What's Cool In Road Cycling

Product Review: Deda Elementi Spectrum Bar & MAG00 Stem

Dialing in the best bar/stem/steering control set up can make huge diffs in your comfort and riding. Trouble is, testing out a variety of bar/ stem combos is a luxury not a widely available to common “homo-cyclistman”. Fear not – step right this way to the Pez test bench and behold – Deda’s Spectrum handlebar and MAG00 stem…

Deda Elementi is based in northern Italy just southeast of Milan, and specialize in creating handlebar, stems, seatposts and other components that are functional, light, and stylish. One thing that they do well is listen to riders. Much – if not all – of the line has been created with rider input. As a sponsor of several top UCI teams like US Postal Service, Telekom, Fassa Bortolo, Lotto-Domo and more, they have access to input from top riders. Even Lance has been involved in the development process of some products.

The Spectrum handlebar’s shape was actually the result of discussions with sprinters who wanted more clearance for their arms when hurtling the bike to the sprint finish.

But that’s only one of the exceptional things about The Spectrum Handlebar. It’s made from carbon fiber – so it’s super light – I’m told 191 grams. Next, Deda has taken full advantage of the shape-ability of carbon and added another useful – and grippable – hand position by flattening the curve on the top of the bars – into essentially a 45 degree angle – that provides a great place to hold on when powering up the long climbs.

Unlike aluminum bars which are extruded and shaped from a single piece of material, the Spectrum carbon bars are actually made from 4 pieces of shaped carbon fibre, joined together with 3 bonded plugs. It turns out the strongest parts of the bars are at these joints, but they also allow for production advantages in that different length bars can be made using the same molds. Extensive testing by Deda has confirmed the structural integrity of the bars – they’re tough!

The MAG 00 stem is a union of the trickest and lightest materials available today. The stem body is machined from AZ-80 Magnesium Alloy, the face plate is carbon fiber, and the bolts are titanium -! Talk about your space-age stuff!

Mounting the bar and stem was slightly more involved than with aluminum bars & stems. Deda suggests (well insists, actually…) on using a torque wrench to avoid stripping the bolts out of the magnesium, and following an evenly applied “X” pattern to ensure uniform tension between the faceplate and handlebar.

Ride On
So now they’re mounted – let’s go riding! The Spectrum/ Mag00 combo sets itself apart immediately – no doubt thanks to the cooperation of the carbon bar and magnesium stem. The stem is stiff – as an extension of the frame it’s supposed to be, and thanks to the design, you’d have to be the Terminator to wiggle any flex out of it. Now, I’m a 135lb. climber, so upper body strength has never been my strong suit, but the feeling was stiff like I wanted, and if it feels good… well you know the rest.

More noticeable were the Spectrum bars. The carbon is stiff and absorbant like it should be. I rode the bike over some particularly rough roads, and never felt less than in full control. I particularly like the curve of the bar-tops – the longer curve area made a perfect platform for grinding out the long climbs, and also gave a nice resting place for the forearms when riding on the hoods.

Technology, style, super light materials – everything is here to dial in your steering controls. But with most top-line gear, there’s a price to all this happiness – expect to pay in the area of $375.00 for the Spectrum bars, and $250.00 for the Mag00. Then again, can you really put a value on the joy your bike gives you back?

Get more info at the Deda website: www.dedaelementi.com

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