Product Test: Renthal Cockpit
Renthal might be new to making mountain bike parts, but these guys out of Manchester, England, cut their teeth in the moto industry where they were recognized as handlebar and gear sprocket leaders. The company that is currently the cockpit choice for the Specialized/Monster Energy team riders is making a push into the States, starting at the front with this stem/bar/grip combo.
Tech features: The Fatbar handlebar is available in 10-, 20- and 38-millimeter rises with the possibility of a 30-millimeter version in the near future. The uncut width is 31 inches, with graduated cut marks to just under 27 inches. It features 7-degree backsweep and 5-degree upsweep geometry. It’s made from high-strength 7-series aluminum with a shot-peened and anodized finish. It has a laser-etched positioning grid for easy setup and permanent graphics. It sells for $84.99 and weighs 12.8 ounces.
The Duo stem is CNC-machined from aluminum with a box-section profile to give lateral strength and torsional rigidity. By horizontally dividing the Duo stem, Renthal’s engineers can aggressively remove unnecessary material from the core while retaining the cross-sectional profile. The U-shaped cradle clamp is designed to eliminate the handlebar stress risers that commonly occur with traditional stem designs. It’s available in a 50-millimeter length with a 10-degree rise and tips the scales at 5 ounces. The Duo retails for $99.99. This is the first bicycle stem Renthal has released, and they have a range of lengths currently in development. The Kevlar grip was designed, with the help of DuPont, to be their softest and most durable grip. The grip has the feel of a super-soft Renthal moto grip with the life-extending properties of Kevlar-brand resin. As the soft TPE material wears, more of the Kevlar particles become exposed. Renthal claims this increases wear resistance. The grips weigh in at 3.2 ounces per pair. They retail for $15.95, and the glue goes for $7.95. Renthal also makes $8.95 grip covers to prevent the rubber from being contaminated when the bike is in the workstand for a messy repair.
Field test results: The Duo stem is the most interesting piece in Renthal’s bag of tricks. It’s split horizontally and bolted together to allow the pieces to be machined separately. The fastening system is not difficult to adapt to, but be sure to read the directions. You have to torque the bolts in a very specific order to align it properly. The unconventional looks are sure to be a topic on your next group ride. The stem delivers the excellent stiffness we’ve come to expect from a short, machined stem without the typical weight penalty. The stem was an instant favorite due to its unique and effective design with no compromises on clamping force, strength, stiffness or weight. The bars are being sported by Sam Hill, Brendan Fairclough and Troy Brosnan of the Specialized/Monster Energy team this year. The bar’s dimensions were easy to adapt to for aggressive trail riding. At 31 inches wide, many riders will prefer to cut them down. All in all, we loved the feel of these bars. They deliver a stiff-but-not-chattery feel at a weight that will be right at home on any bike with 5 inches of travel or more. The grips’ compound proved both soft and durable, with great shock absorption qualities, but why no lockon version? The glue is a mess, and after a few bike washes and several rides in the heat, these grips twist easier than a throttle on a dirt bike. The feel of these grips is awesome, but unless you have the patience to put up with the messy gluing process, or you have a pair of safety wire pliers, wait for the lock-on version.
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