Review: Flexx Bars
Manufacturer: Fasst Company
A World Of Difference In Your Hands
In terms of aftermarket motorcycle accessories, handlebars are probably one of the most overlooked products. We take them for granted. Every bike comes with a set of bars, why should we change them?
Good question. Your handlebars do a lot more than simply offer you a place to rest your hands. The bend and sweep of your bars determines how connected you feel with your bike, how the bike turns and even how far back or forward you sit.
The stock BMW OEM bars on both the R1200GSA LC and theF800GS are good and suit many riders out there, but based on our riding style and type of terrain we like to ride, Lisa and I knew that we’d need to upgrade them.
Over the course of the first 3-4 years of our journey, Lisa and I both suffered from recurring wrist pain, which we finally figured out was due to the angle our wrists were placed when holding the OEM BMW handlebars. Due to the (road biased) sweep (pullback) of the bars, our wrists were slightly kinked outwards. This discomfort exacerbated after days or weeks of off-road riding.
The ideal wrist position for us, is one that keeps our wrists more neutral in relation to the bars. Think of a straight line passing from your elbow joint, through your forearms, through your wrists and onto the bars.
We’d been looking at handlebar options for a few weeks and we were close to going back to our old favourites, either Pro Taper or UK made Renthal’s, when we discovered the Flexx Handlebars.
Bolting Down The Bars
Neither Lisa or I had heard of them. What initially caught our attention was the varied angles of sweep offered by the manufacturer, the USA based Fasst Company. Cole (Founder) had confirmed that he could easily ship us two sets of bars with our preferred 12 degree (54mm) of sweep (also called pullback).
Lisa’s Flexx Bars bolted straight onto her F800GS and there was plenty of room to fit Lisa’s GPR steering damper without any issues.
Securing the bars to my R1200GSA (water-cooled) required the installation of a ROX 1 1/4" to 1 1/8" block riser adapter. This was handy as I was planning on installing a set of risers anyway.
Because of the straighter sweep (12 degrees instead of BMW’s stock 19 degree bend) of my Flexx bar set-up, the clearance between my Touratech hand guards and stock screen was reduced. However, this was easily solved by adding longer screws and nylon spacers, to the screen mounts, which has also improved the airflow over the stock screen. See pic attached.
Fasst Company offers the Flexx Bars in five sweeps, three differing heights and four widths, enough to suit the ergonomics of almost any rider.
Once tightened down, the Flexx Bars on both bikes look fantastic.
The Flexx Bars are tune-able handlebars, and offer a unique design that provides both rebound and dampening options. Yep, you read that right! The Flexx Bars, just like your favourite suspension, are designed to reduce the effect s felt from both high frequency vibration, whilst minimizing the impact of the more brutal hits we’ve all fallen foul of.
After my first ride, my initial skepticism was replaced with confidence!
Just hours after finishing the bike build at BMW Motorcycles of Riverside, and with both bikes sporting new knobbly TKC80 Conti tires, we’d hopped onto California’s notorious I10 highway.
Over my SENA, I’d asked Lisa to roll up alongside me to check my front tire.
“I think I’ve got a flat,” I yelled angrily through the microphone. Riding on the rough, corrugated concrete slab of the I10, with knobbly tires, there was no other explanation for the silky smooth feeling I was receiving through the bars.
“The tire looks fine, said Lisa, bemused by my concerns. “you’ve got those new bars though, maybe it’s those” she continued.
I hadn’t considered that the Flexx Bars could have this large an impact and smoothed the ride to this extent. However, they did, and have continued to do so!
30,000 miles later and we’re nothing but impressed by the Flexx Bars. The difference the bars have made to our level of front-end control and daily comfort is even more impressive when we’ve ditched asphalt for dirt.
The impressive results of the Flexx Bars are achieved through some clever engineering. Firstly, the components of the bars are separated into the clamp piece, the cross brace and then the handlebars themselves. Each element is then insulated from the next with resin. This means that from where the bars connect at your triple clamp, to the point where you place your hands, there is no metal-on-metal contact. This greatly reduces high frequency vibration traveling into your hands and wrists, especially when riding chop, corrugated hard track or even concrete highways. The bars have done such an outstanding job, that both Lisa and I have removed our BMW bar ends.
The handlebar component is hinged, where it meets the cross brace, and the hinge is shouldered by coloured elastomers that come into play, to offer both dampening and rebound.
Think of short travel suspension built right into the bars. The elastomers are interchangeable and can be swapped out from the softest blue elastomer, up to the firmest black one. You can order the elastomer as follows: Softest-blue, soft-yellow, firm-red and firmest-black.
We chose to use yellow on damping and red on the rebound. After 30,000 plus miles the tendinitis and arthritis issues in our wrists, elbows and shoulders, we’d come to accept as ‘normal’, have almost completely vanished. This alone is worth the $300 bucks for the bars.
After 4-weeks riding fast sand trails and tight single track in Baja Mexico, we were left wondering, “why hasn’t this been done before?”
The more foreword sweep of the bars, means that we sit forward, and closer to the tank, where you should be off-road. The more neutral wrist position also means our elbows are kept a little higher and that we feel more engaged and connected with our bikes.
In the next few weeks we’re planning on swapping the elastomers, if only to feel the difference this will make. Although, so far, we’re impressed by Cole’s recommendation of yellow and red.
We reached Prudhoe Bay last year in Alaska, and the Flexx Bars did us proud, making some long days more comfortable and less tiring. Let me tell you that a less tired wife, does make for a happier life.
So, the big question: Are the Flexx Handlebars now a permanent part of our motorcycle setup? The answer is a resounding YES!
Do yourself a favour and beg, borrow, steal or pay for a set and see what you’re missing.
Ride far, ride safe.
For more information and spec visit the Fasst Company website
|▲ Better ergonomics than stock bars||▼ Upper end of the price spectrum|
|▲ A variety of widths, sweep available|| |
|▲ Minimizes high frequency vibrations|
|▲ Reduces strain on the rider from hard hits and rough terrain|
|▲ Both rebound and damping is adjustable|
|▲ Tune-able handlebars |
|▲ Designed and made in the US |