Designed for challenging rides, bikepacking adventures and long tours, the Redshift Kitchen Sink handlebar offers multiple hand positions, including the "endurance loop", resulting in quite a unique handlebar.
Maybe it is just me starting to show my age but looking at this Kitchen Sink handlebar brings back memories of early 90's mountain bikes with bull bars and the Scott AT4 bars in particular. Not exactly the same, perhaps, but the idea is similar, which is to create extra hand positions that aid comfort and also potentially increase speed.
The handlebar is available in three widths; 44cm, 47cm, and 50cm (measured in the hoods). The bar features a 20mm rise, 65-70mm reach, 7-degrees back-sweep, and a reasonably curvy 25-degrees flare. This flare means the bars measure 55cm, 58cm, and 61cm when measured in the drops. The set tested is 47cm wide and weighs 486g, which makes them rather heavy, but given the rider this bar is aimed at, the weight probably isn't a concern if the additional weight results in a more comfortable set-up.
Redshift products aim to increase comfort, with the ShockStop suspension stem and ShockStop suspension seatpost being the most well-known. The Kitchen Sink handlebar is a natural progression and is the only bar on offer.
Riding with the Redshift Kitchen Sink handlebar
Fitting is as simple as any other handlebar, and it should fit any bike, with the only exception being if you run di2 and wanted to use a bar-end junction box that requires internal cable routing. Inside the endurance loop, the handlebar diameter means that out-front style mounts are suitable to use, and there is enough distance and width that should mean the majority of computers or lights should fit.
I tested the handlebar using the Redshift Drop Grips, which add an ergonomic shape to the end of the bar. They have been wrapped using Redshift Cruise Control Really Long bar tape, allowing continuous wrapping around the bar and endurance loop.
The shape of the handlebar allows for many different hand positions, allowing you to change location depending on the terrain and situation to, in theory, improve comfort by preventing the hands from being in one place for too long.
On the hoods, which is my standard position, the slight tilt on the levers feels natural and comfortable. The drops have enough room for at least two main positions, with the Drop Grips forming one, mounted to an extended, flat section on the end of the bars. And then also the second position in front, giving access to the brake levers. I also found a third, using just the edge of the Drop Grips, which still allowed me to shift but not brake, but that may be due to my personal fit.
The reach is similar to bars of comparable design aimed at endurance road and gravel, being relatively short. Due to the sweep of the bars, the reach changes for each size, measuring 70mm on the 44cm, 68mm on the 47cm, and 65mm on the 52cm option. The drop is deep at 110mm on all sizes, which is deeper than many wide handlebar options, which are typically 80-100mm.
When riding the shape and multiple positions on offer make them really comfortable and the flare, in particular, I really like as it creates a very wide, stable position for descending.
The “endurance loop” extension I initially found less useful but as I continued to use the bar, I found myself using it more often and even within this there are multiple positions available, from simply holding the ends while still bearing weight on the hands, to a deep drop, resting the forearms on the flat bar tops. While I continued to experiment I still found this area used less than others, which may be due to the type of riding and areas I ride in Wales. The extra loop shouldn't cause any problems for attaching a handlebar bag and may even make it more stable with an extra section to attach to.
When riding, the shape and multiple positions make this handlebar really comfortable, and the flare, in particular, I really like as it creates a very wide, stable position for descending.
I initially found the "endurance loop" extension less useful, but as I continued to use the bar, I found myself using it more often. Even within this area, multiple positions are available, from simply holding the ends while still bearing weight on the hands to a deep drop, resting the forearms on the flat bar tops. Even with experimentation, I still found this area was used less than others, which may be due to the type of riding and regions I ride in Wales. The extra loop shouldn't cause any problems for attaching a handlebar bag and may even make it more stable with an additional section to attach to.
I could see it being more useful out in the plains of the USA or other countries where long, straight, flat road or gravel tracks are common, but around the UK, these are few and far between. On our typical tracks having access to the gears and brakes is going to be needed more often.
For the times I did use the endurance loop, it tended to be roads, and here I found myself adopting what would now be deemed an illegal riding position by the UCI, resting my forearms on the tops, forming wide support, and holding hands on top of each other. It requires some flexibility in the back to access a lower position. Still, if you can do so, the reward is a slightly lower body position that may well be quicker for riders able to hold that position and where the terrain allows.
For longer rides and especially multi-day rides, the number of hand positions available will be key for providing long-term comfort, preventing numbness that can happen if the hands are kept in one position for too long.
Redshift Kitchen Sink handlebar alternatives
The Kitchen Sink is not quite the only handlebar to have this shape or add-on loop, with the Farr Aero Gravel being one that shares the loop, although that is aimed more towards speed and the bar dimensions available are narrower, maxing out at 46cm width. The Ritchey Beacon is a bar that has an even more dramatic 36-degrees of flare and is a bar that I personally rate for its comfort and increased control when descending.
At £149 for the Redshift Kitchen Sink with added endurance loop or £119 for the version without Redshift manufacturer without the loop, it is expensive for an alloy handlebar. The Farr Aero Gravel is one of the few competitors with a similar loop design, and at £100, it is considerably cheaper, but it maxes out at 46cm in width. Mike recently reviewed and liked the PNW Coast bar, which is another very wide design with 480mm or 520mm widths, both available for £70, with those being competitors to the non-looped version.
Redshift Kitchen Sink handlebar verdict
Redshift has created a handlebar with few, if any, that match the shape and style exactly. While it is unlikely to suit all riders, the shape and ability to add on extra sections to improve control and grip will appeal to those taking on big adventures or those looking to increase comfort.
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