Mountain bike stem and handlebar weights can only dip to a certain level before their clamping mechanisms suffer. The component engineers at Syncros have bypassed this limitation by eliminating the stem clamp mechanism all together with the Fraser iC SL 740 handlebar. The feathery-light, 220g integrated bar/stem setup handily rivals its competitors’ lightest offerings, tipping the scale at roughly 70g less than a comparable carbon bar and stem.
Syncros uses unidirectional carbon fiber that they claim allows them to cut weight while maintaining strength and durability characteristics. Having plowed this bar across the ground a few times, I can attest to its claimed durability. Syncros says that the “superlight SL Line uses the highest quality carbon fiber and construction techniques to produce components that are on average 10% lighter while maintaining the same performance and durability characteristic.”
Like the Syncros Hixon that we reviewed last year, the Fraser uses the handlebar’s angle to move the grips forward, rather than placing all of the forward extension on the stem. This allows Syncros to make the steerer tube interface thicker and stiffer, and to tune the bars’ overall flex as one unit, rather than sticking with the load capacity of a 31.8 or 35mm clamp interface.
The bar I tested has an 80mm effective stem length, -8° stem angle, 6° upsweep, 9° back sweep, and 740mm width. The overall hand-feel of the bar is fantastic, with just the right wrist angle for aggressive XC-style riding.
The Fraser iC’s clear disadvantage is that riders who don’t love the angle of the bar can’t rotate it to a preferable spot, as they would with a traditional bar. For this reason, the Fraser iC is definitely a product to get your hands on prior to purchasing. Given its shape, it may be difficult to mount some lights or bells to the Fraser iC, and you will need to purchase the Syncros proprietary computer mount for your bar-mounted device.
The width of the Fraser iC feels great on my classic XC bike. I originally rode this frame with a 110mm stem to achieve an aggressive race position, but this 80mm extension fits my more playful riding style well. The bar is notably stiff and doesn’t smooth out trail vibrations as well as the beefier Syncros Hixon iC. This makes sense given its intended use as an XC race component, where the Hixon is designed for larger hits and longer descents. The Fraser iC needs to be stiff while sprinting and climbing hard, absorb some amount of the chatter on chunky descents, and weigh as little as possible. It does all of those things quite well.
The Fraser iC retails for around $329 at your local Syncros dealer.
Thanks to Syncros for sending the Fraser to review.