Spank's Vibrocore makes an appearance once again, but this time in the form of handlebars (where it was first used) rather than wheels. Having tested the wheels, I was keen to see what they would do to a set of alloy bars and if the foam filled inner would have a noticeable effect on comfort.Buy Handlebars on
The bars are pretty standard from the outside, hitting some good numbers with a 780 width and 5-degree up and 7-degree back-sweep. Inside is obviously where the magic happens and the foam inner adds very little weight while aiming to reduce the vibrations transferred to your hands.
The Stem contains no Vibrocore foam but is a good match for the bars. The Spike stem, available in 35 or 50mm lengths keeps it all locked in place with a classic four bolt face plate. The stem is chunky and exudes strength with it's pronounced bolts and strong curves. At 160g it's competitive in weight and ticks all the boxes for a reliable stem.
Installation is straightforward with a range of markers on the bars to get the right fit. Cut down markers aid sawing the bars down from the stock 780 if needed, and the central markers help get the bars central and angled to your liking. The four bolt closure on the stem is simple and the torque ratings are clearly displayed for the ham-fisted to pay attention to. There are no other markers for brake alignment and the overall style is very understated.
On the bike, the first question is about that foam filled core. So yes, the short answer is that I did feel a difference to other alloy bars without the filling. What is achieved is a bar that feels stiff and direct, but with a calmness and reduced vibrations felt through my hands and arms. This is the sort of advantage that builds up over time, and the longer your descent, the more the Vibrocore is going to be appreciated. It's not night and day contrast, but it's there, and for very little weight gain, I'd happily take it every time. I will be keen to try the 35mm clamp bars with the Vibrocore to see if this can give even more stiffness with the same comfort.
The bar shape is also a pleaser for me, as I enjoy a bar with less rearward sweep. The 7 degrees keep it fairly straight, and with a short stem put my hands in a good place in relation to the steering axis/steerer tube. The reduced sweep also keeps my elbows from tucking in and keeps me in a strong position on the bike. It's subtle, only a degree here or there but I enjoyed these bars a lot.
The Spike stem did its job with no issues, and is a fine match for the Oozy bars, keeping it all stiff and secure with the wide bar clamp area. No creaks, no issues, it does what a good stem should and there is little to write home about other than a competitive price and burly looks.
A great bar, with great shape, made even better with the addition of the Vibrocore system to dampen trail feedback. The bar and stem, either together or as separates would make a fantastic, affordable upgrade for the hard-hitting rider.
Do you enjoy reading IMB Magazine, using our App and website? We now need your support to keep IMB going. Support IMB from as little as £2 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you!
Spank has a great reputation for hard-hitting and reliable products. I tried and failed to destroy a set of Oozy 345s in the Alps a couple of years ago, which cemented them for me, as one of the more robust wheel makers out there. Always keen to innovate, Spank has been working with their Vibrocore system, which they use in…
The trend for wider rims is clear, and the competition is hotting up as manufacturers respond and the choice expands. The 345 from Spank has an internal width of 30mm, whilst it's namesake number refers to the outer width of 34.5mm. They feature their OohBah rim profile, aiming to create a strong, light and stiff hoop, which means there's little…
Spank Industries are a company who obviously think outside the box a little. If we all get to choose between different sizes of bikes or clothing, why shouldn’t we have a variety of pedal sizes to choose from? Using a good level of logic they have introduced the new Spank SPOON pedals, which come in three different widths: 90, 100,…
By Ewen TurnerEwen Turner is a self-confessed bike geek from Kendal in the Lake District of England. He runs a coaching and guiding business up there and has a plethora of knowledge about bikes with an analytical approach to testing. His passion for bicycles is infectious, and he’s a ripper on the trails who prefers to fit his working life around his time on the bike.