Around Sea Otter time(read : spring) we got ahold of Azonics latest 35mm cockpit offering : The FAT35 “Flow” bar and “The Rock” stem. With the stems 35mm clamp that spans a rather wide area and the bars reaching a broad 785mm in width, their intentions are clearly pointed downhill. An interesting side point is that they both feature rather non-standard dimensions(18mm rise bar/45mm length stem). Anyhow let’s see how they handled the task out on the trails.
Flow FAT35 Handle Bar
• Double-butted 7050 T6 aluminum
• Clamp size: 35 mm
• Anodized with either a sandblasted or metal flake paint finish
• Custom marked for a custom length cut
• Weight: 350 g
• Rise: 18mm
• Price: 74.95 EUR
• Upsweep : 5º
• Backsweep : 7º
The Rock FAT35 Stem
• CNC Machined, 6061 T6 aluminum
• 35 mm bore diameter
• 28,6 mm steerer clamps
• 45 mm extension
• 0° angle
• Stack height: 40 mm
• Weight: 150 g
• Price: 99.95 EUR
The first thing you’ll notice about the bar is likely its bold graphics – it’s for some but not for others and comes down to personal taste. When we bolted up the FAT35 handlebar, the upsweep and backsweep felt pretty safe and comfortable at 5º & 7º respectively, but it comes in at a relatively high weight(350 grams). Now, keep in mind that one of the most reliable, iconic bars in MTB is the Renthal FatBar – it comes in at 360 grams, so for a tough and durable bar, clearly many people are willing to pack on some extra weight for peace of mind. After all, a crash due to a broken bar is one of the most horrendous things that one can experience on a bike. Anyhow, the Rock stem is broad and nicely finished. Its hardware has a high quality feel to it and everything bolts up/lines up nicely. Now for some trail time.
On the Trail
We mounted this setup onto our Giant Reign long term test bike because it sports a rather long top tube and felt quite stretched out, even with a relatively standard 50mm stem. Right away we appreciated the slightly shorter 45mm length. The 18mm rise bar felt right at home after meddling with a couple of spacers on the steerer tube. Once we were physically on the trails we truly noticed just how stiff this cockpit is. For those who are used to a 31.8 setup with a carbon bar, you might be a bit rattled at the end of a ride. It’s the sum of the parts that add up – a 350 gram aluminum bar and 35mm stem with a broad clamping area won’t exactly have a lot of “give” out on the trail. That said, consumers who are looking for 35mm cockpit parts know what they’re getting into and are looking for some added strength and stiffness to begin with.
So how did these bits hold up? When it comes to reviews this part is always pretty straight forward. Binary code…zeroes and ones…pass or fail. Well, overall the bar and stem did a fine job and held their own after a few months of solid use in Northern California. The hardware is fully functional, nothing has bent or cracked and the graphics are still holding their own. They are also quiet and creak free. All in all just a solid, no frills cockpit coming in at a reasonable price. Ideally, they would fall in the hands of a bigger guy who likes to point his bike downhill and is slightly budget oriented. You can certainly spend far more on a boutique bar/stem combo and if you dig around you can spend a little less, but despite coming in a touch on the heavy side(mainly the bar) these products did a fine job and definitely have niche in the market looking for peace of mind out on the trails.