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Existentialism-- Just a bloody good excuse to go riding...

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Review: Reverse Executor stem + REVERSE XXL DH-Race "fli-bar"

Another bar/stem combo that came at just the right time. Been hoarding up a little collection of bars and stems in the last few months to learn the finer points of a bike's front end tweaking. This Reverse combination provided by Integrated Riding for a review on Togoparts was a sure welcome to add on to a growing database for future reference.

Specifications as per brand's website:

REVERSE EXECUTER stem 31,8mm oversized
Length: 42mm, Angle: 15“, 1 1/8“, Ø31.8mm, Material: CNC 6061, Colors: black, white, red, gold, titane-grey, chrome, green; Weight: 246 gr.

Price: SGD 90.00

REVERSE XXL DH-Race "fli-bar"
760mm wide, 0", 0.75" and 1.5" rise,
AL 7075-T6, double butted, 9° back sweep

Weight: 295 gr
Price: SGD 100.00

Review bar came with 0.75" rise. Actual to stated weight were close. +5 gram difference for both components. Adding up to a hefty combo, mainly due to the 250gm stem. Something initially gawked at even by my non-weight weenie standards. However both items feels solid enough to be installed on the bike.



...the XXL "Fli" Bar
First glance, it looks a little odd. Comparing it to a couple of 760mm 9mm sweep lo-rise in my cache, things became apparent. The rise comes about much further than most. Approximately 9cm away from the center.

Most riser bars have a portion of the backsweep within part of the rise, the XXL "Fli" looks to have all or most of the backsweep concentrated after the rise.

The two points are highlighted because for some users, small differences like this could mean a world of differences in their bar tuning positions. What is significant is, as one rotates the bar fore and aft, bar height to the ground deviates much lesser than bars that rises sharply near the center (approximate measurement is +/- 0.25" vs ~0.50" or more on some other similar height risers measured).

The thick powder coated finishing in black is much subdued when compared to the rest of the blinged-out Reverse bars lineup but looks to withstand clamping marks of levers, brakes and grips well.


...the Executor stem
Bling!  was the first word that came to mind while ogling the chrome piece

Hardware are 6 x M5 bolts. Something preferred over the more finicky M4 bolts on many other stems. Just a little note that torque on bigger bolts have to be checked periodically as some have a tendency to work themselves loose over time.

Effective stem length
"42mm length with a 15 degrees rise..." While most time a little rise in a short stem is hardly a concern but this does look a tad short. Wasting no time with rusty trigonometric equations, the good old metal rule says effective stems length is only 35mm.

Clamp width
Coming from the old school of " the more the better" its always an area of concern. Especially with bars nowadays "growing" longer all the time. With extra leverage, flex and creaks are common issues stemming in part from lesser clamping area.

After the bevelled edge, widest point puts the grip down at 45mm. Personally a wider grip is preferred but the chunky 6061 Al main piece and and big M5 bolts would seem to bite down hard enough.

The clamp plate is a no nonsense solid piece with none of those weight saving underneath. It is thick around the the bolt areas thereby reinforcing the whole structure. Weight weenie will not rejoice but for its intended use, these are targetted at riders who prefer assurance during hard riding over weight saving. If no chirping crickets are detected during test ride, then it will just boil down to bar stiffness.

















Like many stems this too has a hollowed out center in the steerer stack, extra effort can be seen during the  designing and subsequent machining to ensure that it is not entirely hollowed out for good reasons.

Cutting away the entire center portion in this area has been the archilles heel of many a light weight stem as there isn't enough clamping area/force over the steerer to keep things in place during hard knocks or simply slippage when forcing the bar down hard. The Executor (as seen from below pic) has this balanced out nicely while shaving off unnecessary weight here.

Designed with two bolts tightening towards the front in a tear drop shape, in theory that should hold everything nice and firm. while protruding bolt heads that angled backwards doesn't look too knee-friendly, these however are actually much further away from your patella than most stems with rear clamping bolts design.
















Objectively, as bar/stem combos are a very personal feel, it would be unfair to slap on just anything and have a go at it. So it was setup and rotated as close to one of my fav combi that ran a 737mm bar with a 50mm stem.
Bar height to ground...Checked.
Reach, center to center on ends of grip to seat...Checked. Just a tad short for now but the back sweep felt good.

Talk time over...here comes the test phase. Two easy laps on one our local trail, no hucking or jumping but pushing down hard on the bar to feel for any give or yield.. None whatsoever detected. Things felt a little twitchy mainly due to the shorter length of stem but definitely no fault of the component itself.

Reviewing bars and stem is rather difficult because a bar is a bar and a stem is a stem, if these two dont flex or bolts start loosening, they are as good as any you can put on your bike as long as the measurements are to one's preference.

Got down, gave all the bolts a once over. All tight. Bar clamped tightly in place and have not rotated on its own as evidenced from a little marking made to align with the stem.

Next, a slight forward rotation (to get back the "old reach" feel) and a 3 mm spacer change over from the under to upper stack to balance back the bar height.

Time to take some gnarlier stuff to jolt the combo up a bit and see if it still holds...

WARNING: A very unprofessional Nausea Inducing Vid below... but good news is that rider suffered no fall or injuries and yes the test equipment held up nicely. No noticeable flex or dreaded creaks and groans.

video

Normally it takes awhile for any components to be tested out before I have enough confidence to take it out  for heavier riding. This combination however leaves no doubt and I was off the following day feeling right at home on climbs, fast decents and jumps that has a little more to offer than our local run of the mills.

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