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Full Speed Ahead SL-K Compact Handlebar

Review: Full Speed Ahead SL-K Compact Handlebar

shackett's picture

We Liked

Light Weight 242g in a 440mm wide Strong and Stiff UD Carbon Finish Looks Great

I have had several FSA carbon handlebars on nearly all types of bicycles I own from Road to my DH bikes, all have been very durable and look great in the process, just what we were looking for to install on Project Litespeed CX Ti.

FSA sent us a full cockpit SL-K Stem, SL-K Seat post and the stellarSL-K 386 EVO Crankset to pimp out the frame. The FSA SL-K compact bar weighed in at 242g actual for a 440mm wide bar measured center to center it is light and plenty stiff. The shinny black unidirectional “UD” carbon finish with white and red accents looks great on Project Litespeed and will on your ride as well. How does it perform? On bumpy cross courses the carbon kevlar construction dampens the high speed frequency bumps so you have less fatigue and better control as the race wears on.

How tough is the FSA SL-K compact bar, does it handle impact well? Darn good I have to say. I have laid it down and tumbled a few good times on the Litespeed usually while doing thing a CX bike is not made for, each time the bar has come out unscathed, never slipped in the stem due to the reinforced textured clamping areas, though for good measure I used Effetto Mariposa Carbogrip and torqued to spec with the Effetto Mariposa Giustaforza II torque wrench.

We Didn't Like

Two problems I have with the FSA SL-k Compact bar. I really would like it to be offered in a 460mm wide as I personally like a wider bar because of comfort and the enhanced control I get with one, as I do prefer a more technically challenging CX course. I am also accustom to a wider bar as I DH and Enduro in the summer and prefer a wider bar especially on my CX rigs compared to my road set up. Second is if you so happen to run you stem angled up as I did with the matching SL-K Stem to get the proper position for me the semi flat area on the bar would be angled up in an uncomfortable position when I had my hands on the flat part of the bar without the ends of the bar getting in the way of my knees when I was forward on the bike. An option to get around it was to cut the ends of the bar off but that will void the warranty. For me using a bar that has fully round tube section is a better option when teh stem is angled up.

The Final Say

The FSA SL-K Compact Bar is light, strong and stiff that looks great with the UD carbon finish on any bike. For CX’rs that have their stems angled up my not be the best choice for them, for those that have the stem mounted in the normal position is a great choice.

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