Written by Wally Wallace Wednesday, 26 February 2014 14:39
The 35mm revolution is here, & for the purpose of this blog post, it arrives in the form of the RaceFace Atlas 35 stem and Next 35 handlebar. Now, many people are asking why we need another new standard. They say "I thought 31.8 was supposed to be the last stop on the great handlebar diameter debate?" & "Is lighter weight with greater strength worth changing the universe as I've come to know it?". If you believed 31.8 was the end of innovation... well... no easy way to say this...you're incorrect. The quest for lighter and stronger marches on and will continue to do so. Sorry and you're welcome.
Lets talk about salient features and overall impressions
Atlas 35 stem 65mm length - 180g
180g isn't bad and only 10g heavier than the Atlas for 31.8! You're not going to get your weight savings here apparently, at least with the Atlas stem. There are rumors that the Turbine stem will be out very soon and it should be a little lighter if XC/lightness is your thing. Since this is designed to be a trail/freeride worthy stem, 180g is reasonable.
This stem is packed with features. First off, the look. If you dig CNC'd bits this stem will not disappoint. There's some cool laser etching on there that looks like a topo map with a trail on it, very slick. Some of the etching serves a function as well. In the image below you can see how the marking on the stem and handlebar allow you to make calculated tweaks with your bar. Pretty trick. Other features include opposing bolts on the steerer clamp to reduce stress on the steerer while giving greater clamping power and a unique 4 bolt faceplate designed to eliminate stress risers at the stem/bar contact points.
Next 35 handlebar 10mm rise 760mm width - 180g
At 180g, the Next 35 has quite possibly the best width to weight ratio out there. The Next 31.8 bar is only 725mm wide and weighs in at 175g. It's the 35mm diameter that makes it possible to keep weight low and go wide. Pretty awesome. We carry the bar in a 10mm & 20mm ride. both are 760mm wide and have 8deg backsweep and 5deg upsweep. The larger diamter makes this bar nice and rigid, so point and shoot on tricky descents feels snappy while still offering small bump compliance so you can ride all day. One thing to note, it's not recommended that you cut more than 25mm off each end, so 710mm wide is as narrow as you should go.
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