Six cockpit setups worth hanging on to

No holds barred

These cockpit reviews originally ran in the July 2014 issue of Bike.

Renthal_Easton_RaceFace

Renthal: Fatbar Lite Carbon, $160 | Duo, $100 | Lock-on Kevlar, $33
At first glance we were resistant to this bar because it’s 740-millimeters-wide, and we’ve hopped right aboard the wide-bar bandwagon. But ‘wide’ is relative, and for many riders, this bar hits the spot. Plus, it’s so beautiful that we couldn’t pass it up just because we live and ride where there aren’t tight trees preventing our bar widths from becoming as out of control as Rob Ford’s crack habit. It’s offered in four rises, from 10 to 40 millimeters, each with 7-degree backsweep and 5-degree upsweep. The Duo stem is made in two pieces in order to maintain strength and also so that the machine making it has better access to shave unnecessary material. The horizontally split design gives it a unique look, as well. The Duo is available with a 10-degree rise in 40- and 50-millimeter lengths. Little bits of Kevlar in the cushy compound vastly lengthen the life of these grips, while aluminum lock-on collars keep them securely in place. These are the gummiest of all the grips tested. Their gold color rounds out the Renthal kit nicely. – Ryan Palmer

Easton: Haven 35 Carbon, $160 | Haven 35, $100 | Lock-On, $25
The 35-millimeter clamp diameter that Easton debuted with its Havoc line in early 2012 has been a big success, with other manufacturers following Easton’s lead and offering their own 35-millimeter options. But, at 800-millimeters-wide, the Havoc may be a bit much for some. In response Easton is expanding its range of 35 bars and stems to its Haven line. With a moderate 750-millimeter width, the Haven 35 bar is offered with a standard low-rise option along with a taller 40-millimeter rise version. We tested the high-rise option in combination with the new Haven 40-millimeter stem. With the same 9-degree backsweep and 5-degree upsweep of the Havoc 35, they felt familiar, but came in a narrower, taller package. Not to be overshadowed, the Easton Lock-On grips offer some unique features of their own to complement the Haven cockpit. The aluminum lock-on clamps remain hidden by the grip material that overlaps the clamp. They are also offered in two diameters–30 and 33 millimeter–and also have six color options to suit a wide range of tastes. – Anthony Smith

Race Face: SIXC 35, $170 | Atlas 35, $100 | Half Nelson, $24
Given its British Columbia heritage, Race Face has been quick to embrace the wide-bar/short-stem revolution, and its sleek SIXC handlebar represents a unique blend of style and function in the 35-millimeter-clamp diameter segment. The 800-millimeter-wide bar is available in three rise options–10, 20 and 35 millimeters–each with an 8-degree backsweep and a 5-degree upsweep. I chose the 20-millimeter-rise option and paired it with the awesomely short, 35-millimeter Atlas 35 stem–a combination that gave me mind-blowing control over my front wheel, especially given how it helped offset the longish toptube on the size large frame I was riding. Stem length is largely a personal preference–and the perfect pairing also depends on one’s bike size–so Race Face offers the Atlas 35 in 50 and 65 millimeters as well. For grips, I picked the super-slim Half Nelson, which features a single lock-on. Though I chose black, the grips come in eight other colors for people whose lives don’t revolve around hardcore and speedmetal. – Brice Minnigh

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Deity: DC31 Mohawk Carbon, $190 | Cavity, $100 | Classic, $20
At 270 grams the new DC31 Mohawk Carbon handlebars claim to be the strongest downhill/enduro bar on the market. They feel comfortable with a 9-degree bend, a 5-degree upsweep, 25-millimeter rise, and 787-millimeter width. The Mohawk bars are also backed by a three-year limited warranty and lifetime crash replacement. The Cavity stem from Deity is the perfect complement to the Mohawk bar. Its unique flip-flop design allows you to fine-tune your bar height no matter what frame, or wheel size you’re riding. Get low, or stack it up, the Cavity has you covered. Additionally the Cavity has shed all unnecessary material leaving you with a stem that is not only stiff and robust, but also lightweight at 173 grams. The appropriately named Classic grips use a time-tested waffle design along with a BMX-inspired flange, and oversized 3-millimeter lock-on clamps. Add to that 5 five color options for the lock-on clamps to mix and match with the Cavity stem and Mohawk bars, and you’re left with performance and style all wrapped into one. Need proof? Check out the red, black and grey cockpit on this month’s dual tester review of the Intense Tracer 275C on page 100. – AS

Chromag: BZA, $160 | BZA 35, $180 | Squarewave, $32
Ever since the Whistler, British Columbia-based Chromag came out with its 35-millimeter clamp diameter BZA bar, it’s been a go-to for me, and last year I chose it as the cockpit for my ‘Dream Build’ in the December 2013 issue of Bike. The rider-driven Chromag is a company that seems to have a knack for blending functionality with an artistic aesthetic that just oozes character. And though I could be accused of being vain and superficial in my choice of parts, when you love something as much as I love my bike, you naturally want it to look cool as all hell, right? The BZA bar is 780 millimeters wide–which for me is the perfect overall width for all-mountain riding–and features an 8-degree backsweep and 5-degree upsweep. I paired the bar with the BZA 35 stem, which is available in one length–a sensible 50 millimeters–and wisely doesn’t feature any rise. For my grips, I picked the Squarewave, which has a slight bulge in the center of the grip, creating a comfortable interface with the middle of your palm. Like all Chromag grips, the Squarewave has a ‘split-teardrop’ end clamp which covers the bar end while still using a true pinch-clamp to adhere to the bar. – BM

Answer: Protaper Carbon SL, $190 | Rove G2, $85 | Fall Line XC, $30
There are several different configurations of the svelte Carbon SL bar available, from 660- to 780-millimeter widths and zero to 25 millimeters of rise. We chose a 780 bar because we figured we could always trim it using the cutting guide, which shows a picture of a cycling cap on the short end and a DH helmet on the long. Even though the 8-degree backsweep and 13 millimeters of rise fall within normal range, the bar achieves these dimensions by initiating those angles quite close to the clamping area, giving it a very distinctive look. It played tricks on our eyes, making dialing in the bar’s roll during initial setup curiously challenging. Once sorted, though, they feel perfectly comfortable, and match the look of the Rove G2 stem nicely. The stem is styled nicely, includes a top cap that complements the graphic, and comes in lengths from 60 to 120 millimeters. The 8-degree stem is perfectly happy to be run flipped up or down, and it comes with a star nut and some headset spacers as well, which is a nice bonus. Answer’s Fall Line XC grips are pretty standard. They use the popular ODI lock-on system with silver, gold, red and black collars, and they’re a comfortable diameter and rubber compound. – RP