Mountain Biking

Review: Spank Flare 25 Vibrocore Handlebars are a Mountain Biker’s Drop Bar –

If you thought gravel biking was just gravel biking, think again. Gravel biking is also gravel racing, bikepacking or adventure riding, and even trail riding. The “newest” discipline is getting as multi-faceted as mountain biking, and the reality is that everyone is treating their gravel bike a little bit differently.

For gravel racers, your stock set of narrow drop bars might not be an issue at all. For anyone who is taking their rigid, drop-bar bike out on the trails, or on a bikepacking mission, there’s a good chance that wider is better.

Spank has had their green, foam-filled items around for a while, and we have had good results with them on flat bars for mountain biking. Vibrocore by Spank Industries is a patented method of injecting foam inside aluminum handlebars to reduce bad vibration, and associated arm pump and fatigue. Spank says that Vibrocore reduces vibration frequencies within a medically harmful range of 8Hz to 50Hz, which can make your hands feel like lidocaine-injected goo.

The Vibrocore filling extends the fatigue life of the bars, and only adds about 25g of weight, and with the foam, they can also give the bars a thinner wall. Not only do they soak up vibration like a carbon bar would, but the Spank options are more eco-friendly, made of recyclable aluminum and the foam is biodegradable. Not bad, Spank. Not bad.

Right now, there are two options out. I tested the Flare 25, with a 25° flare. These bars come in 420, 440, or 460mm widths. All of them have a 110mm drop, a 65mm reach, and a 31.8mm bar clamp diameter. These were recommended by Spank as a more trail-friendly bar, really optimized for harsher dirt.

The second option is the Spank Wing 12. Guess how many degrees of flare this one has. This one also features a 110mm drop, and a slightly longer 70mm reach. The Wing 12 comes in the same widths, and is made for longer days on the bike. My Flare 25s in a 440mm width weighed 324g. Both the Wing 12 and Flare 25 retail for $110.

Ride impressions

Photo: Hannah Morvay

I set the Flare 25s up on my Salsa Journeyman, widening my stance from the stock 42cm bars. On a fully rigid bike, there is a need for some flex, or damping wherever you can find it, especially if the bike is on the adventurous side. I doubled up on the cushion and installed the supplied gel pads underneath the bar tape for even more bump insurance.