Review: Faserwerk Baslerstab Integrated Carbon Bar & Stem

Sep 21, 2021
by Seb Stott  


The idea of a one-piece bar and stem is nothing new. Both Syncros and Bontrager have made them for everything from DH to XC. Now Faserwerk, the components brand of Arc8 Bikes, has thrown their hat in the ring and undercut the other two brands on the scales. The Baslerstab measures 800mm wide and is DH-rated, yet weighs just 236g. In case you're wondering about the name, “Baslerstab” refers to Arc8's hometown: Basel. It literally means ”Basilean bar”.
Faserwerk Baslerstab Bar/Stem Details
• 9° backsweep, 6° upsweep
• 15mm rise
• 35 or 50mm "equivalent stem lengths"
• Uncut Width: 800mm
• DH-rated
• Weight: 236 grams (actual)
• MSRP: $299 USD / 299€
arc8bicycles.com

To put that weight in context, a lightweight 800mm carbon handlebar (like Renthal's Fatbar carbon) plus a 40mm stem (e.g. Renthal's Apex stem) weighs a combined 345g. At 236g on my scales (4g lighter than claimed), the Baslerstab undercuts this by 109g. Impressively, it's lighter than some carbon handlebars without stems. More to the point, it's lighter than other one-piece cockpits like Bontrager's RSL bar/stem (274g, actual) and the 800mm-wide Syncros Hixon iC 1.0 Rise (270g, claimed). Only the Gemini KÄSTOR comes close (235-245g, claimed), but it costs 650€.


At $299, the Baslerstab isn't exactly cheap, but it's a little less than the Bontrager RSL ($350 USD) and the Syncros Hixon iC (€330), and not too far off the cost of a high-end carbon bar and conventional stem. You can pay almost as much for an ENVE stem.

The other downside of the one-piece approach is a lack of adjustability; you're stuck with the handlebar roll (the amount of backsweep and upsweep) the bar comes with. The Baslerstab has pretty conventional numbers: 9° backsweep, 6° upsweep. Being able to minutely adjust handlebar roll is important to some people, but not everyone. I know a few riders who have never adjusted the handlebar roll from where it was set at the bike shop. Perhaps for the everyday rider, having a prescribed roll position isn't such a terrible thing. $299 isn't everyday rider sort of money, but then mechanical competence doesn't necessarily scale with one's bank balance.

The bar sweeps forward directly out from the steerer clamp, then curves back to form the backsweep for the grips. According to Faserwerk, this puts the grips in the same place as a conventional bar with a 35mm or 50mm stem (depending on which option you pick); but by skipping the "pseudo-stem" (a piece of carbon jutting directly forwards from the steerer), they say they can minimise weight and streamline the manufacturing process too.

The centre of the grips sits slightly behind the steering axis.

Shape and Ergonomics

I usually ride a 40mm stem, so I chose the 35mm (not 50mm) equivalent stem length option as, on paper, it's closer to what I'm used to. But a line drawn through the middle of the grips sits slightly behind the middle of the steerer tube, which is further back than most conventional bars on a 35mm stem, and in my view, as far back as you'd ever want the grips unless you're up-sizing your frame. Richard Cunningham wrote an excellent article about the relationship between handlebar sweep and effective stem length.

Easton Havoc bar
A more conventional cockpit for comparison.

This shortened the effective reach noticeably; the 50mm equivalent stem option is probably closer to a 40mm-stem conventional cockpit.

On the trail

The upsweep on the bar is just a little up from neutral (flat), which feels comfortable to me. On flat terrain, I'd go a touch steeper (rolled forward a few degrees) to bring my elbows out, but if you're the kind of person who regularly rolls their bar forward and back for different terrain, these probably aren't for you. But if you're happy with a set and forget approach, the sweep is about right in my book - it definitely doesn't feel weird. It's worth mentioning I tested on a bike with a 64-degree head angle and steeper head angles will increase the upsweep slightly.

There's just a little bit of upsweep at the grips with a 64-degree head angle.

Fitting the bar is simple - just be sure to tighten the four faceplate bolts evenly as you would with a stem faceplate. I had no creaking or slipping on the steerer. However, like many carbon handlebars, the brake levers are prone to twist too easily on the bar when torqued up to the recommended 4 Nm.

Despite the low weight, they are slightly on the stiffer side compared to other 800mm bars. The tower of spacers I need to compensate for the low rise introduces a little side-side flex in the steerer, but there isn't much movement when pushing and pulling on the bars in a sprint. Too stiff? I wouldn't say so. It's easy to overstate how much handlebar stiffness affects hand comfort; if your fork is working well and your tire pressures are reasonably low, the handlebar should be a pretty insignificant part of the overall compliance. I didn't notice much difference in harshness compared to a Renthal Fatbar 35, which I'd say is less stiff than most.

Pinkbike's Take:
bigquotesFor a lot of people, saving a hundred grams or so isn't going to be worth the lack of adjustability of an integrated cockpit, and I'd count myself among them. So, conventional cockpits probably aren't going away anytime soon. However, if you're someone who doesn't really fuss with handlebar roll, the Baslerstab's geometry numbers suit you, and you want to make your bike as light as possible, then it's definitely worth a look. As far as I know, it's the lightest DH-rated, 800mm cockpit available, and it's a little less expensive than other integrated cockpits too. Just be aware the 35mm stem equivalent puts the grips further back than that number suggests. Seb Stott



85 Comments

  • 133 0
 But what is that fork tho?
  • 15 4
 Carbon stantions?
  • 20 0
 Bright racing
  • 4 0
 Something that you guys should make! I'll walk down the road to the office to buy one Wink
  • 14 0
 @paulskibum: looks more like an inverted fork to me.
  • 2 0
 @paulskibum: USD, so carbon is the legs.. lower by the dropout is where the stantion is.
Likely an intend evolution fork....
  • 4 0
 It's not the arrival of self-lacing Jordan's or anti-grav hover boards that will mark the arrival of the future for me, it's the day that inverted forks are finally the no-compromise best solution. I've been waiting ever since I first saw one on a Mountain Cycles San Andreas and I'm still waiting. Just hurry up already!
  • 2 0
 @paulskibum: That cable guide would cause issues. Looks like an inverted fork to me.
  • 31 0
 Bright Racing Shocks F929 Next inverted enduro fork. Review in progress (not tomorrow).
  • 2 0
 @DatCurryGuy: Yup! their stuff looks good and have always been curious on their performance...
  • 2 0
 F the handlebar, I super intrigued by fork
  • 2 0
 @DatCurryGuy: good spot!
  • 1 1
 @paulskibum: Have you ever seen hoses' clamps on a stanchion you bloody sausage?? Come on..
  • 1 0
 its an inverted style for (moto style)
  • 1 1
 @paulskibum: The front brake hose mounts to the carbon tube, I'll be an inverted design.
  • 1 0
 Company called German-A was doing similar things
  • 1 0
 @paulskibum: I think you mean stankshuns
  • 1 0
 @paulskibum: i don't think so. the front brake cable is mounted to the upper tubes meaning it has to be an inverted fork
  • 23 0
 Wasn't Faserwerk Baslerstab a character from Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy?
  • 7 0
 Reads like Vogon poetry.
  • 1 0
 He’s just some guy, ya’know?
  • 15 1
 Um what kind of fork is that? Stanchions look a bit different than I'm used to seeing.
  • 3 0
 Yeah, what fork is that? USD?
  • 2 0
 It is some kind of inverted fork.
  • 4 0
 There are some really interesting points about sag on www.brightracingshocks.com/mtb-fork-f929-b-regolarita, I'll be fascinated to read that review.
  • 2 0
 @Woody25: yeah, I thought it was a mistake in the translation, but are they saying no sag?
  • 1 0
 Oh wow. Glad you spotted that. What is that?
  • 2 0
 @dogboy1066: It reads to me that somehow their tech means you only need about 5% sag, but I may have that completely wrong. I thought sag was to allow your fork to drop into small deviations in the trail to retain grip rather than just to overcome the breakaway force of the air spring, so I don't really understand how you can have less sag, but I know very little about suspension!

Seems like @seb-stott may have the fork on test, I'll be fascinated to see the results. Could my inverted fork dreams finally be about to come true?!
  • 5 0
 @Woody25: the bit i saw about sag refers to static sag. This is just the weight of the bike minus rider.
It’s not something that’s really a concern with Mtb’s

They really need to get a better translator for their website

And as far as “ Static sag in a commercial fork takes about 20-40mm off active travel. In this way 180 mm of travel becomes approximately 150 mm before use.”

That’s wrong
  • 2 0
 @cypher74: I read all the info in their web site but it is a little confusing. A ton of bold characters in the text but not much useful info.
  • 1 0
 @dogboy1066: from another graphic on the other fork it seems that rather than use sag in the traditional sense to provide negative travel, the fork sits at a constant height when static (presumably independent of rider weight) with an (unknown) amount of negative travel as well as positive travel from that static point. They make it sound like a very different system to traditional air/spring forks…. So super curious just how different
  • 12 0
 I dont want one. I'm therefore outraged that they make one.
  • 7 0
 How are the thread inserts captured? I would worry about sweating all over that handle bar/steerer clamp junction and having the inserts eventually come unbonded. The grossest part of any bike is the stem/handlebar/steerer area, and the area most prone to galvanic corrosion and corrosion in general due to how corrosive some riders' sweat is. I've cut off numerous upper headset collars over the years and replaced dozens of steerer tubes or even entire forks due to corrosion under the spacers and in the stem clamp. An aluminum insert wouldn't last too long and a stainless one would eventually begin to corrode or come unbonded due to capillary action of sweat around the insert. I wonder if they did any salt spray testing?
  • 3 0
 sweatbeast here. good questions.
  • 3 2
 Dude get a sweat bib
  • 3 0
 @browner: Is that like a sweat band (for your head)? I often wear one and it only delays the inevitable. Multiple stops or done while riding to squeeze out the river of sweat from the soaked helmet pads and sweatband from my soggy head. Literally puddles. And I have short hair. Only from my hands, feet, and head. Pits are fine.
  • 1 0
 @laksboy: I take 2-3 sweat bands on a ride and swap them out when saturation reaches 100%.
  • 1 0
 @Philthy503: I've done that. Or I swing a saturated one around my head, flinging sweat in all directions, much to the peril of anyone nearby.
  • 1 0
 @laksboy @philthy503 - I live in FL. Anything in my pockets (like spare sweatbands) get soaked too. On hot days it really is an issue! I have short hair too and once sweat starts pouring in your eyes, it kinda never stops until you finish riding.
  • 8 1
 Also, what’s all this talk about low tire pressure. Am I the only one that destroys tires and has to run higher pressure? Even running a DH casing tire I’ll still dent a rim. Some bar compliance is a welcomed thing.
  • 7 1
 Have you tried inserts?
  • 1 16
flag pcledrew (Sep 21, 2021 at 10:17) (Below Threshold)
 Have you ever considered it might be the high pressure that's leading to more dented rims?

impossible right?
  • 5 0
 @ryan77777: Yes cushcore...marginal improvement. Actually enjoyed the damp feel from them more than the protection. Used for a season and went to DH casing.
  • 3 0
 @pcledrew: In my case the denting of the rims went away from more PSI....as it should. You'll have to explain how came to the conclusion that more PSI would dent a rim.
  • 3 0
 Wanna explain this one@pcledrew:
  • 3 10
flag pcledrew (Sep 21, 2021 at 12:48) (Below Threshold)
 @huvudvind: Lower tire pressure creates a more conforming tire and larger tire contact patch which leads to less rim wall exposure.
  • 4 0
 @pcledrew: this could be the most confusing sentence I have ever read on pinkbike. What the hell is this rim wall exposure thing? I'm pretty sure you don't have a clue how rims get damaged.
  • 1 1
 @panaphonic: he obviously is assuming external rim damage and not bottom out damage, and is also assuming a softer tyre will somehow form a cushion around the rim and protect it from external strikes...both points are wrong.
  • 3 3
 @Danzzz88: I’m assuming nothing. I knew this is exactly how this would be received.

Yet I read this comment in threads all the time how these bros need 28-30 or more psi in their tires but keep damaging wheels. Yet many pros and other successful riders / racers are running noticeably less and having way fewer issues.
  • 3 1
 @pcledrew: seems like you're implying that higher tyre pressure causes more rim damage, which is blatantly not true.
  • 2 2
 @panaphonic: Sure. I knew before I even made the comment exactly how one sided any discussion on this would be given how most people have a liner proportional relationship concept between tire pressure and rim 'protection'.
  • 2 1
 @pcledrew: yet you have done nothing to explain your reasoning. Why bother saying anything? The truth is that you have a concept in your head that you don't understand but you believe to be true. If you can't explain it to others I don't have a reason to believe that you understand it.
  • 1 0
 @pcledrew: Your logic is that I am less likely to ding my rim on a square edge at 20 psi than 30 psi? So let's move both values away from each other by 5 psi = 15 compared to 35? Is your statement still true? How about 10 compared to 40? Still true?
  • 1 0
 @pcledrew: @pcledrew: Let’s meet up and I’ll ride your bike through a rock garden with 30psi. Then we’ll drop it to 22psi and I’ll do the same.
  • 4 1
 @panaphonic: "you have a concept in your head that you don't understand but you believe to be true".

Wait, what? I thought this was our entire job as pinkbike commenters?!
  • 8 0
 Review of the bright racing fork ?
  • 8 0
 "Set Fazers to stem"
  • 12 7
 Yes, putting an ultralight, weight weeny bar+stem combo on a Privateer, makes so much sense....
  • 20 0
 No, it doesn't. But 100g is 100g. It's not like if I'd put it on a 10Kg bike it would become a noticeable saving. Readers can judge for themselves if the weight and cost are acceptable to them. The point of the review is to comment on the geometry, sweep and stiffness.
  • 7 1
 Rated for DH, but doesn’t attach to DH bikes…?
  • 2 0
 Not saying I would do it but why wouldn't it attach? It just wouldn't be direct mount.
  • 1 0
 Are you going to put it above a top crown on an exaggeratedly long steerer tube ala 2005?
  • 4 1
 It’s an under reaching design aesthetic, that’s for sure. At least they didn’t set the bar very high for future innovations.
  • 2 1
 Too much backsweep for me and can't roll it to adjust it. I've also seen a video explaining that too short a stem could be bad for handling. I'd like a riser bar with zero or very minimal backsweep and no upsweep. Now I know I'll get some flack for this, but the Ergon GE1 grips are designed to get your elbows out - essentially undoing some of the backsweep.
  • 2 0
 I've been interested in bar stem combos for a while... this one's not for me but keep them coming! I run a 16 deg backsweep though and might be more interested in something in ti... but it's interesting to see new stuff.
  • 2 0
 Same. Someday the right one will come along. 35mmish rise,40-50mm stem, good compliance. At this time though, still better off with a OneUp bar and your stem of choice.
  • 1 0
 @seb-stott Is part of the shorter feeling also all the stem stackers? On a 64 deg head angle bike, every 10mm spacer reduces your reach by nearly 4mm, so even before you account for the sweep induced effective stem length your bars are about 15mm closer to you than with a conventional stem and 40mm rise bars.
  • 3 1
 its too short. there is no bike designed for this stem length. and there are no humans who will actually have a best of class fit from this bar/stem...T-rex may like it
  • 2 0
 This is kinda what I'm thinking as well. More from a handling perspective than fit. @seb-stott , could you comment on the handling of this set-up compared to your normal set-up? I've tried a 30mm stem and bar combo that put the grips right inline with the steerer tube. The fit was great, but the handling was just a bit "off." Not unrideable, or crash causing, but just too twitchy, and nervous feeling to the point that I felt better with a 40 or 50mm stem.
  • 3 0
 That upside-down long-travel carbon fork seems much more interesting.
  • 1 0
 Where can you buy one of these? No dealers around here and not for sale on their website. I sent them an email and got no response
  • 1 0
 As soon as he mentioned tighten down the clamps . Notch failure , crush came to mind. Torque to specs then tighten some more? Probably not a good idea.
  • 5 2
 This is.... ugly.
  • 1 0
 Cool..best be bought aftermarket. I always do a few stem combinations on a new bike, before I settle.
  • 1 0
 Where do they sell it? Can't find any information on their website, even email them but no answer.
  • 1 0
 more products from Basterdlabs please. best name in the components business.
  • 1 0
 I misread it as Bastlerstab - tinkerer's stick - and thought it's not the most confidence inspiring name haha
  • 1 0
 I really want the gear housing cables
  • 2 1
 where garmin go?
  • 1 0
 It's a POLEish design
  • 3 2
 Looks horrific

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