Back in January, I tested a set of Spank bars with the company’s Vibrocore foam filling. Those were standard 31.8mm diameter bars, and I found that the foam insert did, in fact, make them more comfortable over rough terrain than a standard bar.
Now a few months on, Spank has been in touch again and asked if we would like to test another Vibrocore bar, this time the new Spike 35 riser bar with burly 35mm diameter bar clamp and increased width to a monster 820mm plus the same Vibrocore technology as the previous set.
35mm diameter bars have been around for a while and we’re starting to see more manufacturers spec the chunkier bar as standard on complete bikes.
The benefits of a bigger bar include increased stiffness, lighter weight (depending on the bar and how it is manufactured) and overall better strength. However, the issues with many 35mm bars are that they can be a little too stiff and many riders find the less forgiving nature equals a less comfortable ride.
So would a Vibrocore filling make the Spank 35 more comfortable than standard 35mm bars, and would them make a good upgrade for customers struggling with their current burly bars?
At 300g the Spank 35 isn’t a lightweight bar, but they are reassuringly weighty and you’ll never worry that they’re going to break. They’re also extremely wide! At 820mm they are the widest bars I have ever tested and they are currently one of the widest bars on the market today.
If 820mm is too wide, and for most of us it is, Spank has ensured that the Vibrocore foam filling doesn’t come to the very end so that you can easily cut them down to a minimum of 760mm without damaging the material inside.
Currently, only a 25mm rise bar with 5º up and 8º back sweep is available and all options get a shortened anodised black finish, however, there are colour options for the decals. We went for standard white, but red, green and blue logo colours are available if you need to match things up.
The structure of the Spank 35 bar consists of a 105mm area with 35mm diameter which then tapers down to a standard 22.2mm so that your shifters, brake levers and grips will all slide nicely in place. A slightly textured finish also helps to keep controls from sliding out of place, while the markings help getting them into position.
The Big-Taper design is manufactured from Zirconium-Doped 7-Series Alloy which sounds like a material that the Avengers would use to make a shield for Captain America. It’s the same stuff used on the bars that the Commencal Vallnord Downhill Team are using, so plenty strong enough for mortals. If you are worried though, there is a 2-year warranty on them, as there is with all Spank parts.
For this review, I didn’t cut down the 820mm wide bar, as it would give me the perfect opportunity to give a big bar a go. I tend to use a 780mm wide bar and thought that the extra width would take some getting used to, but this wasn’t the case.
It helps that the geometry of the Spank 35 suits me perfectly so I had no annoying twinges or issues with the sweep, and the wider bar, especially on long open Alpine descents really does give you a little more control and stability at speed.
For local riding though, the 820mm bar is way too wide. Narrow trails, walls, trees, other riders, the Spank 35 likes to collect them all, and once fitted to my long-term test bike I’ll probably hack them down to 800mm at least.
As for the Vibrocore filling, well it’s hardly surprising that the vibration damping material once again proved to work. For the first week of testing, I rode the Spank Spike 35 Vibrocore in the Alps on long natural rock trails, as well as sculpted bike park lines, and I’m confident that they are more comfortable and forgiving than any other alloy 35mm bar I’ve tested.
There might be carbon bars which offer similar trail damping qualities, but for someone who regularly meets with rocks, logs and trails, I prefer the added piece of mind alloy brings to the table.
If you’re a downhill or enduro racer who pushes your bike to the limit and needs added comfort and don’t mind the weight, I would certainly suggest the Spank Spike 35 Vibrocore bar. It’s a racer’s bar that won’t rattle your fillings out.
For those of us who aren’t giving Amaury Pierron or Tanhee Seagrave a run for their money, the Spank Spike 35 Vibrocore is still a great upgrade IF you find your current 35mm bars are too jarring.
Those of you who want to give Vibrocore a try but don’t want to switch stems, consider the 31.8mm Spank Vibrocore bar we tested earlier in the year.
|Product:||Spike 35 Vibrocore|
|Tested:||by Andi Sykes for 3 months|