Nukeproof Warhead Carbon Handlebar

Vital Rating:
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Free shipping on orders over $50 (continental U.S. only).
International shipping available. Some exclusions apply.
Free shipping on orders over $50 (continental U.S. only).
International shipping available. Some exclusions apply.
Tested: Nukeproof Warhead Carbon Handlebar and Zero Stem
Vital Review

Review by Johan Hjord // Photos by Nils Hjord and Johan Hjord

Nukeproof started life as a component maker, and although they have had great success with their line of complete bikes over the past few years, they are staying true to their roots as makers of reasonably priced, quality components. At the recent launch of the all-new Mega, we were given the opportunity to ride the latest carbon handlebars as well, and we liked them so much that we slipped a pair in our suitcase when nobody was looking. We’ve been riding ‘em ever since, and we’re here to let you know if we still like ‘em.

Nukeproof Warhead Carbon Highlights

  • Material: UD Carbon with added fiberglass
  • Sweep: 9° back-sweep, 6° up-sweep
  • Rise: 12mm / 25mm / 38mm
  • Width: 780mm
  • Clamp diameter: 31.8mm
  • Colors: Black
  • Supplied with clear protective scuff guard
  • Weight: 12mm rise = 235g / 25mm rise = 248g / 38mm rise = 260g
  • MSRP: $159.99 (USA), £99.99 (UK), 129.99 Euro

Nukeproof Zero Stem Highlights

  • Precision CNC machined from high-grade aluminum
  • Micro-fluting to help dissipate stress loads
  • Knee-friendly steerer clamp design
  • Bar clamp: 31.8mm
  • Length:50mm
  • Rise: 0 degrees
  • Colors: Black/Yellow, Black/Black, Yellow
  • Weight: 170g (including bolts)
  • MSRP: $79.99 (USA), £49.99 (UK), £64.99 Euro

Initial Impressions

Nukeproof has made a conscious effort to tone down the very distinctive styling and colors that made up the essential part of the company’s visual image over the past few years, in order to make it easier for “non-Nukeproof bike riders” to still run their components. The Warhead bars and Zero stem are both a stealthy black (although you can get the stem in the traditional Nukeproof yellow too if you so wish), with discreet graphics that give both items a quality appearance. In retail form, the bars are delivered with a clear, protective scuff-guard in the box to make sure they keep their appearance fresh, but since we nabbed ours off our test bike, we only made off with the components themselves. No harm no foul, torque to feel and all is good…

The bars feature markings to help with centering the cockpit, and a “gritty” middle section to give the stem extra purchase for a slip-free ride. The Zero stem is a chunky-looking affaire, machined from a solid billet – by appearance alone, it should certainly live up to its Nukeproof name. Nukeproof stuck with the “old” 31.8mm clamp diameter standard, after feeling like they achieved all their design goals without needing to step up to 35mm. With many claims being made regarding the 35mm standard being easier to “tune”, we were curious to see what Nukeproof’s answer to that would be. Turns out they have incorporated a fiberglass layer in the carbon layup, which they say helps make the bars a bit more compliant, as well as acting as an extra security layer in case of catastrophic failure. On that topic, Nukeproof have tested the Warhead carbon bar to almost twice the normal failure load of many aluminum bars – including their own (they cited 680kg before the bar broke, with most alloy bars snapping at 350kg in this particular test). Good news, since the last thing we ever want to worry about is having a handlebar snap mid-landing. In the unlikely event you do manage to break one, Nukeproof backs the Warhead with a full lifetime warranty to the original purchaser.

In terms of numbers, the Warhead bars feature the classic 9-degrees back, 6-degrees up sweep. At the request of Nukeproof’s DH racing team (Hill, Jones, Smith), a 38-mm rise version was also added to the line-up, giving you 3 options for dialing in front-end height (12-mm, 25-mm, and 38-mm). The Zero stem as you might have guessed already offers 0 degrees rise with the standard 50-mm length. Weight-wise, the Warhead tips the scales at 248 grams for the 25-mm rise version, which is about 10-20 grams above the main carbon competitors out there. The stem clocks in at 170 grams, including bolts, which is also about 10-30 grams more than many competitors. Pricing-wise, the Nukeproof cockpit is in the lower tier, which makes the slight weight penalty seem less significant.

On The Trail

Mounting up the new cockpit was straightforward, everything came together easily. The roughed-up, gritty area in the middle of the handlebars helps make sure they won’t slip in the stem, while the plentiful markings on the extremities assist with lining up your controls. We left the bars at the full 780-mm, but there are markings to help you cut should you wish to give them a trim. We finished off our new cockpit with Nukeproof’s Sam Hill Signature Series lock-on grips, and we were ready to hit the trails.

The Warhead angles felt very natural from the get-go, not a surprise given the numbers but it’s always good to make sure it all translates to the trail. And whether it’s down to the extra layer of fiberglass or just the overall design in general, we found the bars to be free of harshness and vibrations, even for long, rough runs. That was one of the stand-out aspects early on, which we confirmed during the long-term test as well. We should also add that we’re big fans of the Sam Hill grips, the half-waffle design works well but more than anything we appreciate their slight extra thickness – definitely spot-on for this tester. We also like that the outer lock-on ring incorporates the end cap.

When it comes to stems, they really only have one job. If they can hold the bars securely, they tick the basic functionality box. If in addition they can look good, not weigh too much, and not cost a fortune, then that’s so many extra bonus points. It’s hard to get excited when you’re writing about a stem, so to keep it short all we can report regarding the Zero is that it ticks all the boxes. Job done.

Things That Could Be Improved

We found that the finish of the bars scuffs up quite easily, but Nukeproof are ahead of you on that one since they include a transparent scuff guard in the box. We also found that we had to tighten our brake levers just a bit more than one some other carbon bars to keep them from slipping. Not a big problem, but perhaps something to address in a future version. No such issues with the grips however.

Long Term Durability

Apart from some scuffing of exposed areas of the handlebar (which could have been prevented had we obtained the transparent scuff guard that is included in the retail box), the Warhead bars have withstood all the abuse we could throw at them so far. As for the Zero stem, it still looks new. After a few months of testing, nothing leads us to believe that you would get anything but a few seasons of loyal service out of this pair.

What’s The Bottom Line?

Nukeproof had input from their world-class World Cup DH racing team when designing their new Warhead carbon bars, and they made the most of it. These bars are comfortable, won’t rough up your hands nor break the bank, and with more subtle graphics they are easier on the eyes too. Pair them up with the excellent Zero stem for a cockpit that looks and feels great on any bike.

More information at

About The Reviewer

Johan Hjord loves bikes, which strangely doesn’t make him any better at riding them. After many years spent practicing falling off cliffs with his snowboard, he took up mountain biking in 2005. Ever since, he’s mostly been riding bikes with too much suspension travel to cover up his many flaws as a rider. His 200-pound body weight coupled with unique skill for poor line choice and clumsy landings make him an expert on durability - if parts survive Johan, they’re pretty much okay for anybody. Johan rides flat pedals with a riding style that he describes as "none" (when in actuality he rips!). Having found most trail features to be not to his liking, Johan uses much of his spare time building his own. Johan’s other accomplishments include surviving this far and helping keep the Vital Media Machine’s stoke dial firmly on 11.


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Nukeproof Warhead Carbon Handlebar
Riding Type
Dirt Jump / Slopestyle
Freeride / Bike Park
Carbon Fiber
Material Details
Clamp Diameter
12mm, 25mm, or 38mm
25mm rise: 0 lb 8.7 oz (248 g)
12mm rise: 0 lb 8.3 oz (235 g)
38mm rise: 0 lb 9.2 oz (260 g)
What do you think?
Where To Buy
Free shipping on orders over $50 (continental U.S. only).
International shipping available. Some exclusions apply.
Free shipping on orders over $50 (continental U.S. only).
International shipping available. Some exclusions apply.

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