BikeLife: Redshift Bars and Stem Upgrade

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My trusty Salsa Fargo Ti is still alive and going strong. No cracks, no dings, just normal wear, but now with Redshift Kitchen Sink Bars.
Redshift Kitchen Sink Bars with front loop and Cruise Control grips top and bottom.

Before you go hating, I rode this bike for nine years in stock form. Nine years. My trusty Salsa Fargo Ti is still alive and going strong. No cracks, no dings, just normal wear. I have replaced the chain, the rear cassette and the tires, of course, as these things wear out on all bikes. When I bought this bike in 2013 it was quite the anomaly. Every single person I asked tried to talk me out of it. In 2013, a drop-bar, adventure touring bike was NOT the norm, but I knew I wanted one bike for all and I knew this was just what I was looking for. A full titanium frame, carbon fork, decent components and the almighty flared “Woodchipper” handlebar and all for less than $3000.(Nearly impossible now.)

The “Woodchipper” is like a normal drop bar but the drop part is actually flared out wide. For nine years I rode this bar thinking to myself “Feels a bit narrow, and these drops aren’t that useful.” Nine years. So, after much internal debate I decided to upgrade. Enter the 47cm Redshift Kitchen Sink bar with front loop. The loop wasn’t mandatory but it comes in handy when attaching extras to the bar. Like navigation, lights, bags, etc. The bars also come with something called Cruise Control Grips which are such a HUGE improvement over my old setup. These grips offer surface area and they are built for long hours in the saddle. And now, due to the lack of flare on the drops, my down position is incredible stable and comfortable. All of these niceties are wrapped in what Redshift calls their Really Long Bar Tape, which is the nicest bar tape I’ve ever used. It feels semi-rubberized and has great feel.

But wait, there’s more. In addition to the bars, I replaced my stem with something called a Redshift ShockStop Suspension System. When these first arrived on the cycling scene, I remember seeing all kinds of YouTuber nonsense turning this idea into some invasion of cycling purity. There are other versions of this stem, from other manufacturers, and they too found themselves on the sharp end of the cycling reviewers who think there is only ONE way to do something. Don’t listen to any of these people.

It’s just a stem. It moves.

There is a slight suspension system built in, one that can be tweaked to your liking by using different sets of bands to increase or decrease the movement. This is NOT a suspension fork. But it is a fraction of the cost and it works really well. If you are a high-speed downhill rider I wouldn’t bother with this stem, but if you ride gravel and washboard roads then I would seriously consider it.

It just makes life easier. I can already feel a difference in my hands and wrists. Plus, now that my brake housings are parallel with the ground and riding straight, the comfort level in the saddle is much improved. Listen people, I have enough trouble in life, Lyme Disease, kidney stones, questionable karma, at least I can be happy when I’m onboard the Salsa. My goal hasn’t changed. At SOME POINT I will do a long tour. Currently, it’s the velvet coffin life. Great job, much work to be done, so there is little time for a long tour.

The past week has seen 50+ mph winds every single day here in Northern New Mexico. I’ve done twenty-miles total as it’s just not fun dealing with this kind of gale not to mention the flying dust and debris. Give me hills, give me heat, but wind is another issue entirely. I’ve mentioned this before but I find the bicycle to be one of the most underutilized tools of the modern era, especially here in the United States. There is nothing political about a bicycle. You don’t need to plug it in, unless you go E-bike. The time between upgrades can be viewed in terms of decades, and bikes are a lot of fun. My goal is to spend as much time on mine as humanly possible, and now with the Redshift setup, I can do so in comfort.

Comments 2

  1. Hmmmm, food for thought. I like this setup Dan, I might give it a try. Comfort is everything when you are in a world of cycling pain 🙂

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