Syntace Vector 31.8 Carbon Handlebar Review

by Brian Mullin on November 22, 2009

I have been testing the Syntace Vector 31.8 Carbon handlebars on my Moots Mooto-XZ 29er for 5-6 months now, and I am highly impressed. I have never used a set of carbon handlebars that had such a wonderful feel to them, and dare I say, they have a touch of the silky titanium property! They are not only bombproof, but they look good, have a nice sweep to themselves and are decently wide.
I needed some different handlebars when I converted my Mooto-XZ 29er from 100mm of travel to 120mm. The extra raise and slackness of the front end made it too difficult to use the old school layout that came with the flat bars and 100mm stem. To help alleviate the slackness and the stretched out feeling, I went with a 90mm stem and the Vector 31.8 low rise bars.

Syntace and their Testing

Syntace is located in Tacherting, Germany, just north of Salsberg near the Austrian border, and has been around a long time. They manufacture excellent products, including handlebars, stems, and tools, in the usual highly engineered German fashion. What sets Syntace apart is their extensive testing of their products? They abuse their products to death, doing intensive corrosion, impact, and hardness testing, along with a lot of detailed hand measurements to keep everything to their exacting standards. They test their handlebars with the VR-3, which is a spiffy computerized tester. It can simulate pushing and pulling loads, alternate those loads on either side of the bars, simulate light to hard impacts, and do those simulations in an iterative process over long periods of time. What that means is they can reproduce, in a short period, all the punishment that we would replicate over many years of use.

Very real-world testing!

Not only do you
get an excellent and durable set of handlebars from this testing, and
their QA/QC, but you get a 10-year warranty. I like how they state that
the VR-3 performs a cyclical loop of torture!

Features

The
Vector 318’s have a couple of interesting features. One feature is that
the clamp area has some extra protection that has been added to it. It
has what they call an ‘in-molded titanium lattice’, which helps protect
the handlebar from the crushing loads of a stem clamp. You can see it in
the picture as sort of a glued on tape zone under the stem clamp. It
also provides a nice anti-slip section, since it has a tackiness to it
that helps prevents movement. I have never had the bars slip on me as
yet, something I can’t say about any other bars I have ever owned!
Another hidden detail of the bars, is that there is an increased wall
thickness under the area where the shift and brake clamps reside.

Although
the handlebars look a bit shiny and slipperier, I had the darnedest
time getting the grips to slide onto the handlebar ends. I used more
than a few choice words during the escapade of getting the grips
installed.

Syntace uses a new
type of carbon fiber, and utilizes a complex arrangement of the
individual fiber layers, combined with loading them in an optimized
cross section to give a resilient, strong and stiff bar.

Impressions

The Vector 31.8 Carbon is not only strong, but they have the excellent absorption and damping qualities that are common to the carbon fiber material. Even with the damping attributes, the bars still have a great stiffness to them, and the two properties together give incredible steering abilities, giving rise to laser-like qualities even while bashing them through the roughest terrain. As I stated at the beginning of the article, the bars have a titanium like feel to them. But due to the carbon’s stiffness, they have none of the usual flex issues that are synonymous with titanium bars.

Specs:

  • Weight 189 g (verified at 190.7 grams)
  • Width 680 mm
  • Rise 10 mm
  • Clamp Ø 31.8 mm
  • Sweep 9° or 12° (12° tested)

Bottom Line

The Syntace Vector 31.8 Carbon handlebars are one sweet toy that I am really enjoying. I like the sweep of the bars, which are ergonomic and very comfortable to me, although I am still getting used to how wide they are. They have an incredible feel to them, a touch of silky titanium along with carbon stiffness and damping. The bars have several unique features, including the stem clamp protection area (with no slippage), and the additional wall thickness under the brake and shifter clamps sections. The bars meet the DH 2002.4 accreditation, the world‘s toughest test standard for handlebars and stem, and have been tested and abused by the voracious VR-3 testing machine. Safety is what comes to mind about these bars!

 

Strengths

  • Durable and strong
  • Stiff
  • Titanium like feel
  • Look good
  • Excellent damping qualities

Weakness

  • No bar ends are allowed
  • Grips are tough to get on

MSRP

  • $150

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Carbon Fiber November 24, 2009 at 9:30 am

Good post and a nice, in depth review of the bars.

Carbon stuff always makes me feel so scared when riding. It just feels so light that I worry it will snap or crack or something. Handlebars must be even more so!

I will look out for some of these I think.

Thanks.

Reply

Anonymous February 15, 2010 at 1:04 pm

nice post. thanks.

Reply

Anonymous January 2, 2011 at 10:01 pm

I just added your blog site to my blogroll, I pray you would give some thought to doing the same.

Reply

Anonymous December 20, 2011 at 3:47 pm

I've got 1000s of hours on these bars (31.8 12 degree). I love them. Very comfortable, very durable, never a concern with failure.

Reply

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