Stiff, light, comfortable and good looking bar/stem combo, but lack of adjustability may put off some
Weight: 350g Contact: www.ultimatepursuits.co.uk
The Stealth Evo is a one-piece carbon monocoque bar and stem combination produced by Shimano’s subsidiary company, Pro. It has been seen fitted to the bikes of pro-riders such as Michael Rassmusen, during his ill fated 2007 Tour de France, and recently by Robert Gesink, the 3 times white jersey winner of the Tour of California.
The Stealth Evo is available in size options of 42 or 44 cm width, and extensions from 90 to 130 mm in 10 mm increments. There are two colour options of carbon black or white lacquered finish, and a quoted weight of 350g for the 42cm / 90 mm set.
Pro say the main advantages of the one-piece system are lower weight, increased stiffness and the ability to improve aerodynamics across the whole of the bar. There are safety benefits too - there are no stress risers at the stem / bar junction, and also there is no risk of incorrect torque settings or loosening of stem bolts at the bars.
The disadvantages are in getting the fit right, as you have no rotational adjustment of the bars; but Pro say that a lot of testing was done to optimise this position before production, so hopefully most people will find them comfortable. You clearly cannot change your stem length without having to change the bars too, but if you are happy and settled with the measurements you need then this should not be an issue.
Tested here was the 44 cm width with 110 mm extension in black carbon finish.
The finish of the bars is excellent; the lacquer has a high gloss with the white and silver graphics under the clearcoat. There is a roughened section where the shifters mount to prevent them slipping, and useful graduation marks to make setting the shifters at the same level easy.
Another nice touch is the slight increase in diameter of the top straight section of the bars at the point that they meet the bends; this defines where to wrap the bar tape up to, and means the tape flows seamlessly onto the carbon tops without a ridge, which not only looks clean but feels comfortable.
Underneath there are two carbon tubes either side to route the brake and gear cables, giving them compatibility with Campagnolo, SRAM and the new 2009 Shimano shifters.
In action, the first thing that becomes apparent is how comfortable they are. The wide flat profile of the tops gives lots of hand position options, but also gives them a distinct type of flex to that of a separate bar and stem. This flex does a noticeable job of calming road buzz whilst at the same time feeling stiff and sharp when pulling hard on climbs or sprints and precise into corners. There are indentations behind the shifters for your palms to rest in, which adds to the comfort when cruising on the hoods.
The optimised rotational position of the bars was, as Pro predicted, just right, for me at least.
The ergo bend of drops felt natural when moving down for corners and sprints, and was an easy reach to the brake levers. There was also no interference with my forearms when swinging the bike around in a sprint.
Before starting this test I felt somewhat sceptical; carbon stems have not previously impressed me. The Stealth Evos therefore came as a welcome surprise, stiff where they need to be, yet very forgiving over rough roads. The streamline shape and high quality finish make a very expensive looking product that shows a lot of attention to detail in its design.
This is a stiff, light and comfortable bar/stem combination that looks as good as it rides. However, the lack of adjustability may put some potential purchasers off.
road.cc test report
Make and model: Pro Stealth Evo Road Stem-Bar
Size tested: 440/110
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Aimed squarely at the weight conscious racer.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Fully integrated carbon stem-handlebar combination
Ergonomic and compact design
Integrated dual cable routing
Sizes: 42 and 44 cm (C/C)
Extensions: 90-130 mm
Weight: 350 g.
Colour: carbon black or exclusive white
Excellent build quality and an attention to detail in the design
A little early to tell, but I cannot see any reason they shouldn't last a long time.
Comparable in weight to seperate top end carbon bars and stems. Light without feeling fragile.
Designed-in flex does a good job of soothing rough road suraces.
They are not cheap, but compared to the direct competition and to equivalent quality seperate bars and stems, they are good value.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
The Stealth Evos performed very well, stiff and light, whilst still remaining comfortable.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Comfort - I wasn't expecting them to be so forgiving.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Lack of adjustability would be the only downside, but you have accepted this if you choose to buy a product like this.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
About the tester
I usually ride: Litespeed Icon My best bike is: as above
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, touring, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb, Track Cycling