I’ve long been a fan of Race Face products, so one of the first changes I made to my new Santa Cruz Bronson was to install the new Race Face Next SL 35mm UD carbon low rise bar and Atlas 35mm stem.
The Next SL measures 760mm wide, comes in a 35mm clamp diameter, and features an 8° rearward, 5° upward bend. The new, super-low 10mm rise lowers the cockpit, providing a flat bar cockpit height but with the comfort and good looks of a riser bar.
Through the design process it was found that less material was needed to meet the strength requirements, resulting in a dramatic reduction in overall weight while retaining the proven stiffness and performance. This latest rendition of the Next weighs only 180 grams! The Next is made from UD carbon, which is formed and then covered in a matte clear coat for protection. The best thing about carbon is the ability of the engineer to orient the fibers of the bar for the best absorption of vibration due to the bumps on the trail.
Out on the Trail
Out on the trail, I was an instant fan of the feel of this bar. When riding I use thin gloves and thin grips; I am a big fan of the über thin Half Nelson grips also from Race Face. With everything so thin, you would think that the vibration would be terrible, but that’s just not the case. Even in the worst sections of shale, rocks, and roots, the Next SL is forgiving. The bend and width of the bar leave my hands in a very neutral, comfortable position.
Most Ontario trails, with the exception of a few older ones, have no issues with bars this wide. Older ones, like Hydrocut and some sections of 3-Stages, can be a problem, though. They were constructed when bars were only 24″ / 610mm wide. That tends to leave little room for wider bars, but it’s not enough to prompt me to cut a bar down: I love the added leverage over the front wheel!
I also found that the low rise of the bar helps to compensate for the slightly-taller 27.5″ wheels, keeping me in my ideal riding position.
Bottom line: this is a comfortable, lightweight bar that would be well at home on your rig.
Thanks to the folks at Race Face for sending down the Next SL bar for review.