Deity Components Speedway 35 Carbon Riser Review
Cons: Not the lightest, expensive
Manufacturer: Deity Components
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Our Analysis and Test Results
"Premium Race Goods" is how Deity describes its line of components, and the Speedway 35 is no exception. Incredible feel, control, and looks make this bar a strong bet in all categories and our overall Editor's Choice award winner.
Stiffness and Compliance
Considering its intended use for pro riders on the UCI DH World Cup circuit, stiffness and steering precision was what this bar was designed for. This is evidenced by the 35mm clamp diameter which provides a sturdy interface between the bar and your stem, as well as the uni-directional carbon layup. Make no mistake, the Speedway is stiff and it responds immediately to rider input. Fortunately, even though DH riders can keep the bike upright under insane speeds, they appreciate some forgiveness, which has been built into the bar primarily through some compliance at the bar's ends.
Unlike some burly carbon handlebars that are punishingly stiff, the Speedway has just enough give engineered into the bar to dampen vibration and take the edge off of high-frequency trail feedback. The flex is just enough to take the edge off and prevent harshness, but not enough to compromise control or steering performance in any way. The bar's compliance is fantastic assuming the bar is being kept at a reasonable width and not cut down narrower than 760mm. Printed marks are provided on the bar ends to make the job of cutting the bar easier and gently provide suggestions to keep the bar's characteristics.
When top athletes are pushing 70km/hr down some of the roughest tracks in the world (see UCI DH), they demand the utmost in control. This is exactly what the Deity Speedway provides. A generous 30mm rise keeps the rider behind the bar, in a better position to lift up and absorb impacts, while 5 degrees of upsweep and 9 degrees of back sweep keep the bar planted at a reasonable angle to the front wheel. With so much rise combined with considerable sweeps, the fit and geometry options provided by rotating the bar within the stem clamp are generous.
The Speedway comes in an 810mm width, making it the widest bar we tested by just 10mm. We trimmed it down to 800mm for personal preference and to more closely match the rest of the test selection. The 800mm width provides plenty of leverage for steering control and bike manipulation, and the 35mm clamp diameter helps to provide ample stiffness in the bar/stem interface. The Speedway delivers the steering precision and control that one would expect from a fancy aftermarket carbon handlebar, plus they dampen vibration quite well. The reduction of trail chatter and high-frequency feedback helps to keep your hands from falling asleep the way that other handlebars can.
The one caveat to the control of this bar comes in the topic of width. This bar was designed to be run as a wide bar, with its control characteristics coming from strategic bends and bore size changes across the bar. Cutting this bar smaller than 760mm drastically changes these characteristics, forcing the bar to become what it was never intended to be. If you are a smaller rider (say shorter than 5'6") or prefer the snappy feel of narrower XC bars, it would be wise to turn to other bar options.
With a measured weight of 245 grams, the Speedway Carbon is competitively lightweight for the carbon fiber models we tested. This is certainly a good choice for reducing the overall weight of your bike, especially when compared to heavier aluminum or stock handlebars. Obviously, Deity put thought towards bar weight but did not make it a priority as their focus has long been in the gravity realm.
If your primary intention when swinging a leg over your bike is to go downhill fast, the extra 30 or so grams the Deity bar penalizes over similar bars like the RaceFace Next R shouldn't be much of a bother. If you are looking to keep things as light as possible, say on an XC-oriented race bike, looking towards other bars may be advisable.
Style & Design
Deity was born of the lack of style in the mountain bike industry that many consumers wished for. The team there has spent years withholding products on account of dissatisfaction with their own work, resulting in released products only being of the highest quality. The Speedway is one of these releases, showcasing moto reminiscent style with a subdued look to avoid being too flashy. This bar is available in nine different color options, including the subtle colorway we tested, so you can likely match it with your color scheme. Deity also makes a range of parts and accessories in the same colors as the Speedway so you can color-coordinate to your heart's content.
Beyond decal styling alone, these bars are an incredible work of carbon design and engineering, utilizing much of the most recent carbon technology in the industry. The Speedway was designed as a DH handlebar, and they chose the modern 35mm bore size to provide a stiff clamp interface. Deity claims it is the strongest DH/Enduro handlebar on the market, and while we can't substantiate that claim, we can say that the quality of craftsmanship and attention to detail is impressive. They have designed the bar in such a way that it provides outstanding precision while also dampening vibration better than most to help you maintain control. Additionally, they have incorporated texture on the bar in the stem clamp interface and the bar's ends to prevent slippage in either area. They have also printed measurements on the bar's ends to assist in the trimming process should you choose to cut them down.
As far as value goes, the Speedway Bar is comparable to the other carbon fiber handlebars in this review. Yes, carbon is expensive and these bars are no drop in the bucket, but we feel they are a solid value. The Speedway will undoubtedly be an upgrade to your bike's handling, comfort, weight, and possibly looks too. No matter if you are looking to make your bike a race weapon or a group ride stunner, this is a solid choice for the money. Deity also backs the bar with a 2-year limited warranty and a lifetime crash replacement plan.
As indicated in the value section, this is the one bar that says have your cake, and eat it too. Race with the confidence that this bar has withstood some of the hardest impacts in the sport, while also adorning countless showroom bikes intended to stun consumers with good looks. The Speedway takes home our Editor's Choice Award for its winning combination of stiffness, vibration dampening, excellent control, light weight, and style for days.
— Dillon Osleger