TESTED: Planet-X Pro Bars, stem and seat post
Currently there is a trend to have carbon fibre bike components throughout your bike. This is all well and good but kitting out your bike in the lovely black stuff could cost you several hundred pounds. The Bling factor may be high and the weight (slightly) lower but I'm still not convinced that the advantages are worth it. So aluminium gear is fine for most pros and many of the top sprinters won't touch carbon anyway. This 3D stuff is race proven by the Planet X Team of Kevin Dawson, John Tanner and Mark Lovatt and as used on the Milk Ras 2004 by the winner Dave McCann - so if it's good enough for them...
3D and Carbon Seatpost One bolt is OK for fixing saddles on most road bikes but a two bolt fitting cradle is always preferable for keeping your saddle in place, but usually they are a right old fiddle to assemble. The forged alloy 3D post is not a new idea as such, but it's simple to fit with both bolts facing down for easy access. The weight is low at 228g and it's longer than most for compact frames. Both Planet X's posts have a narrow cradle section but just a slight amount of lay-back but there's a pretty wide range of adjustment.
The Carbon post is a single bolt fix and weighs 170g, so you save a bit of weight but it costs nearly three times as much, although the post was easy to install I prefer the security of the twin bolt post and fitted it to a track bike for that added security when mashing around the boards. Another slight problem with the carbon post was adjusting the angle of the cradle. The notched base plate meant we couldn't get the right angle on one bike, it was either pointing up or sloping down. This was a little annoying so we were glad for the 3D post's dual bolt cradle that allows for pin point angle setting.
3D Forged Road Stem
Cold forged from 7075 billet aluminium, with loads of machining to reduce the weight to retain grain structure. The 3D stem has an unusual facetted profile which sets it apart from most run of the mill forged stems and unlike the generic forged stem look it has an exclusive X face plate and stylish logo - we think it looks great.
It's the finest looking component in their current range of add-ons and with the Strada bars and 3d seatpost it looks really 'pro'. The stem comes in lengths from 80 to 130mm in 10mm increments and in standard and 31.8mm oversize sizes. The best bit is the weight, it's an incredible 105g.
Superlight Team Oversize Bar
It's a triple butted 31.8mm oversize beasty of a road bar. I'm not a big fan of Ergo bars as a rule but these do approach the problem from slightly different angle. The tail off from the bottom of the bar is longer than most and the flattened part of the bar less extreme than most too. They are a shallowish drop and I found that they gave more hand positions than most ergos out there (ITM especially). The tops fit Shimano controls perfectly and the transition between bar and lever hood is perfect.
The Oversize diameter is intended for 'maximum stiffness in the sprints'. We handed them over to office galloper Simon who demands a stiff front end, ahem. He reports back that they are a great improvement over his old ITM set up, which has now been demoted to training bike duties.
And what if you don't like the ergo bend? well try the Strada 215 standard bend for £30. Both bars fit all oversize stems.
Sizes available: 40cm, 42cm, 44cm and 46cm (widths measured centre-to-centre)
To conclude, Planet X have done a little more than provide yet another bunch of those 'it does what it says on the tin' type components. And once again we can't see why you'd choose anything by a big name, brand snobbery perhaps but that's it. This stuff is well made, phenominally inexpensive and looks great. It's lighter than many stems and bars twice the price and the bars come in loads of sizes. Money saved here means you can spend more on the bits that really matter like the wheels and the frame. However it's not all good, the carbon seatpost cradle adjustment problem meant we'd probably opt for the alloy post. But compare the prices and weights with the competition yourself and you'll see what I mean.
3d Seatpost: £25
Carbon Seatpost: £65
Order direct from Planet-X website.
|Subtle facetted design||Ergo bar shape||Dual bolt fixing|