“What is this big brown thing in front of my door? NO WAY! It’s a box full of gear from Singletracks to review!”
When I first tore into that box to see what I was going to be testing over the next few months, I knew that something looked vaguely familiar about the Kore Torsion handlebar. I walked outside to look at my bikes, and I realized why: a similar Kore Torsion had come stock on my Airborne Taka. That bar on my downhill rig, however, is quite different as it has a 35 mm rise and is flat black in color. So, I decided to throw the new Kore bar on my Zeppelin Elite and review them both!
Rounding out my new Kore Cockpit is a pair of Gripster bolt-on grips sporting a slight ergonomic flair.
Installation for both the handlebars and the grips was a cinch. The Torsion has lines marked on it to make centering the bar in the stem easier. The bar comes stock at 800mm wide but if that’s too much for your tastes there are lines marked down the ends that make precision cuts a cinch.
The grips were easy to install as well, only requiring a couple of hex keys. I simply lined them up to provide a comfortable angle while in the saddle, and tightened them down. Take care not toover-tighten – you could strip the bolts or even crush your bars.
On the Trail
These handlebars are made to perform in the rough! I could feel a distinct reduction of trail chatter and feedback on my Zeppelin after installing the Torsion. The massive width and beefy construction has true dampening power and really smooths out the trail! This helped me to focus on the big obstacles and gloss over the smaller bumps and roots.
The traditional benefits of a really wide bar were also apparent: everything seemed to slow down slightly, allowing me more time to react and fine-tune where I wanted my front wheel to go. I’ve also been enjoying the slight backwards sweep on both of the bars. It provides for a comfortable ride in a slightly more relaxed position.
Flat vs. Rise
I found it easier to loft the front end with the 35mm riser bar vs. the flat version mostly due to the difference in my posture on the bike. Of course I also have the riser installed on a short DH stem and the flat bar installed on a longer trail stem, so a shorter stem coupled with the flat bar could produce slightly better results in this category.
Personally, I like the shiny white finish on the flat bar much more than the flat black on the riser… and the white also happens to match my Zeppelin perfectly!
The Gripsters have been performing well in all my tests. Due to the bolt placement along the front of the grip, they tighten down well across the entire length of the grip, providing an absolutely rock-solid feel. The ergonomic flair is definitely present but isn’t as exaggerated as say Ergon grips. The Gripsters are definitely designed foraggressive riding but with a more comfortable shape for longer rides. As a result, the flair is just enough to be comfortable without reducing control and provide a secure grip in the rough.
The only complaint I really have with these grips is the tough plastic across the front. This is where all of the bolts tighten down, and it can be very uncomfortable on the fingers. After a while I have started to get used to it, but every now and then my fingers start getting sore, and I wonder why anyone ever thought that two strips of hard plastic in such a prominent part of the grip would go unnoticed.
I am in love with both of my Torsion bars, and am never going back to short handlebars! The dampening and steering have helped me step up my game that much more. These are definitely intended for aggressive riding, so bear that in mind when you are shopping around. Kore doesn’t list an MSRP for these bars, but I found them on Amazon for $55 for the black riser, and $65 for the white flat bar.
The Gripsters have performed well and I will probably keep them on my bike for a few more months while I shop around for a more comfortable grip. The price tag, however, is very reasonable: I found these on Amazon for $22.
Thanks to Kore for providing these products for review!