Race Face is aiming to set a new bar for cross country performance, releasing the Next SL handlebar. The carbon fibre bar slides nicely into the Canadian brand’s Super Light line, with a sub-200 gram weight that is the lightest 35-mm bar on the market.
Good flex, bad flex and the lightest production bars available
Race Face could have been conservative and just made them light. But the Next SL bars are proper, cross country race light. In fact, they tip the scales at just 167 grams, uncut, making them the lightest 35mm bars you can buy.
How? The 35 mm standard lets Race Face make the Next SL’s strong enough to fit into the downcountry end of cross country riding (also known as “just riding a mountain bike”) by reinforcing the bars where the need it, without adding extra weight.
Specifically, Race Face horizontally reinforces the center part of the Next SL’s. This keeps the bars steering true and precisely while still allowing the vertical compliance that helps reduce hand fatigue. While feather-light weights are good, adding a bit of compliance to the notoriously stiff 35-mm standard should help the Next SL’s better fit their cross country function.
Or, as Rafe Face says, “All the good flex, none of the bad.” You can find out more about good flexes and bad flexes in the Next SL launch video, starring Geoff Gulevich and Evan Guthrie down at the bottom of the page.
But wait – 740 mm?
Wide bars may be all the rage in enduro, but Race Face is putting fit before fashion with the Next SL’s. Many riders start with 780 mm or 760 mm bars, but end up cutting them shorter and shorter. But cutting too much material off a carbon fibre bar actually changes the ride characteristics of the bar. Instead, Race Face designs the bar around 740-mm as a starting point with the option to cut down all the way to 690-mm, for shorter riders or those that just like narrow bars, without compromising the design of the Next SL’s.
Race Face Next Sl's from the front, with a Turbine stem
Full profile from teh back
Details on the Next SL rise and sweep at the 350mm clamp area
Race Face Next SL carbon fibre bars.
Cross country is changing, though. As a brand making a 35 mm XC bar, Race Face knows this. The Canadian brand’s own Getta Grips – a single lock-on grip with an enclosed end add usable length to the Next SL bar. Getta Grips add 7mm per end, bringing the 740-mm Next SL’s up to an effective length of 754-mm.
We’re testing the Next SL’s as part of a very special project. Stay tuned for more on that, and ride impressions of Rafe Face’s superlight cross country bars, soon.
Race Face Next SL Carbon handlebars – Pricing and details
There’s a few details beyond the 167-gram weight to know about Race Face’s Next SL Carbon bars. The bars have a 10-degree rise, five-degree upsweep, and eight-degree bend. The Next SL’s are made of unidirectional carbon fibre and come in black, black or black, though you can pair them with Race Face’s very colourful stem and grip offerings.
For the lightest 35-mm bar on the market, Race Face is asking $220.00. The Next SL’s are available online or through Race Face dealers.
Race Face Next SL – All the Good Flex
What does Race Face say about it’s new Next SL Carbon Handlebar?
Cross Country riding is changing – the bikes are more capable than ever, the trail choices and courses are getting rougher and rowdier, and riders are continuing to progress and push the boundaries. XC/trail bikes typically lean towards higher efficiency, which can lead to a trade-off in suspension and rider comfort. Hand and arm fatigue have increasingly become a factor that impacts many of these riders, ranging from annoyance to limiting performance that might cut your day short.
Race Face has developed the new Next SL carbon bar to focus on reducing rider fatigue without compromising handling. Our design allows good vertical flex for extra comfort while additional carbon added to the front and back of the bar eliminates bad horizontal flex for improved steering precision. And at 167g, it’s the lightest in its category, thanks in part to a 35mm bar diameter, which helps reduce weight while maintaining strength.
All the good flex; none of the bad – the Next SL bar.