Most woods will bend, some better than others. What's most important is that the grain runs straight through the piece. The piece I'm using is Walnut.
At the table saw I slice the Walnut into strips that are 1/8" thick. I'm making 1" diameter handlebars so I need 8 strips.
Soaking the strips in water makes them pliable.
While the strips are wet and pliable, pre-bend them in the form and allow to dry overnight. The form is a laminated block of plywood with the handlebar shape cut out of it.
A two-part glue designed for veneering is spread on all mating surfaces.
Dripping with glue it goes back into the form and back into the press. (I use my bench vice to press small stuff)
The bars should be dry before removing them from the form. Then they are ripped at the table saw to 1" because we are making 1" diameter bars. I make two pairs with each press.
Draw a 1" circle on the ends to help guide the shaping process
I use a router to turn the square blank into an octagon before hand shaping.
Just checking.... It's gotta be 1" to fit into the stem.
Shape that thang. My shaping strategy is to always use bevels. Simply break the edges of the octagon in a consistent fashion using the circles on the ends as your guides.
Two wedges spread the stem for easier fitting
fit and sand