Pinkbike Product Picks

Feb 7, 2014
by Matt Wragg  
Renthal Fatbar Lite Carbon

Launched at the end of last year, this is the first carbon handlebar Renthal have ever produced. When it was released we took an in-depth look at the production and development of the bar, so we won't go into too much detail here. Sitting at 740mm it is narrower than a lot of us here at Pinkbike would reach for. Speaking to Renthal about this, they acknowledge this, but explain that their experience with its aluminium brother is that there is a strong market out there for this width, which is precisely why they chose to release this handlebar before the wider, carbon DH bar they have in the pipeline. We tested the 20mm rise version, which tipped our scales at a 2g over claimed their claimed weight of 180g. Like all Renthal bars they have 7 degrees of backsweep and 5 degrees of upsweep, identical to Renthals aluminium bars.. MSRP $159.99 www.renthalcycling.com

While we're big fans of the styling on Renthal's handlebars, this carbon version with a raw carbon fnish and gold detailing is even less subtle than the aluminium bars, which may not be everyones cup of tea. Renthal's markings on the handlebars have always been some of the best, numbered to help you find the right position every time. A verified 182g for the 20mm rise version.

Pinkbike's Take:
bigquotesBar shape is a very personal thing. If you polled the Pinkbike office, you'd likely get as many favourites as there are riders. It's no secret that I like the shape of Renthal bars, they have been my go-to handlebar for about four years now. For me, the 7 x 5 degree sweep combination is the most natural and comfortable I have tried. When we first showed these bars back in December there were many people who voiced that they had hoped for a wider bar (a 780mm carbon version of the Fatbar is in development now), and I was among them - my long-standing preference is 760mm. With one of the longer-top-tubed bikes in the garage, one where the reach was on the limits for my arm length, the slightly narrower bar has really helped make the bike more manageable and fun to ride. The lesson has been that it's worth considering your bar width as a factor in the overall cockpit. Wide is good, but wider isn't always better. On shorter toptube bikes, the 760mm bars will be staying firmly in place, but it is definitely worth thinking about the bigger picture before you dismiss 740mm bars. On the trail, there is virtually nothing new for anybody familiar with Renthals aluminium Fatbar Lite, they feel the same, which is a huge success for Renthal as this is precisely what they were aiming for when they tuned the layup. What this does mean is that there is only one reason for buying the Fatbar Lite Carbon: weight. And they are lighter, they replaced a Fatbar trimmed to 760mm and saved a solid 100g. Looking at the competition, these are the lightest 740mm bars money can buy and they retain the great shape that has established Renthal as a major player in the handlebar market so quickly. As with all carbon products, they aren't aimed at being affordable, they are aimed at people who are happy to pay premium prices to have the best kit on their bikes, and these are definitely among the best available. - Matt Wragg




Works Components Narrow/Wide Chainring

We are a bit surprised we haven't seen a narrow/wide chainring from a UK company before now. More so than in any other country, UK trail riders embraced 1x drivetrains well before the arrival of SRAMs XX1. Yet this Works Components ring is the first British offering we have seen in production. The West-Midlands based company are best known for their angle-adjust headsets, but are expanding their range. The quality of machining, is top notch, as you'd expect from a company so small that it is the owner, Rick, and his father who do nearly everything themselves. The teeth are longer than many other chainrings, as Works were developing a longer-toothed chainring to aid chain retention before they considered doing a narrow/wide design. It is made from 7075 T6 aluminium, is available in 32t, 34t and 36t, to fit standard 104 BCD cranks in a range of anodised colours. Works also offer narrow/wide chainrings to fit SRAM spiderless cranks. MSRP £35.00 (sold direct from the UK) www.workscomponents.co.uk

Simple and elegant. Works don t even brand their chainrings as a small company like them don t have a laser etching facility and it would bump the cost up to have them sent out to get it done. If you do want something brigther they offer a full rainbow of anodised colours. The detailing of the machining is great all the decoration you need and our 32t test ring tipped the scales at just 39g.
Simple and elegant. Works don't even brand their chainrings as a small company like them don't have a laser etching facility and it would bump the cost up to have them sent out to get it done. If you do want something brighter they offer a full rainbow of anodised colours. The detailing of the machining is great, all the decoration you need, and our 32t test ring tipped the scales at just 39g.

Pinkbike's Take:
bigquotesWe did have some issues fitting our 32t test ring to Race Face cranks. On both SixC and Turbine cranks, the longer crankarms interfere with the chain, in the end we had to space the ring out from the crank arm to get it to run smoothly. We spoke to owner, Rick, about this and he told us that he had been running their prototypes on Shimano and SRAM cranks, where there is no issue. One of the great things with a small company like Works is that Rick took one look at the problem when it was explained to him, did some measurements and told us he just needed to rotate the tooth pattern by a few degrees to fix the issue and that it would be resolved for their next production run. On the Shimano SLX cranks we then mounted the ring to there were no clearance issues whatsoever. Chainline was spot on too. Out on the trail, we paired the ring with a Shimano XTR Shadow Plus derailleur, but no chainguide or extra retention, and can happily report that it has been issue free. Even on rough, rocky terrain, we couldn't coax it into slipping up and dropping a chain. A great piece of kit from a great little company. - Matt Wragg



Kenny Dynamique Bib Tights

The Dynamique bibs are full-length winter riding tights, or maybe we should call them leggings? Whatever you want to call them, they cover the entire length of your leg, with a thicker section at the knee to keep your knees warm and a Cytech chamois to keep your important parts comfortable. The elastic is tailored to offer the most natural movement possible, and there is a zip at each heel to help you get them on and off easier. MSRP: €124.70 www.kenny-racing.com

This is why we haven t been wearing the Dynamique bibs on their own they are far from flattering but they are warm and comfortable when properly hidden. The zip on the back of the leg makes getting them on and off much easier and although the white patch on the knee may look unimportant it does a great job of keeping the most exposed part of your leg warm when the wind starts to howl.
This is why we haven't been wearing the Dynamique bibs on their own, they are far from flattering, but they are warm and comfortable when properly hidden. The zip on the back of the leg makes getting them on and off much easier, and although the white patch on the knee may look unimportant, it does a great job of keeping the most exposed part of your leg warm when the wind starts to howl.

Pinkbike's Take:
bigquotesIf you live in California, you're probably looking at bib shorts like these and wondering, "Why the hell would anybody wear something like that?" There's no way around it, bib shorts look weird as hell and make life inconvenient in many ways (just try taking a leak with them on). We also don't advocate wearing them on their own. The Dynamique bibs are rated for XC/road, so we suspect many of the original target audience will do just that. Tight fitting clothing is a personal thing, so whatever makes you happy, but that's not for us, instead we have spent the winter with these under a pair of light-ish baggies. Not only does this offer some defence for your modesty, but helps keep you warmer. As a base layer for winter riding for anybody who lives further from the equator, these are more or less an essential. Through the winter, they have barely missed a ride, only being left at home if the riding was serious enough to require kneepads. Switching from these to a cheaper, thinner set of tights, we immediately missed the extra material on the knee and the comfort of the liner. For synthetic material they resist odour surprisingly well, as we did keep them going longer than we'd care to admit between washes because we didn't want to be without them on the trail. Our biggest issue with them is that the knees are white, well they were white, after a winter riding, they're more brown than anything else now. Then there is the 125 Euro pricetag, which we are sure will put some people off, but we'd argue that the comfort they offer when the weather is at its worst means that while they aren't cheap, they are good value. - Matt Wragg







104 Comments

  • + 42
 Got caught reading pinkbike in work after bursting out laughing at the bob/leather sandals combo.
  • + 8
 I've seen this guy before on PB... dude's always flexin!
  • + 4
 If I wore sandals and bibs at the moment by feet and bits would drop off ;-)
  • + 9
 looks like he's ready to ride
  • + 8
 I thought I was a badass, then I saw that guy. I bow down to the awesomeness.
  • + 2
 you can add a fanny pack and he's really ready
  • + 2
 the dude looks like Vladimir Putin Smile
  • + 11
 i've been using the works components ring since it came out, as have a bunch of riding buddies. not one dropped chain between us. brilliant bit of kit
  • + 6
 Same goes for the angle headsets. Brilliant products.
  • + 17
 Made in the UK. It's not flashy. It's just simple, beautiful, and it works. I like that about you Brits.
  • + 3
 West Midlands, England engineering Mecca !!
  • + 5
 Must...resist... Top Gear jokes...
  • - 3
 Does anyone else want a 33 tooth chainring? I know one company who make one but not in a narrow wide. What about 35 tooth as well.
  • + 17
 Narrow wide chainrings have to have an even number of teeth, Just give a good minute of thinking and you'll figure it out.
  • + 4
 timmins, i laughed harder at your response than the pic of the guy in the shorts. Good work
  • + 1
 Doh! Brain fart.
  • + 4
 I bought the new 740mm enve rsr's just before the renthals were announced for sale,
the reason I tried carbon bars is because I have tendonitis in my right wrist and tennis elbow in my right elbow and also a bit in my left elbow, I can definately say the vibration damping of the carbon bars is absolutely brilliant, with my alloy bars after an hours ride my wrist would start to ache but now with the carbon bars I can ride for at least 4 hrs before I start to feel any discomfort at all,
and as for any strength worries using carbon bars, well I just don't have any at all, i'd just like to point out I ride rough trails/light down hill,
  • + 7
 Haha, always fun being the fellow to model the bibs.
  • + 20
 What you can't really see from the photo is that it's nearly freezing and pouring with rain... Was not happy.
  • + 9
 Nice sandals too!
  • + 2
 Well brave soul, a bit of suffering for love of the game builds character. Keeps people grounded.
  • + 3
 PB and other owners: do you find your carbon fatbar lite's have a bit of flex in them compared to the alu fatbar lite? It's not unnerving at all, compared to the original spank spikes. Those bars just freaked me out. But with the Renthals, its just a hint of flex. Been wondering if this bit of compliance is what causes carbon bars to soak up trail chatter in general? to wit, i have experienced less arm pump with these babies. All in all, very happy with them
  • + 3
 Carbon bars are meant to get rid of vibrations better - cant tell much of a difference on a bike with a 200mm fork though!
  • + 2
 I imagined so Racer, but was more interested in how those vibrations are handled by carbon bars: is it via gross deflection of the bars, aka compliance, or is it on a nanoscale/fiber level?

I forgot to mention mine are mounted on my trail bike. I have the alu and standard renthal fatbar my big bike.
  • + 3
 Its not so a perceptible flex that mutes the vibrations/bar buzz but the way the material naturally dampens out vibrations. Magnesium has a similar property which is why for a couple years Easton offered magnesium stems. Aluminium on the other hand pretty much does the opposite. When my rear disc rotor pulses the entire bike vibrates to the extent that its like a magic fingers bed in a motel room.
  • + 0
 I am not that sure about carbon but the regular Renthal Fatbar is the stiffest handlebar out there, by an easily noticeable margin.
  • + 2
 I have an older Easton magnesium stem on my road bike - it really does dampen better than an Alu or carbon stem. It's actually quite noticeable, so much that I switched back after getting a new blingy Thomson stem.
  • + 1
 I was interested to read about any differences in vibration damping and was surprised to see the article state that "the only reason to get these over the alloy version is the 100gram weight saving".
  • + 2
 Rental aluminium bars were designed to have great vibration damping qualities. They chose to mimic those properties they were happy with on the aluminium bar in the carbon bar. That's what the rental article stated anyway
  • + 1
 My carbon Renthal has noticiable flex. I can feel it by simply pushing down on the bars while standing still. Was annoying at first, but I've gotten used to it.
  • + 2
 My 740mm lo-rise wisky7 carbon bars flex like Schwarzenegger in an 80s action flick. At first I was scared shitless with them on my trail bike. Every time my front tire hits a hole or rock on a choppy downhill, I can feel my body weight bend them forward as the bike is hung up and the bars resist my forward momentum. It is scary. No really effing scary. Now double how scary you're thinking it is and it's still like ten times that scary.

But i've got a great insurance plan so whatever. They've got testing standards for bars right?
  • + 1
 Europe does, the USA/Canada and the rest of the world do not. Testing is strictly voluntary and there's no legal standards that have to be met. Europe has strict minimums that need to be passed and they have all sorts of categories including for DH usage, and heck even for what can be called "a mountain bike". The first model year of Salsa Mukluk fat bike frames for example didn't pass the mountain bike standards for europe and so couldn't be described as such if sold there. The headtube/toptube/downtube got a large gusset setup the following year.
  • + 2
 Just got my Renthal Carbon Lites installed and coming from the original fatbar they are flexy! You can definitely feel it pushing and pulling up when pedaling. The trippy thing is how much you can see it when someone else lays into them, you can't help but laugh in a shocked sort of way. I will say that as long as they don't break, which Renthal ensures can't happen from body weight, these things are going to be killer. There will for sure be a noticeable decrease in hand/forearm fatigue. I will admit that I was a bit freaked out by them when I first noticed the flex, but the fact that everyone else is saying the same is a bit comforting.
  • + 2
 I was about to buy an Enve DH or a Raceface sixc but now I'm thinking about sticking with my alloy bar. The reason I wanted a carbon bar was for the vibration damping characteristic of carbon. Swapping between my 3 alloy bars I found that each bar had different vibration qualities. One of them blows my hands apart on a certain decent and another bar has no noticeable vibration on the same decent. The 3rd bar was in about the middle.
  • + 3
 I thought of a way to test my findings. This morning when swapping bars I had all 3 bars naked. I found that when I held one end of the bars and tapped the other end with a 10mm Allen key, all 3 bars produced an obviously different pitch sound. One high, one low and one medium. I was pleased to find that results matched my observations:
  • + 3
 The bar that I thought had the worst vibration had the highest pitch "ting" and the non-vibrating bar had a low pitch thud. The middle bars note was in the....middle. The higher pitch note equals more vibrations etc just like the triangle at band camp:-)
  • + 2
 yes the bar has noticeable flex on the parking lot bounce test, but i don't notice anything out of the ordinary when riding (other than a lack of numb little fingers, they must smooth out the vibs enough)
  • + 2
 Panaphonic nice work on the correlation there. Is this correct?:
High vibration/pitch = blows hands apart
Low vibration/pitch = more comfy on descents
So which bar do you prefer? And what are the make&model of the three bars you tested?
  • + 1
 Thanks. Yes how you said it, is what I found. The worst vibrator was a specialized 750 wide. The middle vibrator was a Truvative Boobar cut to 760. The least vibrator was a Kore Torsion 800 cut to 760. I can't ride with anything but the Kore now. on either of the other bars I get pain in the 3 fingers that hold the bar. This happens about half way down all my good local decents.
  • + 1
 I have Kore torsion flatbar cut to 740 and it is the most comfortable bar I have ever tried on a trail bike. I tried Renthal Fatbars as I wanted them so bad and comparing to torsion they are pure pain. The worst bars That I have ever tried were Black Spires 808
  • + 1
 Funn Fatboy was the worst shaker I've had. Even on very mild tracks at medium speeds. I also found Spank 777s to vibrate quite badly too.
  • + 0
 I wouldn't buy a Boobar based on the name alone.
  • + 3
 I've got works components chain rings on both my bikes, been using them since they came out a few months ago, still not dropped a chain. I've also just changed one of my bikes to an XO1 11 speed system, so far I would say that the works components ring works even better than it did on my old XTR 10 speed system! I also use RaceFace turbine cranks and I've not had any chain line issues, no spacers required. Also, like it's been said, the workmanship is 1st class, and so far the wear and tear has been great I'll be contacting the guys soon for an angle headset for my Commencal soon. As for the slow emails, I've experienced this myself, but like it's been said, they are a 2 man band and they are a fairly popular small business in the UK, I'm sure they get flooded with emails.
  • + 5
 Maybe your legs would be warm in those bibs, but certainly not your nipples!
  • + 2
 Narrow wide chainring reviews between Vital/PB/NSMB are getting a bit redundant aren't they? I put it on my bike, my chain didn't fall off..... I appriciate that we get to know all of companies on the planet who make one though. I also appricate PB keeping this review fairly short, unlike the recent review on NSMB which turned into a 5 minute read of crap to explain that the ring actually did it's job.
  • + 2
 Your kind of right, although this one is ten pounds cheaper than a canadian made one is in the uk. So its great for us guys. Only superstar are likely to be cheaper than this one.
  • + 1
 BE EXTRA-CAREFUL WITH WORKS COMPONENTS!!

I ordered an angleset and when it still didn't arrive a month or two later, i contacted them and got no response. They ignored all my e-mails and facebook messages. They literally stole £80 from me!
  • + 5
 Here's my experience: ordered an £87 angleset, comms were good, it arrived when they said it would, but without top cap. Said top cap took some chasing, three e-mails, but they did send me a free T-shirt as a courtesy, with the top-cap.

Would definitely use again, to support a few small British manufacturers.

Surprised at your experience, you must contact them again, and ask for a free T-shirt for inconvenience.
  • + 6
 I ordered a narrow-wide ring from them it arrived 2 days later, couldn't fault them and the ring is excellent.
  • + 4
 Pay by paypal and have insurance. Mine direct mount 28T narrow/wide (for X9 crankset) arrived in less than 7 days from ordering. Cheap price, awsome machining, all round great product.

Running my 28T with SLX chain, 1050 cassette and SRAM X0 long cage without clutch. Not a single chain dropped on my FS bike for 4 months and all type of riding.
  • + 27
 Martinzone - Please contact us immediately to sales@workscomponents.co.uk for a full refund and to arrange the re-delivery of your headset.

That is shocking to hear you feel treated this way and totally un-intentional!

Regards, Rick@Works
  • + 6
 Now that is customer service.
  • + 2
 Martin, keep us updated if they found their CS folder.
  • + 3
 I have had a long wait on an angled headset from Works but after e-mailing them, they told me that the current batch was being anodised. As Works is a small company they can't do everything in-house so I understand how there may be some latency in delivery dates and that is acceptable. Only problem I see is that the product I had ordered was in-stock and I wasn't expecting it to be late. Thank you very much for being so polite with me Works Components.
  • + 5
 Dude, I am sure they would not risk their business for £80.00 - people get busy, stuff gets lost etc, especially as it sounds like there is only 2 of them there. - Take their offer and give them an e-mail.

Back on topic, love my Works headset, would try a ring if they were easier to get here....
  • + 1
 Did you mention the war?
  • + 3
 Thank you Rick! I will send you a mail with all details. - Boris
  • + 2
 Email sent. I hope this gets sorted out, as i would love to recommend you again (i have one of the first Works Components headsets and i'm really satisfied - compared to the creaky Cane Creek Angleset it's a lot better).
  • + 7
 Just wanted to report that they solved the situation. With such support, i can recommend Works Components anytime!
  • + 3
 cut down a set of raceface NEXT SL 35mm 760's (which weigh the same as rentals 740mm) and you have a set of even lighter than the lightest carbon 740mm bars on the market...
  • + 0
 and the renthals are lighter than the enve rsr's? and stronger? I definitely doubt the strength at least
  • + 1
 Yeah you could do that but than the renthals and a different bar shape but you'll have to get a 35mm stem anyway which will at more weight and cost alot more.
  • + 2
 and do they have the 50% crash replacement guarantee for life as well? I bought the rsr's after I broke another lesser brand in a low speed crash, and have had 2 big slams on the rsr's already and not even a chip....i'll take em and if I do break em i'll take em again for $75
  • + 3
 Yes. All Race Face components have a lifetime crash replacement policy so you can get a replacement product for 50% off retail. You only need that if your product is outside of its warranty period. Next bars carry a minimum 3 year warranty, so it's also industry leading.
  • + 1
 Regarding the bib, has anyone ever used Nike pro-combat cold gear tights while riding? They are a comfortable and warm base layer while snowboarding, and I use their long sleeve shirt beneath jerseys with success on the trail. I've never tried the tights on a bike because it's rarely cold enough here to need something beyond warmer/taller socks and thicker/longer shorts.
  • + 2
 They're not mtb-specific. Obviously wouldnt work well.
  • + 1
 I wear one of their shirts quite a bit and if it's not pretty damn cold I sweat my ass off, even when I wear it alone, it's a great shirt. I like riding in long sleeves, it's a confidence/ protection thing I guess, and I have a lot of ink so shredding my arms would be expensive.
  • + 2
 I've been hovering for weeks over the Fat / Thin works Components ring worried about derailments. Finally took the plunge today after reading your review. Cannae wait to ditch my chain device and spin free
  • + 1
 Loving my Renthal Carbon 20mm. I'm usually a 760 or 745mm guy. But they feel really good out on the trail. Not too stiff either. Best bit. My girlfriend got them for my birthday. Win win.
  • + 4
 You have got to be kidding me...
  • + 5
 Matt Wragg is a bad ass. I wouldn't be caught dead in a bib and Birkenstocks! Someone buy that man a pint!
  • + 3
 If I saw somebody wearing those bib tights, I'd fall of my bike laughing hysterically!
  • + 2
 What do you mean? They are great for wrestling too. Them and those one piece string bathing suits.
  • + 0
 I shall stick with my ally fatbars thanks! Never liked feeling carbon bars flex after a set of bontrager carbon bars snapped on me! Chin planting your stem aint the nicest of feelings!
  • + 2
 I want to wear that bib and a cup to show off my manly bits. Then im going shopin at Walmart!
  • + 2
 Got the Works SRAM 32 chain ring with a saint mech held the chain better than a chain device. Spot on.
  • + 2
 been using that works rings since august! just great! Renthal... i no longer use handlebars narrow than 760mm!!!
  • + 1
 Not sure if this sentence makes sense.....re: renthal bars
"...our scales at a 2g over claimed their claimed weight of 180g."
  • + 2
 He is the techno viking of bike riding....
  • - 1
 "The lesson has been that it's worth considering your bar width as a factor in the overall cockpit."
Ok wow. So before this revelation, you were just buying the widest bar possible no matter what? Ok...
  • + 0
 "There's no way around it, bib shorts look weird as hell and make life inconvenient in many ways...." So through on some riding shorts and a jersey and move on
  • + 2
 Matt Wragg like a professional model Big Grin
  • + 4
 Or professional wrestler...
  • + 2
 Greco roman
  • + 3
 nice mankini
  • + 1
 stoked on these product pics this week!
  • + 1
 If I'd known how cut you are Matt I'd have let you win more motos.
  • + 3
 I'm always up for a rematch, if your balls are feeling up to it...
  • + 1
 Appreciate the use of the plural mate! Where are you based now? I'm an hour from Schladming and Leogang, give me a shout if you fancy a trip over once the snow's gone.
  • + 1
 Bibs are da bomb! Of course under baggies and a shirt.
  • + 1
 Until you need to take a piss.
  • + 1
 Gore Bike Wear Windstopper Softshell long bibs, perfect for cold and wet weather riding. Nice fit and finish, excellent materials, good cut (none of that Italian design which seems only suitable for those skinny Meditereans). Pair with baggy for esthetics. And they have zippers so no trouble with sanitary stops.
  • + 0
 Hopes Narrow wide surely safer option than works if theres crank issues, and its british if thats wat u go 4
  • + 5
 Chris - No crank issues, if you think of where the tooth is situated in relation to the bolt holes this simply needed rotating a few degrees as the chain was allowed to slightly rest on the chainset tabs. - An easy fix which has now been taken care of and is only an issue with certain chainsets. :-)
  • + 3
 In that case it's either or, in the case of it being upto a coin toss ad probly go with works, it's more british to support the underdog isn't it ? Ha, n hope have bags of cash anyway
  • + 2
 I use RaceFace cranks and I've not experienced any such issues
  • + 1
 sweet Arizona Birkenstock's!
  • + 1
 nice scale
  • + 5
 I actually would use all of these products today. Once you go bibs you never go back. Renthal Bars rock, and 1x10 is in my future. I would need a chainring that works on my RF cranks though.
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