In this review, our customer Jason Martinez walks us through his Race Face SixC carbon handlebars with a 31.8 clamp diameter and a 20mm rise. The SixC bars feature an 8-degree back sweep and 5-degree upsweep. Let's see how Jason likes these bars out on the trail!
Because I’m still new to the whole cycling thing I never really understood how a bike fits together, as well as the various things that affect comfort and performance when riding. To be on the safe side, I initially built my Salsa Beargrease using mostly stock components. This meant a 70mm Salsa Guide Trail stem and 750mm Salsa Salt Flat 2 handlebars. The setup was fairly comfortable since the bars had an 11-degree sweep to bring them farther back from the longer stem. But, as I was writing reviews for the components I’d bought from Worldwide Cyclery, and they offered gift cards (they seriously have to stop doing that; it’s making it impossible for me to stop upgrading stuff), I went ahead and splurged on a carbon bar. I then had to do all kinds of research to find the right one. Did I want to get a 35mm bar? Then I need a new stem. Do I need a rise? How much rise?
I spent a few hours doing the research, and ended up looking at Race Face’s SixC 31.8mm bars, ¾ rise, carbon, about a 20mm rise, and came with blue accents that matched my bike’s color scheme (Stealth black with blue hubs, chainring, and hardware). After they arrived, I threw them on the bike, carefully torqued them down, got on the bike for a test….and it didn’t quite feel right.
At 35mm longer than the Salt Flats (785mm), the SixCs didn’t feel uncomfortably wide (I have pretty broad shoulders), but I felt like I was leaning too far over. They had about 3-degrees less sweep, and my arms had to stretch a bit to accommodate the longer reach. This led me to research stem length, and eventually the purchase of a Spank Spike Bearclaw 50mm, 0-degree stem. Problem solved.
During my recent ride on some groomed snow trails, I felt very comfortable with the bike. The wider handlebars (really for downhill) helped me keep control over my 3.8” tires. I didn’t get any pain in the shoulders from the width, but I am considering cutting them down to around 760-765mm. It’ll depend on how they feel once spring hits and I can get out on some dirt trails.
I can’t say whether or not the bars absorb more of the trail chatter (since I was on snow), but the bars are ultra-light (could barely tell there was anything in the box when it arrived) and the width isn’t so extreme that a lot would need to be cut off. I believe there is a shorter cross-country version at 710 or 730mm, for those who might be riding a narrower bike or ride on narrow, tree-choked trails. These bars are also stylish (in my eyes) for having the color as an accent, rather than painting the whole thing a single color. I don’t know if 35mm will actually replace 31.8mm as the standard in the future, but if I change over, I’ll likely stick with the SixC bars. At around $140, the price point is pretty decent, too.
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