The not-so-minor details
Thomson All-Mountain Bars
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Gorgeous looking. Very light. Should be very durable.
Flatter sweep won't suit all.
Thomson products just ooze quality, like forums ooze opinions. For years Thomson have been constructing arguably the finest stems and seat posts in the business, but they are relatively new arrivals in the handlebar game. We were lucky enough to get our hands on the very first set of Thomson All-Mountain bars to land here in Australia.
The All-Mountain bars make a great first impression – pull them from their fancy Thomson satchel packaging and behold their glossy perfection! It almost seemed a shame to obscure some of their 730mm-wide splendour with grips, brake levers and stems. It’s a very nice touch that Thomson supply a small sachet of anti-slip carbon paste too, so you can be sure your bars won’t move in the stem clamp and you don’t have to go over-tightening your stem bolts.
There’s an inner beauty to the Thomson bars that isn’t immediately appreciated; they are constructed with the carbon laid up over a expanded polystyrene mandrel (rather than an inflatable bladder) which Thomson claims creates less irregularities in the carbon layup. This means a smoother inner surface, which equates to reduced weight. And they are damn light, ours weighing in at 186g (much lighter than Thomson’s claimed 215g… maybe we need new scales?), which is feathery light, not far off the weight-weenerific ENVE bar.
While most of the bar is constructed of uni-directional Toray carbon, the end sections of the bar (the last 3cm or so of each side) are made of 1.5K woven fibres that offer greater resistance to impacts. This is a great feature; we’ve had crashes before that have left the ends of our carbon bars a splintery, ugly mess. If you’re a fan of silicone grips in particular, you’ll appreciate the extra protection of the tougher bar ends.
A 12mm rise and 730mm-width is perfect for most long-travel trail bikes in our opinion, though there are trim marks should you wish to cut them down a little. Compared to many similarly wide bars the Thomsons have a very ‘straight’ shape. With only 6-degrees backsweep and 4-degrees upsweep (9-degrees backsweep and 6-degrees upsweep are more common figures) the hand position might take some getting used to. Anatomically, the flatter upsweep is actually easier on your hands, taking some of the pressure off the outer edge of your palms. After a few rides, the sweep feels totally natural, so don’t get turned off if the shape feels a little funky at first.
On the trail they steer precisely, with just enough damping to soak up some trail vibration. Thankfully we haven’t yet had to test the impact resistance of the Thomson bars, not suffering any direct impacts to the bars themselves.
Thomson items, like diamonds, are forever – these are real keepers. Now we just need to invest in a Thomson stem to pair them up with to complete the package!