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spank vibrocore

photo: Chris Daniels

Vibrocore is a complex, low density material filling the inside of the Spike 800 Race Team Edition handlebar in an effort, by Spank, to dissipate surface-induced vibration transmission. Here, I review the 800mm wide, 30mm rise Spike handlebar weighing in at just over 325g paired with a 50mm Spank Oozy Trail Stem, which will also be discussed. Spank gave its 760mm Oozy bar the Vibrocore treatment, too, with weights starting at 235g.

Bottom Line: get the Spank Spike 800 Race Vibrocore bar if you’re looking for a high-quality alloy bar with little flex, vibration-reduction qualities trending towards that of carbon, and don’t want to pay a carbon premium. 

Spike 800 Race Vibrocore Bar (Team Edition)

  • Material: Super Six alloy, shotpeen – anodized finish
  • Clamp: 31.8mm
  • Rise: 5/15/30 (reviewed), 50mm
  • Length: 800mm (adjustable to 740mm)
  • Geometry: 4º upsweep x 8º backsweep
  • Features: 3D CNC bending, Dual XGT tapers, Impact Ends
  • Colors: black/yellow, black/white
  • Weight: 325g
  • MSRP: $99
IMG_6037

photo: Chris Daniels

Oozy Trail Stem

  • Material: 6-series alloy, 3D forged, CNC, polished – anodized finish
  • Clamp: 31.8mm
  • Rise:
  • Length: 50 (reviewed)/65/75mm
  • Features: 35mm stack height, Snap-Fit sealed top cap
  • Colors: silver, red, green, black, blue (reviewed)
  • Weight: 150/165/175g
  • MSRP: $69.90
photo: Chris Daniels

photo: Chris Daniels

I did, in fact, detect a significant reduction in bar vibration and kickback–most noticeable at higher speeds over terrain where repetitive small to moderate-sized bumps, along with the usual trail chatter, generates a substantial amount of oscillation in traditional alloy bars. The Spike Vibrocore also demonstrates as little flex as I’ve ever experienced in alloy, which is partially due to the hollow-less design. Not only does the Vibrocore technology work to diminish vibration, but in so doing it allowed me to further lighten my grip to enhance performance and reduce the risk of arm pump. Coming off a 787mm bar, the Spike’s 800mm was noticeably longer and a length that really wasn’t working for me, so I trimmed them down to 777mm. Take heed not to adjust the overall length shorter than 740mm to avoid compromising the Impact End’s tapering and the Vibrocore material.

Vibrocore

High density material, like alloy, effectively transmits vibrational energy, and it is well-known that exposure to prolonged and repetitive vibration puts mountain bikers at risk for overuse injury and performance-diminishing effects. Upon passing through Spank’s special blend Super Six alloy, energy waves disperse through the foam-like matrix, resulting in a reduction of frequency, amplitude, and duration of trail-induced vibration. The vacuolated filler also helps to reinforce the Spike from inside out, improving responsiveness and sensitivity. End caps abut the ends of the Vibrocore stuffing to prevent contamination.

photo: Chris Daniels

Reducing vibration at the hands means less brake and more control. photo: Chris Daniels

Although at the very core of this innovative bar is the trail chatter-scattering funky green innards, Spank employs some other noteworthy engineering to provide a quiet, quality ride.

3D CNC Bending

Using automated three-dimensional CNC bending in a single fixture, Spank severely limits undetected structural damage, asymmetry, and thickness inconsistencies inherent to more traditional bending processes that use multiple fixation points and several sets of radius tooling. Eliminating less precise methods obviates the need for additional material and heavy grinding, so Spank can offer a lighter, stronger, and safer bar.

spike vibrocore

Cut indicators on a bar this wide is always a plus. photo: Chris Daniels

Dual XGT

XGT stands for Extreme Gradual Taper and, though the name seems a bit bass-ackwards, it refers to the Spike’s Super Six alloy wall as it tapers from the thickest portion at the stem clamp to the thinnest area of the “control zone” (length between second bend and about 30mm shy of the bar end) in a continuous and gradual manner. The alloy walls again thicken through the “impact zone,” where your hands rest. This taper design removes isolated stress points that occur with tapers having too short a distance or with abrupt start/stop points.

spike vibrocore

photo: Chris Daniels

Spank Oozy Trail Stem

The Oozy stem is 3D-forged and CNC-machined using a standard 6-series alloy. All Spank stems and handlebars undergo a proprietary metal forming method called Micro Grain Refinement (MGR), another Spank stamp of approval, which reduces grain size beyond that offered by standard extrusion, forging, and tube drawing. Micro Grain Refinement results in a stronger, more durable material. All metallurgese aside, the Oozy stem looks and feels absolutely stunning!

The Oozy stem features a widened, chamfered barclamp for better support under heavy force, a short stack height (35mm), and a “Snap-Fit” top cap with an O-ring. Spank also includes an extra spacer to be used in the top cap assembly to accommodate longer steerer tubes. The 4-bolt faceplate and 2-bolt steerer column mount are graced with laser-etched torque indicators (thank you, Spank!) and use 4mm allen heads.

Considerations

So what is the Spank Vibrocore supposed to be? The performance of carbon for half the price, or just a heavier alloy bar? When it comes to getting the best bang for your buck, it’s impossible to not compromise between price, weight, and performance. Despite injecting the handlebar with Vibrocore, a process that is much more complicated than it seems, the Spike is no heavier than the average alloy bar and only costs about $10-15 more. The issue then becomes a matter of performance, and whether the green injectant justifies spending the few extra dollars. I say, it does! Unless you’re counting grams, where lighter alloy bars tip the scale around 300g, the vibration damping effects of the Spike are worth its weight in Vibrocore.

I so badly wanted this bar to feel like carbon, and while the Spike’s ability to diminish trail-induced vibration works, carbon still has a slight edge for doing so more effectively. Of course, carbon is on average about 115g less than alloy, and you’ll pay about $70-100 more, too.

If you are in the market for a strong alloy bar with an average-for-alloy weight and carbon-like qualities devoid of carbon’s price tag, the Spank Spike Vibrocore is an excellent option, and finally a bar that will adorn my bike for longer than two months.

spike vibrocore

photo: Chris Daniels

Thank you Spank Industries and The Gravity Cartel for supplying the Spike Vibrocore 800 Race Bar and Oozy Trail Stem for review!

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