Reviewed by Andy Holloway
Where to begin with the Spank Bearclaw Signature Series? How about one word: precision. Spank took the popular Spike 777 EVO handlebars and Spike Race Stem and sprinkled some of the Claw's magic into his Signature Series of Spank components.
Bearclaw Signature Series 777FR Handlebar Highlights
- 31.8mm diameter
- 15 or 30mm rise
- 777mm (30.6-inches) width, perfect for that aggressive stance and confidence inspiring at speed.
- 8-degree backsweep and 4-degree upsweep, placing the bars pretty similar to other big brand’s dimensions.
- Dual XGT (Extreme Gradual Taper) allows for more material around high stress points while keeping low stress areas thin and light.
- Special proprietary CNC tooling and 3-axis CNC bending allows for extreme precision and consistency not previously achievable.
- Building on insight from the 777EVO bars, the Bearclaw Edition incorporates all new MGR 2-Series Alloy material composition, reinforced clamping zones and butted 7 times – all without compromising weight.
- Impact Ends reduce the chance of collapse in areas where the wall is thinner and in heavy impacts. Doubles as added support for bar ends.
- Extra steps to ensure that the clamp area of the bar is uniformly cylindrical and as true as possible, improving bar-stem interface.
- 310g weight which is almost hard to believe after you feel how stiff these bars are.
- Colors: Black/Sky Blue or Black/White
Bearclaw Signature Series Spike Race Stem Highlights
- Based off the already established Spike Race stem
- 2D Forged~CNC Optimized Construction
- 31.8mm bar diameter
- 0-degree rise
- 55mm wide chamfered bar clamp
- 35mm stack height
- "Snap fit" sealed top cap
- 35mm/50mm lengths
- Weight: 145g/160g
- Color: Black/Sky Blue
On The Trail & In The Park
Right off the bat, the 4-degree upsweep and 8-degree backsweep felt very natural. This made for a super comfortable transition from my previous setup that hardly took anytime at all to get accustomed to.
Where the bars really shine is their amazing stiffness, especially at 777mm wide. That's a whole lot of leverage. Between bombing rock gardens and hard skatepark landings, I can honestly say that I didn't feel these bars flex. Really. And while I know they are to some minute degree, the perceived stiffness provides additional bike and terrain feedback, making you feel totally confident and in control. I hadn't realized how much my previous bars flexed until getting on the Bearclaw Signature Series 777FR bars, and I have to admit that I like the additional feedback through the grips.
The Bearclaw Signature Series Spike Race stem also follows in the steps of the 777FR bars - lighter than you'd expect with a solid feel. An added plus is that it comes with a nifty "snap fit" sealed top cap to keep the grime out. Plus, the stem just looks amazing. Between the shapely figure and touch of sky blue bling you're sure to get curious comments.
Things That Could Be Improved
The only complaint I could muster was with the stem. The Bearclaw Signature Series Stem is based off of their already popular Spike Race design, which includes the previously mentioned "snap fit" top cap. As I was installing these, I noticed that you couldn’t place any spacers above the stem because of a very slight concave curvature to the top face of the stem. Placing spacers on top of the stem creates a slight gap on the left and right side. Did I ride it anyhow with spacers on top? Yes, but I ended up cutting my steer tube to accommodate the snap fit cap. While I wouldn't deem it unsafe, if you're one of those riders who likes to keep your fork's steerer tube longer for eventual re-sale, this is certainly a factor to consider.
Update: Spank does have a custom ultralight 7-series spacer ring that will allow standard spacers to be used on top of the stem. It's normally included, but was missing from our test package. Problem solved!
Long Term Durability
I’ve already tumbled down the side of the mountain, doing my best to scrape the bars up in the process. They took it quite well, with very few visible scratches in the finish. Given their durability and incredible stiffness I’d have no concerns running these components long term.
What's The Bottom Line?
Overall, it's hard to believe components so light can perform so well, which is positive proof that Spank's investment in high-end manufacturing techniques really paid off. The Spank Bearclaw Signature Series Bar and Stem make an excellent addition to any aggressive rider's bike, especially those looking for some serious stiffness and a little blue bling without compromising weight. Coming in at $89 MSRP for the bars and $75 for the stem, you’re getting some advanced components at a competitive price.
As a side note, while the bars may be intended for downhill and aggressive freeride applications, they also felt great in a whole new realm - in the skatepark on a hardtail. If you're into wide, low-rise bars for your hardtail, Claw's line is certainly worth checking out.
For more info, cruise over to www.spank-ind.com.
About The Reviewer
Andy Holloway has been riding bikes ever since seeing New World Disorder 3 back in 2003. Inspired, he immediately began sculpting dirt jumps and pump tracks that have a unique and technical style while keeping it flowy. After competing in a handful of professional level slopestyle events and a blown up knee in 2007, he decided to switch gears and focus on having fun while being the behind-the-scenes guy sculpting dirt and covering the Colorado scene over at 970Biking.com. Dirt sculpting highlights include the construction of Boulder's Valmont Bike Park, Rhyolite Bike Park and a host of private pump tracks. Recently, he has discovered the adventure and sense of accomplishment from trail riding and is one of those riders who will choose the jump-transfer over the faster line - after all, it's all about keeping it fun. Nowadays he works as a contributor for Vital MTB and New Media Manager at Winter Park/Trestle Bike Park.