Renthal's new 35mm Bars and Stems - Review

Jun 8, 2016
by Olly Forster  
Renthal s new 35mm Bars and Stems


Of all the new "standards" that have come our way of late, it feels as if the advance of 35mm diameter bars and stems has been one of the slowest and quite possibly, the quietest of them all. We first saw 35mm cockpit components back in 2013, albeit with the majority of the established brands at the time dismissing it as unnecessary and unneeded. Yet slowly and surely, over the years that followed, brand after brand added this new standard to their respective ranges.

But there was one brand in particular who seemed to hold out longer than most - Renthal. Famed for their neutral feeling bars in their now iconic gold finish, they too have now joined this ever-growing 35mm club. They have no plans to stop producing 31.8mm components anytime soon, though. So what's behind their late arrival, and why even adopt it at all?


Renthal s new 35mm Bars and Stems
Renthal have four bars in four sizes to choose from. That's sixteen 35mm handlebars.
FatBar 35 Details:
• Backsweep: 7º / Upsweep: 5º
• Sizes: 10, 20, 30 and 40mm rises
FatBar Carbon 35: 800mm wide
• Weight: 225g
• MSRP: $164.96 USD / £69.95 GBP
FatBar 35: 7050 Alloy, 800mm wide
• Weight: 305g
• MSRP: $84.96 USD / £69.95 GBP
FatBar Lite Carbon 35: 760mm wide
• Weight: 190g
• MSRP: $164.96 USD / £134.95 GBP
FatBar Lite 35: 7050 Alloy, 760mm wide
• Weight: 270g
• MSRP: $84.96 USD / £69.95 GBP

Apex 35 Stem Details:
• Material: 7075/2014 Aluminium
• Rise: 6º / - 6º
• 240º Clamping System

Lengths and Weights:
• 33mm | 112g
• 40mm | 122g
• 50mm | 136g
• 60mm | 147g

• Average weight Increase over 31.8mm option: 7g
• MSRP: $109.95 USD / £89.95
Renthal s new 35mm Bars and Stems

Renthal s new 35mm Bars and Stems
Integra 35 Stem Details:
• 7075/6082 Aluminium
• 240º Clamping System

Lengths, Weights and Rises
• 45mm length, 0mm rise - 133g
• 45mm length, 10mm rise - 156g
• 50mm length, 0mm rise - 157g
• 50mm length, 10mm rise - 177g

• Average weight Increase over 31.8mm option: 1.5g
• MSRP: $109.95 USD / £99.95
• For more: renthal.com


With a rich history in motorsports, Renthal joined the mountain bike market, as we know them today, with little fanfare and noise. That was until they signed the loudest and arguably the most stylish team on the circuit at the time, the Monster Energy Specialized team, back in 2010. From then, it didn't take long for their gold colored bars to become a familiar sight on the trails and downhill race tracks around the world. But away from the World Cup circuit, Renthal's products have done more than their fair share of shouting too, winning countless fans for their bombproof construction, but more importantly, their neutral feel.

bigquotesThe position of the first and second bends relative to each other and the central clamping section is crucial. The ideal positioning is defined with the handlebar in its neutral position, i.e.; orientated with 5 degrees of up sweep and 7 degrees of back sweep. In this position, the first and second bends should be in line, in the vertical plane, with the center line of the stem clamp section. This results in a handlebar that has a very neutral feel if you roll your bars forward or, more commonly, backward. - Ian Collins - Cycle Products Manager, Renthal.

31.8 vs. 35

For Renthal, adopting the 35mm diameter standard represented a unique set of challenges, primarily maintaining the strength, stiffness, and durability of the larger 35mm diameter while retaining the weight of the 31.8mm equivalent. To see what the difference was, we whipped out the scales and compared two identical set-ups, one in 31.8mm and the other, 35mm.


Renthal s new 35mm Bars and Stems
31.8: 50mm Apex stem and 780 x 20mm carbon FatBars = 349g
Renthal s new 35mm Bars and Stems
35: 50mm Apex stem and 800 x 20mm carbon FatBars = 352g

Renthal s new 35mm Bars and Stems
31.8: 50 x 0mm Integra stem and 780 x 20mm alloy FatBars = 501g
Renthal s new 35mm Bars and Stems
35: 50 x 0mm Integra stem and 800 x 20mm alloy FatBars = 454g



Renthal s new 35mm Bars and Stems
The 33mm Apex is the shortest stem they offer and the perfect partner for those upsizing frame sizes or struggling on bikes with a longer reach.
Renthal offer two distinctly different stems in both 31.8 and 35mm; the standard steerer mounted Apex and the direct mounted Integra. While the new 35mm iterations look almost identical to the 31.8mm offerings we've all seen before, even sharing the same 240-degree clamping system, the engineers at Renthal had to redesign each stem in every configuration to take the new bar diameter.

And even though they're larger and consequentially have more material, Renthal managed to keep any increases in weight to a minimum. Take an Integra stem with a 50mm length and a 0mm rise for example. Going up to the 35mm option carries a mere 15g weight penalty. If you want to know how little that is, find something comparable and see for yourself just how little 15g really is.

bigquotes35mm diameter has seen a significant increase in use as an OE fitment over the last couple of years, which has subsequently lead to an aftermarket demand for product upgrades. Our philosophy is always to offer as much choice as possible, so it was a natural step to offer a 35mm option. - Renthal.

Adopting the 35mm diameter standard can, if done correctly, deliver an increased level of strength, durability and in some cases, significantly boost stiffness. Refreshingly Renthal understands that an overly stiff bar and stem can do more harm than good in the real world and firmly believe that the attributes of their existing 31.8mm products delivered the optimum ride feel and durability. With that in mind, they then had a benchmark to work to... Now, I know what you're thinking. Why bother going through all this hassle adopting this new standard when you're more than happy with the existing product line?

That's a good question and the honest answer from Renthal, is that the 35mm diameter standard will be on more complete bikes than you can shake a stick at next year and of all the things to upgrade on a brand new bike covered in un-exciting OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) product, bars are a popular first call. Renthal simply didn't want to loose sales being the last major handlebar brand who didn't offer a 35mm bar range. They similarly didn't want to give people needlessly stiff and overly engineered products which, and let's face facts, is pretty awesome if you're already familiar with their bars. But as they embarked on creating their 35mm bar range, they say that they did make some improvements along the way.


Renthal s new 35mm Bars and Stems
Aesthetically, there's little to see past a marginally thicker middle, but rather surprisingly, the 35mm alloy bar - which is also 20mm longer - is 62g lighter.


While their carbon bar range has gained a few grams along with the stems, Renthal managed to save weight with their alloy FatBars. They've done this, thanks to improved manufacturing techniques, by improving the allocation of material throughout the bar - remember that the original 31.8mm FatBar has remained pretty much the same now for over six years, including the way it is manufactured. Renthal claim to have retained their popular ride feel, strength and durability too and with that in mind, we fired the new 35mm bars and stems on some bikes and headed to the trails to see for ourselves.


Performance

Having intermittently used Renthal bars and stems over the years, and tested every iteration of every bar, stem and indeed grip they've released, I felt pretty confident that I'd notice any difference between the old 31.8mm bars and stems, and the new 35mm numbers. On top of that, I've exclusively spent the last six months crunching miles on two 31.8mm Renthal set-ups on two different bikes. This proved to be the perfect testing scenario, swapping them both over, retaining bar rises and stem lengths, to the new 35mm diameter option.

Opting for the burlier FatBar Carbon with a 20mm rise and 800mm width - 20mm more than the 31.8mm option - there was a distinctly different feel, especially in the corners. So out came the hacksaw to carefully level the playing field and get the bars to the same width, as 800mm is too much for my height and build with relation to the bike size they were bolted to. It's also worth noting here that the FatBar Lite bars have also gained 20mm in length, from 740 to 760mm, and are strong enough for anything other than DH duties where triple clamp forks are used.


Renthal s new 35mm Bars and Stems
I vividly remember being disgusted by the arrival of the 31.8mm diameter... 25.4mm disappeared so quickly, you could have blinked and missed it. 35mm is here and it is here to stay.


With the bars cut to 780mm and mated to a 50mm Apex stem - once again, the exact same size as the one it superseded - there was, no difference in ride feel. None what so ever. Similarly with the DH bike, I swapped the 31.8mm Renthal set-up for a like-for-like 35mm configuration, except this time opting for the alloy option over the Carbon FatBar that was originally on there. Before embarking on this, I did ask Ian from Renthal why some of his athletes prefer one material option over the other - Aaron Gwin and Laurie Greenland for example, who both love the feel of the carbon bar over Rémi Thirion and Troy Brosnan who prefer the alloy. The simple answer is that alloy gives a little more than carbon thanks to the way it handles the frequency of vibrations.

Cranking out the runs on the DH bike, there was a noticeable difference between the alloy and carbon - even a 31.8mm carbon bar and a 35mm alloy bar, with the latter dishing out a marginally more forgiving ride feel. At the end of the day, what pro athletes run is based on extensive off-season testing at speeds that are hard to fathom for anyone but world class riders.


bigquotesIt goes without saying that Renthal's decision to go down the 35mm diameter route is simply because it's unavoidable given the way the marketplace is going. You could even argue that it's commercial suicide to avoid it, even if the performance benefits don't necessarily warrant it. Yet it says a lot that Renthal has gone to a great deal of effort to retain the feel and performance of their existing 31.8mm range, which you'll still be able to buy. If you're looking to invest in a completely new bar and stem, it would probably pay to go 35mm and embrace it, but if you're happy with your 31.8mm Renthal set-up, there's probably no reason to make the change until you have to. - Olly Forster



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MENTIONS: @renthalcycling




181 Comments

  • + 146
 I feel like this is exactly what we don't need; companies putting out products that adopt "new standards" but making sure that they feel, work, and function exactly how the older version did. To make bars in a new width that feel and function exactly the same as other bars then why adopt a standard in the first place?

Just from a consumer standpoint, id like to see companies who don't change or introduce products based soly on what they think people want rather than basing it off of necessity.

But thats just my 2 cents
  • + 64
 I fell, while in general you might be right, in this specific case you overlooked an important premise: They claim that they already have the optimal feel to the bars. So, why change that with the new standard? In my mind, if they are positive they have the perfect feel down, they are right to reproduce it in 35mm.

So, why go to 35mm at all then, do you ask? Well, there are two reasons, the first was outlined in the article: The market dictates it. So adding a 35mm with the same feel benefits customers already on a 35mm stem, from maybe OEM or from some other reason. Every 31.8-Renthal-customer can just choose to ignore it until he gets a new bike with a 35mm steam, when he will be happy to be able to go to Renthal again.
Second reason is easy: weight. While the carbon version is nearly the same (and I would argue that 2cm cut off may even touch the scales in favor of the 35mm-version), they alloy is roughly 50 grams lighter, all in all, while allegedly retaining every other aspect of the old bars. For you it might not matter much, but for people going the weight-route when building a bike, a comfortable, reliable bar that is 50g lighter is well appreciated.

So, why not engineer the 6 year old 31.8 version to the new level, they might get the same weight in the end? Yes, they very well might. But it is a business-decision. They don't shape the market, the market shapes them. Even though Renthal is a big company, OEM is going 35mm already, no arguing about that. So, it is either sink a lot of money in an older, maybe soon-to-be obsolete standard to get up to par, or just take this chance and combine giving in to market pressure all while bringing your product range up to speed.

So, what should you complain about? Certainly not Renthal for their smart business decision. Complain about the "new" 35mm standard in general. But maybe think about the engineering standpoint for one bit: 35mm makes it possible to get lighter bars with same stiffness. Isn't that a nice innovation, although a small one? Does it hamper to enjoy your personal ride with 31.8 bars? Does it help other people, who are maybe weight-conciouss or need a reeeeaaaally stiff bar because of their weight or preference? In my mind, 35mm is in the land of sensible micro-innovations that constantly push the components and thus our bike to better overall performance, one small step at at time.
  • + 23
 That´s basically what they wanted to do. Then other manufacturers
decided the market needs 35mm and they gonna push the new standard. Renthal are just trying to keep with market demands.
Basically they are doing what you want them to do. They just don´t want to compromise their sales.
But props to them for being honest about it and not spewing bs about stiffness gains and other stuff.
  • + 25
 Hmmm... Didn't @RichardCunningham say that many racers were not happy with too much stiffness on 35?
  • - 3
 Because it's way lighter?
  • + 0
 So chromag does that for the most part...
  • + 41
 My main concern is they missed a golden opportunity to rename their bars to thin bar and fat bar... Someone fire their marketing guy!
  • + 11
 I agree - 35mm bars are a completely unnecessary new standard and by the sounds of things, provide no discernible performance improvements over 31.8mm (at least for your average joe).

I sympathise with Renthal however, they clearly have to do this to stay current given the industry's relentless rate of new standard adoption.

Pretty clear they would have stuck with 31.8mm if they had their way.
  • + 12
 The real problem here is that the big bike companies want to make the current second hand market pretty much obsolete. The new bikes have new rear and front axle widths (148 and 110 respectively), new shock sizes (metric) and now new stem and bar standards. With this a bike from 2015 will have a significantly lower resell value as it happened to all 26" bikes (great bikes at ridiculously low prices) when all major manufacturers pushed 650B a few years ago.

Remember that everybody votes with their wallets.
  • + 4
 35mm looks tougher at least?
  • + 14
 Already in the testing phase is the 37.5mm bars. Wait for it....
  • + 9
 Great, 35ml bars have more weight and cause more arm pump. This is the smartest new standard since plus bikes.
  • + 8
 Workers do not vote with their fuck wallet. They do not give them choice but to buy new garbage.
  • + 34
 Fun-Fact: A german magazine tested bars with a stress test (not like pinkbike who merely writes marketing-tests or redacts press-releases) and it failed miserably. Its in german but the renthal bar broke after only 65000 stress-zycles whereas the other bars outperformed it be 15-times more:

www.freeride-magazine.com/test/brechstangen/a23345.html

goo.gl/DlGLfc

As far as I remember they also had to recall a few stems so I'm vary of renthal-products by now...
  • + 8
 @tabletop84: Thanks for posting this link, I was about to highlight the same. These failures are not single cases... check the forum threads, it's quite common.
  • + 7
 @tabletop84: my german is poor, but cool article. I wonder why they tested such a high rise bar from Renthal (33mm), compared to the rest averaging about 11mm. It would have been nice if they were doing all carbon, or all aluminum bars too.
  • + 7
 That does make for extremely interesting reading. I too wonder why they used such a high rise Renthal (who by the way don't make a 33mm rise, the one pictured looks like their 40mm rise offering which is the highest rise they do), while the Syntace options are both 10mm. Very odd and perhaps slightly misleading...
  • + 1
 @Pedro404: because it goes to 35
  • + 1
 Now there is an option for the taller and bigger guys out there. On a side note, the comparison didn't include ,may I say, very cleverly, the current Carbon lite bar. Only the new 35 carbon lite vs the old carbon fatbar.
  • + 2
 I will give props to PB here as I felt the review was honest and not over promoting this in the review as Rental's advertisement scrolls across the top of the web page today....
  • + 0
 @dtax: Every single bike company sells products and to do it well and exist at all, it needs to advertise them. On of the ways of doing it is to put it on sites like Pinkbike. If you are to send a product for test on a particular site and want to advertise it there, on internet, where everything is old news the next day, you would have to be an absolute idiot of a marketer to not try to synchronize these two efforts. I get it if a young person doesn't understand that, for older dudes, like 30 there is no excuse to not realize that this is the way reality works. There is absolutely nothing wrong with it. This is the way each single organism on this planet works: Get better at what it is doing. No morals or keep it real ideologies are good, they fill the blanks in lack of understanding of something that doesn't harm anyone.
  • + 5
 @WAKIdesigns: not sure what you said. all I way saying was it was nice to get a fair review that didn't seem skewed by the fact that Renthal is paying PB for advertising. I subscribe to a few other channels where it just seems like reviews and articles and advertising are all one and the same. cheers to PB on this one.
  • + 1
 @ctd07: plus size
  • + 4
 @Cheeky-Greeky: you mean 35mm… Wink 35ml it is not, unless you put some booze inside you handlebar. Big Grin
  • - 1
 Renthal is a company that makes high quality products that they put a lot of thought and testing into. They are a company that I respect and support by running their products. I support their wise business decision here, and encourage people to move on with their lives in regards to new standards. 35 has been around while now, and we are, for some reason, perhaps due to the tone of this article, bitching about it now. Run your bike the way it is- or don't- enjoy the ride, stop worrying so much and let go the fact that a lot of good people make good bikes and parts for you to complain about.
  • + 1
 @dtax: sorry I misunderstood you then. I referred to many complaints on this site about review being synchronized with commercial banner at the top of the page. As if it was some evil plot against personal economies. I didn't mean you said it in that way
  • + 0
 @DARKSTAR63: but what'd you think if, say, in a couple of months, some wiseman in the industry, of course after an intensive research, comes to the conclusion that the 37mm bars are the right and final size because of their unbeatable advantages over the 35bars?
  • + 3
 @Benito-Camelas: Truthfully, I would run what I still have and be ok with that. But with that said, nobody ever claimed this was the "correct" size. Furthermore, I was around for the switch to 31.8 and that was many years ago. I don't think it would be likely to change again anytime soon. You can choose your own destiny, buy or don't buy whatever you want and the market will reflect it. Renthal makes and sells both, what is the problem here again?
  • + 2
 @tabletop84: Where did the tests take place? If the guys at Freeride have used the lab of Syntace it ain't a real test. It won't be the first time though Wink . It's not that I don't what to believe but the guys at Renthal know a thing or two about bars. From my retailer point of view I'm quite surprised with the positive review of the Easton Havoc carbon. Easton is usually the brand we have issues with, to the point we stop selling their products. It was before Race Face and Fox took over though Wink . Peace
  • + 3
 @Euskafreez: The only stem I've broken in any recent memory was an Easton Havoc. 31.8, 35mm length. It actually twisted, but did not completely fail, so I was not hurt. My Renthal stem and bars have been flawless so far.
  • + 3
 @DARKSTAR63: the problem is that every millimeter, evry single number has its pros and cons. I can understand the change as long as that does mean a true innovation, a real improvement.
Everything going on lately cant be called innovation, it's just a farce to make money and force us to get new stuff.
Market? I dont know about others, but I didn't go crawling to them begging for the 35 mm bar, I can tell you that.
  • + 0
 @Benito-Camelas: It is an improvement. It allows a lighter bar at wider width for aluminum construction. Wider with at same strength and weight for carbon (from this particular manufacturer. It's marginal, it's marketing, but it is, at least on paper, an improvement. Nobody is forcing you to buy anything. If you have a 31.8 stem, Renthal has a bar for you. If you have a 35 bar, Renthal has a stem for you....People are buying these 35 bars otherwise they wouldn't make them. We, the consumer, are to "blame". Why is that so difficult for people to grasp? Bars fatigue, parts wear out. We buy stuff in most cases more than we have to, but eventually, especially if you ride hard and need to trust your gear for big jumps and rough trail, a handlebar should not be on your bike for decades.
  • + 1
 @DARKSTAR63: in that case, as an improvement, a 36 bar is clearly better for obvious reasons
  • + 3
 @Benito-Camelas: While I know you jest, I will respond with a serious answer anyways Wink ... no, at a certain point bigger is not always better there becomes too much material and the weight would go up....
  • + 5
 Well, I love that they finally came up with a 800 mm wide bar!
I'm tall and 780 always felt narrow. That's why I had to stick with other brands.
Definitely like their new bars! I don't give a f*ck about the diameter tho Big Grin
  • + 2
 @DARKSTAR63: I'm serious but when improvements are measured in millimeters everything ends up becoming a joke. that's the real problem.
  • + 1
 @Benito-Camelas: Bikes are awesome.... huge improvements came quickly in the glory days, now advancement comes in much smaller refinements. It's this way with everything, look at motorsport. Not speaking specifically to handlebars, but should that mean we cease to improve?
  • + 2
 @Euskafreez: agreed. How many MX titles has Renthal won. They are probably the world authority in making aluminium bars.
  • + 3
 @Darkstar63 - the original Fatbar 800 is already too stiff for my likes. All I heard about 35mm from reasonable people was complaints on how rough the bike feels. Moto guys and Spank run foam in their bars to minimize vibration. 35 is a performance decreaser. Some resize tech like plus tyres is cool, even Boost does something. But this is just nuts.
  • + 3
 @blast-off: Yeh that's a red flag for me, any testing has top be like for like as much as possible
  • + 3
 @DARKSTAR63: of ocurse not, but sometimes there's nothing to improve, then leave it just like it is.
I don't know if you like touring skiing or skimo or whatever. there have been real, huge improvements in the last few years (just like mtbiking years ago), first in planks and now in bindings. All those ski brands are not constantly putting on the market stupid things simply by changing some numbers.
If there's nothing to improve just step off. My view.
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: The Fatbar is a 780, and I've heard people say that. I like mine, It's on a DH bike with an 8 inch travel fork so maybe that plays a role in how stiff it feels to me. I won't pretend for a minute that one can't tell, my Chromag Fubar is the stiffest bar I own and actually starts to hurt my hands after a long day thrashing. Like I said, they make both, it's a non-issue in my mind.
  • + 2
 @Benito-Camelas: I'm not touting 35. I'm juts defending a company's right to produce a product people want and sell it. The sky isn't falling.
  • + 3
 Can someone please put a stop to this madness!!! We need to adopt standards for the mountain bike community. These company (not Renthal) are taking advantage of us and will keep doing this solely on their profits. I work in the network/telecom field and IEEE is a standard that's stops from companies to deploy off the wall crap that has no compatibly/standards. Electrical is the same way, you cant just design your own outlet and have people buy new lamps that are compatible. PLEASE STOP!!!
  • + 1
 HP printers do the same crap, sell you a cheap printer with a new design print cartages. Releasing 1000's of different print cartage designs, knowing no third party can keep us with there new design every year and they end up taking all the profit to there proprietary designs. Specialized is doing the same shit...boost.
  • + 2
 @User32: Are you an actual anti-Semitic dickhead, or just a pretend one for internet lolz?
  • + 1
 @fartymarty:

From what I've read, Renthal make their aluminium alloy braced Motocross bars in the UK.

They do not actually manufacture their mountain bike bars, as these require a level of manufacturing that the UK factory is not setup to do. They are manufactured by an off-shore factory that has the level of expertise and equipment to make it happen.
  • + 1
 @jts-nemo:

I feel like I keep pretty close track of mountain bike trends.... didn't know that a 35mm bar even existed on the market until today, let alone that it's now a "standard". 27.5 didn't bother me the slightest, Boost no worries, metric shocks OK with me. But seriously, 35mm is now a standard?
  • + 1
 @tabletop84: I just bought the 40mm apex and fatbar Carbon for my Spartan, I don't know if it's the stem or the bar but when charging hard(I weigh 190lbs) it feels like a wet noodle. I'm swapping the stem back first the see what's what. 400$ down the drain!
  • + 7
 Problem for bicycle industry companies:
frames and components are getting too reliable/strong so consumers don't buy new products at the frequency they used to, hurting sales numbers.

Solution= change standards often to make consumers feel their bike/parts are obsolete even if that means marketing gimmicks for something that probably can't get a whole lot better.

In the end it hurts smaller manufacturers who have to retool and redesign around these 'necessary' changes.

When the dust settles you will only be able to buy a giant, specialized or trek with shimano and sram components using rockshox or fox suspension. 1x16 drive trains, 28.250 wheels blah blah blah...
  • + 1
 @hampsteadbandit: I was talking about the aluminium bars which are still made in UK. I think you are right the carbon ones are made elsewhere.

In not a fan of the "black magic" especially for bars - they're definitely for dentists only.
  • + 1
 @fartymarty: I am pretty sure Fatbar Lite is made in Asia
  • + 1
 @fartymarty:

From what I've read all the aluminium alloy MTB bars are offshore manufactured.

the process for making the MTB bars is very different (expensive and complex swaging/butting) to their well known braced Moto-X bars, and the UK factory does not have the equipment.
  • + 2
 @Euskafreez: they used an independent lab (Zedler). I mean there could be a bias toward the german product like in german car magazines but then Syntace has very good reputation and why would only renthal be so bad? I mean there must really be an issue if they break so early that should be easily be reproduceable. They tested two bars from each manufacturer so something is wrong with these bars from renthal...
  • + 1
 @tabletop84: Sorry my German is pretty rubbish so I couldn't read the article (even with Google Translate). Was it the Renthal Carbon bars they tested or the Aluminium ones?
  • + 0
 @fartymarty: Aluminium
  • + 1
 @tabletop84: interesting.
  • + 1
 @ibergman: www.pinkbike.com/news/Eastons-35-millimeter-Handlebar-Standard-for-DH-800mm-Havoc-2012.html or www.pinkbike.com/news/race-face-sixc-35-bar-atlas-stem-review-2015.html ;-) (first instance is, from what I remember the inception of the concept)

Like it or not, but it has been around for a while, and is currently ever so slowly edging out 31.8.
  • + 1
 Rental already admitted they didn't see much of a benefit to having a 35mm bar and stem but are just trying to help customers who already have that set up or for heavier riders that need the added stiffness. 25.4 were quite flexy with some of the 220+ lb riders. I'm pretty sure they skipped the 28.6(1 1/Cool bar to avoid people putting on their stems on backwards or something silly as the dimensions would work either way. 31.8 added a large inprovement of stiffness and allowed bars to stretch a good width which I'm VERY thankful for. Now the 35 does add some minuscule differences but not enough to I think warrant a change in standards. Honestly, as hesitant as they were they made a quality focused 35mm. Nice dimensions with preferable alloys and upscale carbon composites.

What I want most people to get out of all this BS and rant that I've started on is this..DONT BLAME RENTHAL for just providing a product for 35mm when it was EASTON who introduced the 35mm handlebar and stem for downhill in 2012. If you have a problem with 35mm trying to market a new standard for profit margins, send your opinions towards Easton.
  • + 34
 Dear CRC, make sure you drop the prices of all 31.8 stuff, because that will make me slightly less annoyed about yet another basically useless standard when I want some new bars.
  • + 28
 I don’t know why I would need a handlebar on my MTB with a bigger diameter than on my MX-bike
  • + 2
 Is another stupid norm
  • + 9
 Easton tried a 1 3/8 (35mm) bar/stem (EXP) for Motocross and it never was accepted by the industry! 35mm is overkill on a bicycle! ! !
  • + 2
 The strength weight tradeoff is different for mx and mtb. Sidewall thickness is also less of a concern with mx. Wider diameter allows grams to be shaved. This is meaningless for mx but not for mtb.
  • + 2
 ..
  • + 24
 Terrible...just terrible. New bike came witgh 35mm bars - ran them for a couple of months. Wondered how I went from never really ever having serious arm pump, to barely being able to hold onto the bars on longer rough descents. Swapped back to 31.8, and now a much happier chap. 35mm please die.
  • + 11
 materials, manufacturing, and wall thickness all play a role in bar stiffness as well as overal diameter. I bet there are some noodley 35mm bars and some overly stiff 31.8mm bars. That being said, my SIXC 35mm bars have about as much give as if they were made of concrete.
  • + 1
 @hamncheez: Agree. 35 mm bar and stem with new V-10. Tried them for two weeks (12 full days riding) and then went back to Answer DH Carbon 31.8 and Thomson DM stem. The 35 mm bar that arrived with my Nomad did not even last two days, too stiff and wrong sweep angles. Nice try Mr 35 mm 'standard' but a well made 31.8 mm carbon bar at 780-800 mm wide, with trim marks and about 220 grams keeps everyone happy. Just stiff enough to be precise, forgiving enough to prevent arm pump and the vibration dampening properties of carbon so you don't need to fill your bar with foam or some buzz word technology that sounds like it was stolen from the sex toy industry.
  • + 17
 If 31.8 was very quickly adopted over 25.4 back in the days it was because there was a needed improvement to the feel and reliability. If 35 is still not adopted maybe it's for a good reason, it's unnecessary ! Not that riders are against innovation, we are just against new standards that brings no advantage to us and that are only created to secure companies some growth by renewing the "outdated" parts out there.
  • + 18
 Whats the idea of a bar having larger clamp diameter than the steerer? The chain isnt stronger than the weekest link. And all those goddamn standards!
  • - 4
flag jts-nemo (Jun 8, 2016 at 0:59) (Below Threshold)
 While I personally detest some of the new (kinda redundant) standards (hello, Boost!), I think 35mm is nice to have. You see, "nice to have", not "essential" innovation. Lighter bars with same stiffness? Gimme!
The idea behing 35mm isn't to get a stronger cockpit than before, so your chainlink argument does not really work there.
  • + 4
 Please dont give the industries another new ideas bout the new "standard" fork steerer.
  • + 3
 @lenniDK from an engineers perspective the forces and tensions are the highest in the middle of the bar because the forces of your hands add up and your stem works against them. so it makes sense that it is thicker in the middle. 31.8 definitely is thick enough though. no need for another whacky standard.
  • + 2
 Forks would also have a better strength/weight ratio with a larger diameter steer tube. In fact, tapered forks were created just for that.

The thing about standards for forks and handlebars though is that handlebars and stems are cheap and easily swapped. Forks of a different standard are not. They require different frames, races and headsets in addition to different stems.

This is a cheap transition that people can largely ignore or upgrade when they're changing components anyway. People can continue buying 1.25" bars/stems or they can switch to 1-3/8" bars/stems.
  • + 11
 I will never buy another Apex stem:

1) A pain to put on the bars, and it scratches the hell out of them.
2) Torquing the stem on the steerer correctly results in the stem coming loose on the steerer. You have to way over tighten it.

Like their bars though, but prefer the fit and feel of SIXC....
  • + 0
 Completely agree, the duo was much better!
  • + 0
 Apex stem is fine with carbon bars because the bars are stiff and the stem is flexy CNC. Run a forged truvativ stem on my other bike with the alloy bars because the bars flex and the stem doesn't same ride feel about £100 difference
  • + 4
 I had the same issue with the duo! Utter shite. Bolts would be torqued to high heaven and still the stem would slip on the steerer in the rough. I like that companies are bringing out shorter stems but when there is hardly any material biting the steerer it's only asking for trouble.
  • + 9
 Im running the SixC 35mm bars and Atlas stem so i can speak from experience and i find them too stiff. Sure they're very direct but only marginally more so than 31.8. The negative ive found is that ive tried 4 different pairs of grips to finally decide on some Lizard Skins Northshore's. These are much fatter than the ODI Ruffians i have used for a few years now. In some regards the fatter grips are better ( long day riding ) but with fatigue increased on long decents, im now contemplating getting a standard alu 31.8 set up with my old ruffians on them. So at the end ive learnt an expensive lesson !

Anyone wanna buy some bars, stem and grips!! ????
  • + 0
 Well if these feel like the 31.8 renthals then they definitely aren't going to be too stiff. These bars are very flexy in 31.8
  • + 4
 Are you aware that the 35mm clamp race face stuff has the same stiffness as the 31.8 setup? When they went up a 35mm diameter, rather than making the bars stiffer for the same weight they're lighter for the same stiffness.
  • + 2
 @Slowrider73:I ride the same set as you. But I am over 250lbs. I don't find the SixC too stiff. Just reassuringly stiff.I also ride Fox36's with 20mm axles exclusively. The problem with sacrificing strength in materials science is that you have to be very careful about when and how it will fail. When it comes to handlebars I would obviously side on the conservative side.

In Moto we went through the same argument and the marketplace found a solution Fasstco Flexx handlebars which are really an old Girvin Flexstem turned sideways . These are ridiculously heavy and expensive but are unbelievable popular especially with Offroad racers and trail riders.
  • + 3
 Thanks for the input man, I was leaning towards a SixC set up but went with the spank vibracore aluminum bar and am running ODI Vans grips... and arm pump has been pretty minimal thankfully!
  • + 2
 @Leafs1: yeah thats the bars i want to try next. Thanks for your recommendation! You run em on a dh bike or trail/enduro all day set up? Cheers
  • + 2
 @Nobble: I agree. I have both and can't feel the difference at all.
  • + 2
 @slowrider73: dh bike man and it's great for all day in the park!
  • + 1
 @Leafs1: cheeers broooo
  • + 1
 Interesting, I did order some of those SixC but ended up putting some santa cruz 800mm/ 35mm clamp bars on. (cut to 790) I rode them on a demo bike and they felt really good. I have only spent about 9 hours in total ride time, but them seem a really nice bar. They seem to be firm, but forgiving. The only reason I avoided carbon for the last 15 years, is that I don`t mind a crash... Hopefully they won`t fall to bits!
  • + 10
 31.8mm for life!
35mm must be what started the "metric" trend... ;-)

And seriously, is it all about weight these days?
What are the benefits of a 10% increase in diameter? Is it stiffer?
And do we need stiffer?
  • + 8
 Disclaimer: I ride a perfectly fine 31.8 bar. But saving weight while retaining stiffness? Hell, yeah, in some years I'm going to like the new 35mm cockpit my bike will have then.

Is it all about weight? No. Is it sensible to drop weight while retaining every (good) aspect elsewhere? Yes.
What are the benefits? Renthal answered that for you: Small ones at best. Slightly lower weight, more stiffness sucks.
Do we need stiffer? Did you ever ride a bar that was too stiff? It feels horrible. Don't recommend.
  • + 4
 @jts-nemo: i'm not against improvements but why change your alloy bar and stem to win 50g when changing just the bar for a carbon one will save you 100g? There is no need for 35mm stem to have lighter components or to get stiffer bars since 31.8 onces are stiff enough already...
  • + 5
 I know big guys who say 31.8 feels like a noodle to them, so it is kinda hard to be against a standard if there was a need for some people but I find it overkill to spec all new bikes with it.
  • + 0
 @PLC07: The problem is, 35 feels way too stiff for the rest of us. They really need to do something abut making a less stiff setup for people who aren't 6'6".
  • + 3
 @groghunter: I agree. I'm not entirely against the new sizing as some people might actually need it. It should be a niche product though, not the new standard. Putting them on XL/XXL bikes makes sense but if they put it on small ones, it is ridiculous. But then again, you hardly ever change bars so they had to do something about it, right?
  • + 8
 Can't renthal just make a product with stealthier labeling? Sorry but that whole gold and black with super 90's big logos looks like shit. I'll stick with my deity carbon bars
  • + 6
 Bigger is not always better, I recall straight 1.5" forks entering and leaving the market as tapered proved to be the better option. I'll sit out the 35mm and see how it will turn out, not hatin' just sayin'
  • + 2
 my podium is 1.5".
  • - 3
 35mm is a new norm...
  • + 5
 What is quite obvious is that neither Renthal nor Easton were comfortable with producing an 800 mm wide bar with a 31.8 mm diameter.

If it takes the larger diameter to get a reasonable stiffness/weight/width/price relationship, that seems totally fine with me.
  • + 1
 That was my rationale too. Wanted 800mm and that seemed to necessitate 35mm.
  • + 3
 Spank spike 800 race Enve dh 808 And a few others at 800 x 31.8
  • + 1
 @SeaJay: joystick analog is also 800mm wide and 31.8 but they do offer a 35
  • + 3
 OK, sorry if someone else said this. But, if I buy a new bike with an OEM 35mm setup, what's to stop me from replacing it with my beloved 31.8mm Renthal FatBar and stem? Wouldn't that work just as well as the new 35mm setup? I don't get the need for 35mm at all. Of course I am in my 50's and stuck in my ways.
  • + 3
 As a Clydesdale (200lbs, 6'5"), I can say with confidence that I can "feel" the difference of a 35mm at 800mm vs a 31.8mm at 780mm from a stiffness perspective (not Renthals). I can also say that I broke two sets of 31.8mm at 780mm alloy bars in 3 years and the 35mm at 800mm haven't budged. I think it's just a leverage thing, and as a Big, I'm not going back.
[Reply]
  • + 5
 jrlyons21-Not to start an argument but 6-5@200 is pretty thin big guy. Hardly a Clydesdale. I would say you'd be a Clydesdale at 250+. Eat some more pizza and ice-cream and get back to me.
  • + 3
 @chasejj:Ok, fair enough...how about "as a big guy that like wide bars"; happy?
  • + 1
 @jrlyons21: Yes.:-)
  • + 3
 Oh for sh_t's sake! I have a real problem with this whole 35mm thing. To be honest I reckon it looks rubbish (completely out of proportion) and there's seemingly not a real performance gain in it.

@deityusa tell me you guys are steering clear of this marketing-driven standard.
  • + 2
 Less weight is always a performance gain. The larger diameter allows for a thinner wall (at least with carbon), so the bar can be lighter and still retain the same stiffness. I run the 35mm Race Face bars, personally I think the bigger bar looks Boss AF.
  • + 4
 I absolutely love my Easton Haven 35 carbon handlebars. Feels good and brings a bit more confidence when bombing gnarlier sections.

Glad to see Renthal making 35 handlebars and stems as well.They look bad ass as well Smile
  • - 2
 Your confidence in carbon while bombing gnarlier section is questionable?!
  • + 3
 "Renthal's decision to go down the 35mm diameter route is simply because it's unavoidable given the way the marketplace is going. You could even argue that it's commercial suicide to avoid it, even if the performance benefits don't necessarily warrant it."

"If you're looking to invest in a completely new bar and stem, it would probably pay to go 35mm and embrace it"

Huh? What you have basicaly said there Olly, is "There is no advantage to 35mm, Renthal only made it so people who already have 35mm setups can buy Renthal upgrades. So for that reason everyone should buy 35mm and embrace it"

Your logic is lacking....
  • + 3
 Money is the logic !
  • + 6
 LOOK @ THE BRIGHT SIDE @LEAST WE DONT HAVE TO BUY NEW FORK FOR THIS ONE!!!
  • + 2
 It's about time Renthal stepped into the 35mm realm! I've been using 35mm bars for 4 years now ever since Easton introduced the new 35mm size with their Havoc bars in 2012. I like 35mm bars, I like Renthal products, I use them mostly for my dirt bike, but now I can get 35mm bars for my mountain too.
  • + 1
 They don't make 35mm dirt bike bars . . . . . .
  • + 3
 @truehipster: yeah i know... never said 35mm bars for my moto...
  • + 2
 So basically Renthal are saying, they are 35mm's bitch. Great. Some useless muppets invented an utterly useless standard and now all others have to jump on it to not loose sales. While my Versys 650 runs on 22.2mm....
Why haven't all riders boycotted that shit? Just whyyyyy, hahaha. Sad days, sad days indeed from an engineering and from a cost optimization point view....
  • + 2
 I was a sceptic with 35mm but that's what my Scott genius LT came with, I'm a heavy bloke at 105kgs and appreciate the extra stiffness so for heavy guys I'd say give it a go, not sure if it would be the same case with these as they have attempted to make them "feel" like a 31.8mm though..
  • + 4
 35mm makes the ride so much more brutal. Either you like it or hate it. It sure add precision when you're fit, but as far as I'm concerned bikepark this summer will tell
  • + 2
 I have run 35mm bars on my last three bikes (RaceFace carbon and Alu, and Chromag carbon). When purchasing bars/stems, I saw the 35's were lighter and divided to give them a try. The seem to work fine and don't seem overly stiff to me but I'm also a bigger rider (200lb). I like having the bar size choice and am not sure why the PB troll advocate having fewer choices. Should ice cream only come in one flavor?
  • + 4
 DONT TRUST RENTHAL FATBAR CARBON LITES

Snapped a set Frown not monster truckin Just ridin along

3 months old.

And no they weren't over tightened.
  • - 2
 That is why you don't see carbon bars on DH bike unless they are replaced every run!
  • - 2
 Wow! Thanks for the info. Not only are they The ugliest bars and stems I've ever seen. Unreliable as well. Go Raceface! Cheers
  • + 1
 I'm looking at some 35mm long stems to replace my 40mm stem and wondered if 5mm would be enough ot justify spending the $$, but at least there is now a 33mm option. However, I'd have to get a 35mm bar, so there goes the idea of trying to be economical.
  • + 1
 Never mind, I see there is a current 31mm version of the 31.8 Apex. Sweet!
  • + 1
 "The position of the first and second bends relative to each other and the central clamping section is crucial. The ideal positioning is defined with the handlebar in its neutral position, i.e.; orientated with 5 degrees of up sweep and 7 degrees of back sweep. In this position, the first and second bends should be in line, in the vertical plane, with the center line of the stem clamp section. This results in a handlebar that has a very neutral feel if you roll your bars forward or, more commonly, backward." - Ian Collins - Cycle Products Manager, Renthal.

In English?
  • + 1
 Since this turns out to be yet another whine thread, I'm feeling free to tell my story. Two years ago I was searching for wide bars for my reign, an I bought a cool piece of alloy made by syncros. All parameters were fitting me perfectly, but damn me if I was aware of new stem and bars standard back then. I actually had to get new part, and since then I'm happy with my 31.8 fatbar. "35mm. Being useless and annoying people since 2014".
  • + 1
 Uff renthal might meed some engineers and a marketing department.

35mm only makes sense for carbon bars. The larger diameter allows for lighter yet stiffer carbon layup. Same reason carbon frames have chunky tubes. Now is it really needed? Not really. Its better yes unless you like flex then no.

Funny that their alloy bars are much lighter.. Though they give a lot more. I suspect they just beefed carbon bars up just to be sure, without any modeling or tension calculations in order to keep em safe enough. Would not buy.
  • - 1
 I never heard anyone complaining on stiffness of carbon MTB products so such selling point is straight BS. But yes 35mm clamp diameter allows carbon bar to be lighter with no compromise to strength and weight is more important than time to majority of buyers of carbon parts.

1.Drop weight of the bike
2.?
3.Win local races

Wait... This is heavier... I am not sure what they are trying to achieve. Extremely confused, Renthal help me. I have your Fatbar Lite, best bar I ever had but it gets old now so I need a new one. Why should I buy a 35mm one?
  • + 3
 I'm guessing the weights between the carbon and regular bars are switched? The carbon bars are listed as much heavier than the regular bars.
  • + 2
 The pricing seems f*cky too, the alloy and carbon ones are the same price making the carbon lite stunningly cheap (and the alloy fatbar ridiculously priced).
  • + 4
 35mm bars looks like shit, it's a pointless standard IMHO.
  • + 1
 People have spent more than these bars are worth to cut 62 grams. I say bring it on. Baby steps are still steps. New bar standards are way less annoying and far less expensive than hub and head tube standards.
  • + 3
 @Bombscare-baird. You and me both bro, just riding along and carbon lite snapped. Running enves now
  • + 3
 I will stick with my race face sixc
  • + 1
 31.8 is optimal enough for my riding abilities. I'll stick with what's working for me @26", 142, and 1x10 and not what the manufacturers say. Good luck with the rest!
  • + 1
 My complete YT came 35....kinda stuck with it. I just tell people it was born that way. Not fer it or agin it, I just don't notice it.
  • + 3
 From the company that swore they'd never go there ... lol
  • + 1
 Money $ $ $
  • + 2
 35mm is like Boost...no real need or benefit at all. Let's hope they don't go to 38mm to match the Boost Plus Pivot!
  • + 1
 This the evolution of technology. I still can remember people bitching about shocks, dropper posts, 29ers, Hydraulic brakes etc..
  • + 2
 Coming next: new shimano shoe laces perfo review, optimised length and improved flex
  • + 1
 Supply and demand? They (the industry) supply and also create a demand (hype) for 35mm stuff. As so many have said, no wonder it's taken a long time to be accepted...
  • + 3
 I still wished they made the 31.8 version in 800 ...
  • + 3
 This is sick. Not goona support this s**t.
  • + 3
 I don't want stiffer bars, I want bars with more vibration damping.
  • + 1
 At least now it lives up to the name. Having won a 35mm carbon bar on pinkbike at christmas I would never go back to 31, remarkably stiffer compared to my 31mm alu fatbar.
  • + 1
 Which is exaclty why most wcdh run the 31.8 al
  • + 3
 nobody need...just amoney maker...sorry Renthal !!!
  • + 2
 oh cool hopefully I can get a fatbar carbon light in 31.8 on the cheap now!! Razz
  • + 2
 All of my problems and solutions stems from a bar. Its the Apex of my life.
  • + 1
 Love my 31.8mm Apex 40mm stem. Love my 31.8mm Easton high rise carbon bar. Not going to change either anytime soon.
  • + 1
 My thoughts consist of the ammount of people who break bars? Are there enough to increase the width of the handlebar 10%?
  • + 1
 Why do 35mm setups have to look so nice! Just have to keep reminding myself that it doesn't make much difference...
  • + 0
 Dear valuable employees of the renthal company. i feel sorry for the depressing forum opinions here but they are correct.. Bring us new color options instead next time..
  • + 2
 Another standard? NO, THANKS.
  • + 2
 Boring of those companies
  • + 2
 Aluminum bar weights less than carbon?
  • + 0
 So the only advantage is that the 35 is lighter - but how much lighter could the 31.8 get if they redesigned it using the same techniques?
  • + 2
 With carbon the larger diameter allows for a thinner wall while still retaining the same strength. So the technique used is why the diameter is larger. Alloy might be a whole different animal though...
  • + 1
 FatBar Carbon 35: 800mm, Weight: 305g;
FatBar 35: 7050 Alloy, 800mm Weight: 225g,

Is this a joke?
  • + 2
 you have the weights the wrong way around, Carbon is 225g
  • + 1
 @siongwynn: wrong, the 35 800 is listed at 305g.
  • + 2
 " Boost " Like the way they snuck that marketing buzzword in there.
  • + 1
 And change the color no?

Just waiting to have black in aluminum bars...
  • + 1
 Thompson bars
  • + 1
 I can't handle all these new standards. They're just so barring
  • + 1
 Setting the bar high these are
  • + 1
 My bar is fat. Stronger than carbon. Les'Skedeh
  • + 0
 They could have named it ExtraFatBar and not this boring 35mm...
  • + 1
 Can I please get a 35mm clamp Duo stem?..Smile
  • + 1
 35mm is a really reallly FATbar Big Grin
  • + 2
 Carbon bars 305g, wat?
  • + 1
 100g heavier than sixc 800..wow.
  • + 1
 Wish I could find a 45mm stem like this.....
  • + 2
 When fat bars get FAT
  • + 1
 No need!
  • + 0
 Look nice. Pointless.
  • - 1
 Do they break?

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