Spank Spike 800 Race Vibrocore Handlebar - Review

Nov 26, 2014
by Mike Levy  
The Spike 800 Race Vibrocore may look like a standard aluminum bar but its name should hint that there's something else going on here, and that something else is a special low density, two-part foam that's been injected into its core. Spank says that this helps to dissipate the high frequency vibrations that are usually passed through the bike and straight into the riders' hands. Spank offers two handlebars with the same Vibrocore technology: the 235 gram, 760mm wide Oozy; and the 325 gram, 800mm wide Spike 800 Race Vibrocore reviewed below. There are 15mm and 30mm rise options for the Spike handlebar, with both sporting an eight degree back sweep and a four degree up up sweep. MSRP $99.90 USD www.spank-ind.com

Spank Spike 800 Race Team Vibrocore Bar review test
  This Spike 800 Race Vibrocore is the Team Edition model, which is the same as you'll find on Mick Hannah's Polygon race bike.


How does Vibrocore work? Spank says that the low density foam is able to ''reduce the frequency, amplitude, and duration of energy waves traveling through the handlebar. Not only does the low density of the Vibrocore impede the transfer of energy, but as energy waves cross material boundaries from high density to low density within the bar, they are refracted and reflected, reducing their ability to build on one another or sustain vibrational frequencies.'' It's all about dealing with energy transfer, which is something that motorbike riders have know for years and are able to somewhat remedy by using weighted bar plugs or other devices to dissipate the buzz of their motor and the terrain. However, those methods are obviously not suitable on a mountain bike that only weighs thirty some odd pounds, which is why the 25 gram weight penalty of the Vibrocore foam over a standard Spike handlebar is so appealing - can it do a similar job while basically weighing next to nothing? Let's also keep in mind that we don't have to deal with high RPM motors, only the terrain under us, so is it really needed?

Spank starts with a standard Spike handlebar which is then filled with low density foam, a job that they say is actually quite tricky due to multiple elements needing to be added together at the same time in order to create the green coloured foam, as well as temperature and time constraints during the process that have to be met. Small closed-cell foam plugs are then installed into each side of the bar in order to keep contaminates out, and the finished product looks exactly like a standard Spike handlebar save for the matte shot-peen finish.

Spank Spike 800 Race Vibrocore handlebar
  This cutaway, protected behind a plexiglass case, shows the low density foam that is said to help disperse some of the buzz that travels up through a rider's hands.


Spank says that the Spike 800 Race Vibrocore bar is as flex free as anything else out there, but also able to reduce the amount of buzz that would otherwise be transferred to a rider's hands. And what about the new 35mm clamp diameter bars that many companies are saying allows them to tune flex? Mike Dutton, Spank Brand Manager, shares Spank's view on the subject: ''We really just couldn't buy into other brands marketing more flexible bars to make 35mm acceptable after the last 20 years of bar development and marketing toward stiffer, light weight bars. It seemed crazy. We insisted on a solution that improved comfort and performance.'' It's also worth mentioning that while Spank might have been able to come up with a similar result using carbon fiber, the company cites both environmental and affordability reasons as being enough for them to pursue aluminum instead, which is good news for anyone who might shy away from using a carbon bar.

Dutton explained the company's thoughts on using carbon fiber in an earlier review of their Oozy Trail295 wheelset: Spank has taken a stance in our manufacturing facilities and product range against the use of carbon for components that take a lot of abuse and may require more frequent replacement. We feel that handlebars and rims, for example, are not suitable products for materials which are not recyclable. The abundance of mass produced carbon components in the market lately has also brought down standards, and is starting to pose a safety threat to consumers. Spank has invested heavily into the development of production processes, materials, and product design, with the goal of offering consumers a safe, environmentally responsible affordable solution to carbon without compromises. We aim to offer World Cup level components at a competitive weight and performance compared to carbon ones many times their price.

Spank Spike 800 Race Team Vibrocore Bar review test
  Alignment markings on both the front and back make it easy to get the angle exactly where you like it after removing bar for whatever reason, but remember to make a witness make on the stem if there aren't any on it to begin with.


The Spike's ''Dual Extreme Gradual Taper'' graphics might have you scratching your head given that it sounds like a bit of an oxymoron, but the name makes more sense you see what Spank is doing with their aluminum manufacturing. Adding tapers, which is where the wall thickness of the bar changes, allows manufacturers to leave material where it's needed in the name of strength, like the bends in a riser bar, while allowing it to be thinner where that material isn't required. This isn't a new thing, of course, but Spank's approach, which they say utilizes proprietary technology, allows for much more gradual taper zones in the aluminum. The shorter and more abrupt the taper zone, the more likely it is to act as a stress riser that might possibly lead to a failure, so they've worked to make the Spike's tapers as long as possible. This, combined with their ''CNC Bending'' technique, means that they don't end up having to literally grind external material off of the bends, and that the finished product has basically zero inconsistencies throughout.

Spank Spike 800 Race Team Vibrocore Bar review test
  Handy cut marks make for easy trimming - I cut this one down to 780mm - while Spank's Impact Ends are said to increase reliability at each end of the bar.


All of the above is hidden from view, and you wouldn't know otherwise if it wasn't for the rather loud graphics that get hidden by your grips, but there's something else that's also impossible to spot: Spank's Impact Ends. This refers to the additional wall thickness at the very end of each bar that, as the name suggests, adds some strength to each end. The length of the Impact Ends has been increased on the Spike 800 Race Vibrocore compared to their other offerings, with it now running 60mm in from each side so that the rider has the option of trimming down the bar's width without sacrificing the Impact Ends.



Pinkbike's Take

bigquotesCan a handlebar actually be too stiff? Of course, but it doesn't come through to the rider as you might expect... rather than it feeling like it's simply too rigid, you'll likely pick up a sensation of it passing too much vibration through to the hands. I've felt exactly this with a number of the new 35mm clamp diameter handlebars on the market, and it's one of the reasons that I'm not a real big fan of the new, larger size. Now, it's obviously not just the bar's clamp diameter that is having this effect, but the few oversized options that I've tried have all felt too harsh for my liking. I could say the same thing about a 31.8mm carbon bar that I've had on my personal bike for some time now, and while I knew that said bar was a touch unforgiving, it wasn't clear just how unforgiving it actually was until I swapped it out for the Spike Vibrocore.

I'll certainly admit to being a bit skeptical about how much a handlebar filled with foam would help matters, which is surely a valid doubt to have, but there is a definite contrast in feel between the Vibrocore, the carbon bar it replaced, and a standard aluminum bar, all of which I've had on the same bike recently. It's not a night and day difference, however, but it's there, and I'd say that it's much more subtle than going from a small to a high-volume tire. That's on the same bike, with the same set of grips and wearing the same gloves. Is it going to make you faster? That's a tough question to answer, but I can see the added comfort meaning less hand and arm fatigue over a long day, which would certainly make you more comfortable, and therefore possibly quicker. I can also say that my hands felt better after using the Vibrocore than with other options, which proves to me that Spank's idea of filling the bar with foam is valid.

I tested the Spike 800 Race Vibrocore bar on a short-travel bike after cutting 10mm off of each side, and while Spank touts the bar's vibration damping abilities as an asset to the downhill racer, I think that trail riders and enduro racers will actually benefit more from the technology. Yes, a downhill bike is ridden at faster speeds and on rougher terrain, but your trail bike has less travel, likely smaller volume tires, and there's simply less between you and the ground to take in and absorb the chatter. This is where the Vibrocore should be an asset, not to say that it wouldn't help your hands during a long day in the bike park on your DH machine as well, because it clearly would do exactly that. The 325 gram, 800mm wide Spike 800 Race Vibrocore is likely too much handlebar for a lot of trail riders, and while there is a lighter, 235 gram Oozy Vibrocore model, it measures in at 760mm. That means that you'll have to go with the heavier 800mm wide model and cut it down (or not) if you want to go wider than 760mm.
- Mike Levy

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124 Comments

  • + 349
 'The Spike 800 Race Vibrocore may look like a standard aluminum bar but its name should hint that there's something else going on here' Yes, that it is also a tandem dildo.
  • + 11
 lol I wish I could have given you 99 more up votes
  • - 4
flag fecalmaster (Nov 26, 2014 at 3:50) (Below Threshold)
 Thats what the low density foam is for.
  • + 4
 Vibrocore !!!! Hulala
  • + 10
 Damn, 800mm? You sure do like it deep, eh CRAFTY?
  • + 11
 next thing on the market, vibration proof spray foam in a can for $200 to make all of your bars vibration proof
  • + 10
 I'm waiting for the Spank Spike Spanish Fly Vibrocore Enduro edition
  • + 19
 I'm gonna put this review in my favorites, so I can refer to it in 2 years when PB is telling us that 35mm handlebars with tuned flex are the most awesome and revolutionary thing ever.
  • + 1
 @The-mnt-life365 you mean 69 more upvotes?
  • + 5
 @makripper its called 'expanda-foam' or 'no more gaps' and builders have been using it liberally for years!
  • + 2
 yeah haha for insulation. im sure it would work!
  • + 54
 This is the best product I've seen today, bar none.
  • + 26
 I can't wait to get a grip on it.
  • - 35
flag lukachadwick (Nov 26, 2014 at 0:03) (Below Threshold)
 You guys are just so punny!
  • + 26
 These puns are becoming unbarable
  • + 19
 I'd love to know where these pun threads stem from...
  • + 14
 oh look, another pun thread to raise the bar on our creativity
  • + 12
 I can't Handle these puns!
  • + 7
 Vibration dampening, light weight, yields rather than snaps, won't impale myself on carbon fiber shards...I really hope this foam idea doesn't blow. Anyone else foaming at the mouth?
  • + 10
 "Extreme gradual taper"
  • + 13
 These puns really tapered off.
  • + 2
 Hold on, I think there's more to come.
  • - 12
flag blackthorne (Nov 26, 2014 at 13:36) (Below Threshold)
 But is it Enduro?
  • - 2
 @spillway.. where are you seeing "light weight"? Light weight for handlebars is like 230 or less
  • + 5
 I'll steer away from this thread.
  • + 34
 When they coming out with an foam injected frame?
  • + 5
 Sampson's been injecting foam into his road bike frames for years, he calls it the "Sampson Attenuation System". I have a titanium frame road bike with this foam injectted into it and it rides great, but I have no idea if rides better than it would without the foam.
  • + 24
 Handle bar review, if it doesn't break it's good to go
  • + 22
 I wonder if as a BikeHack you take some canned small gap filler from home depot, and injected that into an alloy bar and see if it makes a difference?
  • + 6
 Nah, theres actually a ton pf science behind it. I did some research on structural foam years back. You might be able to get your hands on the automotive equivalent from a body shop though.
  • + 14
 I feel like the physics behind it are as simple as cramming a mattress inside a church bell. Any foam should do something. It is just a question of getting the density and weight right and making sure you inject it well.
  • + 12
 Its funny how this seems like new technology but they've been making bar snakes for MX for years now. Its sad how long it takes moto tech to trickle down to bikes. Buy a bar snake and you can do this to most handlebars.
  • + 3
 Barsnake makes a liquid form too so yeah, any set of bars can have this advantage. I would recommend it @mikelevy for his carbon bar, though he might regret the weight if he is gram counting.
  • - 14
flag WAKIdesigns (Nov 26, 2014 at 0:51) (Below Threshold)
 Ooooor... Pretty much every carbon handlebar is made by wrapping carbon weaving on a foam mandrell, and Spike decided to save a penny per bar by not removing it and added a story to it? I am so happy my XX1 cranks are damping vibrations so well, since the foam is inside
  • + 1
 barsnake has the liquid stuff listed at 50 bucks for enough to do one bar........could be worth it if you have a bar with a bend you really like i guess. Theres probably a cheaper 2 part foam out there thats equivalent, idk.
  • + 3
 the mx forums say $7 3M foam works.
  • + 7
 waki, you crunked? they're alu bars lol, different foam too
  • + 5
 I have used the Great Stuff window and door gap filler to do this on my aluminum bars (it is the low density flexy foam rather than the stuff that hardens like a rock). It's a very noticeable difference in hand fatigue, especially on fast and chattery descents. I believe it works by removing the high frequency vibration, like a bell. Compare hitting a screwdriver on your bar and feeling the vibration and then do so after you inject the foam. A can of it costs like $5, but you should do a number of bars at once as the stuff has a tendency to clog up after use.
  • + 1
 Great stuff was the first thing that came to mind while reading this review. I have a can in my garage. I will have to see which version of foam I have. I'll probably try it on my black bars which are more easily replaced than my purple ones. Smile

I'm not a weight weenie, but I'm curious how much Great Stuff weighs. I can't imagine it would be much.
  • + 1
 I would say one bar uses about 5-10% of the 16oz can, but probably 50% of that is excess that expands outside of the bars.
  • + 12
 whistler has just announced that these are the official bars of the park. your hands will not feel like jello after 8 laps with these combatting the braking bumps.




Just kidding Razz
  • + 3
 bikepark is where these would benefit you the most, along with non lock on grips and an open bath cartridge
  • + 4
 how are non lock on grips advantageous in a bikepark?
  • + 0
 Some people don't like lock on collars jutting into their palms, with braking bumps the feeling would just get worse.
  • + 39
 'Some people'... need to hold the rubber part.. not the collars. That's what it's there for I imagine.
  • + 15
 non lock on grips cut out alot of vibration going to your hands since there's no hardplastic sleeve taking up most of the grips diameter. This is why lock ons haven't caught on in the mx world, something to consider if you like thin/normal diameter grips. Trade off ofcourse is convenience on install and removal.
  • + 3
 Good to know ! Never thought grips would actually make a difference! I do get sore hands on long tracks or after 3 or 4 laps...
  • + 1
 @tobiusmaximum some people's hands are to wide for lock on grips, and both sides of their hands hit the collars, I'll be taking off my lizard skin north shore grips on my old enduro and getting some non lock on grips again soon Smile
  • + 2
 ESI make a chunky grip and a race (slim Grip) they are like 10$ when on sale....they are very good. I have them on my BMX, DH, And trail bikes. Suprisingly good in the rain and mud as they have no groves so the mud wipes right off. And they form to your fingers within a day of riding...custom fit finger triggers. And they are long so when the ends rip after a crash just exacto them and pull them back to place!!
  • + 1
 Most lock on grips have the collar exposed but a few on the market have rubber that covers the collars making discomfort a non issue even for people with bigger hands.
  • + 11
 Too wide for lock-ons!? Crikey. Okay.. those people...erm.... Whatever they say is right okay!
  • + 13
 EXTREME gradual taper
  • + 7
 To the EXTREME
  • + 9
 Thanks god the voodoo foam/alien jelly is protected behind a plexiglass. was starting to get nervous
  • - 2
 Exactly! I've ridden street bikes for years and the only way you get vibration out of bars is filling them with lead shot or heavier bar end weights (we are talking about pounds of weight not mere grams).

I think this is a solution for a problem that does not exist (marketing) or simply something that actually does nothing.
  • + 2
 I've filled bars with silicon before and it has some effect. I've also installed some aluminium end plugs and it had the most effect on removing vibration, this is despite them only weighing 40grams each or something.
  • + 2
 You can feel the difference after injecting foam by hitting the bar with a screwdriver. I would say the difference in vibration damping between foam injection and normal bars is about the difference between aluminum and carbon bars. They probably both cut out the high frequency vibration (ie - bell ringing effect).
  • + 7
 would like to know if there're the same test result by blind testing. maybe it's just a placebo effect. just a thought...don't neg props
  • + 3
 Blind testing sounds brilliant.
  • + 4
 It looks like a dish scrubber foam insert, same green and everything! I heard it works a treat though, making an ally bar feel like carbon. I've read a lot of stuff about carbon components failing after a year or two when they have mud scratches on them. I wouldn't touch a carbon bar now, and I ordered one of these for my enduro specific bike to increase comfort on my weekly trips to 7 eleven to buy doritos
  • + 5
 7 eleven ! you're robbing yourself, go costco or wal mart, way better dorito deals, you can pick up some 3m sprayfoam with the money you save at the same time!
  • + 3
 We were a little sceptical about whether these would make much dfference but figured why not try them anyway.
After one of my sons missing two races due to injury, the track he came back on he normally gets a fair bit of arm pump after Saturdays practice, but on the way home it suddenly dawned on him that his arms felt good all day. Made us think that maybe the bars did make a difference........
He was the only one of us running them due to them being out of stock but we are all now running them on our DH and Enduro bikes and find them to be very good, quite rigid yet very comfortable for a day of DH or out on the trail. (and we run them at full width, 800mm goodness)
In our opinion, they are great Smile
  • + 4
 Please make this technology for BMX bikes which are the most rigid unforgiving bone-jarring things known to man. I'd pay good money.
  • + 2
 I used these bars at the Whistler Bike Park this Fall with 17 days of riding in an 18 day trip. My hands did not hurt like they usually do in past seasons. I feel like the bar does help with vibration and decreases hand fatigue, thereby increasing comfort and all day longevity on the bike.
  • + 1
 In MX harmonic level frequencies come from the engine more so than trail feedback.. Very unlikely that this particular MX technology crosses over to bicycling ? However, perhaps a block of high density rubber lining the inside of the stems hbar clamp may help reduce trail generated vibration and increase small bump sensitivity more effectively than foam inside hbar?
  • + 4
 Let me recap, you want the direct connection between your handlebars, and the rest of the bike, to be made of rubber? Might be an idea to clad all your locals trees in something soft too.
  • + 2
 True, on a moto its mostly the motor, you hear guys mention this all the time going back to 2 strokes after riding 4 strokes(way more arm pump). But when you ride somewhere like whistler bikepark, you do get alot of high frequency vibration coming through the bars.
  • + 2
 This made me think of the rubber mounts for the handlebars on my Harley. They allow for some flex. I upgraded to poly bushings and they are much more ridged. Now poly might not be a bad idea for lining the stem. Still, I think you want a solid connection there just incase of a large impact you wouldn't want any movement occurring .
  • + 5
 So whose gonna be the first one to fill their own handlebar with foam.
  • + 1
 please forgive my ignorance, but is there really that much difference between aftermarket bars? i.e Raceface, Renthal, and Azonic bars that all are 785mm wide with 30mm rise? I'm no expert, this is me not trolling...
  • + 2
 Yes there is a difference. Different bends (backsweep and upsweep) to the bars. Also the feel of the bars will be different. So are really stiff others give, and have more flex.
  • + 2
 Exactly, its all somewhat preference. There are many brands (some you mentioned) that all make nice products, so quality wise they will all be good and do the job. But as Rdot84 pointed out, they will feel a bit different. I've only been riding downhill for a few year and used to think the way you do. I had the same set of bars for 4 years on my old DH bike. When I built up a new bike I bought new bars not thinking to much about the back and upsweep. Maybe its juts because I became so used to what I was riding but a 1 degree change in both up and backsweep made the new bars feel terribly uncomfortable. I could not get used to them and eventually sold them and bought something with a similar bend to what I had.
  • + 1
 another factor is how far apart the bends are spaced, you could have two bars with the same upsweep/backsweep specs, but if one bar has wider spaced bends than the other, they will end up feeling different despite seeming the same on paper.
  • + 1
 So this begs the question, and given that most of us don't have 1000 bucks to spare on 10 different bars and then decide which one we like, how can a regular joe like me know which direction to go when buying new bars? I went from stock 15mm rise 760mm to 30mm rise 785mm Renthal Fat Bar and liked it more. Gave the bike a bit more control on the techy stuff and a bit more playful overall.
  • + 1
 Id say trying friends bikes, or going to a shop and picking the bars up and holding them in your hands. Personally I think Renthals are perfection, but thats not everyone. You could also use the specs on your renthals and/or your old bars to draw comparison to get an idea of what you're looking for. This will give you a good reference, even if the bend spacing varies between bars, which is a more subtle difference than -/+ a degree of sweep.
  • + 1
 will do, thanks mate.
  • + 1
 That's funny, the Rentals are the bars I found to be uncomfortable and got rid of. They are a 7 and 5 sweep. Coming from just an 8 and 4 sweep it was terrible.
  • + 4
 Cool idea, would need to get some saddle time on them first
  • + 5
 That would be a good test. Riding double is illegal round here. But mtb pretty much is too.
  • + 0
 Foam core is not the best way to dissipate vibration. Best way is to clamp viscoelatic material between two rigid material, ie a tube of viscoelastic material (quite thin, around 1mm) sandwiched between the bar and a alu tube core.
Voila, it's not even patentable now it's public.
  • + 1
 I'm not sure that would be ideal? thats a very high leverage point, even with only 1mm thick sleeve, i think you'd feel some movement between bar and stem with that type of setup. Def worth a shot trying, but i think that is why we dont see this out there already
  • + 1
 I had some very slim (but very heavy and thick-walled) RooX bars back in the day that had a yellow plastic spacer so they could be clamped in a 25.4mm stem. Sounds like what you are talking about.
  • + 1
 Well whaddya know... an XC version still exists:

www.roox.at/COMPONENTS/COMPONENTS/PRODUCT-PAGES/FPS_Riser.htm
  • + 1
 You missed the point: you keep your existing bar, but you put inside another tube, and in between some viscoelastic stuff.
When you bar deform, it also tries to deform the inner tube through the viscoelastic layer that absorb energy.
You don't even need this for the all bar length, only between hands and stem is enough.
  • + 1
 Right. I understand now.
  • + 1
 I wonder if we will ever see something like these Flexx Bars for dirt bikes:
www.fasstco.com/product/flexx-handlebars-mx
  • + 1
 Check "Baramind" They make something with the same idea.
  • + 0
 I've been riding one for months and it's an awesome bar!! You can totally feel the difference.
Purchase here:
www.universalcycles.com/shopping/product_details.php?id=68044&category=3313
  • + 1
 100 bucks? lol. absolutely useless stuff. but if you want one: pena-germetik.ru/d/78276/d/soudalognestoykaypena.jpg
way cheaper.
  • + 1
 its at the end of the ride when your hands hurt from shuttling. if stuffing foam in the bars dampens the vibration then im buying a can of foam and trying it my self.
  • + 1
 this is sweet, I think ill give them a go, I generally run smaller width bars so maybe the oozy first...
  • + 1
 im with SlowdownU on this one lol.....i didnt even know about the 35mm diameter thing.
  • + 3
 Spank foam. too easy.
  • + 1
 Been thinking of getting less stiff bars for my XC bike I get numb fingers after aboot 20miles
  • + 0
 Props to Spank for taking the green angle! They are right - carbon fibre, like plastic, is a material that is not biodegradable and we should be careful where we use it.
  • + 3
 aprils fool already
  • + 1
 235g for a 760mm wide alu bar doesn't seem right to me. That's carbon bar weight territory. I call BS.
  • + 2
 Why not just inject some high density foam in your favorite handlebar?
  • + 1
 Love spank...but this is just a Xmas quickie...but, I want it too...lol...ordering...
  • + 1
 Here, let me google that for you: lmgtfy.com/?q=placebo+effect
  • + 1
 Look honey! Breast implants for you bike!
  • + 1
 Could I not inject expanding foam into the bar I've already got?!!
  • + 1
 low density foam for a softer feel......
  • + 0
 Does the foam absorp water? Because that would make your handlebar extremely heavy.
  • + 2
 "Small closed-cell foam plugs are then installed into each side of the bar in order to keep contaminates out"
  • + 1
 Can anyone find them on their website?
  • + 1
 Does it only come in black and yellow?
  • + 2
 colors are on the way for the new year. for now the team edition has been the only one available in very limited numbers.
  • + 1
 @ralbisurez any idea if chrome with black writing will be available? If so this will be the bar for my new frame.
  • + 2
 I will check on a time frame but yes there will be.
  • + 1
 Going to the dyi store to buy some foam for my renthals.
  • + 1
 Never have, never will.

youtu.be/OcSqTlkvkj0
  • + 0
 what a loads of pr bs LOL!
  • - 3
 Once you go enve...
  • + 30
 ...you eat ramen for a few months.
  • + 20
 ...you post about it in forums.
  • + 2
 Hahaha
  • - 2
 thomson ti risers for me
  • + 3
 have fun with your $300+ handlebar....
  • + 1
 I do Wink

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