PHAT TEST - Redshift Kitchen Sink Handlebar System.

Uppdaterad: apr 27

Comfort has many names, and this system is one of them. Cycling doesn't have to be a torturing sport, and the people at Redshift seem to have understood that quite well!

VÄSTERÅS, Sweden, 2021-04-26


Here at XL Biking we're always surprised and delighted when companies ask us to test their products! The importance of the PHAT TEST is manifold, we need better, smarter cycling products that can be used by all riders, and we also need to take our place as fat riders and actually become part of the development of such products. The test is a way to give larger riders a voice, and an important step to be part of such development one day.

Moreover, as big people, we have an unique perspective which is lacking in the cycling industry and need to be seen and heard, lest even our safety be compromised.

Redshift is a unique company making unique products. Their courage to stick out from the bunch much resembles that of the people in our community. We do not conform to the old views the cycling world has about people, but are all about shaping a new and better understanding - and, of course, turning a few heads! If you're familiar with the innovations Redshift has brought to cycling you'll know that heads are still turning, and after trying their products the great majority of them will feel an unexpected urge to ride more and longer. That was my first reaction after trying the Kitchen Sink Handlebar System, bar, grips and bar tape. Gonna fly now!

Comfort has a name

The system is a breeze to assemble, and Redshift put together a series of instructional videos on YouTube which are really helpful; after all there are a few details not to be missed. You can opt not to have the entire system and buy the products separately (click here and use the code: XLBIKING for 10% off). But, if you're like me and suspect that these things work better together, you're in for a treat!

Well on the gravel roads around Västerås, Sweden I began to understand what I was messing with. The cushioning and grippy bar tape really held my hands in place, the top grips made a world of difference as well! I have big hands and used to buy extra strips of gel to have under the bar tape just to increase handlebar thickness, no need anymore.

Now to the surprise: as a big guy I've never found myself riding on the drops a lot, now I'm longing for it! The bottom grips worked wonders for me, specially in the level of control I experienced descending and also on the rough stuff. Comfort has a name, a rather funny one: kitchen sink!

A bikefit theory. Larger riders look no further.

Anyone in the cycling world who wants to ride in comfort without compromising performance should take a serious look at what Redshift has to offer, even those skeptical of prices and such. After all, riding in discomfort is the sure path for permanent injuries and less riding, even less money in the pocket due to medical bills. Any product that can help prevent longterm injuries is interesting in my book.

I find this system versatile enough for all riders, and it makes a lot of sense for larger riders.

Now a word about fat. Don't worry, you're in the right blog for it!

Let's face it, some of us larger riders of all genders have that little extra fat under our arms extending sometimes all the way to our backs. One of the effects of having such extra layer is that we don't fully close our arms very near our bodies, thus resulting in shorter reach to the handlebars and, quite obviously, a wider opening of our arms, which in turn does not correspond to the usual handlebar width measurement we get from professional bikefits.

According to the experts, in order to find out your correct handlebar width you should measure the width between your acromioclavicular joints or the top "bony" bit or bump of the shoulders, as seen on the left side of the above picture. In that case the maximum width for a handlebar for me is 44 cm. I've ridden 44cm bars with no flare and though being OK for most rides, I always came home with a bit of discomfort under my arms. Riding with such bars on gravel was, at times, scary. Experience shows that riders actually enjoy a variety of handlebar widths, often wider than recommended.

I then changed to 46cm bars, and the comfort increased, so I stuck to it, until I rode the 47cm wide Kitchen Sink (as seen on the left side of the picture). The wider bar with more flare enabled me to breathe better and reduced shoulder and hand discomfort. Larger riders look no further!

That's my little theory, you will have to try for yourself. Cycling is individual, being in the right ballpark helps, and the Redshift Kitchen Sink can get you there.

Are you experienced? This could be worth a shot.

I'll be riding this system for the rest of the year and sending feedback to Redshift. Join me if you have the bar, grips or the entire system, I'd love to hear from you and gather more impressions about these products as we go. As mentioned before in this article, Redshift gave us a code for a 10% discount on their products. Click here and visit their site.

I've been experiencing with different handlebar setups to better suit my large body and ever changing style of riding since 2017. I ride roads, gravel, do some bikepacking and all sorts of errands around town on my Pelago Stavanger Outback all steel bicycle. I've never found such a versatile handlebar setup as the Kitchen Sink. It offers superior comfort and a feeling of being in control in every situation. I'm looking forward to the PHAT TEST extended or the "family reunion" (see below) as I call it.

Coming up next: the family reunion - PHAT TEST extended.

We have PHAT TESTED the Redshift Shockstop Stem before (read more here) and liked it very much. There is now a "pro" version of the stem, lighter and with a few other changes we were eager to try. So, I will be mounting one on my Pelago Stavanger bike and complete the Redshift system. I call it the family reunion! I want to find out what the internet buzz is all about, and whether it will perform well for a fat cyclist like me. Stay tuned!

Ebbe Silva Founder, XL Biking

A special word of thanks to Redshift for being in touch with XL Biking and sending us the Kitchen Sink System for the PHAT TEST! This level of respect and inclusiveness is a very welcome step in the right direction, one we'll keep working to see more companies take.

Thank you for reading our blog! XL Biking works since 2017 for a more democratic, inclusive and genderless cycling culture. You can support our work buying at our shop or donating via PayPal.

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