Redshift Sports Kitchen Sink Handlebar: Checkpoint – by Guitar Ted
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The Redshift Sports Kitchen Sink Handlebar has been ridden many miles on gravel and rougher roads so it is time to look at what I think so far. The technical specs, features, and more were shared in my opening post on this handlebar system here. Check that link out to find out the details and pricing on this system. Now, on with the review…..
Ride Performance: After several rides with the Kitchen Sink Handlebar, I have grown to like one aspect of the handlebar system and I have less of a liking for another aspect of this system. And let me make this clear: this is a system. The parts all work together as a whole to make the experience I had what it is. While one could, let’s say, take the grips and put them on another handlebar, I’m not certain one may find the same experiences that I did. You could, but perhaps not. So, I will not be talking about those possibilities here. I’m going to only focus upon the system as I have it shown here.
What did I really like? The grips. These are an enhancer from a control and a comfort standpoint. The comfort part, obviously, is maybe what many of you are thinking about when you see this system, and they do spread out hand pressure, relieving the rider from pressure points and vibrations to a degree. I was reminded of this when I rode another of my gravel bikes recently without the Kitchen Sink system, and my hands were taking quite a beating. Once you try the grips, it becomes hard to accept riding without them.
The control part is what I wasn’t expecting. When things get rowdy, rough, and sketchy, the Drop Grips especially come into play and make controlling the bike a much easier task. I felt a lot more secure while holding these grips when I hit loose gravel in a turn, for instance. I felt like I had better leverage over the handle bar, and that I was better able to make corrective moves. The top grips are a completely different thing though.
Here I felt that the top grips were more about comfort than control. My favorite position on the Kitchen Sink Handlebars, besides in the drops, is to grab the bars about two inches behind the hoods where the butt of my palms comes into contact with that flatter top grip platform. It just feels a lot less buzzy and sharp hits don’t hurt the hands while I ride in that position. That’s kind of the beauty of the grips up top- you might find a completely different way to make your hands happy than I did.
The other main feature of the Kitchen Sink handlebar,that loop, has not been as impressive to me. I could get aero on it, yes, but…… Well, it just doesn’t seem like a position I’d use a lot because the extensions seem a bit too short for my long arms. And that’s the issue with a fixed dimension extension. It may very well work for you, but it may not be for everybody. Fortunately Redshift offers the Kitchen Sink Handlebar without that loop, so if you have long arms like myself and you are thinking this loop might end up being of not much use to you, you could opt for the loop-less version. Obviously, one can use that loop for other things, and I’ve yet to get around to that. Stay tuned…..
The flare of this bar, the ride quality, and the other features were all right in the pocket as far as what gravel riders are using these days. They worked well and I don’t see anything outstanding in a good or bad way. The handlebar just works well besides the great addition of the grips and the loop. The Really Long Bar Tape seems to be holding up well, and I think that it is well worth getting for the Kitchen Sink Handlebar. Too bad they don’t have more color options, but black and grey work with almost anything, right?
The Redshift Sports Kitchen Sink Handlebar, Cruise Control Grips, and Really Long Bar Tape combine to make a system that is intriguing for the gravel and back road cyclist. Add in the loop bar section and it becomes more versatile with an added possibility for cargo bag attachment, accessories attachment points, and obviously as an aero position for riding into winds. There is a lot going on here.
The entire system is a bit on the heavier side, with a total system weight of around 817 grams, including the handlebar tape, and excluding the stem, but the gains in versatility and especially comfort have to be seen as offsetting that weight concern.
I’m really smitten by the grip system so far. It works to give me better control and comfort on rougher roads and on loose gravel. The loop is great from the standpoint of mounting options, but as an aero bar for a long armed rider like myself, it seems less than perfect. Workable if I absolutely had to do it, but I have to wonder if Redshift might have been better off to make a different length extension for each bar size to accommodate longer armed, larger sized folks. This is difficult to do since it is a fixed, non-adjustable element of the handlebar and ‘one-size-fits-most‘ leaves some on the outside looking in. It very well may work for you, but for others, it may not be as an attractive a feature.
Of course, I can use it as a mount for bags and I intend to do that and bring a final verdict on these handlebars in a bout a month from now. In the meantime, check out these products and more at 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.