Redshift Sports Kitchen Sink Handlebar: At The Finish – by Guitar Ted
Handle bars, being an important contact point for cyclists, is a personal choice and not every bar will appeal to all riders. Such is the case with the Kitchen Sink Handlebar by Redshift Sports. However; despite the somewhat odd looks, this is a handlebar that, in my opinion, will appeal to a wide swath of the gravel riding populace. As always with our drop bar reviews, we have a note about terminology to share;
In any of our reviews for drop bars, we will be using terms which describe certain aspects of a drop bar design which you may be unfamiliar with. Please refer to THIS LINK which will take you to our article which explains these terms so you can garner the best information from these reviews. Thanks!
Okay, with that out of the way, here is my final verdict on the Kitchen Sink Handlebar and the accessory grips and bar tape that go with it. I’ll also have a quick word to add about the ShockStop Pro Stem which was sent out with the rest of the review items here. If you missed the intro to that, you can click this link to see that. My last review update on the Kitchen Sink Bar can also be found here.
In my last update on this review I mentioned that I was going to try some cargo carrying with the Kitchen Sink bar to see how that extension might work for things like bikepacking. Well, there is good and there is bad to report here. First off, in my search for handlebar bags, I found a plethora of ‘tube shaped‘ bags with openings across the length of the bag oriented toward the top. Makes perfect sense in a world filled with ordinary drop and flat handlebars. However; with regard to the extension on the Kitchen Sink bar, this becomes an issue. Bags like I am mentioning here hang below the bar, or slightly forward of the top section of a drop bar. With the Kitchen Sink bar, that extension covers the zippered openings on bags like that, rendering them not very useful. Bummer……
Now a traditional handlebar roll, where you are attaching a sleep system, or a tent, or the like? Well, yes. Here the Kitchen Sink Handlebar works out as long as you can orient your strap system to accommodate the extension of the Kitchen Sink bar. But that’s not all you can do. I found that the extension worked in a simple way. I just rolled up my outer jacket one day when it got too hot and strapped it on the extensions as shown above.
You could also use that extension as a light mount, as you can see in the image as well, or use it as a cue sheet/map holder for adventures or for events that have such navigation requirements. Basically, use your imagination. The bars are sturdy enough to carry many light loads or accessory items. But for some traditional handlebar bags, you may want to avoid the Kitchen Sink with the extension and get the non-extension version.
A Word About The ShockStop PRO Stem: It is no secret that the Riding Gravel staff has enjoyed and uses the Redshift ShockStop Stem. So, when Redshift Sports came out with the slightly improved “PRO” version, we expected nothing less than a great experience while using it. I’m happy to report that my expectations were met. All the ShockStop vibration absorbing characteristics plus lighter weight and great looks? Yes, the stem was a satisfying experience in every way.
Maybe the best compliment for the PRO version of this stem is a comment made by Andy, my co-host on the “Riding Gravel Radio Ranch“. He said, after I pointed out that the stem was a ShockStop stem, “Wow! Really? I never would have seen that it was a suspension stem unless you had said something.” The PRO ShockStop Stem is not only elegant, fairly inconspicuous in appearance, but it also is fairly transparent in use. You end up not noticing it, but the minute you try another bike without it you notice the lack of vibration reduction immediately.
Once again, I can recommend this component highly. For a more detailed look at the ShockStop stem’s performance, see our contributor, “MGs” report here.
At The Finish: The Redshift Sports Kitchen Sink Handlebar and accessory items were great for me in terms of increasing comfort and control during my gravel rides. Rough, loose gravel felt like less of a challenge with the lower grips of the Cruise Control Grip system. I also was benefiting from the shape and slight vibration reductions afforded by both the upper and lower grips on the Kitchen Sink bar. In my opinion, the handlebar and the grips must be seen as system and one without the other would not have been as effective.
I’m not sure if this is a system for the rider who wants to set PR’s at the next gravel race due to the weight of the system being slightly over 800 grams. However; if you are in an event with a distance of 150 miles or longer? Yes, you should think about this system. It would be a great help in keeping your hands and forearms feeling fresher, not to mention helping to avoid doing damage that may take months to get recovered from. Obviously, the adventure rider and tourist/bikepacker can get a great benefit from the system, since the weight factor does not overcome the comfort and control aspects that the Kitchen Sink/Cruise Control set up brings to the table.
The extension can be an aero-bar thing, but to my mind it is a place to mount accessory items and strap cargo to. It is worth mentioning again that you can get this handlebar without the extension. Would I get that bar with the Cruise Control grip system instead? Probably not for adventures. I like the versatility that extension offers me. Another good question: Would you just get the Cruise Control grips and install those on another handle bar?
Now that is a great question. The Kitchen Sink handlebar is, on its own merits, a pretty middle-of-the-road design. It is neither too radical (minus the extension) or too much like a traditional road bar. It is a good handle bar that should appeal to many. However; if you are thinking a bit outside of the box, or if, perhaps, you want to enhance your traditional handle bar with a comfort oriented accessory, maybe the answer to that question is ‘yes’. The good news is that Redshift Sports sells the Cruise Control grip system separately.
So, overall, looking at the whole as a system, I like what I have experienced with the Redshift Sports components. taken as a whole these are advancements in control and comfort for any rider on gravel, rough, broken up pavement, or rough unpaved roads of any type. Yes, the entire system is a bit heavy, but I’ll gladly push that extra weight for the results in control and vibration reductions I get in return.
If you start to nitpick at the handlebar, or the grips, or the bar tape, and focus only on singular aspects of these offerings, I think you miss the point here. Yes, the extensions could be longer or different in some way. Maybe the grips are not 100% in terms of what looks like something you’d get along with. Maybe there is too much or too little ‘something‘ about the handlebars themselves that you think is off. I can see those points, but taken as a whole, there really is no other system out there like this. The overall design of each aspect of the system has a pretty wide appeal, in my opinion. So, yes- it isn’t for everyone. But if you are looking for a way to gain a bit more control, better ride comfort, and more versatility in your gravel/adventure riding, then the Redshift Sports Kitchen Sink Handlebars, Cruise Control grips, and Really Long Bar Tape are well worth looking into. I highly recommend the system.
For more details on these products see Redshift Sports’ website here; https://redshiftsports.com/
NOTE: Redshift Spots sent over the Kitchen Sink Handlebar, Cruise Control Grip System, Really Long Bar Tape, and ShockStop PRO Stem at no charge to Riding Gravel for test and review. We were not paid, nor bribed, for this review and we will always strive to give our honest thoughts and views throughout.