Specialized have changed the one-piece bar and stem game entirely with their excellent and innovative S-Works Barmac. Not only is it adjustable thanks to the wedge system, it’s a wonderful shape and manages to give a precise and stiff ride without feeling harsh.
The weight is a little higher than a similar price and quality separate bar and stem setup, but the Barmac gives a ride quality that rivals the best separate setups out there. It’s a solid and high-performance feeling carbon combo, but with a surprising amount of comfort due to its bump-dulling properties.
All-in-one setups have never been top of our list because of the lack of adjustability – you’re stuck with the stem angle, and the usually harsh ride. Specialized have come up with a solution to that though: the Barmac uses a wedge system to give five possible stem angles.
We chose a stem angle to set the bar rotation position, which is fixed, and then used headset spacers to set the bar height. Surprisingly, this setup is quite comfortable too; it’s on the stiff side, but it takes a lot of buzz out and the bar is a very pleasant shape whatever position you’re riding in.
This article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine.