It’s hard to fault the Nukeproof brand, they have nearly every base covered with quality products at reasonable prices and for that matter these Warhead bars definitely bear a true seal of quality.
Let me describe the Warhead bars: they’re a thin metal tube that’s kind of bent upwards near the middle, black in colour and there are some markings on there to help attach them to a bicycle.
Is there anything else to be said?
Of course there is. Admittedly, the differences between one set of handlebars and another are subtle, but get the wrong set and you know about it.
This is a good set of bars; I’ll explain why I think that.
The Trek Fuel that I’m currently test riding came equipped with a low-rise, almost flat set of bars. This is fine for flatter trails but when I’m riding on the technical singletrack around the Forest of Dean and Monmouth I’d rather be in a confidence-inspiring ride position – not slumped over the front of the bike.
The 6º upsweep and 9º backsweep is reasonably relaxed. The backsweep is easy on the arms for longer descents and helps to position me toward the rear of the bike for a comfortable, confidence inspiring ride (think of a completely straight bar with no sweep and hold your hands out as if you were holding said bar. Now add some sweep to your imaginary bar and feel your arms fall into a more relaxed, natural position..). The upsweep raises me away from that over-the-front position, which puts me in a better place on the bike for off-road riding (imagine a road motorbike - their bars do the opposite and sweep down, which pulls the rider in toward the bike, good for the road, not so good when you're tackling technical terrain). The medium-rise Warhead bars that I’m riding with also have 20mm rise, which is just enough.
The ride position of the Fuel, in my opinion, has been greatly improved by the simple and subtle change made by swapping to these bars.
The practical bit
Granted, most trail riders don’t want or need super-wide handlebars – those are best left on the downhill bikes – but there is no reason not to produce bars wider as standard. Then the consumer can cut them down to the perfect width. The Warhead bars come in the option of 760 or 800 (which, it has to be said, is ludicrous) widths, so I opted for the plenty-wide-enough 760 and have actually left them at that width.
If I was the consumer, I’d be happy in the knowledge that I could tailor my bars to the width I wanted once I’d bought them. So that’s another tick for Nukeproof.
They’re made from 7075 aluminium with a shot-peened finish, which helps ensure the long life of the bars. Clamp diameter is 31.8 (there is also a 35mm clamp diameter version available) and on the 20mm rise version they weigh in at a very reasonable 298grams. As Nukeproof put it, they are “built for the rigours of DH competition but light enough for AM and technical trail use".
They aren’t hugely flexy or too stiff but just right, allowing a little give for the small bumps and vibrations without sacrificing direct control of the steering.
There’s nothing extraordinary about the construction of the Warhead bars but that’s of course not a bad thing – they do the job well and cost less than most. It's only a set of bars after all...
The shape and feel is bang-on, upgrading to the Warhead bars has improved the ride position of my bike and therefore my confidence on it.
More information: Nukeproof Warhead riser bars
Note: Also available in silver or yellow colours and there is also a high-rise (38mm) option.
What Nukeproof says:
A 9° back-sweep and 6° up-sweep ensures optimum ergonomics for long-term comfort, while for confident handling and precision steering through steep technical switchbacks we’ve made 760mm our ‘standard’ width (800mm option available for larger riders/ those who prefer the extra leverage provided by an ultra-wide bar). Still not satisfied? No problem – all Warhead Risers feature incremental markings to enable cutting down to your own preference. Featuring all-new graphics for 2013 and available in black, silver or Nukeproof yellow finishes.