Fatback sent us a set of their new Sweet 16 carbon bars in December. I was honestly pretty skeptical about the prospects of this new bar’s 16-degree sweep improving the fit or comfort of the Fatback carbon riser bar that came with my Corvus FLT, Ten Beers because I felt pretty comfortable riding Ten Beers. Plus I’ve been riding a nine or ten degree flat or low riser bars for years. (I might have been doing it wrong all those years) This past summer, I decided to experiment with running a Jones H-Bars (45-degrees of sweep) on my Krampus and I did a two-month stint riding Surly’s Moloko handlebars (34 degrees sweep) last winter on a Pugsley. So I went into my first ride with the new bars clinging to my nine-degree standard downhill low rise handlebar paradigm and hoped for the best.
I have one word of caution about these new carbon fiber bars from Fatback. They cannot be ‘played’ by blowing into the end like a normal handlebar. I tried to bugle the Sweet 16 bar and nearly blew a gasket. There must be some sort of reinforcement in the stem clamp area that blocks the bar from being ‘played’ like a horn.
The other thing that I’ll mention about the installation of any high-end bicycle components is torque limiting tools. You have to know just how tight to squeeze your flight controls onto these carbon tubes. The torque limits are usually printed or etched on the components themselves (top photo). The sweet 16’s also come with some advice on trimming your bars.
Sweet 16 by the Numbers
- Sweep: 16°
- Width: 780 (with graduated cut lines)
- Rise: 30mm
- Upsweep: 4°
- Weight: 225g
- Clamp diameter: 31.8
- Material: Carbon
- Color options: Carbon with Black or Red decals.
- Intended use: Mountain biking, bikepacking, fat-biking, Trail riding, adventure commuting. (gnome-hunting)
About 4 miles into the first ride with the Sweet 16 bars, I began to notice that I felt quite relaxed. The area that I felt was relieved of stress was my upper back. The area surrounding my shoulder blades felt better and in a more relaxed natural state. My wrists and hands felt great, but they had never bothered me before as long as I ride Ergon grips. The sweet 16’s are a little wider than the bars that I had been running and they are just a little more swept back. That combination definitely fixed something ergonomically for me.
Subsequent rides produced similar results and so far the extra width hasn’t caused me to clip any trees on the local singletrack. I’ve got a half a dozen rides in on the Sweet 16’s and my initial skepticism about the additional sweep has been completely eradicated. So it looks like Ten Beers and I have found a new bar to go to. MSRP on the Fatback Sweet 16 bars is $160. If you’d like more information about the new Sweet 16 visit www.fatback.com.