No secret that super wide handlebars are falling out of favor. Granted, there are a significant number of riders who may need a bar that is at or beyond 800 millimeters, but even among gravity pros, the top of the bell curve hovers around 780. The sweet spot for enduro racers is moving towards 760 millimeters. Rather than argue the reasons for those choices, this story is about what happens if you decide to cut your bars - and get it wrong. The cost of a high-end handlebar starts somewhere around $70 USD for aluminum, and carbon tops out around $180. That's a lot of cash to wager on an experiment that could go either way. No honor lost if you'd be reluctant to whip out the hack saw and give it a go.
Ibis Adjustable Carbon Handlebar Use:
Trail, enduro racingConstruction:
high-strength carbon with bonded, threaded-aluminum insertsWidth:
750mm, 800mm with aluminum extensions in placeOptions:
Ten or 30mm rise with a 9 x 5 degree bendClamp:
7 year Weight
: Lo-Fi 238g, Hi-Fi 249gMSRP:
$169.99 USDContact: Ibis Cycles
Ibis' Hi-Fi and Lo-Fi carbon handlebars come with a 15-dollar insurance policy in the form of a pair of 25-millimeter threaded-aluminum extensions. Ibis' adjustable bars measure 750 millimeters wide, and 800 with the lightweight extensions installed. The idea is that you can hack saw the extensions to any length you want within that range, and if your experiment goes horribly wrong (or you simply change your mind), you can purchase a new pair of extensions for only $15 from Ibis and spread your wings again. The extensions and their bonded-in threaded-aluminum inserts reportedly add less than 30 grams to a comparable full-carbon bar. The 30-millimeter-rise Hi-Fi bar we review here weighs 249 grams, while the 10 millimeter-rise Lo-Fi handlebar weighs 238 grams. MSRP for either is $169.99 USD. Clamp size is 31.8 millimeters only.Key Features
Handlebar extensions are not new by any means. A number of accessory makers used to sell expandable aluminum plug-in extensions when bars wider than 720 millimeters were considered extreme. The strength of a handlebar, however, is not to be trifled with. The rider's life literally depends upon its integrity, and adding extensions to a bar that was not rigorously tested and certified at that width is asking for trouble. Ibis' adjustable solution was designed and tested in widths between 750 to 800 millimeters. It's made specifically to be customized to any length between those parameters.
Don't do this at home: Cleverly, the extensions are threaded opposite to each other, as Ibis designers figured that the powerful pull-back motion that is repeated often while riding will naturally tighten them. Thus, there are no external wrench flats, nor an internal hex to cinch the extensions. Firm hand pressure is all that is necessary to attach the thread-in stubs.
I tested this theory using a pair of Syntace grips that clamped on the outside end of the bar. That's right. The grip was only held in place by the aluminum extension. After firmly tightening the extensions by hand, they stayed tight and did not loosen, even when I was banging through some surly rock sections. I strongly state, however, that this was an
experiment only and I immediately replaced the Syntace grips with standard ones that had clamps on the inside of the bar. For safety reasons, glued-on grips or lock-on grips with inboard clamps are a must if you are using the extensions.Ride Impressions
This is my second Ibis carbon bar with the same rise, and I am a fan of both the bend and the amount of flex it has. The feel is like Renthal with slightly more back-sweep, which works well in the wider options for me. I tried the bar at 750 millimeters, but it only took handful of rides to convince me to throw on the extensions in search of a more familiar cockpit. Normally, I ride at 780, but given the fact that I could make it longer if I needed to, I tried a little shorter width - and I like it better so far.
The only negatives I discovered were that I couldn't use my Syntace lock-on grips, because the clamps were outboard, but that is a rarity these days. The other issue was minor, but a bit bothersome. Most double-clamp lock-on grips, like the Lizard Skins I used, have a push-in end-plug. The plug worked fine until I cut the extension, after which, the plug wouldn't fit into the bar-end. It took some careful trimming to fix. If you are a fan of 35-millimeter bars (I'm not), then you are out of luck. As of now, Ibis has no plans to make it in the oversize clamp option.