Wil reviews the 800mm wide Syncros Hixon iC 1.0 Rise carbon fibre handlebar
As the component arm of Scott Sports, Syncros originally developed the distinctive Hixon iC handlebar specifically for the flagship Genius 900 Tuned – a bike I tested last year.
Standing for ‘Integrated Cockpit’, this eye-catching design encompasses a shapely carbon fibre bar with the steerer tube clamp built directly into it. The goal? Simplify the entire structure by eliminating the traditional stem, therefore creating a potentially simpler, lighter and stronger bar.
As well as coming on select Scott models, the Hixon handlebar is also available aftermarket in two different versions;
- Hixon iC SL – 780mm wide, 12mm rise with 40, 50 & 60mm virtual stem length options
- Hixon iC 1.0 Rise – 800mm wide, 20mm rise with 40 & 50mm virtual stem length options
Syncros also offers the iC design in a narrower XC handlebar called the Fraser, which shrinks the width down to 740mm. The Fraser iC SL can be had with 60, 70, 80 and 90mm virtual stem lengths, and it’s what you’ll see strapped to the front of Kate Courtney’s and Nino Schurter’s XC race bikes.
Syncros Hixon iC 1.0 Rise
The model on review here is the biggest banger in the lineup; the Hixon iC 1.0 Rise. It measures 800mm wide and I’m testing the 40mm virtual stem length. It looks shorter than this, but if you look closely, you’ll see the handlebar actually angles forward before it sweeps back to the grips.
As well as being 20mm wider than the Hixon iC SL, the Hixon iC 1.0 Rise is 8mm higher at 20mm, and it has a little less sweep too.
Syncros builds each iC handlebar with a completely unique mould, which sounds expensive. High-end Japanese carbon fibre is laid up in a single piece, so no separate bonding is required. To reduce the torque required on brake, shifter and dropper lever clamps, friction-boosting texture is added to this area of the handlebar by sanding in the finishing stage.
What Are The Advantages?
Firstly, it’s bloody light. 273 of your finest Earth grams, to be exact. Let’s put that in perspective with a couple of mainstream carbon bar and stem combos;
- ENVE 800mm wide M7 handlebar & M7 35mm stem: 325g
- Renthal 800mm wide Fatbar Carbon & Apex 40mm stem: 343g
- Truvativ 800mm wide Descendent Carbon DH & 40mm stem: 374g
Of course if we’re also talking about alloy bars, the differences are even more substantial. Syncros’s own Hixon 1.5 alloy bar weighs 315g on its own. And that’s before you even add a stem.
The alloy Giant bar & stem I took off the Trance 29 test bike weighed in at 444g. That’s a 38% weight reduction, which is a huge percentage. And after all, weight weenieism is all about percentages. Save a few grams here and there, and it all adds up.
As well as being lighter, the Hixon iC is also simpler. There are of course fewer bolts to worry about, and there’s no need for Syncros to overbuild the centre of the bar to cope with clamping forces. The result is that the shape, profile and carbon layup can be optimised for the whole structure to achieve the desired levels of stiffness and vibration damping.
And The Downsides?
It ain’t cheap. But then you are essentially getting a carbon bar and stem in one. And if you look at a comparable ENVE M7 setup, which costs an eye-watering £440, then the Hixon iC is a comparative bargain.
Being an integrated design, of course you can’t easily change the stem length. Well, technically you can, but you gotta buy a whole new bar. Likewise, you also can’t tweak the bar roll, so the shape you see is the shape you get. You wanna be real sure about the dimensions before plumping up for one of these.
On the Hixon iC 1.0 Rise, you’ve got a 6° upsweep and a 7º backsweep, along with 20mm of rise. These numbers were primarily developed for the front end of the Scott Ransom with its 64.5° head angle. You can of course fit the Hixon to any bike with a standard 1 1/8in steerer clamp diameter, but bear in mind that as the head angle changes, the effective sweep will change too.
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|Product:||Hixon iC 1.0 Rise|
|Tested:||by Wil Barrett for 6 months|