Just in: FSA Plasma integrated bars and stem
Shiny? Check! Spendy? Check!
The nice man from FSA just dropped round some rather super handlebars and we thought we'd share them with you. This is FSA's top-of-the-line (deep breath!) Plasma Integrated Compact Handlebar and Control Centre. As you can see it's an integrated stem and bar ('the ultimate in integration', according to FSA) constructed using a continuous monocoque process.
So it's all Carbon, then? Well, no. The bars are, but the stem is a Carbon layer over a square-profile CNCed Aluminium section. That's A Good Thing, as it means plenty of stiffness in the stem and some nice strong threads for the stem bolts, while the 'bars should have a bit of flex to soak up road chatter.
FSA claim a weight of 370g for the 420mmx100mm set, which is pretty feathery; funnily enough about what you'd expect some decent Carbon bars and good Aluminium stem to weigh in at. Our 440mmx120mm sample are a bit beefier than that, at 434g, but that's still good.
Shape-wise they're pretty interesting. The flats at the tops are curved, and while they stop short of having actual finger positions like some bars do, they're obviously designed with your mitts in mind. The curve towards the centre means your wrists should angle in when you're holding them right in the middle, which should make looking PRO a bit more comfortable. There's a lower flat section on the top corner which marries up with your levers to give a nice stable surface to grab hold of when you're on the hoods.
The drops are compact (125mm drop) and long; they're also angled outwards by 2° for better ergonomics.the inside of the drop section is slightly flattened; how that will feel we're not sure until we've put some tape on them.
Flip the Plasmas over and there's two threaded holes for fitting FSA's Control Center, an extension to hold your computer or GPS. There's covered channels for your cables, too. Everything you'd expect form a high end bar, then. And how high end? Well, RRP is an eye-watering £529 but a quick nose around online shows you can expect a good few quid off that. And look out for a soon-to-be announced FSA/Giro d'Italia promotion that will bring the cost down even more...