The Race Face Chester 35 Handlebar is a no fuss, no frills, hard-rider's heavyweight bar. Its 35mm diameter and alloy build mean it’s a bit hefty, and it feels pretty unforgiving on the bike. Its defining feature seems to be strength over everything.
The Chester 35's shot-peened, plain black finish and cold drawn 6061 alloy gives it a durable feel. There's a definite heft to it at a touch over 400g, too – it’s not light or even mid-weight, but then its aim is to be a hard riding bar first and foremost.
With a five degree upsweep, an eight degree backsweep and a 20mm rise (also available in 10 and 35mm), the shaping is pretty neutral. At 780mm wide, it’s got some room for the wider shouldered and can be cut down, but there aren’t any markers to help keep that accurate.
Squarely aimed at the gravity rider, it makes no pretence of being anything else than a strong, reliable bar. Whilst not unbearable rigid, flex is certainly minimal – if you are a larger rider that might be a boon, but I found it pretty hard going over long, rocky rides.
It does give a very direct feel of exactly where the front wheel is, but I’d rather have a little more comfort in my bars.
If you're after a seriously strong bar, then this is a great option. If you're after any other qualities – such as comfort or low weight – for general trail or enduro use, however, it's not going to be for you.
You might also like: