35mm cockpit: setting a new standard?
Last year, we saw the birth of 35mm handlebars and since then, things have grown fast in the world of mountain bike cockpits. Race Face have expanded their offering into their Turbine Stem and Carbon Next Handlebars; providing a seriously stiff and lightweight package for XC racers as well as All Mountain riders.
The Turbine range is made to cross between the XC bracket and the harder hitting All Mountain rider; products that are lightweight enough to satisfy weight weenies, but strong enough to take on the big hits.
RaceFace Turbine stem: super stiff and strong
The Turbine Stem is a stunning bit of engineering, with every machined corner and bolt oozing quality and durability. It’s available in a variety of lengths, with the longest bring 90mm and the shortest 50; with the increasing trend to run wide bars and shorter stems even on XC bikes, that means that this should cover most bases and give a great reach for most riders.
The benefit of 35mm for a stem, is that the clamping area is vastly increased, and as such you get a significantly stronger and more secure grip on the bar. The clamp on the Turbine stem certainly grips very well, and the quality of the design and tolerances, means that the clamp has an almost 100% wrap around the bar.
As is now expected with 35mm, it’s super stiff and strong. It’s in fact lighter than many 31.8mm clamp stems too, which makes it an undeniably good choice on all fronts.
RaceFace Next carbon bar: bigger, longer and lighter
Combined the Turbine stem with the Next 35mm Carbon Handlebars and you’ve got a super high-end performance cockpit. The Next bar is bigger, longer and lighter than the majority of the competitors. 35mm really comes into its own with carbon bars, and it allows you to shave material off from the inside of the bar, without it compromising strength. The result is an all-up weight of just 180 grams, but with the strength and width (760mm) of a downhill bar.
Despite being super stiff when you really sprint on these bars, they also seem to provide a good degree of vibration-absorbing compliance. On small rough stuff, they are noticeably more comfortable than alloy bars, and reduce the fatigue in your hands and wrists after long arduous sections of trail.
For the XC racer, you’ll also be pleased to hear that the Next bar comes in a super low-profile 10mm rise version. This provides the position of a flat bar, but the compliance of a riser. A very cool design, and one that we found to perform extremely well during testing.
As a complete package, the Race Face Turbine Stem and 35mm Next bars are worthy of serious recognition. The new standard comes into its own in providing a cockpit that is lightweight, super stiff, super wide, and yet super comfortable.