Nukeproof Warhead Bar & Stem + Element Grips

Some of you may not be familiar with the name Nukeproof but the company has actually been around since 1992. Nukeproof started off in Grand Rapids, MI producing high quality carbon bar ends and titanium/aluminum and carbon/aluminum hubs. Now owned and distributed by Hotlines in the UK, Nukeproof is really making a name for themselves once again, this time with a full complement of MTB gear. I recently got my hands on a complete set of Nukeproof cockpit equipment for testing: the Warhead flat bar, Warhead direct mount stem, and the Element skinny grips.

Warhead Handlebars

I tested the no-rise flat bar version of the Warhead (medium and high rise versions are also available) at 800mm wide with a 9-degree back-sweep. These bars are meant to keep you low on the bike with plenty of control and torque. A 760mm version is also available for those who would prefer to trade torque for lower weight and better clearances. The 7075 aluminum is strong and quite stiff – hey, as the name implies, these are nuke proof. Talk about tough.

Warhead Direct Mount Stem

Complimenting the Warhead flatbar is the Warhead direct mount stem. The version I tested was the BoXXer direct mount (also works with Manitou, Fox, and anyone else who shares the 4-bolt pattern). This stem is made from 6061 aluminum and has been CNC machined to reduce as much weight as possible while maintaining strength (136grams). With a 31.8mm diameter bar (Nukeproof only produces 31.8mm diameter products) the 4-bolt face plate makes for a solid connection. Having a 45mm reach and just enough rise to clear most forks, this stem allows you to ride a bit further back on the bike than some other stems on the market.

Element Skinny Grips

The Element Skinny grips tie everything together and connect the rider to the bike. Using a familiar locking arrangement, these Kraton-clad grips have a fine knurled pattern and a relatively small diameter for maximum control, even in wet, muddy conditions. The 7000-series aluminum lock rings and end cap ensure nothing comes loose when it counts. The solid end cap with the logo also really helps prevent injury and eliminates “core samples” on the trail (think sharp bar ends penetrating the skin).

Installation

Installing the gear took about 30 minutes and two tries. While bolting up the bars and stem I did come across a small defect in the design. I noticed that if you clamped down one end of the stem then the other, the bars did not mate well. What you have to do is loosely assemble the bar and stem, then tighten down the gear. I found that the hard way when I noticed that the bars didn’t sit straight on the first go. Once I changed the way I mounted the parts, things worked much better. The grips were a piece of cake to install and I had no issues there.

On the trail

On the slopes I enjoyed the control and ease of steering that I had with these mammoth 800mm bars. It was easy to handle my DH bike through everything that crossed its path. Even round rocks on the rock gardens didn’t alter the bike’s path thanks to the great grip and leveraged positioning of my hands. Throughout my test I didn’t hear a noise or feel anything slip when riding. My positioning on the bike (lower and back) was great when things got really rough, offering good weight distribution over the bike.

The only negative thing I can really say is the bar is a bit too stiff for me. I did get a lot of feedback into my hands which over a full day of riding got to be a bit numbing. My suggestion: ride this bar with padded palms (I didn’t).

Overall the Nukeproof gear is on par with other brands out there as far as price vs. performance ($100 MSRP for the stem, $85 for the bars, and $25 for the grips). With three colors to choose from (black, silver and yellow) you can really trick out your bike. Check out Nukeproof for yourself and see what else they have in store.

Thanks to the Martin at Hotlines and the folks at Nukeproof for providing the gear for review.

 

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