KS Ether Handlebar

Vital Rating: (Excellent)
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Ether 35mm Carbon Riser
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KS Ether Rise Bar

Rating: Vital Review

by Justin Schroth

KS Suspension, who first made their presence known in the mountain bike arena with a wide range of dropper posts, have further branched out with their new line of Ether Control products. The new line, which includes traditional fixed seat posts, both carbon and alloy, as well as the Ether stem and Ether handlebars. Available in multiple lengths, widths, rises and materials, we chose to give the 780mm-wide carbon Ether Rise Handlebar and 50mm alloy Ether Stem a go. Continue reading to how the new bar and stem combo stacks up.

KS Ether Rise Bar Highlights

  • Material: Carbon (alloy version available)
  • Clamp Size: 31.8 or 35mm
  • Width: 780mm
  • Rise: 20mm
  • Upsweep: 9
  • Backsweep: 9
  • Colors: Black
  • Weight: 7.3 oz (207 g)
  • MSRP:$159.99

KS Ether Stem Highlights

  • Material: Alloy
  • Clamp Size:

by Justin Schroth

KS Suspension, who first made their presence known in the mountain bike arena with a wide range of dropper posts, have further branched out with their new line of Ether Control products. The new line, which includes traditional fixed seat posts, both carbon and alloy, as well as the Ether stem and Ether handlebars. Available in multiple lengths, widths, rises and materials, we chose to give the 780mm-wide carbon Ether Rise Handlebar and 50mm alloy Ether Stem a go. Continue reading to how the new bar and stem combo stacks up.


KS Ether Rise Bar Highlights

  • 
Material: Carbon
 (alloy version available)
  • Clamp Size: 31.8 or 35mm
  • 
Width: 780mm

  • Rise: 20mm
  • Upsweep: 9°
  • 
Backsweep: 9°
  • 
Colors: Black

  • Weight: 7.3 oz (207 g)
  • MSRP:$159.99

KS Ether Stem Highlights


  • Material: Alloy

  • Clamp Size: 31.8 or 35mm
  • 
Length: 50mm or 70mm

  • Rise: 0°

  • Steer Diameter: 1-1/8”

  • Colors: Black

  • Weight: 4 oz (114 g)
  • MSRP:$65.99

Initial Impressions

Right out of the box, it's very apparent the carbon KS Ether bars are on the lighter side of the scale for a carbon bar. At 207 grams and a healthy 780mm wide, these are actually quite light considering some of the competition’s carbon bars are around 200g at only 740mm wide. With black on black graphics and rough textured clamping area to help prevent slippage, KS did a good job putting together a subtle yet sleek looking handlebar that balances ascetics with functionality well.

As we mentioned, we tested the 50//31.8mm Ether Stem, It's worth noting, though, that the stem is also available in 70mm length and 35mm clamp, with slight variations in weight depending on the configuration. Our 50//31.8mm stem came in at 114 grams, making the Ether Stem the same, if not lighter than other stems that are similarly priced. A nice touch is that the steer tube clamp bolts are nicely tucked-away near the front of the stem, (hopefully) preventing any unwanted kneecap-to-stem-bolt interaction. Subtle graphics round out the two, with a smooth, stealth matte finish on the handlebar and gloss black for the stem.


On the Trail


Once in the saddle, we quickly noticed the extra width of the Ether handlebar compared to our prior bars, which were 740mm. The wider reach took some getting used to, especially in the Northeast where our trails are typically littered with some tight “pucker up and close your eyes” squeezes between trees. As with all wider bars, we never really appreciated the wide posture until hitting the rough trail sections where the extra leverage helped keep our line through the chatter or muscle through the tight turns. With the carbon material, stiffness, strength, and durability in a lightweight package are the obvious big advantages. And the 9-degree backsweep and upsweep put our hands in a comfortable position without any wrist pain or soreness, even after a long day in the saddle. The 20-degree rise of the Ether Rise Bar and the 0-degree rise of the Ether Stem keeps your hand position low, which is especially nice on the taller front ends of some long-travel all-mountain bikes. In regards to the stem, the steering response was quite snappy and immediate, which often times inspired us to charge a bit harder through some familiar turns. That added gusto sometimes caused us to forget we were riding a trail bike and not a DH sled. Navigating through rough sections and picking lines was done without hesitation, never feeling much flex or compliance in the cockpit. Point and shoot.

Long Term Durability


We’ve been on the Ether equipped cockpit for a few months now with no signs of weakness, distress, or wear. The durable matte finish has yet to show any scrapes or scratches, and with the designed handlebar//stem interface the bars have not rotated or slipped out of place, not even a hair. A simple "set and forget" design.


Things That Could Be Improved


With the "wider is better" trend going on the past couple years, KS is only offering the Either Rise in 780mm. For those with shorter arms, it would be nice to see a 740mm option available. While the obvious solution would be cutting the bars down to the desired length, some people just aren't comfortable cutting carbon or perhaps don't have the proper carbon-specific blade to cut them down at home. Another small gripe is the bars lack any sort of indication or markings for centering the bars and rotation, something common on most handlebars.

What's The Bottom Line?


With the price point of the Ether Stem around $65 it is a great buy for a stem that is simple, lightweight and durable. As with carbon ANYTHING, you can expect a higher price tag as it's a high-end material. The Carbon Ether Rise bar is no different at $160, but that is comparable to other carbon bars on the market. When combined together, we think this duo is a great alternative that can EASILY rival some of the offerings by the larger component companies with the added bonus of shedding a bit of weight in the process.

Visit kssuspension.com for more details.


About The Reviewer

Justin Schroth has been riding mountain bikes for over 15 years, experiencing first hand the evolution of the industry from thumb shifters and MCU cartridge forks to carbon fiber frames and single-ring all mountain bikes. As an East Coast rider, he loves trails with a combination of jumps, technical downhills, and the occasional loose corner for some foot out action. With a Mechanical Engineering degree, Justin's instinct is to always consider how it works over how it looks. After many years of racing the Northeast Norba and Collegiate series, Justin hung up the race plate and his diploma to go behind the camera at Lucent Productions, creating mountain bike video content for several clients such as Highland Mountain Bike Park.


Specifications

Product KS Ether Handlebar
Riding Type Cross Country, Trail, Freeride / Bike Park, Downhill, Dirt Jump / Slopestyle
Material Aluminum, Carbon Fiber
Material Details Carbon or Aluminum Options
Clamp Diameter 31.8mm, 35mm
Width
  1. Ether Flat Bar:720mm
  2. Ether Rise Bar:780mm
Rise
  1. Ether Flat Bar:0mm
  2. Ether Rise Bar:20mm
Upsweep
Backsweep
Colors Black
Weight
  1. Ether Flat Bar
    • 0 lb 6.9 oz (197 g)
    • 0 lb 8.9 oz (252 g)
  2. Ether Rise Bar
    • 0 lb 7.3 oz (207 g)
    • 0 lb 11.4 oz (322 g)
Miscellaneous
Price
  1. Ether Flat Bar
    • $150
    • $70
  2. Ether Rise Bar
    • $160
    • $80
More Info

KS Website

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