If you're after a burly, super wide aluminium handlebar then Spank's Spike 35 Vibrocore does just that at a good weight and price but with the added benefit of a noticeable reduction in hand fatigue on rough ground thanks to clever technology inside it.
At 820mm wide, the Spike is pitched at heavy-duty downhill and enduro riding, but the 300g weight means it's actually pretty lightweight for the intended use and price. That's especially impressive as the bar is actually filled with a special foam that Spank says works to dampen vibrations that cause hand fatigue.
Whatever the mechanism is, back to back runs against a high-end, comfortable feeling carbon handlebar showed a night and day difference in hand fatigue when rattling off the top of rocky built trails and rippled braking bumps. It's extremely impressive and very effective, retaining a precise feeling without feeling as harsh as really stiff aluminium or carbon bars can do.
While the foam filling is probably the attention grabber, there are a few other clever things going on with the construction of the bar. The wall thickness of the aluminium is gradually tapered down from thicker in the high-stress portions in the middle to thinner at the ends to help reduce weight before getting thicker at the tips to prevent damage from crashes.
I found that the 820mm width was a bit much, despite a penchant for wider bars, but the bar can be cut down to a minimum of 760mm, with width markers on the tips. The bar has a 5-degree upsweep and 8-degree backsweep. I found that I tended to have them rolled a bit further forward as I'm not a backsweep fan, but again there are very clear and visible markers on the clamp so you can get your setup accurate and repeatable regardless.
The only real downside is that the Spike 35 is only offered in a 25mm rise, so anyone after something a bit lower will be left disappointed, though there are plenty of other bars in the Spank lineup that get the Vibrocore technology - though none of them with a 35mm bar clamp diameter.
All in all, I've found my new favourite handlebar for hard riding and if you need plenty of width, a 35mm clamp and get on fine with a 25mm rise, then I'd recommend them very highly.
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