Spank Industries is an international brand founded by South African designer/manufacturer Gavin Vos and German distributor Sven Mack. It specialises in the in-house design, development, testing and production of a wide range of mountain bike-specific parts and accessories.
You can see immediately that Spank’s products are a little different. They look well designed and strong. And beautiful, in a manly kind of way… Spank’s aluminium components are forged, CNC machined, polished and then lazer etched.
For its handlebars, Spank uses a proprietary CNC method to bend the extruded aluminum to achieve consistent thickness, which apparently allows it to achieve a lower weight without compromising stiffness and strength. This also ensures a super-secure fit between the bar and the stem.
The stem could be described as burly, which apparently reduces stress points along the rest of the bar. But at 175g for the 75mm length, it’s not particularly weighty. Spank has what it calls True Zero Rise, which means the clamping segment is lowered to offset against the stem angle created by the headtube angle. Our test bar had 5mm of rise. It’s also available with 15mm and 30mm of rise. We had a high level of confidence when riding with this bar/stem combo. Not once did we notice any bar flex, despite the bars being 747mm wide. We took a couple of rides to adjust our spatial awareness to the increased width, which came with a few tree clips (and one crash). But once we’d adjusted, we noticed how the wide bars and shortish stem gave a slightly more upright riding position, without forcing us forwards (like a longer stem tends to do), which opens up your chest (good for breathing efficiency we feel).
There’s definitely a little more effort required to turn the wider bars, but the mechanical advantage payoff is worth it on twisty trails, especially on switchback climbs. You also feel a lot more in control of the bike over the rough stuff. If 747mm is too wide for you, there are cut lines down to 717mm. We’re impressed with both the bar and stem and feel the pricing is very reasonable. Spank Industries is undoubtedly a brand that understands mountain biking and a brand that we feel is going to make a big impact on the South African market.
SWEEP: 4 degrees up, 8 degrees back
RISE: 5mm (tested), 15mm, 30mm
COLOURS: Chrome; Black, White
LENGTH: 50mm, 65mm 75mm (tested)
WEIGHT: 175g (for the 75mm)
RISE: True Zero Degrees
BAR BORE: 31.8mm
STACK HEIGHT: 35mm
COLOURS: Chrome; Black
CONTACT: www.intltrade.co.za; 011 781 5324
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*Originally published in TREAD Issue 29, 2014 – All rights reserved