Advanced Bike Research, or ABR, are a brand BikeRadar weren't familiar with, and when we heard that mail order specialists Woolly Hat Shop were stocking their products we wanted to take a look. After receiving samples of ABR's 2013 products, here are our findings.
ABR produce a wide range of bars in many shapes, widths, rises and materials. Starting at the cheaper end of the scale are the aluminium models – the Fury is ABR's entry level mountain bike bar, aimed at gravity riders. We can't help but think that the 38mm rise and 690mm width are out of fashion, and the 374g weight is average for a £29.99 bar.
Next up is the Flight riser bar, a cross-country/trail steering stick. Its 25mm rise brings things back up to date, but the 630mm width seems out of place again. The 256g weight is decent, but considering it is around 50mm shorter than most of its direct competition is nothing to really shout about. The Flight will also set you back just £29.99.
The Heats bar is designed for more serious stuff. At 760mm wide, with a 20mm rise, this bar hit our scales at 288g – a respectable figure considering the width. The £49.99 retail price does pitch it against some tough competition, though.
For the cross-country crowd and more weight-conscience folk out there, ABR produce two scandium bars, the Epics flat and Waves riser models retailing at £59.99 and £74.99 respectively. The Epics' 560mm width keeps weight down to just 123g, while the Waves' 635mm width balances the scales at 231g.
Two carbon handlebars are also available, the 560mm ABR Trail C Flat is another super-narrow flat cross-country offering, but its carbon/alloy hybrid construction gives a weight figure of 135g for the £89.99 retail price. Finally, the 645mm Venture Riser Carbolite is made from the same carbon/alloy mixture but features a 35mm rise and weighs 162g for £99.99.
ABR also produce several stems to match their handlebars. The Aegis is a 182g, no frills alloy stem available in 90 or 100mm lengths for £26.99. If you prefer form over function then ABR also produce a carbon wrapped version – the Aegis C for £49.99.
The standout product for us was ABR's 90mm Air T stem. This 3D forged alloy stem is a super minimal piece and, weight weenies unite, weighed only 108g on our scales. That's impressive in general, but considering this is a £44.99 stem it's almost a scary figure. You can also buy a carbon wrapped version of the stem for £69.99.
The Air T stem is our standout product from ABR's 2013 range
ABR also make a couple of dirt jump and downhill friendly stems, but both the Avenger and Diablo look quite dated, with equally uninspiring spec sheets. Both feature a 45mm reach and are priced steeply at £49.99 – the Diablo's 253g weight and the Avenger's 245g heft are unacceptable at this price point. We did like the XTR Grey colour scheme, though.
The heavy duty stems don't seem particularly good value
ABR also sell a selection of headset spacers, with kits comprising four single 3, 5, 8 and 10mm spacers. Carbon fibre ones retail for £14.99 while anodised alloy versions cost £6.99.
An interesting product in the ABR lineup is the adjustable headset spacer. Available in 30-42mm and 35-50mm sizes, these CNC'd bits of kit allow for one adjustable part to be placed into a headset assembly in the place of usual spacers.
With a little help from our Facebook community we soon confirmed what we first suspected – that these are a solution to a problem that doesn't actually exist. As nice as these £9.99 parts are, we don't think they will take off.
ABR's adjustable headset spacers
Two new seatposts were also sent over. The £34.99 MONO 2 – a 350mm, 250g one-piece alloy post – looks promising to us. Much more so than the £29.99 3216 post that hit the scales at a disappointing 14g over the alloy model, despite being the same length and 27.2mm in diameter.
ABR's carbon seatpost (above) weighs more than their alloy model
Overall, we think the ABR lineup is a bit hit and miss for 2013. But with significant discounts already appearing over at Woolly Hat Shop it's still worth a look. For more information see www.abrbikes.com.