Monday, March 23, 2009 10.00am
By Guy Kesteven, What Mountain Bike
When it comes to brands we trust not to snap in our hands, Race Face are always right up there. Having a Canadian perspective on what even a cross-country component should cope with always helps, but they're reassuringly obsessive about their quality control, too.
This does mean the Next is slightly heavier than its main rivals, Easton's Monkeylite XC and Truvativ's Noir bars, but it's certainly not overweight.
A bit more beef plus reinforced anti stem-crush bracing under the naked ﬁnish and daily destruction test checking on the RF production line makes them well-suited for the rougher side of trail work.
Given that we’ve had several trouble-free years on Next carbon gear now, the ¾ gets the nod from us in terms of proven performance too.
At 685mm, they’re wide enough to add plenty of power steering authority without scufﬁng trees and dislodging squirrels every time you hit the singletrack.
The low centre, with relaxed backsweep and a proﬁle that tapers out before the upper bend, makes them an instantly comfy bar with almost everyone. They’ll take the sting out of relentless boulder sections without fudging the ﬁne edge of what the tyres are doing.
If the weight bothers you then there’s an SL version that uses a slightly ﬂatter tip sweep and a narrower span to get weight down to 170g. It’s an extra £20 though and we reckon most riders would rather have the extra leverage than lose grams.
Also check out Race Face's Deus XC ¾ at £59.95. It's the same sweet shape as the carbon version but in high-strength, seamless, cold-drawn alloy to keep the price down.
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