We scoured the pits at Sea Otter and came across a smattering of promising looking new mountain bike bars and stems from Answer, Deity, KORE, Truvativ and Loaded Precision. Some are prototypes, but all can be expected for sale sometime in 2013. Check out our image gallery for lots more pictures.
Answer ProTaper 780 and 20/20 bars
Answer showed their new ProTaper 780 Carbon, which is "what everyone cuts their 800 down to", according to Struve. The new bar uses unidirectional carbon and a 4° by 8° geometry (up and backsweep) with a choice of 12.7mm and 25.4mm rises. Answer say that despite its 250g claimed weight it's been deliberately overbuilt to deal with the rigors of downhill and trail use. It comes with a 31.8mm clamp only.
The ProTaper line is built for downhill strength, yet the new 780mm width weighs just 250g
The company also had their new 20/20 bar (not pictured) on display, which was designed with input from Evan Plews, a 24-hour singlespeed national champion who also happens to moonlight as an engineer. The bar has a radical 20° backsweep in a 720mm width, plus it’s able to flip-flop for a ±20mm rise. “The weight just happens to be 220g,” said Scott Struve, Hayes' marketing director. “It’s actually 218g, but needless to say it’s us listening to our riders and actually bringing something to production.”
Deity CZ38 Special handlebar, Locust direct-mount and Cavity stem
Deity’s new bars and stems are all slated for a late fall launch at the industry trade shows but that didn’t stop them from showing them early at Sea Otter. You’ll have to wait for prices, though. The CZ38 Special is a signature project for Cam Zink, who asked for a 8.5° bend and 4.5° sweep to match his motorcycle’s handlebar.
The bar is made from ‘gradient’ butted 7075-T6 alloy – the butting runs in a long taper throughout the bar, rather than being applied in specific areas – and comes in a 760mm width, with a 38mm rise and a 31.8mm clamp. Deity claim the weight at 310g and offer it in bead blast black, red, green, anodized purple and their signature two-tone bead blast/mirror black finish.
Deity's CZ38 Special handlebar
The Cavity stem is CNC machined from 6061-T6 alloy and comes in a single 50mm length. The key feature is its short stack height, which measures just 32mm. The stem also flips, offering a slight rise. Deity use a 55mm faceplate to better stiffness, security and durability. At Sea Otter, they showed it in their four standard anodized colors: black, red, green and purple.
Deity will also offer a new direct mount stem this fall called the Locust DM. This fits the RockShox Boxxer bolt standard and is CNC machined from 7075-T6 alloy. The four-piece design is moto-inspired and offers a super-wide 65mm clamping distance. It's available in one size only, which is adjustable from 50mm to 55mm, with a 0° rise.
Deity claim the stem to weigh just 110g but say it's three times stronger than other direct mount models. It's currently being tested on Cam Zink, Tyler McCaul and Shaun Palmer’s downhill rigs. Deity plan to offer the Locust DM stem in black, red, green and purple anodized colors.
Deity's Locust DM stem
KORE Components OCD and Torsion bars, plus Durox and Repute stems
KORE claim their OCD 7075-T6 alloy handlebar to be the lightest 800mm bar currently available at just 280g. It’s a triple-butted bar that sports a 5° upsweep and 7° backsweep, and comes in zero, 20mm and 35mm rise options. Despite the high-performance spec, KORE price the bar at just US$60.
While the OCD crosses all categories from trail to downhill, KORE’s 330g (claimed) Torsion bar (US$50) is squarely presented as a blue collar gravity handlebar. The Torsion has the same specs – rise options, sweeps and 800mm width – as the OCD but is made from double-butted 2014-T6 alloy.
Both bars are available in a plethora of powder coated colour options: black, white, red, blue, gold, silver and bead blast black. KORE say powder coating wears better and fades less than anodizing, plus it’s also cheaper.
KORE's OCD and Torsion bars with the matching Durox and Repute stems
Each bar has a matching stem. The Durox is made of 3D forged 6061-T6 alloy and is available in 60mm, 70mm and 90mm lengths, with a 6° rise for trail use, at a claimed 150g-175g. The Repute shares the same construction but is available in 35mm and 50mm lengths, with claimed weights of 126g and 163g, respectively. It has a 0° rise and is aimed at downhillers and dirt jumpers. Both stems cost US$60 and come only in high-polish black.
Truvativ launch BlackBox custom handlebar program
The SRAM group debuted the next step in the company's athlete-only BlackBox program at Sea Otter: custom Truvativ handlebars crafted with rider-specific dimensions to suit every individual taste. Reigning downhill World Champion Danny Hart's (Giant Off-Road Racing Team) BlackBox Truvativ BooBar, for example, is built with a 25mm rise and nine-degree backsweep in contrast to the standard version's 20mm or 30mm width and seven-degree sweep.
'Rad' Ross Schnell, on the other hand, wanted to stick with a lightweight Noir carbon bar, but wanted more width for his all-mountain antics. "They're 750mm," he told BikeRadar. "Moustache is around 700mm. It's wider than most cross-country weenie bars." [We presume Schnell was referring to the handlebar, not the moustache Ed.]
Ross Schnell's handlebar moustache got a bit bigger at Sea Otter, courtesy of Truvativ's new BlackBox custom handlebar program
Get colorful with Loaded Precision
San Diego, California-based Loaded Precision started just three years but now offer a wide range of cockpit and wheel components – most of which are available in seven brightly anodized colors to suit your personal aesthetic. The new X-Lite range is highlighted by a 99g forged and CNC-machined stem with titanium hardware, a carbon fiber riser, and an extra-wide flat carbon bar aimed at 29er riders.
Also catching our collective eye were Loaded's aggressively machined aluminum headset spacers with a standard outer diameter but just three lines of contact on the steerer tube to keep everything centered. The matching headset is said to weigh just 66g with its 7075 aluminum cups and hybrid ceramic angular contact bearings.
While not unusually light, we found Loaded's 'NoSlip' lock-on grips to be appealing nonetheless. A clever additional C-shaped aluminum bit works with the outer collars to both lock the collar on the bar and the grip into the collar so there's no chance of even slight rotation. The surface is remarkably tacky and the matching caps lend an impressively finished look.
Colors are a big deal for Loaded Precision. Nearly all of the company's aluminum products are offered in seven different hues