While there are still some 31.8mm handlebar diameters hanging on out there for different applications, most component makers have switched to the 35mm width, at least for the aggressive trail and enduro market.
Race Face was an early adopter in the Atlas freeride handlebars, and today there are plenty of 35mm options in their lineup.
The 35mm diameter is said to have have a better strength-to-weight ratio than a 31.8mm handlebar. By widening the diameter, a manufacturer can use less material to achieve the same or greater amount of stiffness compared to a 31.8mm bar.
The Next R handlebar is a race-ready handlebar for the all-mountain and enduro crowd. It’s stiff, it’s wide, it’s light — and here’s how it performed.
- 800mm wide
- Available in black only, with red, blue, green, orange, or purple accents available
- 10/20/35mm rise (20mm rise tested)
- 213g (for tested 20mm rise)
- 8º back sweep, 5º up sweep
- 35mm clamp diameter
On the trail
Aggressive, all-mountain or enduro style handlebars are kind of my thing, so I was happy to test this cockpit. I like the 35mm clamp diameter, I like the aggressive but subdued sweep, and I appreciate the width. Nine times out of 10, these specs work to my preference, except for the tight tree and rock squeezes that come by every now and then and threaten to take my outer two knuckles off.
The Next R bars start with a uni-directional carbon that is engineered for a specific amount of flex to take the edge off small bumps.
Mounting is made easy with a colorful set of instructions provided by Race Face. The Turbine is a Top-Lock stem, so the top two bolts are tightened first to torque specifications, the angle of the bar can then be adjusted, and lastly the two bottom bolts are tightened.
This is a different installation method than the instructions that come with the Next R bars, so make sure to check the stem installation method also.
The torque specifications can be easy to miss since they aren’t in the installation manuals, but they are etched on the back of the stem at the steerer clamp and inside the bar clamp at 5nM.
Switching back from a set of aluminum review bars, I noticed a difference in the Race Face carbon. More vibration damping, more small bump humming rather than chattering, and a wise amount of stiffness.
Finding the right angle for the handlebar always helps. I have installed handlebars just a few degrees rolled back or forward in my lifetime, and it can often result in an overly harsh feeling on the wrists.
The open face plate and well-marked lines on the handlebar clamp help get the position dialed. The Next Rs felt perfect immediately after installation.
The short 50mm stem was a perfect match for the handlebars and my bike. It’s light at 139g, tight, and minimalistic. Aaron tested the stem earlier this year with the Race Face Turbine R bars and found the stem to work well on his full-suspension bike.
The flex-tune on these bars feels great. As mentioned above, it’s not a wrist killer and helps to mute trail chatter.
Race Face sent its new Grippler grips to test with the handlebars. Mine feature a 30mm outer diameter, and feel nice and squishy. The ends completely cover the hex bolts on the lock-on grips for a really clean look.
The market is full of handlebars that will handle the needs of aggressive all-mountain and enduro riding. Carbon is of course more expensive than an aluminum option, but the Race Face Next R handlebars aren’t a bank-breaker and are an aesthetic upgrade that will allow your hands to focus on braking and controlling the ride.
Thanks to Race Face for providing the bars, stem, and grips for review.