I spied a new product at Outerbike this weekend that looked like it was straight out of a scifi movie: the new integrated carbon bar/stem combo from Syncros, dubbed the Hixon iC.
While bar/stem combos have been done on the XC side before and are somewhat commonplace on road bikes, bringing this technology to the trail bike format is quite intriguing! Of course, the big news is the radically low 290g claimed weight for the 50mm virtual extension and full 760mm length.
Most of the stems on our best stems list, just published today, weigh 140-170g. While carbon bar weights vary quite widely, comparable bars I checked weigh anywhere from 180-220g. While there’s a lot of variance in that range, that puts most carbon bar/stem combos at anywhere from 320g-390g — a far cry from the scant 290 of the Hixon.
The Hixon iC is available in 40, 50, and 60mm “virtual extension” stem lengths. The actual extension comes from how far the bar sweeps forward from the stem, before sweeping back toward the grips. Up sweep is 6° on the bars and back sweep is 9°, with 12mm of rise.
However, the one potential downside of the Hixon iC is that the rider cannot adjust bar roll at all, due to the integrated design. Syncros claims they chose a very neutral position for the bar but depending on the angle of your head tube, these bars may or may not work well for your specific bike.
Out on the Trail
I put about 25 miles of riding on the Hixon iC while mounted to Scott’s new 2018 Genius trail bike. The pairing of the Hixon with this bike was perfect, since Syncros is Scott’s in-house component brand: the bar and stem position was, of course, perfectly matched to the bike.
The bars performed flawlessly during my one-day test, and the carbon did an excellent job of damping trail chatter. Really as long as the bike that the bars are mounted on works with the specific bar angle, you’re golden.
However, you will need to ensure that you place the bar at the very top of your spacer stack. The top cap is not a standard round cap–it is designed to lie flush with the carbon stem. Also, if you’re in the habit of mounting a lot of gear to your bars, like lights, an action cam, or a GPS unit, you won’t be able to put those on the Hixon due to the ovalized shape.
While an integrated bar/stem combo may seem like a minor advancement, the attention to detail that Scott and Syncros are giving to all of the features of their bicycles, from the big to the small, pays large dividends in weight savings and performance enhancement when taken together.
I think this looks cool as shit, but knowing how picky I am about my bar roll, it’s an impractical solution. Also, you bring up a good point about not being able to easily mount lights, GPS, etc. with it’s non-round profile.