After reviewing their ShockStop system, we were excited about Redshift’s latest gravel bike innovation and couldn’t wait to test the new components when they arrived. Can the Kitchen Sink Handlebar and the Cruise Control grips and bar tape perform just as convincingly or have Redshift missed the mark this time? We put them to the test to find out.
Redshift are known for innovative gravel bike components resulting from out-of-the-box thinking, with many requiring a bit of getting used to when you first see them. Our tester Andi swears by the Redshift ShockStop system, using the suspended stem and seat post on all of his rides. The US brand’s latest products are also intended to increase comfort on your gravel bike, though this time without suspension. The Kitchen Sink handlebar, which we tested in the version with the loop i.e. with a handlebar extension on the front, is combined with the Cruise Control grips and the Really Long bar tape. Redshift promise “the ultimate in control and comfort on your road or gravel bike.” Can they keep this promise and is it worth the weight of more than 470 g?
Weights and measurements of the Redshift cockpit components
To begin with, let’s take a closer look at the numbers. The Redshift Kitchen Sink handlebar is available in three different widths from 44–50 cm and they recommend the 44 cm version for XS or S frames, 47 cm for M frames and 50 cm for L and XL frames. Of course, this is only a guideline and can be adapted to suit your individual preference. We find the available sizes make sense for the intended use as wider handlebars offer significantly more stability and control on a gravel bike. It’s worth mentioning Redshift’s 360 Degree Guarantee, which allows you to return or exchange components ordered through the Redshift website within 90 days of purchase, hassle free.
The remaining cockpit components offer fewer options, the handlebar tape giving you a choice of black or grey. As already mentioned, this all comes with a big weight penalty. Compared to the previous setup consisting of a standard aluminium handlebar and handlebar tape, which weighs 353 g, the Redshift setup is a whopping 473 g heavier, coming in at 826 g. The ultralight bikepackers amongst us will certainly shake their heads at this. However, if you’re looking for more comfort on long journeys, the weight shouldn’t put you off. You can find the weights and prices of the individual components below:
|Kitchen Sink handlebar with loop||471 g (size 44 cm)||$ 129.99|
|Cruise Control Drop Grips||142 g||$ 29.99|
|Cruise Control Top Grips||95 g||$ 29.99|
|Cruise Control Really Long bar tape||118 g||$ 39.99|
Installing the Redshift components
Obviously, to install the new cockpit, you first have to remove the old bar tape, then the brake/shifters and remove your old handlebar from the stem. To install your new setup, you do the same in reverse order. The Kitchen Sink handlebar, compatible with 31.8 mm diameter stem clamps, is mounted so that the top is horizontal or angled slightly upwards. The stem bolts can then be tightened according to the manufacturer’s specifications, for which we recommend using a torque wrench. If the new Redshift handlebar is significantly wider than what you had fitted before, we recommend turning your bars to either side to test whether all your cables are long enough.
That done, it’s time to fit the Redshift Cruise Control Top Grips, which is easy enough to do using the video instructions. The required adhesive tape is also included in sufficient length. When wrapping the bar tape, remember to leave enough space at the end of the handlebar for the Drop Grips. Helpfully, Redshift have put a mark on the handlebar from where to start wrapping the bar tape. Depending on your preference, the tape can either be wrapped around the complete loop or you can leave a gap at the tip. We opted for the latter as we wouldn’t hold on to this area anyway and it gives you additional clamping space for light or other mounts. To wrap the Really Long bar tape, Redshift have provided useful video instructions too. Finally, the Drop Grips can be pushed on and tightened. Overall, fitting to the Redshift Kitchen Sink handlebar system is as easy as it can be and, thanks to the clear video instructions, it shouldn’t pose a problem for anyone.
Riding with the Redshift components
After testing the ShockStop comfort miracle, we were very excited about Redshift’s latest products. Can the handlebar and contact points noticeably increase comfort on long journeys? The answer is yes, they can! When trying the system for the first time, you can feel the rise of 20 mm immediately, letting you benefit from a more upright riding position and slightly less weight on your hands. So if you want to make the riding position on your gravel bike a little more upright and less aggressive, you’ll be happy about the added rise. Our test rider is a big fan of the 25° flare in combination with a compact drop. Reaching the drops is easy and puts you in a position with lots of control on technical descents while also keeping your brake levers within comfortable reach. In combination with the Redshift Cruise Control Drop Grips, which offer a lot of grip and a comfortable hand position, we’ve started riding in the drops 25% more often after converting our cockpit.
The 7° backsweep complements the Cruise Control Top Grips perfectly. The contact surface is noticeably bigger and feels almost as if you’re gripping a flat mountain bike handlebar. The position in the hoods, which most gravelers spend a large part of their riding time in, also benefits from the handlebar bending backwards. The loop doesn’t only allow you to mount additional accessories or a bag, it also offers further grip positions, which you’ll appreciate on long rides. Aero or not, long, straight passages with a headwind are a little easier in the TT position, as long as the road is free of large potholes. If you unexpectedly hit a crater in this position, you’re very likely to lose control. We would opt for the handlebar with the loop every time, even if it weighs 110 g more and looks a bit strange. We were able to fit our Wahoo ELEMNT ROAM GPS computer inside the loop without any issues, though very large and long GPS devices, like the Garmin Edge 1030, might have some clearance issues. We have nothing to criticise about the Really Long bar tape as it offers grip in all weather conditions, is pleasant to the touch and increases comfort.
Redshift Kitchen Sink handlebar system conclusion
The Redshift Kitchen Sink handlebar system, consisting of the Kitchen Sink handlebar, Top and Drop Grips and Really Long bar tape, will be a game changer for many regarding cockpit ergonomics on gravel bikes. Fitting it is very easy, though the additional weight of more than 470 g is a bit of a downer. However, the components convinced us in practice, offering numerous hand positions, additional mounting points and noticeably increased comfort on long days in the saddle. Redshift team, keep it up!
- numerous hand positions
- significantly increased comfort on long journeys
- easy installation
- additional mounting options for accessories and luggage
- weight increase of 473 g compared to a standard aluminium setup
- looks bulky
For more information about the Redshift cockpit components visit redshiftsports.com
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