Joe has been putting the Unit Components Renegade 35m Handlebar and Stem to the test to see how they fare.
How does kit from a small company in South Wales stand up to the raft of other 35mm cockpit options from pretty much every other bike outfit going? Joe has been testing the Unite Components Renegade bar and stem to find out.
Unite is a fairly young company producing some very nice looking components out of their mid-Wales factory. Company owner Andrew Cooper has a background in CNC machining, and is also pretty handy on a bike being a former elite enduro racer in recent years, and back in the day one of the fastest youth DH riders in the UK.
With that experience he set up Unite a few years ago, initially producing a chain guide, and more recently expanding the range to include pedals, chain rings, bars and stems, although the bars are sourced from Taiwan like most other alloy bars.
The bar and stem both come with a 35mm diameter, which makes for a stiff interface. There is no option of 31.8mm at the moment. Perhaps this may change in the future but it does seem to be the most common size these days, with 35mm bar and stem combos being spec’d on all the test bikes I’ve had in the last year or so. I used to think I preferred 31.8mm bars for the additional flex/forgiveness they provide, but to be honest I’ve not had any issues with any of the 35mm bars I’ve used recently including these. The bar/stem interface gives an absolutely solid and creak-free set up, resulting in a stiff and direct cockpit but without feeling harsh on the hands.
Bar width is a pretty standard 800mm giving the option to cut down to your preferred width. I cut them down to 780mm which is made easy by the laser etched markings at the ends of the bars. There are also markings in the clamp area to help with alignment in the stem.
Bar shape can be a personal thing, and these have an 8 degree back and 5 degree up sweep which is pretty standard. Weight of the 30mm ride bar as tested comes in at 302g which is on par for an alloy bar.
The Renegade stem is light at 135g, yet still felt plenty stiff enough paired with the 35mm bars. Available in 35mm and 42.5mm length, I tested the 42.5mm which felt perfect on my bike, but the option is there if you need to shorter. The finish of the stem is lovely with depth to the anodized black and a simple logo on the top.
Unite machine a recess into the top of the stem to allow their top cap to sit flush if you choose to opt for one of them, but I run a OneUp EDC tool so had no need for a regular top cap. One other nice feature of the Renegade stem is when assembling the faceplate, the top bolts are clamped up fully, with the lower bolts taking up the slack, making set up very simple.
What do we think?
In terms of where these fit in the market, I would compare them with Burgtec and Renthal as two of the leading UK brands of bar and stems, and Unite appear have done a cracking job, dropping in a fair bit cheaper than both of them, but still offering performance and quality on par with them.
In comparison, a Burgtec bar is £70 and stem is £90, compared to the Unite at £45 and £65 respectively. Renthal are similar price too, so Unite are excellent value. Much like the competitors, a Unite bar or stem really would not look out of place gracing the front of a World cup or EWS winning bike.
Top quality bar and stem combo
Simple to set up
Could do better:
You can check out the Unite Components cockpits on their website here.
Read all our other product reviews on our Gear page here.