PRO Vibe Mark Cavendish road handlebar and stem review
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.