Race Face's new Next SL bar is a unique offering. Claimed to be the world's lightest 35mm clamp bar, it's designed for aggressive XC—I'm sure it took considerable restraint on Race Face's part to keep the word d*wncountry out of the press materials. And they're right, XC is changing. The bikes are more capable, the trails are aggressive, and riders are pushing the boundaries more.
With that backdrop, Race Face is positioning the Next SL handlebar a bit differently. Compared to the current Next 35 bar, the new Next SL has gotten more compliant, lighter, and narrower. Yes, narrower. Before you warm up your twitter fingers, remember, plenty of races have been won on 740mm bars, and they still make the Next R 35 in a full 800mm wide too. Race Face was also quick to point out that you can use their Getta Grips to make them effectively 754mm wide.
But Race Face has clearly done a lot more than lop 20mm off the bars and publish a new weight; instead, they've redesigned the bar from the ground up. They wanted to reduce rider hand/arm fatigue (a common anecdotal criticism of 35mm bars) without compromising handling. To do that, they've added more material at the front and back of the bars, which they say allowed them to engineer more vertical compliance into this bar while maintaining good fore-aft stiffness. Their words: "All the Good Flex; None of the Bad."Features
• Optimized vertical compliance is designed to improve rider comfort and reduce hand fatigue
• Asymmetric carbon layup with reinforced fore-aft material for steering precision
• Colour: Black
• 8° backsweep, 5° upsweep
• Clamp: 35mm
• Width: 740mm
• Rise: 10mm
• Weight: 167 grams (verified on my scale at 166g)
• Price: $179.99 USD / $219.99 CAD
Gully is the king of bad flexes.