November 3, 2009
Big and flat for when you go flat out.
Element Nickel-Wide Bar
From: RHUK www.ridinghighuk.com
Tested: Three months
As forks have increased in travel, handlebars have decreased in rise. It got to the point that some people have quipped: ‘You might as well run a flat bar’. Well, yeah, not a bad idea as it goes.
The problem previously was that decent width bars (700mm or more) have only been available as risers. Now though there are a few flat bars that offer all the width you could ever want.
These bars from Element are a shoulder-spreading 760mm wide with a 9º bend. At first they look and feel a bit odd – especially if you’ve not touched a flat bar since Answer Hyperlites ruled the world – but if you’re running them on a bike with 160mm of travel or more up front the lower front end can help return some of the handling that a big fork can rob thanks to the bars putting more of your weight over the front.
Some singlespeeders may also like the wide flat bar feel as it gives them something to wan… er, pull on.
Overall: Flat bars are not just for XC race bikes.