PRO Vibe Mark Cavendish road handlebar and stem review£74.99

Signature alloy cockpit combo

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Mark Cavendish worked with HTC Columbia component suppliers PRO to develop this signature bar (£74.99) and stem (£149.99). If you value your watts and want a sprinting edge, look no further.

Adapting a track stem for the road gave Cavendish the extra stiffness that his extraordinary sprinting ability demanded. The massively oversized unit is bold and purposeful, dwarfing some frame tubes.

A four-bolt aluminium front cap and aluminium insert for the steerer clamp reinforce its rugged credentials and provide added security. Despite the extra rigidity, weight is still well under 200g.

Partnering the stem is an evolution of PRO’s Vibe anatomic 7050 alloy handlebar. Already oversized across the whole width, providing extra grip for larger hands, it also has four internal ribs further stiffening it to meet the Manxman’s needs.

Replacing PRO PLT items with the Cavendish combo showed how bulky the new stem is – it looked twice the size, and meant our computer would now have to be bar mounted. We were apprehensive heading out for our first ride on a setup so engineered to fight flex, expecting the price for such rigidity to be limited comfort.

However, over broken road surfaces, the vibration damping was noticeably better, transmitting very little buzz to the hands. Standing and pulling on the bar showed the total lack of flex from the cockpit – no matter how hard we tried.

It was possible to detect deflection from the fork and front wheel, but our best sprint efforts could not bend the bar, the solidity giving a positive feeling to the front end, inspiring more confidence when cornering, descending or climbing.

Robin Wilmott

Tech Writer, Tech Hub, UK,
Robin began road cycling in 1988, and with mountain bikes in their infancy, mixed experimental off-road adventures with club time trials and road races. Cyclocross soon became a winter staple, and has remained his favourite form of competition. Robin has always loved the technical aspect of building and maintaining bikes, and several years working in a good bike shop only amplified that. Ten years as a Forensic Photographer followed, honing his eye for detail in pictures and words. He has shot at the biggest pro events since the '90s, and now he's here, drawing on all those experiences to figure out what makes a bike or component tick.
  • Age: 45
  • Height: 178cm / 5'10"
  • Weight: 75kg / 165lb
  • Discipline: Road, cyclocross, time trials
  • Beer of Choice: Sierra Nevada Pale Ale

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