Arm pump is a big issue for many mountain bikers. Fasst want to put a stop to this with their Flexx Handlebars.
There’s no better way to ruin a long descent than the truly unique pain that is arm pump, and that’s why Fasst MTB created their range of Flexx Handlebars. The idea around the product is covered in the name, as these handlebars can flex at pivots on either side of the stem clamp and are damped by elastomers and rebound washers of varying degrees of stiffness to take the edge off rough trails.
Fasst are originally a motorbike handlebar company, but they’ve spread their wings into the mountain bike world in recent years. The ethos behind the Flexx Handlebar range is that they ‘absorb abuse in the load path of the suspension while remaining precise in the steer path,’. By moving in the same plane as your suspension but remaining stiff when steering, the Flexx handlebars aim to offer the best of both worlds in terms of both comfort and precise steering.
The eMTB bars I’ve received are built from 7075 Aluminium, with 6Al-4V Titanium hardware, and they look and feel like a high-quality item out of the box. The bars come with three different set of elastomers and rebound washers (soft (blue), medium (yellow), and hard (black). The fitted elastomer/rebound washer combination is red, which is the most popular setup and aimed at riders between 68 – 99kg riding anywhere from trail to downhill. The stock titanium pivot hardware is silver, but you can also purchase different colours on Fasst’s website to customise the handlebar’s look to your bike.
In terms of finding the correct elastomer and rebound washer setup for you, the process is incredibly simple, and is explained concisely in this video from Fasst. I haven’t yet changed elastomers, but I’m planning to try both the yellow (medium), and black (firm setups). These bars are fitted to a Moustache Game 6 and are replacing the stock alloy bars.
The eMTB bars (as well as the Enduro bars) come in two different backsweeps (8 degrees and 12 degrees), have 5 degrees of upsweep, are 800mm in length, and feature 25mm of rise. All bars come in a 31.8mm clamp size. I’ve got the alloy bars on test, but Fasst also offer a carbon model in the Enduro and eMTB ranges. The Downhill bar only comes in alloy, and is 810mm in length due to the wider centre section to accommodate a direct mount stem (73mm as opposed to 63mm on the eMTB and Enduro bars).
There’s no denying these handlebars are heavy. A set of 800mm alloy handlebars (in the eMTB, Enduro, and Downhill models) weighs in at 550 grams uncut. My eMTB test set weighed in at 521 grams cut to 760mm), They’re over 200 grams heavier than many popular Enduro/DH handlebars (such as the Renthal FatBar and Burgtec Ride Wide DH). Fasst’s carbon eMTB and Enduro handlebars weigh in at a claimed 450 grams, so if you’re weight conscious than they might be a better option.
The other thing to note with these handlebars is the price. One nice touch from Fasst is their 30 day ‘Ride it, Believe it’ money back guarantee. As it sounds, this is essentially a 30-day period where if you’re not happy with the performance of the bars after 30 days, you can ship them back for a full refund. One thing to note with this program is that you can’t chop your bars down for your bars to be eligible with this program. The alloy bars are priced at $559.95, while the carbon bars retail for $699.95. At over double the price of some premium carbon handlebars, the Fasst’s need to offer an obvious advantage over their competition to be worth both the additional cost and weight.
I’ve only had two rides aboard the Flexx eMTB handlebar on my local Newcastle trails that aren’t particularly rough or long. They don’t feel any different in terms of steering input, which is what Fasst recommend as a guide that you’re on the right track in terms of the chosen elastomer and rebound washer. If you look at your bars while hitting bumps you can see them flexing, but it’s not a sensation you can notice if you’re not actively thinking about it. The effective suspension travel is 5 degrees, although this depends on the width of the bars. Similar to RevGrips, the Flexx Handlebars are aimed at taking the edge off, not providing another layer of suspension to your bike.
Post lockdown I’ll be heading straight to Awaba, which will be a real test for the handlebars as it's somewhere where I suffer from fairly crippling arm pump. Look out for a review once I’ve ridden plenty of long and rough descents!