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Carbon handlebars are a great addition to any mountain bike. Not only does the carbon dampen sharp impacts and edges, but it will save you weight too! In this review, our customer picks up a Race Face Next 35 Riser Carbon bar. Check out what he had to say!
As an avid recreational mountain bike rider, I found it time to upgrade the OEM handlebar on my Trek Stache 5. After talking with the brilliant folks at Worldwide Cyclery, I decided to try out a Race Face NEXT 35 carbon bar, and match it to the Race Face Turbine R 35, as my OEM stem was a 31.8mm stem, thus not compatible with the new bar I was leaning towards. The OEM Bontrager bar transfered alot of vibration to my hands, and I wanted a bar that would help reduce this. Jeff did a video on Carbon fiber handlebars, and pointed out that reduced vibrations is one of the assets of that design. After installation, I was off on a ride! I have no experience with carbon fiber handlebars in the past, so I was not sure what to expect.
Off the bat, I noticed the steering felt a little more "sharp", and small trail vibrations were much more muted.
After a few more rides, that difference between the OEM alloy bar, and the Race Face NEXT carbon fiber bar became more clear. The Bontrager bar had more "flex" to it, and transferred more vibrations to my hands.
The Race Face bar gives a much better feel to my rides. My hands do not seem to fatigue nearly as quickly as they did riding with the alloy bar.
As for the Race Face Turbine stem, it was chosen for its weight. Yes, I know the cheeseburger I had last night weighed twice what the stem does, and so far my wife hasn't told me if I'm any better looking. BUT, this stem looks much better than my OEM stem, and fits the 35mm bar diameter. The open front of the stem helps centering the handlebar when installing. My stock stem had weird cut outs in the top, and were visible on the sides of the top cap. These drove my OCD off the charts, and I'm confident those cuts lead to my crash when going through a sandy wash. I couldn't take my eyes off the dirt gathering in those cut outs, and, ultimately crashed. The Race Face turbine has no such cut outs, and I have yet to be distracted by it. Technically this would directly be making me a better rider. I'll take it. While considered an expensive upgrade by many people, I think the change to a carbon fiber handlebar was a great decision. My steering feels more precise, and I no longer have issues with fatigue in my hands.
If you suffer from hand fatigue during short-ish (8 to 12 mile) mountain bike rides, you might consider a swap to a carbon fiber handlebar. I also encourage anyone to contact the folks at Worldwide Cyclery if you have any questions regarding upgrading your bike. They are a huge help!
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