Deity Components Blacklabel 800 Review
Cons: Heavy, designed specifically for DH, not much vibration reduction
Manufacturer: Deity Components
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Our Analysis and Test Results
Balancing strength, weight, style, stiffness, comfort, and price is challenging, but Deity gave it a shot and managed to create something special, albeit not perfect, with their efforts. We tested the Blacklabel aboard an enduro bike or two, but it never quite lived up to the performance of its carbon brother, the Deity Speedway Bar. Overall, weight and design killed this bar's chances of taking the best value award away from the Renthal FatBar 35. Don't let the low score fool you, this is a great bar, just not a great bar for everyone. If DH or enduro riding are your bread and butter, this bar rises far closer to the top of our lists.
Stiffness & Compliance
If this bar is being run by World Cup Downhillers Brendan Fairclough and Sam Blenkinsop, you can bet these bars are stiff. Designed to hold up to the rigors of world cup DH tracks, while feeling just as home on technical enduro trails, these bars were designed to be stiff enough to hold lines and compliant enough to reduce vibration over the chatter. They may not be the most comfortable, but when winning margins are .1 second over a 3-minute run, you can ignore the hand fatigue.
They are plenty stiff even with a 31.8mm bore/clamp diameter, and the 800mm width provides ample leverage. Steering feels direct and precise, but maybe a touch too little compliance leaves these bars on the slightly uncomfortable end of the spectrum compared to bars that reduce vibration better like the Spank Oozy Vibrocore or Ibis Adjustable Carbon, both of which are designed around the 31.8mm clamp diameter. More comfortable 35mm options include the Santa Cruz Bicycles Carbon and RaceFace Next R bars.
We liked the sense of control provided by the stiffness of these bars, but couldn't ignore the hand fatigue generated by them over relatively short runs. They are stiff, and steering feels very direct with plenty of leverage for muscling the bike around at speed or through rock gardens. It didn't take long, however, for our testers to start losing feeling in their hands with the feedback that came straight through them. If these bars came in a more fatigue friendly and lighter platform they would leap to the top of our aluminum choices.
If you are an enduro rider dead set on aluminum and style isn't your highest priority, the Renthal Fatbar 35 is likely the ticket for you based on stiffness and control. Okay spending twice the amount for a better bar? RaceFace Next R and the Deity Speedway are right up your alley.
Ooof, 340 grams isn't really what we would define as an upgrade to any cockpit, but if you're mainly focused on the downhill, that weight might be something you can look past. The Blacklabel had the lowest score in this metric, weighing a whole 35 grams more than its closest competitor and more than 100 grams over the lighter carbon offerings.
If you have dreams of uphill KOMS, racing XC, going on long backcountry adventure rides, or squirreling up technical singletrack, you should probably stop reading this review now and look at our takes on the RaceFace Next R or Ibis Adjustable Carbon Bar. If you are in search of a lighter but still absurdly stiff package, the Enve M7 is calling to you.
Style & Design
Hands down, if we had one, the style and finish award for this test would go to Deity for both the Blacklabel and the Speedway bars. Great looks are certainly a consideration when you spend a bunch of money on something, but they aren't the heaviest weighted metric. As far as style is concerned, we were impressed by the platinum anodized finish with phantom graphics color we tested and the fact that they are available in black anodized with 8 different graphic colors. Of course, Deity also offers a full range of parts and accessories in matching colors to fully pimp your ride. If we were building up an affordable showroom bike, these would likely be present on that build, but style only goes so far.
Deity clearly put some time and effort into the design, testing, and manufacture of the Blacklabel bars. They are offered only in a 31.8mm bore, and despite being the narrower clamp diameter, they do not lack in the stiffness department. It stands to reason that the smaller bore diameter could result in a more compliant bar, but our testers found these to be some of the stiffest and harshest bars in the test with little if any vibration dampening. Deity has provided marks on the bar's ends for easy trimming, plus they offer it in three rise options with 25mm and 38mm in addition to the 15mm rise version we tested.
Deity is a hot brand at the moment, producing quality goods with a high-end finish that elicit immediate jealousy from other riders at the trailhead. If you want to be part of the mountain bike fashion show, there aren't many cheaper tickets than the $85 Deity Blacklabel bars. These bars represent the best value to the downhill oriented rider who likes a stiff and burly handlebar and isn't all that concerned about the heavier weight. Deity also covers the Blacklabel bars with a lifetime crash replacement policy to the original owner.
Strength, stiffness, and control are all wrapped up in a stylish package in the Deity Blacklabel, but necessary ingredients like weight and comfort are missing, causing this bar to fall in the rankings. That said, if you're a gravity focused rider seeking a stout aluminum handlebar this is an affordable option to consider.
— Dillon Osleger