- Race Face Deus Stem and Atlas Handlebars
- Stem: £69.95 – Handlebars: £47.95
We first reviewed the Race Face Deus stem in 2003 and since then the Deus has changed substantially. This latest incarnation is lighter, forged from 7050 aluminium with a four-bolt clamp holding the handlebars securely in place. The stem faceplate is designed to interlock with the stem to increase the stiffness and eliminate the opportunity for stress risers.
Intended for XC usage, the Deus is available in a huge range of sizes, right the way from 70 to 130mm in 10mm increments, in either rapidly-becoming-the-standard 31.8mm or good old 25.4mm. Rise is a six degrees and weight (a claimed 125g for a 110mm x 25.4mm model) is entirely reasonable.
Atlas is the range to go to if you want a light yet tough product, and recently the range welcomed a low-riser bar. Race Face was one of the first companies to recognise the need for a lower rise all-mountain handlebar for bikes with increasing amounts of travel and jacked-up front-ends. And for 270g the weight isn’t particularly portly. Only available in 31.8mm, you get 27in (690mm) of cold drawn, seamless air alloy with an agreeable 9° rearward sweep and a 6° upward rise. Cut marks printed on the shot-peened surface make for easy trimming of the length, and for the obsessive the marks even tell you how much weight you’re saving for each bit cut off.
We fitted these items to our long-termer Enduro, our all-mountain/crash-wallop bike that gets used for testing all manner of kit, and they’ve stood up just fine. It’s hard to detect an increase in stiffness over our previous setup, but there’s certainly no loss of stiffness. Bar shape and width is, like saddles, a personal thing, but we really liked the shape of the Atlas bars. Just enough back sweep and a generous width for piloting the bike through anything.
When we received these bits Race Face didn’t produce a matching Atlas stem, so we got the Deus instead. Race Face launched an Atlas stem last year though, so you can now get an all all-mountain front-end for your bike. While there are cheaper options around, that extra money gets you an increased attention to detail and the knowledge that the kit is going to last – as well as a huge range of sizes.
Positives: Look great, big range of sizes, durable, attention to detail
Negatives: Cheaper options available
Verdict: Performing faultlessly throughout our extended test, we couldn’t find any faults. Tough, rugged and reliable yet light are the keywords here.