Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Redshift Sports Kitchen Sink Handlebar

My Black Mountain Cycles MCD with the Kitchen Sink Handlebar.
 Redshift Sports Kitchen Sink Handlebar Overview: 

NOTE: The Redshift Sports components on my Black Mountain Cycles MCD being shown and discussed here on this post were sent at no charge for test and review to RidingGravel.com. See the initial post here. 

This post was not paid for by, nor was a bribe from Redshift Sports, and  they do not even know I am doing this. All opinions and comments here are my own. 

I'm not going to get into weights and details on the features for this handlebar- click the link above for those sorts of details. In this article I am simply going to discuss the 'what this bar does' ideas and show a few views previously not shared on RidingGravel.com. With this post I hope to convey my initial thoughts on what the Kitchen Sink Bar does over that of ordinary flared drops, if there is such a thing as 'ordinary flared drop bars'.  

And for those wondering- Yes. these are the handlebars I was supposed to wait to talk about due to some silly embargo. That's all off now, so here we go.... 

This bar has a healthy amount of flare, but no more than many out on the market now. It has some rise from where it clamps to the stem, but.......meh! You'd hardly know it unless someone pointed it out to you. It has a welded on 'loop' which serves the purposes of being an extra place for hands, a 'pseudo aero bar', and as a place to mount accessories or hang a bag from. 

 The loop section is welded, so you cannot remove it or reposition it. (There is a non-loop version of the Kitchen Sink Handlebar available though) Some may grouse about that, but honestly, it is a good thing. Yes- I said it was a good thing. Why? because it cannot slip, (if it were traditionally clamped on, it could), it cannot be over-torqued on, because- well obvious, right?, it is lighter overall, and it is on at an angle that makes sense for most. And again- if you don't agree, you can always buy another flared drop bar and clamp on whatever aero extensions you want. You've got tons of freedom and options that way. 

 The "Cruise Control Grip System", (upper and lowers available separately also), are really the story here. These are not for everyone, but if you do multiple hour long rides/events, these might be something to consider. Having done really long rides on gravel, and having put on a 300+ mile event for 14 straight years, hearing the tales of hundreds of riders, I know that hand issues are commonplace. Riders would complain about soreness, numbness, and nerve issues for months after Trans Iowa. I have had issues with hand numbness and soreness during long gravel rides for years. The Cruise Control grips are in existence to aid in reducing that sort of damage and fatigue to riders.

The "Top Grips" shown above are wrapped under the tape, but you can clearly see the Drop Grips here and they are fully adjustable as far as orientation on the bars. As with any ergonomic, paddle shaped grip, it is strongly recommended that one take care in finding the correct angle for the grip to realize the benefits. Being a bit 'off' can result in really bad experiences. Moving the grip slightly can result in unreal comfort. It is truly a matter of millimeters.

 Comments: First off, the rise- 20mm- means nothing to me. I don't see that as a 'thing' with these handle bars. In fact, 'rise' in a handle bar is weird in my opinion. I mean, just get a steeper stem. Unless you already are running a 30° rise stem, a 20mm rise in a handlebar is just a fashion statement. Your mileage may vary. I'm not saying there isn't a place for a riser handlebar, but for most folks? Just adjust bar height with a stem. Because of this, buying this handlebar to get 20mm of rise is silly, in my opinion.

Now the grips are a thing. If they turn out to mitigate some vibrations and if they reduce hand fatigue and pain for me? I'm all for them. I see great potential here. Time will tell. I need to do some long rides on more typically gravel loaded Mid-Western roads than what we've seen so far this year. The roads are just too smooth right now. That'll change soon enough. 

The loop? In terms of an aero benefit, I'm on the fence there. Maybe.  On my bike the extension isn't quite long enough for true aero positioning. As a place to grip on climbs? Yes, I like that. Almost in the same vein as the original bar ends- the Moots 'Road Handles'. Those were climbing aids and the loop on the Kitchen Sink Handlebar can also work similarly. Obviously you can clamp on some accessory items at the end. It also makes a great platform for a handlebar roll. I may customize a cue sheet holder for the void created by the loop and the front of the handlebar. Another obvious option would be to put some sort of small bag right in there as well. 

So, in my opinion what the Kitchen Sink Bar offers to a rider is the grip system, the loop, and a really wide (50cm) option if you want a wide bar. I'll have more to say on RidingGravel.com soon and I'll likely be yapping some more about it here as well. NOTE: Here is a competing bar with a similar idea ==> CLICK. I'm pointing that out as a comparison to the Redshift option. As of now, I am not reviewing that bar. 

As always, feel free to comment and ask questions. Thanks for reading! 


BluesDawg said...

GT, glad to see you reviewing these bars. It sure is odd they would have placed an embargo on info about them as they were widely announced several months ago on several major sites. Go figure.

While I can understand that the 20mm rise on the Kitchen Sink bars would be just a fashion feature for most riders, even a negative for some who like a very low bar position, there are quite a few of us out here who can really benefit from 20mm extra handlebar height.

Many individuals have limited neck or back mobility and need a higher bar than most. Some of that group may be riding bikes with low stack heights (e.g. Surly Cross-Check) and fork steerers that have already been cut too short for more spacers. They may already be running high angle stems and still not be high enough. Or maybe they want to use a Redshift Sports Shock Stop stem and the 100mm 30 degree option they offer doesn't work for them. I helped a woman find a solution for her All-City Space Horse we were building for her a few years back, and after too many spacers and a 30 degreee stem didn't quite get her to her comfort spot, a Specialized Hover gravel bar with 15mm rise made all the difference in the world for her.

Myself, I have an arthritic neck that dictates a high bar position so I can see up the road and not just the ground a few feet ahead of my front tire on my MCD. I'm almost there, but I think this bar might make the height perfect for me and keep the flare similar to my Cowchippers.

Salmon said...

I’ve got a similar bar with some cheap aero bars clipped on that serve as an accessory holder more than their designed function. I like having my computer further out front to see more easily and instead of feed bags attached to the stem and bar, I can attach them in front of the bar and to the aero bars. This gets them more forward and out of the way of my knees when climbing. This bar would check all those boxes with a cleaner look. Interested in the longer term use on the grips as well, will check out the other review. Keep up the good work.

Rydn9ers said...

Are the cruise control grips similar to offerings from Ergon or would you say they offer something significantly different?

Guitar Ted said...

@Rydn9ers - Great question! Well, obviously the big difference is that Ergon grips do not fit drop bars due to the difference in diameter, but beyond that?

Ergon has a very subtle difference in that their shapes are seemingly more 'human' compatible, if that makes any sense. These Redshift grips are not as fine-tuned in that way. That said, they aren't all that far off and they seem pretty decent. So overall- not much different until you get into the finer nuances.

Guitar Ted said...

@BluesDawg - After much thought and consideration regarding your comments: First, I did say in my piece above that there may be some situations where you are maxed out and the 20mm rise may make a difference then, but in addition to that, I would say that those situations are probably very rare.

Secondly, if you have a bike with more than 2 1/2" of spacers, AND a riser stem, AND still need more? Perhaps the problem isn't the components of the cockpit that are at issue, but rather it is that you have the wrong bicycle.

This is a factor of special needs, oftentimes, (as you allude to with your situation) and the traditional bicycle industry does not accommodate for those types of situations. Many times ideas put forth by the first, second, and third tier brands are bound by tradition, potential sales figures, and other preconceived notions about "what will sell". In those cases where physical limitations or personal preferences don't fit the template laid forth by the traditional bicycle industry, we often see solutions applied which are sometimes a bit odd at best, and downright dangerous at worst.

In my opinion, when there are such situations where 3" of spacers are being used and then we see riser stems on top of that, etc... This calls out for a customized solution in my opinion. That could be an entire bicycle, or a component like a custom stem. Yes- It is far more expensive, but I'd rather "have shoes that fit" than make do with imperfect solutions applied that may not be safe or 100% effective. If that means "having special shoes made", then that is a "best solution".

So, I'm not saying buying a Kitchen Sink Handlebar to eek out the last 20mm of rise on an already compromised steer tube/stem set up cannot be done, but I am saying that is probably silly when there likely is a better way, and probably a safer way, to do it.