A New Player in the Handle Bar and Stem World: FIZIK
Saddles made them famous, their shoe line looks to be headed in the right direction and now the design obsessed Italians are turning their attention to bars and stems. At first it seems like a rather schizophrenic line – saddles, shoes and bars – but it makes perfect sense. If the component is one of your touch points, connects you to your bike, Fizik feels it is well within its mission statement. In Bicycle Blue Book’s continued mission to help you learn about the latest and greatest upgrades for your bike we spent a few weeks with their new cockpit. It’s actually a very fitting subject for the Bicycle Blue Book blog, since upgrading touch points is the best way to make a used bike feel like your own and increase the used bike value of a bike you plan to sell, especially since our new valuation guide calculates the added value of upgrades.
Its Spine Concept philosophy of saddle design is well known; three separate shapes for three distinct types of rider – very flexible, average flexibility and stiff. It’s an elegant simplification of the criteria needed to choose the right saddle. Fizik is now applying this philosophy to its Cyrano handlebar shapes and in a seemingly random world of differing widths, flares, reaches and drops its timing couldn’t be better.
As a flexible rider, I’ve always loved the Arione saddle so the appropriate Cyrano shape, according to Fizik, would be the ‘Snake’. This bar is the most reminiscent of a traditional bend bar and offers the biggest drop and reach, 140mm and 85mm respectively, to create an aggressive, pro-like position. The ‘Bull’ is designed for the least flexible rider and offers the least drop and reach, while the ‘Chameleon’ falls right in between. Fizik bases this system on data gleaned from studying 250 of their sponsored pros. All three bar shapes are offered in three materials – 00 uses high-mod carbon, R1 lower grade carbon and R3 alloy.
As a dedicated ergo-bend rider, the traditional look of the Cyrano Snake carbon bar was disconcerting, but I was pleasantly surprised on the road. Fizik took modern hood shapes into account so the flattened bend interfaces beautifully with today’s shifters, despite the deep drop. The deep drop is also the perfect antidote to the unwelcome trend of taller and taller head tubes on many race bikes. It turns out I am a ‘Snake’ in both saddle and bars and would never have known without tying the two together.
The R1 carbon bar I rode tips the scale at just over 200grams and happily finds itself on the stiff side of the current handle bar crop. The accompanying Cyrano stem is a traditional alloy affair that won’t revolutionize anything, but it matches nicely, is plenty stiff and respectably feathery.
While there is no guarantee an Arione saddle rider will like a Cryano Snake bar, it does offer a great place to start. There is symmetry to letting your choice of one touch point guide your choice of another. Whatever bar you choose, Bull, Chameleon, Snake or another brand, Fizik once again appears to be ahead of the curve.
Cyrano R1 Bar – Price: $300 Weight: 205grams (44c-c) Available in 40,42,44,46.
Cyrano Stem – Price: $125 Weight: 128grams 70mm – 130mm, 7 or 20degrees.