The Lab: The width adjustable NEWMEN Handlebar Advanced 318.25 VGS in review

Who really wants this? Surprisingly, fairly a number of! NEWMEN current the Handlebar Superior 318.25 VGS, a carbon handlebar with adjustable width. Is that this the top of customisation within the bike business, or have NEWMEN overengineered the often easy mountain bike handlebar? Learn on to search out out.

Though not everyone seems to be conscious of it, right this moment eMTBs are as adaptable as a camp of chameleons beneath a multi-coloured disco ball. Often accessible in 4 completely different body sizes, eMTBs additionally provide a variety of adjustment choices to offer customised ergonomics for nearly all physique sizes and proportions – together with handlebar width. However, not like most different ergonomic changes, shortening the handlebar is irreversible. In the event you unintentionally lower it too brief, you received’t be capable to make it wider.

So, particularly in case you are new to the game, you could admire the chance to experiment with handlebar width earlier than making a ultimate resolution.

Shortening a carbon handlebar isn’t any easy process both. Some instruction manuals advise to do that solely open air, whereas at all times carrying eye safety and a mud masks, ensuring that you simply use an additional huge noticed information for a carbon fibre noticed blade to keep away from delamination. This will all be fairly discouraging.

NEWMEN Handlebar Superior 318.25 VGS | Worth: € 145 – 153 (Handlebar), € 22 (Grips)
Weight: 215 – 235 g (Handlebar), 102 – 107 g (Grips) | Tester: Rudi, Benedikt | Supposed use: XC, Path, Enduro, Downhill | Producer Web site

That is the place the NEWMEN Handlebar Superior 318.25 VGS is available in. NEWMEN name the width adjustment know-how “VariGrip” (VGS). The handlebar has two threads, laminated into the bar ends. The matching NEWMEN VGS grips with the corresponding exterior thread will be screwed onto the handlebar at completely different distances to regulate the bar width.

An M15x1.5 feminine thread is embedded ultimately of the handlebar, whereas the NEWMEN VGS grips function a corresponding male thread. This ensures that the grips are securely hooked up to the handlebar whereas remaining adjustable.

The idea isn’t solely new, although. Grip producer ODI, for instance, launched the same product over a decade in the past with their Flight Management handlebar, but it surely didn’t acquire a lot traction. So, what have NEWMEN learnt and improved upon to make sure the success of the VariGrip?

The NEWMEN VariGrip handlebar intimately

NEWMEN don’t simply provide one VariGrip handlebar however a number of fashions: the Evolution SL 318.25 VGS in aluminium and the Superior 318.25 VGS in carbon, which is the one we examined. The aluminium bar weighs between 257 g and 339 g relying on the model and prices between € 64 and € 72. The light-weight carbon bar weighs between 215 and 235 g and prices between € 145 and € 153. This makes the VariGrip carbon mannequin even lighter than a comparable however uncut NEWMEN handlebar and solely barely dearer. In any case, the VariGrip is definitely cheaper than shopping for a second handlebar after unintentionally shortening the primary one an excessive amount of.

All handlebars include a 31.8 mm diameter clamp, though a 35 mm model is within the works. The handlebar has an 8° backsweep and upsweep. There are two widths to select from, overlaying both 710–760 mm or 760–810 mm vary. Relying on the width, fashions with an increase of 10, 25 or 40 mm can be found. With this, NEWMEN purpose to cowl a variety of functions, from cross-country to downhill.

Our € 153 carbon check mannequin weighs precisely 230 g, spans between 760 and 810 mm and has a 25 mm rise.

All customary grips with an inside diameter of twenty-two.2 mm will be fitted. Nonetheless, the handlebar solely is sensible with one in all NEWMEN’s 4 completely different VGS grips. Your standard grips from Ergon, ODI and the like slide down the handlebar to its minimal width of 760 mm and don’t enable the handlebar width to be adjusted. So you might be successfully restricted to 4 fashions. These are the ergonomic Wingmen wing grips with a big contact space for touring bikes and the Blok (XC, path), Slat (path, enduro) and Resia (enduro, DH) fashions.

The Slat grips (purple) are aspect dependent as a result of their profile. The turquoise Resia grips match each left and proper. Nonetheless, all grips have a high aspect the place the rubber wall thickness will increase for extra cushioning.

On the Resia mannequin, there’s no distinction between the left and proper grips, whereas the Slat and Blok grips are aspect particular. As well as, all of the grips have a high and backside aspect with a barely completely different profile thickness to offer additional shock-absorbing rubber beneath the palm. The grips are priced at € 22 and weigh between 102 and 107 g per pair.

Now, let’s do some maths. The width of the handlebar will be adjusted by 50 mm, permitting an adjustment of 25 mm on all sides of the grip place. The M15x1.5 thread has a pitch of 1.5 mm. Which means that a grip makes 16 turns between the outer and interior positions, providing you as many handlebar widths and positions to select from.

A scale is engraved on the ends of the handlebar, making it simple to search out the proper width. The utmost bar width is 810 mm.

A scale engraved on the handlebar ends with 5 mm increments helps to find out the handlebar width. As soon as the grips have been adjusted to the specified width, they’re secured to the interior clamp utilizing a 3 mm Allen key.

The markings on the stem clamp assist to centre the handlebar. It’s barely roughened across the stem clamp to extend friction and guarantee a safe match. NEWMEN specify a most torque of 6 Nm for the stem bolts and 1.5 Nm for the brake, gear and dropper clamps.

The world across the stem clamp is barely roughened to extend friction. The laser marking makes it simple to centre the handlebar.

The brand new NEWMEN VariGrip handlebar in overview

We did our preliminary check rides with the narrowest handlebar width of 760 mm. With an 8° backsweep and upsweep, the handlebar is barely extra curved than the everyday 5° upsweep and seven° backsweep discovered on roughly 80% of all bars. The marginally extra pronounced upsweep of the NEWMEN VariGrip handlebar implies that riders with broader backs could expertise barely extra bent wrists and a extra compressed using place. This may be simply compensated for by rising the bar width, so it’s not a criticism of the NEWMEN handlebar, and is, after all, a matter of private desire.

Even within the narrowest configuration, the handlebar has a noticeable flex that gives somewhat extra shock absorption and damping when using off-road. Widespread opinion is that elevated flex results in a discount in steering precision. Nonetheless, this impact solely happens in homeopathic doses, so we couldn’t affirm that in testing.

The delicate Resia and Slat grips contribute to shock absorption. Their rubber compound has a Shore A hardness of 25. To place this in perspective, gummy bears are round 10A, and the purple aspect of the red-blue eraser is round 40A (what the hell is the blue aspect for anyway?). For riders with screw clamps as an alternative of arms, the grips are clearly too delicate and have a tendency to drift considerably between the palm of the hand and the handlebar. NEWMEN have introduced that there can be a model of the Resia grip with a more durable rubber compound sooner or later.

The narrower the handlebar, the extra direct and agile the dealing with of the eMTB is perceived to be, as was the case with the NEWMEN Handlebar Superior 318.25 VGS in 760 mm width. Though our testers often experience wider bar widths, they benefited from a slight improve in agility on winding dwelling trails.

Conversely, a wider handlebar affords extra steering precision and stability, particularly in quick sections. When the grips are locked in place at 810 mm, they really feel simply as secure as on an ordinary 810 mm handlebar. Nonetheless, the additional 50 mm of handlebar width noticeably will increase the flex of the bar, which can be too delicate for some heavier riders. Sadly, there’s no treatment for this. The bigger lever, nonetheless, makes for a extra composed and exact dealing with of the bike.

By the fourth descent on our dwelling trails, most of our testers had been capable of establish their most popular handlebar width and both affirm or revise their current opinion of the right width. For the tinkerers and puzzlers amongst us, the handlebar made us need to discover the optimum bar width for different trails too.

Warning: Frequent adjustment of the grip width can scratch the floor of the handlebar. When making changes, be certain that all clamps are loosened sufficiently and observe NEWMEN’s torque specs when retightening.

Nonetheless, the system has a number of drawbacks. In the event you too carelessly change the place of the grips, and subsequently the place of the brake clamps and distant controls, you’ll have to dwell with a scratched handlebar floor. You additionally have to be cautious with the small 3 mm Allen screw on the grip clamp, and ideally use a superb high quality multi-tool to tighten it with a lightweight really feel. In any other case, in the end you’ll danger stripping the screws. The identical applies to the brake, gear and distant clamps, the place it’s essential to additionally respect the low torque specs of the handlebar. Cable routing for shows and eMTB remotes can also be not doable with the VariGrip handlebar.

Who’s the NEWMEN VariGrip the proper handlebar for?

The NEWMEN VariGrip handlebar isn’t only for youngsters with uncontrollable development spurts or newcomers looking for their superb handlebar width. Additionally it is an actual downside solver. Whether or not fitted to a fleet of check bikes or rental bikes in a motorbike park, it affords a barely higher match with minimal additional effort. The identical goes for sharing a motorbike together with your companion.

Tinkerers also can use the thread on the finish of the handlebar for different functions, similar to securely attaching a small software, guaranteeing it stays rattle-free and at all times at hand.

Does your bike hit the tailgate of your automotive when mounted on the rear service? In that case, the NEWMEN VariGrip provides you with an additional 25 mm of clearance with out having to twist the handlebar.

For these of you who often transition between closely wooded dwelling trails and open bike parks, the slim place minimises your individual cross part, permitting you to string the needle between tight bushes with out catching them. In bike parks, the huge place is most popular for optimum stability. (Editor’s be aware: Please keep away from being that one that stops the group at each trailhead to regulate the handlebar. In any other case, you could end up using solo sooner or later).

Sadly, there is no such thing as a intermediate dimension of round 735–785 mm, which might provide a greater match for some riders.

Conclusion on the NEWMEN VariGrip handlebar

The NEWMEN Superior 318.25 VGS handlebar with VariGrip function proves to be good and versatile. Not solely does it enhance ergonomics by permitting you to decide on the handlebar width that most closely fits you, but it surely additionally means that you can affect the dealing with of your bike. At slightly below € 175, this handlebar and grip mixture can also be no dearer than a comparable carbon bar. Nonetheless, the NEWMEN handlebar is probably not appropriate for all riders as a result of lack of an intermediate dimension and the marginally larger than standard flex.


  • progressive handlebar width adjustment
  • improved ergonomics
  • fine-tuning of dealing with
  • good worth for cash
  • by no means shorten handlebars an excessive amount of once more


  • lacking intermediate dimension
  • considerably excessive flex at full width
  • scratched floor if handlebar width is often adjusted
  • bar width adjustment solely doable with NEWMEN grips

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Phrases: Rudolf Fischer Photographs: Geronimo Schmidt

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