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Fresh Produce: Thomson DH Bars & Stems

15:06 8th November 2012 by Ed Haythornthwaite

After years of making arguably the finest stems on the market Thomson are now finally making some equally high quality bars to go with them.

Interestingly Thomson’s new range of bars (they’re also making carbon and titanium XC bars) are the first products that they haven’t made in their factory in Macon. They are keen to point out though that just because these products aren’t made in-house in the USA doesn’t mean that they’re not up to the usual Thomson standards. They simply couldn’t justify the expense of investing in the necessary equipment and space to make these in-house, especially when they knew that they could get them made to their exacting standards elsewhere. These are not simply bars out of a catalogue either, Thomson have designed them themselves and they own all the tooling required to make them.

So what do Thomson reckon makes them so special? Well the main thing is that the bars are bent using an advanced CNC bending machine so as to avoid the need for hand grinding afterwards (to remove any bulges). They reckon that almost all other bars are manually bent and then ground to appear smooth. In comparison to this technique the Thomson way ensures consistant wall thickness and close tolerances, especially in the tapered sections. That obviously results in a stronger and lighter bar. Thomson have also put a lot of work into the butting and tapering of this bar to ensure the best possible fatigue life. They’ve even increased the wall thickness of the bars from 1.4 to 1.6mm at the ends to help ward off any crash damage, and they reckon the 90mm wide centre section helps reduce stress concentrations, particularly if you’re using a wide direct mount stem.

Shape wise they’ve taken what’s possibly described as a brave move and gone for 6° of backsweep and 4° of upsweep. That upsweep is fairly similar to what others are doing, but 6° back is 3° less than what has almost become standard. It’s definitely noticeable too, and basically you’ll probably either love or hate the shape. Width wise they’ve got it covered for everyone at 780mm, and although there is currently only a 12mm rise version Thomson might release more options in the future.

Overall these bars definitely live up to the classy nature that we’ve come to expect from Thomson. At 301g they’re also pretty light for an aluminium bar of this width, yet if there’s one company that we trust to make strong products it’s Thomson. We’re just not sure how many folk are going to be willing to shell out so much on an aluminium bar, no matter how good it may be.

Price: £99.99

These direct mount stems aren’t as new as the bars but it’s the first time we’ve had any and with the bars they make the perfect pairing. Currently there are two options, one with 50mm reach and a 10mm drop, and the other with a 40mm reach and a 30° rise. By the sounds of it a 50mm 30° rise version is in the pipeline too. The design is a very simple four-piece affair and as with any Thomson product the finish is classy and understated. Weights are 182g for the 50mm and 169g for the 40mm, and that includes all bolts. Not the lightest out there, but then again Thomson have never been about just making stuff light, they also make sure everything is super strong. In their own tests they found these to be three times stronger than the fork crowns which they attach too. That should have things covered.

Price: £79.99

  1. intense4life

    those stems make me wish i still had a set of triples to put them on. Not to sure if the aluminium bar is worth £100 when you can get the Easton Havoc carbon bar for £120.

  2. Betsie

    £100 for an Alloy bar. Better be buy 1 get 1 free at that price.
    Enve carbon bars are only £30 more!

  3. b

    Love thier seat posts and stems, but I’ll take renthal bars, 2 sets for that price !

  4. Mark

    I thought everyone had now agreed that uber-low front ends were stupid?

    A bit late to the party?

    1. dirt dodger

      if you are only having a low front end due to fashion and not form yes Mark – but for those of us that prefer, and race faster with a low front end it has always and will always be the same pal. Stems look rad – bars at that price? no thanks I will keep my Answer pro-taper. Sorry Thomson – i do love my seat post though and will never replace it with another – tough as old boots and a fantastic item on a DH rig.

    2. Reborn

      Mark – maybe someone racing Enduro will like to put that on a Boxxer lowered to 180? hum?

  5. Big G

    The stem’s yeah, but as b said, your gonna have to be insane to pass up on a set of renthal bars at nearly half the price, look nice tho

  6. Rupert

    CNC bending machines are as old as the hills and certainly don’t justify bumping up the price.
    Are we to assume that they are not made in America then? That might justify a price hike.

    1. dirt dodger

      safe assumption would be China methinks !

  7. Wbubwubwubwubwub I'm dubstep wubwubwub

    Have to agree with the rest – sorry they are pretty but NO thank you at that price.

  8. mercadee

    Whereas other craft beer bars have gone a more upscale or at least clean route, Peculier goes the other direction. This looks like your dirty, run of the mill bar–until you look at the beer list. It’s run by this Asian guy who is always there playing their arcade games all day. One day, he offered to sell the building to some friends of mine for $5 million. We couldn’t pony up the money–and God knows what is wrong with this place behind the scenes–but you could do a lot worse than living in the center of the village on top of this beer haven. The beer list is mostly bottles with only a small amount of worthwhile stuff on tap. The list skews more towards international stuff than American, which I know less about but is good to try other things. The American list is decent, but not quite as good as its size indicates when you take a deeper dive. Definitely stuff worth getting, but nothing particularly unique or rare. The prices are quite fair though. I’ve never gotten food so I cannot comment there. Service is quick but can be hard to get a hold of. Ulitmately I treat this place today just like I did in college: if people are going or if I’m nearby, I’m happy to go. I just don’t go crazy for Peculier for some people. I guess I’m not Peculier enough.


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