if you know what rise and lengths work for you, then they are far better than the old standard.

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@macnmaze I agree that if you start out knowing your position and can purchase accordingly you have a much better chance of finding something that works.

The trouble is that your approach is not the common one. The usual approach (in my experience) is that the cyclist buys the complete bike without giving a moment’s though to the front end (or the seat post) and then is locked into the company’s propriety system. And a lot of those don’t have much choice.

I’m never swayed by what the pros ride. They ride what they are paid to ride and have to make do with the options available. It could be exactly what they would ride given the choice. Or it could be that they hate the equipment. It’s just not a reliable indication of preference.


I really like mine on my road bike - but to the above points I did the fitting prior to buying the bike so purchased with that fit in mind and haven’t had to modify a thing other than the saddle. I’d say it’s worth it if your comfortable with your fit parameters as it is totally fuss free once you’ve got it right. I wouldn’t do it though on the gravel or XC bike least they require bush mechanic repairs.

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No arguments at all, if you are speaking for other riders–I wasn’t–I advocate a personal, individual approach to bike fitment, and my opinions on how useful the integrated handlebar is based on that, for me, personally–not what other people do, but what I do. As for what the pros ride, like it or not, what they’re riding today is what is going to be in the bike shop tomorrow–evolution of bike design is basically top down, and what makes sense at the top eventually makes sense elsewhere as well–the fact that they ALL use them does suggest more than what the sponsors dictate, but more, what is the best design for the modern aggressive rider, which eventually will filter down to at least some of the less austere riders–I kind of pride myself in the fact that I chose the integrated bar route well before many of the pros did–one too many bar slips going over high pressure bumps led me in that direction, and have been happy with that choice ever since–this thread was about what we, as individuals, favor, not what is the best for each and every rider out there.

Well said! It definitely is an individual choice. I feel like this is similar to choosing what BIKE to buy…even though you might like the geo, ride quality, build etc, some may disagree. But in my opinion, it all comes down to personal preference.
I recently opted for a semi-integrated gravel bike (w/ electronic shifting, so perhaps less internal maintenance to work through) and absolutely love it. Functionally, the bike is much more quiet as front-end cable rattle is all-but eliminated, it’s easier to clean and I appreciate the tidiness. While it may come back to bite me if something requires bush repairs, it’s a risk I am very willing to take.

I’m not interested as I’m yet to see an OEM integrated cockpit that matches my fit (I like a long stem) but they certainly look nice.

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Classic bike industry stuff, considering anything post-transaction doesn’t come into the thoughts of bike brands.


+1 for this. The bike brands should proactively recommend a bike fit ahead of buying any bike with a completely integrated cable system. Changing things post-purchase is big £££££.


I think it looks really clean and clearly a bit more aero but I take James Huang’s opinion and will wait at last another 3-5 years before I commit to an integrated cockpit. They can still be a total PITA with respect to dealing with headsets, changing stack, and the most important one which is cable rub on a steerer tube which could lead to catastrophic failure. Eeek. Time will tell I guess, I just don’t want to be one of the earlier adopters of design that is susceptible to this and it seems like many of them could be.

Happy with the one I retrofitted to my bike, but by this time I already knew what stem length/angle I was comfortable with, and what bar width I wanted. Wouldn’t be the best option if you didn’t know those things.

Cables I still run semi-internal (though the bars but external to the frame) so no challenges there. Bar angle is good and you can still adjust the hoods to your preferred angle.

It depends on the application.
I like them in concept, but there aren’t many options available in my choice of size (120-130/380) as the manufacturers seem to assume correlation between stem length and bar width. This may change with Pro and Enve coming out with new products, but they are pricey and probably not worth the cost to change for me.
I have the KNOT two-piece setup on my SystemSix which is a sort of halfway house, and I really like it.


120/380 would be just lovely depending on the reach of the bars so that’s two of us. Too often a stem length that long comes with a 420 bar which feels like steering an oil tanker.

I like to do all my own work on my bikes so obviously I hate fully integrated set ups. Internally routed handlebars and frames are bad enough but I’ll endure them.


120/380 option is available (mine is 110/400), reach is 80mm.

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I can see the plus points but unless the bike manufacturer offers different widths/lengths at purchase it’s really a pain to swap out, plus really expensive.

Although I do like the semi-integrated ones that you see on an S5 where it’s pretty easy to swap out the stem part and adjust the riser height.

Agreed. The integration on my new Aspero-5 is excellent…easy to swap out the bars, which I (thankfully) haven’t had to do as I was confident in the bike’s size before purchase. However, it gives me peace of mind knowing that, if something needs to be changed, it’s possible, all the while benefiting from a semi-integrated setup.

Integration doesn’t mean that you have to have one piece handlebar/stems. It just means your cables are hidden. On my Focus I can choose whatever stem length I like and whatever bar with. I don’t do my own work on my bikes or rather I do but not on things that include bearings like the headset. I appreciate the look of it, it’s just very, very sleek and I don’t have to worry about cables. I am very anal with my bikes and the integration on my road bike makes a lot of things way easier and nicer to look at. On my gravel (dirt) bike I’d never even think about an integrated front end. External everything on a Ti frame. Saying all that I don’t mind cables as long as it’s done nice and the cable routing was thought about. The Giant TCR is a great example of cables done great and I’d happily buy one.

In most people’s understanding that is precisely what it means. This word itself means “to make whole”, deriving from the latin integris = whole.