Paul Haysom gives us his take on Chromag's bars and grips. He's been running these on his Trek Slash for a few months, giving them a regular beating all over the place. Bars and grips are crucial to making or breaking a good bike, so here's the lowdown.
Chromag are a long time established, Canadian born brand. Their reputation in the mountain biking world is synonymous with tough products that can withstand almost anything. If you have ever taken a trip to Whistler bike park, their stuff is everywhere.
These are the Fubar OSX bars and strictly speaking they are aimed at the downhill side of things. At 780mm in width you would be hard pushed to find your average trail rider using them. If you look at how the trend in bar width has changed over the years, however, perhaps the norm will actually start to approach this size of cockpit. Joe Barnes, for example, uses this sort of width on his trail bike, check out any of the dudes’ videos on MPORA. When I made the move to the wider bar the benefits I gained in improved handling and a more solid feeling on the bike improved my performance like not much else.
Coming in 8 different colours in their Ano series there’s something for everyone, with black chrome and a further 3 in the Paint series (white, gold flake and red). They feel lighter than the 310g listing on the website and with 5° upsweep and 8° back they are comfortable and feel perfectly stiff. Particularly in tighter corners where upmost control is needed, I really felt a lot of trust in what I was doing on the bike.
Supplied with the bars were the Chromag Squarewave grips. Featuring a bulge in the middle of the grip, Chromag say they are, ‘designed with performance and comfort’ as the Canadian’s paramount goals. After using them I do wonder why all grips aren’t in this shape really, as the bulge fits neatly in the cup of my hand and more surface area is in contact with a key point on the bike. On longer rougher terrain I noticed a reduced amount of arm pump, even on the most savage of braking pump riddled trails.
The bar ends are unique, Chromag call this ‘Split-Teardrop’. A plug is supplied that goes in to the end of the bar and then the clamp attaches over the end. I personally haven’t had any lock-on system slip on me before, but I’m sure someone will have. Anyway Chromag claim this system offers the best purchase on the bar. Used with gloves I am really sold on these grips and if you aren’t comfortable with your current set up, try giving this design a whirl.
In aesthetics both of these products look great and have attracted some admiring and green eyed looks from other riders. Both the Fubar OSX bars and Squarewave grips have provided a positive improvement to my riding and I recommend you give them a whirl.
You can find Chromag in bike shops in the UK, just check out the UK distro, Shorelines, website for where to find them. For those that aren’t convinced on the 780mm width, the Fubar OS range comes in at a shorter 730mm.
Chromag OSX bars: £74.99 for the Ano series; £79.99 for the painted series; £89.99 for the chrome.
Squarewave grips: £22.99.