Handlebars and stems are one of those funny bits on a bike that sit very much in the ‘buy/fit and forget’ category yet, as the primary contact point giving control between you and the front wheel, it is an important component combination. The width, rise and back sweep of the handlebar and the length of stem will determine your position on the bike. With the current trend being wide and short, would the 800mm Burgtec bars and 35mm stem be a little too wide and short…
The RW (RideWide) Carbon DH bar is a massive 800mm wide but has distinct suggested cut marks that would allow a bit of cutting back to a more tree-friendly width if required. What the width gives you however is total domination of the front end of the bike; the body position that can be made is really low and aggressive.
Sporting a 20mm rise, 9-degree back sweep and 5-degree upsweep the bar needed a few small tweaks in rotation until I found the best position for me. Weighing in at 284g, it is slightly heavier than some other carbon bars but still significantly less (well, 100g or so) than it’s alloy stable mate. The 31.8mm clamp area has a textured grip to it that means stem clamp bolts can be torqued correctly with no slippage or fear of damaging the carbon.
Immediately noticeable was the stiffness of this bar; trail feedback was reassuring but what that delivered in reality was more arm pump than I have experienced with other bars. Fitting a slightly softer grip did help to alleviate this and, for my narrow shoulders, cutting them down a little would help with the wrist angle and potentially reduce strain and fatigue. Fitting split-clamp brake levers was a doddle but, disappointingly at this price, fitting the push-on gear shifter was a tight fit and caused the lacquer finish to bubble and actually crack.
The Enduro Mk2 stem is a chunky yet classy example of CNC machining available in 35mm (tested) and 50mm reaches with a 31.8mm clamp and zero degree rise. It was great to have all the clamp bolts the same size which saves a faff when fitting. The white laser etching looks great too. But a stem is a stem no? Weighing 129g, the 35mm stem was a great match to the RW Carbon DH bar and resulted in sharp steering without being overly twitchy.
I am also a bit pedantic and like to use matching components so running a Burgtec stem with Burgtec bars would be a natural decision. A 40mm stack height meant I had to add an extra spacer above the stem in order not to cut the fork steerer.
Too wide and too short? How’s this for sitting on the fence… it depends. Riding the local steep wooded trails I didn’t clip the handlebars but, I did have to slow down and wince a couple of times expecting to deprive a tree of some bark. For where I ride I would be inclined to cut them down to 780mm or perhaps 760mm but, if I habitually rode somewhere more open like the Dales or Lakes, then I would leave them where they are as the control you get is epic. The carbon bar makes for a very stiff setup, just be prepared to fit some softer grips if you find it a bit too harsh.
|Product:||RideWide Carbon DH Bar & Enduro MK2 Stem|
|Price:||£124.99 (Bar), £79.99 (Stem)|
|Tested:||by Tom Nash for 6 Weeks|