The Renthal Fatbar is a household name in the mountain bike world and rightfully so. The Fatbar Lite35 takes much of what’s revered about the full-fat version but offers it in a lighter and narrower package. What’s left, is one of the best MTB handlebars that looks the part and offers an excellent ride feel making it one of the best mountain bike handlebars you can buy, but the performance and quality come at a price.
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Renthal Fatbar Lite35 – Technical details
The Renthal Fatbar Lite35 isn’t just a Fatbar but narrower, instead the brand has given it a complete overhaul, designing it to be the perfect combination of lightweight, strong and durable.
As this bar doesn’t have to endure the demands of full-on downhill riding, the designers have been able to shave away any excess material without sacrificing strength. The bars are built from 7 Series aluminium with a taper tube construction and have been shot peened to boost fatigue life.
The sleek but instantly recognisable finish is corrosion and abrasion-resistant and there’s a handy laser-edged grip at the centre of the bar to allow for easy setup. There are also width markings at the end to help when cutting down to size if needed.
The Fatbar Lite35 is 760mm wide with a backsweep of seven degrees and an upsweep of five degrees. This particular model has a 20mm rise (although available with rises from 10mm to 40mm) and a 35mm clamp diameter, as suggested in its name. Renthal says the bar weighs 270g, but my scale says they’re 265g.
Renthal Fatbar Lite35 – Performance
I’ve gone from riding an 800mm 31.8mm clamp PNW Components Range Handlebar Gen 3 to the Fatbar Lite35, which is a very different bar in width and clamp diameter but I was very surprised with how easily I got along with it.
Not only does the Fatbar Lite35’s shape suit me really well, but it provides a good level of compliance, which was unexpected for a bar with this clamp diameter. While it clearly provides the direct steering characteristic of a 35mm bar, general trail vibration is very well damped. I rarely experienced any arm pump or harshness from the front end.
It’s easy to set up, too, thanks to all of the markings on the bar. I tested this with the Renthal Apex35 stem and it was simple to get the bar central with the amount of roll I prefer. The bar on test comes in Renthal’s most recognisable and eye-catching finish which even after a few spills, looks completely unscathed. All of the graphics are in one piece and any scratches are perfectly hidden in the hard anodised exterior.
While there is definitely a lot to like about the bar, there is one downside. It’s only available in a 760mm width. It would be great to see wider options.
Renthal Fatbar Lite35 – Verdict
For just short of £100, it’s clear that the Fatbar Lite35 isn’t the cheapest bar around, but its low weight, strength and high build quality make that price justifiable. However, this price is edging into carbon bar territory, where you can pick up a great carbon bar, such as Nukeproof’s Horizon V2 Carbon Riser bar for just £10 more. During testing, I had no issue with the bar and it offered a great level of compliance and strength.
There are alloy bars of a similar price available, namely Spank’s Spike 35 Vibrocore bar. What’s great about this product is that it comes with vibration taming tech and it's available in wider widths.
Thanks to top-end build quality, and the combination of low weight, strength, and a pretty high price, there’s no getting away from the fact that the Renthal Fatbar Lite35 is a premium product. However, because of those very same reasons, paired with a comfortable shape, direct steering, and a useful level of flex, they are worth every penny.