Handlebars, grips, and stems don't usually make for exciting review fodder, especially when the stems are short and the handlebars are wide; there's just not much to say. A lot of companies offer all those components, but Production Privée has designed their aluminum LGB 780 handlebar, R2R enduro stem, and especially their CR35 grips, to be used together thanks to easy to sight alignment markings.
While that in itself isn't all that special or uncommon, the CR35 grips feature an eccentric bore that, by rotating them on the handlebar, allows riders to adjust the effective back-sweep and up-sweep by +/- 1º without having to rotate or swap out the handlebar.
But what, if any, is the benefit of being able to easily adjust back-sweep and up-sweep? Time to find out.
Production Privée Stem, handlebar, Grip Details
• CR35 grips w/ eccentric bore to adjust back/up-sweep +/- 1º
• Alignment marks on grips, handlebar, stem
• CR35 grips: 31mm or 33mm diameters, 133mm length, single inboard clamp, laser eteched markings
• R2R stem: 50mm or 65mm lengths, 31.8mm clamp, side clamp bolts, laser eteched markings
• LGB 780 handlebar: 780mm width, 7075 T6 alloy, 25.4mm/1'' rise, 5º up-sweep, 8º back-sweep
• Weight: LGB 780 handlebar - 320-grams, R2R stem - 159-grams
• MSRP: CR35 grips - €24.92 , LGB 780 handlebar - €54.17, R2R stem - €74.17 (all w/o VAT)
There's no excuse for not having everything lined up evenly if you're running this cockpit.
- With an off-center bore that allows for adjustable up-sweep and back-sweep, Production Privée's CR35 grips are the real talking point of the trio. The company says that the design mimics the pattern of the iconic Dunlop CR65 Formula One tire from a time before slick - or the grooved rubber of 1999 to 2008 - tires were the norm. And while a grip made to resemble an F1 tire from decades ago doesn't automatically mean that it's going to provide more purchase than anything else out there, the soft rubber compound (also lifted from car racing tires, they say) does feel quite forgiving.
The pattern is modeled after the Dunlop CR65 Formula One from many decades ago.
The CR35's party trick is their eccentric bore that allows for four different positions by rotating them on the handlebar: #1: -1º back-sweep, 0º difference to the up-sweep; #2: 0º difference back-sweep, +1º up-sweep; #3: adds 1º back-sweep, 0º up-sweep; #4: 0º difference to the back-sweep, -1º reduction up-sweep. And while laser etched markings on both the handlebar and grips make for easy alignment for all four of those settings, riders can rotate the grips to any position they like between each of the four options.
A single inboard lock-on collar clamps them onto the handlebar, and the soft, closed rubber end negates the need for bar plugs. Total length measures 133mm, and the CR35 grips can be had in either 31mm or 33mm diameters.
R2R Enduro Stem - There's not much to talk about when it comes to short stems; yeah, it's rigid because it's short, silly. No, it didn't break. Aaaand done. There's a bit more to touch on when it comes to the R2R stem, however, besides that it's short, rigid, and didn't break. Production Privée says that they first forge the stem to 70-percent completion, after which it's pulled out and put in the CNC machine to be finished off, a process that the company says makes for a stronger finished product.
The racing strips are for both style and setup.
The stem's shape, and particularly it's raised side profile, has been inspired by the old Corvette Stingray, Production Privée claims, and the steerer clamp bolts are located on the side of the body rather than the back so they don't put gaping puncture wounds in your knees. Because it's a 0-degree rise stem, there's no point in flipping it upside down if you're looking to lose some height, and the alignment markings on the body wouldn't line up with those on the handlebar if you did. The 156-gram stem has a stack height of 36mm, clamps 31.8mm diameter handlebars, and is available in 50mm (shown here) and 65mm lengths.
LGB 780 Handlebar - You won't find any carbon components in Production Privée's catalog, and especially not when you get to their four handlebar offerings that are all built using 7075 T6 DB aluminum. The LGB 780 is, you guessed it, 780mm wide, has 25.4mm of rise, and sports a fairly common 5º up-sweep and 8º back-sweep shape. It's made to interface with the CR35 grips, however, with laser etched witness markings that ensure, so long as you're not blind, that the grips are oriented correctly. Standard grips can also be used, of course. There are also alignment markings for your controls, and in the middle to ensure it's centered and rolled correctly when clamped by the stem.
As far as wide aluminum handlebars made for a spot of rowdy riding go, it's a pretty reasonable 320-grams. That's nowhere near as feathery as some carbon fiber options, sure, but there are plenty of riders who don't give a toss about weight when it comes to the handlebar they're holding onto.
The stem, handlebar, and grips are all well and good on their own, but with alignment marks that line up each component to the next, and the off-center bore of the CR35 grips, Production Privée has definitely designed all three to be used together. So that's what we did. Setup is a no-brainer, as you'd expect, although it'd be nice to see the stem's steerer clamp bolts require the same tool as the handlebar clamp - one asks for a 5mm hex key and the other a 4mm. That's probably a bit nitpicky, though.
Together as a package, I have to say that the Production Privée cockpit looks damn good. The black finish and racing stripe alignment marks on the stem and handlebar look simply awesome to me, and it's certainly more class than flash in my eyes.
All of us can get a handlebar lined up correctly without a bunch of laser etching to help, of course, but the many alignment marks on the stem and handlebar make this job even easier. And, when it does come time to remove one of the parts for whatever reason, getting it back to exactly where it was is a cinch, just so long as you were paying attention before you took the part off. It's a lot nicer than using a white-out pen to do the same thing.
The CR35 grips are comfortable, and their collar-less rubber ends won't irritate the outside of your palm.
As far as the LGB 780 handlebar and R2R stem go, there's nothing to moan about. The stem feels like a quality bit of kit, its side-mounted clamp bolt won't rip your knee open, and both components look as nice today as they did when they were installed six months ago. But what about those grips and their crazy adjustable sweep feature, you ask? Well, it turns out that there's certainly something to it.
First and foremost, they're actually very comfy, with enough cushion that it doesn't feel like you're holding onto an aluminum baseball bat attached to a paint mixer, but not so soft that your hands sink into them. The rubber compound is also as grippy as it needs to be, and the pattern never felt harsh to my soft hands. The single, inboard lock-on collar makes a lot of sense, especially for riders who tend to let their hands move out to the edge of their grips.
This setup might be the most OCD-friendly of all the setups.
For the first six months, the CR35 grips were set to the 0º difference back-sweep and +1º up-sweep position, a setting that felt natural and neutral. After that, we did a few experiments that involved closed eyes and rotating the grips on the handlebar until they felt ideal in this blind test; not actually riding down the trail, of course. And, lo and behold, they ended up in a different and, surprisingly, even more natural feeling setting at 0.5º up and back every time we did the experiment. In other words, the 0.5º position was the most natural. The difference between the four clearly marked settings is very noticeable, and while we didn't expect much of a change since we've all gotten used to just running whatever sweep numbers that the handlebar sports (which can be altered by rolling the handlebar in the clamp), it turns out that Production Privée's strange grips are actually pretty useful.