Restrap’s Bumper Bar entered the gravel accessories market as an answer to the bikepacker's dilemma of how to keep a bar bag away from the frame and front tyre. For small bike owners such as myself, it seemed like a great solution to a set of simple issues. This car-bumper-shaped accessory attaches neatly to your steerer tube, and as much as I wish it looked a little sleeker, it does the job of pushing bags away from the frame, cables, and tyre really well.
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Restrap Bumper Bar - Technical Details
Restrap Bumper Bar is an accessory that resembles a car bumper. It’s made of CR4 Steel with a durable, black powder-coated finish. The whole thing attaches to your bike’s headset by acting as a 3mm headset spacer and it's designed to fit all 1 1/8th” steerers.
This is an accessory with a very specific purpose. The metal construction not only allows the bar to push bikes away from the frame and cables, but also includes multiple slots for attaching accessories when it's not used with a bag.
The 30mm slots on the top and bottom are designed to work seamlessly with Restrap’s bags. The 5mm diameter holes on the top and bottom are additional mounting options for lights, or whatever else you may wish to attach.
Restrap Bumper Bar - Performance
Since its launch, I have been intrigued by the Bumper Bar and eager to see if it would solve the problem I have with so many bar bags. Because all of my bikes are very small, I have difficulty fitting bar bags on them as the bar-to-tyre clearance is not enough due to short headtubes. This (obviously) limits the handlebar bag options I can go for.
So, when I got my hands on the Bumper Bar, I was eager to install it on my trusty test bike. The process only took a few minutes and required me to remove a headset spacer which was replaced by the Bumper Bar.
Once installed, the Bumper promises to push any bar bag further from the frame, meaning that it should not flop onto the tyre so easily - and that it did. I've tried the bar with multiple handlebar bags and all of them sat away from my cables and frame, and most importantly (for me), the tyre. It also keeps them more steady, which is an added bonus.
I've also tried the Bumper Bar with my front light, which actually freed space quite nicely on my bars and I felt the beam was more visible to the sides when the shifter hoods were not in the way. Other than that, I haven't really come up with items that I could attach to it when I don't use it with a bar bag.
What I was not expecting was the very solid construction. I am not much of a weight-weenie with my bikes, especially when it comes to bikepacking, but the bumper bar feels heavy. Restrap claims 178g, and it was 180 on my kitchen scales. It’s not a lot, but… it’s a considerable amount to add.
Because it's supposed to support a load at the front of the bike, I understand that it needs to be solid. Restrap's recommended maximum load is 2.5kg if the weight is resting on the bar and 0.5kg if mounted directly to the bar. That’s not an awful lot, but generally, I don't see this being an issue, unless you bung something like the Restrap large bar bag on your bike... because that bag alone weighs over half a kilo.
Restrap Bumper Bar - Verdict
The Bumper Bar is a unique product and there are not many to compare it to. Topeak’s Barxtender is similar but has a max weight capacity of 300g, aimed at offering more bar space for lights, cycling computers and such, rather than helping with bar bags rubbing. Drj0n Bagworks Handlebar Strap Deck & DeWidget ‘G FuNk’, which Matt tested, is slightly similar but attaches to the handlebars instead of the headset.
The Bumper Bar doesn’t come that cheap, retailing for £40. Considering it is just an accessory, it is an investment and in all honesty, the chunky design makes it look a bit out of place on the bike if it’s not being used (i.e. hidden by a bag). That said, this is a very valuable accessory for those that have limited space on their bars and little clearance at the front. Plus, it doesn't take that long to put on or take off.
I like the functionality of the Bumper Bar, but do wish it looked a little sleeker. Looks aside, if like me, you have issues with little clearance for bar bags, or hate them rubbing your cables and frame, this item will solve those issues, making it a unique and worthwhile investment.