Syntace P6 Carbon HiFlex seatpost, Vector Carbon handlebars and Megaforce 2 stem Review

by Brian Mullin on January 29, 2012

Syntace had a few new tidbits they announced at the 2011 Interbike and Eurobike shows, and I’ve been testing them over the last couple of months. The two new trick components are the Syntace P6 Carbon HiFlex seatpost and Megaforce 2 stem. The carbon post has an interesting layup which provides some fore-and-aft flex, but side to side stiffness. The lightweight yet stiff DH/AM stem has a rectangular shape and low stack height and is offered in lengths from 30mm to 80mm. Syntace has an outstanding 10-year warranty for their excellent products all material and manufacturing defects, as long as their installed and used per their owner’s manual.

P6 Carbon HiFlex

The Syntace P6 Carbon HiFlex seatpost uses a full carbon tube that is bonded to a 7075 aluminum cold forged 3D alloy head, which has a two-bolt micro adjustment system for the clamp. The carbon tube layup orients its flex longitudinally along the bike frame axis, instead of out towards the sides. This specific combination of uni-directional and load-orientated fibers, and offers a sturdy yet resilient ride, with excellent damping. The innovative adjustment system utilizes a short 30mm upper clamp, and a long 53mm bottom one, allowing for a lot of saddles rearward positioning, and the extended lower length supports fragile titanium and carbon rails. The two-bolt’s are pivoted and are situated symmetrically in the direction of force, and give infinite micro-adjustability. The bolts are easy to access and adjust, and can be cranked down with a stout 8 Nm of force, and the system allows a useful 30° pivot range. The post is available in diameters of 34.9mm, 31.6mm, 30.9mm, and 27.2mm and 300mm and 400mm lengths and an optional 480mm for 34.9mm. It comes in black, and retails for $274, and weighs in around 220 grams.

Impressions

The P6 Carbon HiFlex is a gorgeous post, with the typical Germanic industrial ascetics, which has a solid feel in the hands. I squirted a bit of my trusty LPS-1 greaseless lube onto the shaft to make insertion easier and to prevent any sticking issues, and placed the post into my Ibis Mojo HD and clamped it down. I loosened the head bolts about halfway out and jammed the fat SMP saddle rails into the clamp, without much effort, which is usually not the case with most systems. I alternated tightening the bolts until I got the horizontal angle close to my personal requirements, and gave the saddle some taps to move it rearward, and then tightened everything up to the correct torque specifications. I liked how simple it was to get the saddle tilted, and that the bolts were located in a spot in which a hex wrench didn’t interfere with the post’s tube. The system was bombproof, stout and very stable, and the beefy bolts could easily be cranked down to a massive 8 Nm, and I never had anything slip, loosen or squeak on me. Even after multiple months of use, it has remained quiet. My regular adjustment of its height has barely shown any scratches or wear marks on the tube’s surface, which is a great testament to the post’s toughness.

The post offered a very interesting ride and depending on which way the post was loaded it offered a plush or stiff response. When seated in the saddle jamming down through rough terrain, the post gave a resilient and softened feel, with superb damping. When pushed off axis for steering and control, the ride was stable and stiff. The characteristics were easily perceived on a 6-inch suspension bike, and it removed the harsh edge off things, and give the impression of the silkiness that titanium can provide. When you cranked the saddle hard on its side, and wanted precision and control, for technical maneuvers and railing through turns, the seatpost provided an ample amount of stoutness and stiffness. Depending on how you worked the saddle, the seatpost connected you to the bike with excellent damping and micro-suspension and ride feel or precise laser-like control. The post went through extensive FEM (finite element method) and brutal testing, including being subjected to their torturous VR-3 machine, highlighting its toughness and strength and high-quality standards.

Measured spec (31.6mm x 400mm):

  • weight – 210.8 grams
  • length (rail to bottom) – 401mm

The excellent two-bolt micro adjustment system, its silky or stiff ride depending on load direction, along with its extensive testing, make the Syntace P6 Carbon HiFlex a superb and rugged seatpost.

Pros

  • Excellent two-bolt micro adjustment system
  • Superb damping and micro absorption when loaded longitudinally
  • Stiff and precise when loaded on the side
  • Tough and strong
  • Long lower support and short upper – stable, great for fragile rails and gives maximum fore and aft tuning

Cons

  • Expensive

Specs:

  • MSRP – $274
  • Visit the Syntace P6 Carbon seatpost website
  • Weights – Ø 34.9 mm – 232 g (480 mm), Ø 34.9 mm – 219 g (400 mm), Ø 31.6 mm – 214 g (400 mm), Ø 30.9 mm – 213 g (400 mm), Ø 27.2 mm – 226 g (400 mm)
  • Diameter – Ø 27.2 mm, Ø 30.9 mm, Ø 31.6 mm and Ø 34.9 mm
  • Available Length – 300 mm, 400 mm and 480 mm
  • Minimum insert tube – 90 mm (120 mm at Ø 34.9)
  • Material – Carbon fiber/ Aluminum
  • Color – Carbon/ Raceblack

Syntace Megaforce 2

The new Megaforce 2 stems are designed for 31.8mm bars and 1 1/8 inch steerer diameters, have a 36mm stack height and flip-flop 6° rise. The stem has a rectangular shape for increased torsional stiffness and lower weight and has a wide front clamp, all of which help with running uber wide 800mm bars. It’s available in 30mm, 40mm, 50mm, 60mm, 70mm, and 80mm lengths, with weights between 107 to 149 grams (respectively). The stem retails for $150, and comes in black only with a flush mounting steerer cap.

Impressions

The Megaforce 2 stems are well built and are stout and burly beasts. The rectangular cross profile of the stem and the front clamp’s width, make for a very stiff and minimally flex-free bar and stem interface, even when using bars of 740mm and greater. I never felt any movement even when torquing the bars hard, so the new design works extremely well. I used the stem predominately with their 740mm Vector bars, and not a hint of sloppiness pulsed back to the steering. The bolts screwed in with precision, and the clamps were snugly when torqued down, showing the tightly engineered tolerances. I think a lot of riders will greatly appreciate the shorter length versions, and especially the 30mm. As always, the stems were subjected to their torturous VR-3 machine, highlighting its toughness and strength and high-quality standards.


Measured Spec (80mm length):

  • Weight – 158.2 grams
  • Length – 83mm
  • Stack height – 36mm
  • Front plate width – 48mm

Not much to say about this beast. It’s a plainly adorned stem, which does the job well, and performs its simple activity in the background, and is never noticed. Simple is, as simple does!

Pros

  • Stiff and burly
  • Excellent length coverage from uber short 30mm to longer 80mm
  • Clamping system – no slippage
  • Precise bolt interaction

Cons

  • Expensive

Specs:

  • MSRP – $150
  • Visit the Syntace Megaforce 2 stem website
  • Lengths & Weights -30 mm: 107 g, 40 mm: 116 g, 50 mm: 122 g, 60 mm: 127 g, 70 mm: 138 g and 80 mm: 149 g
  • Steerer Ø – 28.6 mm (1 1/8″)
  • Steerer Height – 36 mm
  • Minimum Insert (steerer) – 30 mm
  • Handlebar Clamp Ø – 31.8 mm
  • Angle – 6° FlipFlop
  • Color -Raceblack

Vector 31.8 Carbon Bars

The Syntace Vector 31.8 Carbon handlebars have a 10mm rise, 31.8mm clamp, 680mm or 740mm width and a 9° or 12° sweep. The stem clamp area has an ‘in-molded titanium lattice’, which helps protect the handlebar from any crushing loads and acts as an anti-slip zone. There is an increased wall thickness under the area where the shift and brake clamps reside for additional protection in those sections. Syntace 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. It comes in black, weighs from 190 -220 grams, and retails for $185.

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. The titanium lattice kept the bars from moving and slipping at the stem interface, even when using less than the recommended torque specifications. I liked the 740mm width (as tested), which I find optimal, and it gave great power and control, especially in ugly gnarly terrain, allowing me to apply maximum torque when required. I also enjoyed the extreme sweep of the 12° version, as they provided a comfortable and ergonomic platform, giving me less fatigue and better grip. I took some great diggers and crashes, and the bars are none the worse for that wear and tear. Like all of their cockpit components, the bars spent some up close and personal time on their killer VR-3 machine. They can take a monstrous amount of realistic abuse, and once again highlighting the amazing toughness and longevity of their product.

Measured Spec (12° x 740mm) :

  • Weight – 215.6 grams
  • Length – mm

The wide Vector 31.8 Carbon are an excellent handlebar, as they’re strong, stiff when needed, yet provided a small degree of damping for a superlative ride, and the comfortable sweep was a welcome change.

Pros

  • Anti-slip titanium lattice
  • Just the perfect combination of damping and control and stiffness
  • Excellent ergonomic 12° sweep
  • Tough and strong

Cons

  • Expensive

Specs:

  • MSRP – $185
  • Visit the Syntace Vector 31.8 Carbon handlebar website
  • Weight – 680 mm: 189 g, 740 mm (8°): 208 g and 740 mm (12°): 219 g
  • Width – 680 mm can be shortened up to 640 mm, 740 mm can be shortened up to 700 mm
  • Rise – 10 mm
  • Clamp Ø – 31.8 mm
  • Sweep – 8° or 12°
  • Color – Carbon

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 products with the VR-3 machine, which is a spiffy computerized tester. It can simulate pushing and pulling loads, alternate those loads on either side of the bars, stems and posts to 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!

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