While we typically refer to suspension forks and shocks when we talk about mountain bike 'suspension,' we've seen a growing number of cockpit vibration damping options hit the market. One of our favorite Instagram accounts, @north.american.bike.project, recently shared a series of posts about cockpit suspension, and we decided the Pinkbike homepage could use a similar roundup.
XC Gear Hammerhead 360 Stem Features
• Uses polymers in three firmness options to dampen vibrations
• 45mm length, 31.8mm clamp
• In-house testing
on motocross bikes reportedly showed significant vibration reduction
• Made in the USA from 6061 T6 aluminum
• $399.99 USD
|The XC Gear Hammerhead 360 Stem has gotten some media attention recently because of how it sets itself apart from previous suspension stems. The Hamerhead 360 is a bit complicated but very clever. Polymers suspend the handlebar from the stem in two different ways: first, the outer part of the stem connects to the handlebar through polymer sleeves, suspending the handlebar from the main part of the stem. Second, the stem has a middle section that clamps directly to the handlebar and is suspended from the base of the stem by another polymer part. The NABP Instagram has an explainer with photos here.|
Revolution Suspension Grips Features
• Grips rotate by 3-4mm due to small amount of float over bars
• Firmness is adjustable with the use of shims (included in grip kits)
• Install just like standard lock-on grips, just marginally more complicated to swap out shims
• Rebuild kits available for all the wear parts
• $59.99 to $89.99 USD
|Rev Grips are built with the idea of taking the movement that typically occurs at the hand/grip interface and in riders' arms and transferring that movement to inside the grip, where it is damped before it reaches the rider. The grip barrel is suspended slightly from the handlebar, moving independently of handlebar vibration. The grip performance is tuned using spacers that come with the grips and allow riders to choose how freely the grips move.|
Fasst Company Flexx Handlebars Features
• Available in alloy and carbon versions
• The enduro version comes at 800mm, while the DH bar measures 810mm and has a wider clamp area to accommodate direct-mount stems
• 550g for alloy, 430g for carbon
• Tunable using interchangeable elastomers
• $324.99 USD for alloy, $424.99 USD for carbon
|Like XC Gear's Hammerhead 360 Stem, the Fasst Company Flexx Handlebar originated in the moto world and has crossed over to mountain biking. The Flexx bars provide vibration damping and theoretically reduce or prevent arm pump and hand discomfort. They work by pivoting at two bushing joints that are fitted with interchangeable elastomers that allow riders to tune the bars’ firmness and ride feel. The joints are designed to flex in the direction in which a rider’s arms bend, but not in the steering axis, with the goal of proving damping without affecting steering precision.|
OneUp Carbon Handlebars Features
• Oval shape allows for independent tuning of vertical and horizontal compliance
• 220g-225g claimed weight
• Available with 20mm or 35mm rise
• OneUp says in-house testing showed a 21% increase in vertical compliance and a 28% increase in steering stiffness compared to competition
• $139.50 USD
|OneUp says the oval shape of the carbon handlebars allow independent tuning of vertical compliance and steering stiffness, and they claim to have struck a fine balance between comfort and responsiveness in the aptly-named Carbon Handlebar. Like the Fasst Flexx bar, the OneUp Carbon Handlebar aims to provide movement in the direction in which a rider's arms need to absorb movement without sacrificing steering precision.|
Baramind BAM MTB Handlebar Features
• Handlebar flexibility is customizable using insert kits that come included with the bars
• Bars are made from a carbon and fiberglass combination
• 720mm width, 31.8mm diameter
|The made-in-France Baramind BAM MTB Handlebar is another carbon bar designed to flex. The bar uses swappable pieces that fit around the bars to regulate flexibility. While these bars are strictly recommended for XC riding only, they are covered by a 5-year warranty for some peace of mind.|
Textured Grips Features
A Few Recommendations
• The simplest way to play with cockpit damping
• Easy experimentation
• Widely available
• Typically cost $20-$40 USD
Grip preference is so intensely subjective, so this list is just meant to point you in the right direction. More information is available in this full-on grips extravaganza
• Ergon DG1 Evo
: Ergon used a soft compound for the DG1 Evo grips, meaning the grips have a bit more give than most.
• PNW Components Loam Grips
: My personal choice. Great pattern and fun colors.
• Fabric Magic Grip
: Sometimes simple is nice. The Magic Grip's mushroom pattern provides plenty of compliance.
• Deity Knuckleduster
: The Knuckleduster has extra cushion on top and extra grip on the bottom.
• ESI Grips
: ESI Grips are classic. They're preposterously simple and oh so comfortable, though they really don't get along well with crashes.
• Renthal Push-On Grips:
It takes a tiny bit longer to install and remove push-on grips, but lots of riders swear by them due to the excellent damping and slim profile.
Girvin Flexstem Features
|Are you interested in adding a bit of give to your cockpit, but not interested in any of the elastomer-jointed-flexy-engineered solutions described here? Playing with standard lock-on or push-on grips is one of the easiest ways to fine-tune the vibration damping of a bike's cockpit.|
• No real merits to list here
• "Suspend the rider, not the bike" and other nostalgic taglines
• Looks kind of cool
• A talking point for your weird uncle
• Available from a wide variety of sources
• ~$60-$70 USD on ebay
|Want to go retro? Do you prioritize character and uniqueness over actual functionality? This throwback stem may be just the thing for you.|
I'd also be confident in saying that different companies use different metrics to calculate the vibration damping potential further complicating comparing one vs the other when looking at the values solely on paper.
That being said I did buy a spank vibrocore + revgrips so we will see how it goes this season.
150lb weigh hanging each end of bars, clamped in a jig, measure flex. Then you have numbers. And then a graph. Maybe a pie chart.
-as I'm typing this out It's becoming obvious I'm irresponsible.
I'd really love it if some real science could evaluate compliance and then provide some kind of scale ranking of compliance. I have a feeling not everyone is looking for the same level of compliance but knowing what you like and objectively what is similar could be a real boon for riders.
PS is that you Waki back from exile?
I gave a renthal carbon fat bar away,
I'm favor of a one up. And later tried a spank vibrocore.....
The renthal bar induces sheer pain in the wrist I fractured.
Like they flex quite and bit and after running a few carbon bars now I can say with 100% certainty they the flex the most.
Wakiredesigned, or perhaps, Wakientropy
So we need to attach a vibrator to measure what provides more pleasure........
Spank vibration test.
There are some flaws but it's still some interesting data
I hope that helps,
Jon @ OneUp
Typically the resonant frequency or a stiffer structure is higher.
It's not that high frequency are transferring trail to wheel to suspension frame to hands. One whack gets the bars to "ring" like hitting a gong or bell, or key on a zylophone or plucking a string on a guitar, bonnnnngggggggg.
Pluck the string on a base guitar twice a second its a continuous bungbungbungbung.
The input frequency and amplitude can be quite varied and still excite an objects natural frequency. This is what spank was on about shooting foam in a bar.....
It's a piece to the puzzle.
So is overall flex for sure, but I can see a flexy carbon bar being Like bending a door stopper and releasing it.
The one up bars feel like taking 3 psi out of your front tire without doing so.
The spanks are hard to describe. I broke my wrist in 2018 and I was having pain on rocky trails not pump but more like an arthritis in the joint. (It's gotten better on the bike It's no problem however operating an air die grinder will bring pain in about 30 seconds) I was having to push through the wrist pain at the end of downhill runs. My buddy got me to try his 31.8mm spank and my wrist felt great....
I bought a 35mm spank vibrocore. Ran it, it wasn't as good as the 31.8, I bought the one up It's ok. I also filled a pivot carbon bar with polyurethane 2 part foam. Would rate 31.8 vibrocore, one up, and a tie with foam filled pivot bars and 35mm vibrocores.
35mm alu bars are awful. They are almost as stiff as first Renthal Fatbars. Those that had like 4-5mm walls, weighed 400g or more. Current fatbars lite in 31.8 are my favorite. Had Renthal carbons 31.8 back to back, evidently stiffer.
As to wrist pain: have you tried exercising it with holding a kettlebell upside down? Trains wrist stabilizing muscles as well as grip strength
To understand your comment - the 31.8 vibrocore makes the biggest difference?
Trail ride - fine, shorter less rough DH - fine. But when I’m on a 4 min track, lots of braking and rough hits I’m a mess after about a minute, if I don’t stop I won’t be able to as my fingers will lock solid.
Tried a lot of stuff and have improved it, still there though - no death grip here, decent fitness and been riding a long time, really hampered my DH racing in my younger years.
It’s a real pain in the ass.
As I say though, local trail or DH no problem, lots of braking and rough stuff and I’m finished after no time.
Arm pump sucks. Would be great if you could eliminate or minimize it.
It’s not ‘the industry’ it’s a few small players making niche stuff for people with specific requirements.
Only time I've had something rip one up it was a rock that put a sizable mark into the aluminum bar beneath it.
Those are SDG Thrice grips. I know because due to covid shortages (the Deathgrips I'd been using before were out of stock everywhere, for forever). The best thing is they are available in two thicknesses, 31mm, and 33mm.
I think I paid $19 for a pair of 33mm diameter Thrices, and after using them for a few months, I'd say they compare favorably to the deathgrips. The profile is slightly different (same diameter the whole width, instead of the thumb area being thicker like the deathgrips), but the overall vibe is pretty much the same. And my larger mitts really like the extra thickness/diameter, and it seems to help with arm pump on the longer sections.
Just wanted to call that out for anyone confused why the image, and the links were for different products .
I also use a Nukeproof Horizon Carbon 31.8mm handlebar, which may help too. I rode my buddy's bike a while back, which has a Funn alloy 31.8 handlebar and some thin lock-on grips (AG1s?), and I thought my hands were going to fall off. It was so harsh and buzzy. I hadn't realized how much difference there was since I'd started using the Nukeproof/ESI combo a couple of years ago. I honestly think my current setup allows me to maintain a steadier grip as I'm not fighting those constant micro impacts. A long day at the bike park still works my hands, but I bet I get at least one more lap out of them than I would have before. Or at least my hands aren't the first thing to give up near the end of the day. It's usually my neck or quads that tell me to stop.
It's hard for me to isolate how much of the improvement came from the extra suspension in the bars and how much came from making the switch to 12 degree backsweep.
One thing I did notice was that I was able to get even more vibration dampening by stuffing each side of the bars with foam backer rod. Since the two sides aren't connected, I was able to try it out with just one side at a time and the difference was noticeable on pavement.
Rubber/Silicone material ribbed for pleasure
Very comfy, have lots of good due to ribbed texture and you can adjust density by stretching or compressing them.
Hit the gym>spending $700 on your cockpit.
Just because it works for you doesn't mean it works for everyone.
The gym is usually a good place to start when you have problems like muscle exhaustion, at least a better place than plastic bushings.
Note that I did find that I could dampen vibrations even more on the Fasst bars by stuffing them full of foam backer rod (less messy / permanent vs. the spray foam experiments I've seen others do for DIY alternatives to vibrocore).
This meme brought to you by 30$ handlebar gang
Being able to say, "WTF?!!!"
Currently running the Fasst bars + Revgrips on a Stache with 29x3.25" tires.
REV Grips > Vibrocore Handlebars > Atomik Carbon DH35. max vibration damping.
The industry as a whole is a joke and needs to focus on the basics, like an efficient reliable drivetrain that doesn't unexpectedly propel the rider over the bars and break his back. Once e bikes take over and everybody is running gearboxes and 180-220mm long travel, we'll look back at these days and laugh and wonder " What was everybody thinking?"
Real big surprise seeing you drop your nonsense reporting on another completely unrelated post. If the whole industry is a joke, then leave us alone!
You won't though, because I think you are just psyched to be getting some attention, and with that in mind, I'm sorry you weren't hugged enough growing up. I'm here to talk if you ever need a friend, on the condition that you delete your PB account.
Also, probably leave out the hashtag man, or at least look up how it is already being used for real issues.
✔ A single speed chain is stronger than a derailleur chain, which is designed to flex and shift.
✔ There is no derailleur for the chain to get tangled up in and jam.
✔ There is no exposed rear derailleur to get damaged by rocks and other obstacles.
✔ The front sprocket isn't as large so the chain is much less likely to get hit when the suspension bottoms out, and is less likely to hit the ground or hit rocks, dramatically decreasing the chances of damaging the chain.
✔ Sticks or other obstacles are much less likely to get caught in the drivetrain, which can damage or rip off the rear derailleur or cause damage to the chain.
✔ The chain is tighter and not bouncing around as much, dramatically lessening the chance of damage or derailment.
✔ There is no risk of a bent or out of adjustment rear derailleur, causing the chain to shift off of the casette into the spokes, which can immediacy destroy the drivetrain and hanger and put the rider at immediate risk without warning.
✔ There is much less risk of the bike mis-shifting while pedaling, which can by itself cause your feet to come off the pedals, and/or cause the rider to lose balance and crash.
I suspect it won't be long before your suspension is lengthened. But I have to ask (if you get a chance to answer): you don't seem to enjoy bikes anymore, so why don't you pick up a guitar or basket weaving?
Or...take some time away to design a gearbox.