Ritchey / Syncros: 1000mm Bars (!), FRIC Stem, and Carbon 29er Fork

After seeing more than one set of super wide 800mm bars at Interbike, element22 and I were having a conversation that went something like this:

element22: Wow, 800mm bars – that’s gotta be as wide as it gets.
trek7k: I dunno, next thing you know someone will come out with 820mm so they’re just a little wider than everyone else. It’s an arms race.

Fast forward to later in the day and our meeting with Sean from Ritchey / Syncros. Strolling around the booth I literally knocked a set of bars off the display and immediately element22 recognized the gag: 1000mm handlebars (1 meter or 39.37 inches for those who aren’t up on the metric system). Sean assured us the bars were created just as a conversation piece but I’m not so sure. Apparently the feedback from some younger riders was that they’d be interested in giving the 1000mm bars a try. Add to that the fact that the bar was produced with thicker walls for added strength – at the very least someone will be riding with these babies to see how they feel on the bike. What do you think – how wide is too wide for mountain bike handlebars?

Aside from the gag bars, Syncros unveiled a totally innovative (and patented) mountain bike stem called the FRIC. The “Intelligent Clamp” design wraps 260-degrees around the bar (unlike traditional 180-degree stem clamps) to reduce bar stress and increase fatigue strength. Reduced bar stress is a great thing for anyone who runs carbon bars but is wary of over-torquing things. Of course this means most bars will need to be threaded through the stem on installation but that’s a small price to pay. The stem also sports a centered steer tube slot which means improved bolt clearance. The whole package weighs just 124 grams – sweet.

Stems and bars are certainly interesting but what really caught my eye was the new 29er fork from Syncros. From a distance the rigid carbon fork looks like a standard suspension fork – but one that’s been blacked out for stealth early-product testing. Most of the rigid, carbon mountain bike forks I’ve seen look like they belong on a road bike but this one definitely fits the scene. I’m hoping to get a few test rides in on one of these in the near future – stay tuned for more…

The company also showed off updated wheels (including 29er hoops), pedals, and hubs. Honestly we could have spent all day drooling over the latest stuff at the Ritchey / Syncros booth.

Ritchey / Syncros has a great reputation for innovative design and solid products and the line-up for 2011 certainly doesn’t disappoint. Where will the company push the boundaries next?