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Syntace Vector Carbon Superlight High 10 handlebar, MegaForce 3 stem and Screw-On Moto Gripz review

Can component brand Syntace's new superlight 31.8mm cockpit compete with the latest larger diameter and all-in-one setups available? We’ve been hitting our test trails hard to find out

Syntace
(Image: © Guy Kesteven)

Our Verdict

Very expensive but beautifully built, crazy light yet bomber strong, seriously stiff but not painful cockpit kit

For

  • Exceptionally light
  • Ultra accurate stem
  • Stiff but not painful bars
  • Masses of fit options
  • Excellent ergonomics
  • Mini bar end grips

Against

  • High price
  • Grip aesthetics won’t agree with everyone

Syntace has a legendary reputation and devoted fan base in its German homeland thanks to a huge range of distinctively detailed components. Getting to grips with the superlight yet exceptionally accurate and beautifully made cockpit equipment has been a real lesson in true top-performance kit.

Syntace Vector Carbon Superlight High 10 handleba

The 202g weight is 12% lighter than the older Vector Carbon (Image credit: Guy Kesteven)

Syntace Vector Carbon Superlight High 10 handlebar 

Syntace does 20 different mountain bike bar options (it also does road and aero) ranging from 720-780mm wide with 8-, 12-, 16-degree sweep and 5 to 35mm rise. The company doesn't do any 35mm diameter bars though, just traditional 31.8mm and a couple of 25.4mm options for their unique angle and reach adjustable Vector stem system.

The Vector Carbon Superlight High 10 bars we tested are relatively conventional at 780mm wide, but we chose a pronounced 12-degree backsweep to relax wrist angles and bring weight further back in the steering geometry. The Vector Superlight uses a new composite layup that saves 12 per cent over the older Vector Carbon for a 202g weight that will make gram dodgers delirious. You still get a 10-year warranty with no use or rider weight restrictions. The new layup is apparently 17 per cent more damped than the old bar and while it’s definitely a precise feeling, feedback boosting piece it didn’t blow up our wrists even when we were hammering rock trails on a short travel bike. While it looks high visually the pronounced upsweep felt good on the bike and the backsweep gave an instant turning lightness to the steering. While premium quality clearly costs, you do get a sachet of grip paste to back up the grip panel in the centre and cut marks for trimming, too.

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Syntace MegaForce 3 stem

Forging is neat and accurate and Syntace has finished the stem with titanium bolts (Image credit: Guy Kesteven)
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Syntace MegaForce 3 stem

Minimalism mean light weight yet Syntace doesn't sacrifice stiffness (Image credit: Guy Kesteven)

 Syntace MegaForce 3 stem 

The MegaForce stem is just one of 21 bar holding options Syntace makes, including drop XC stems, direct-mount DH stems and TwinFix stems with direct mounts for phone holders or Lupine lights. The MegaForce3 is the latest evolution of its super-light all-purpose stem family that’s been dominating tests for years. Using an ultra-accurate forging process, titanium bolts, internal ribbing and big cut out windows on the steerer and bar clamps it comes in at an insane 88g for the 30mm version we tested. The ‘200-degree’ clamp is so accurate that the bar actually clips lightly into it before you do up the two separate super crisp clamp bars and despite a crazy low weight, there’s no restriction on bar width, use or rider mass. The exceptionally evolved design makes it stiffer than a lot of machined stems we’ve used at twice the weight with zero traces of flex, twist or creak even when we were properly wrestling it around climbing or trying to rip tyre knobs off. 

Syntace also gives a 10-year guarantee which helps further justify the premium cost, there are 30-60mm length options and it even comes with a ribbed shim that you can remove if you run a 1.5in steerer fork (they’re coming back apparently).

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Syntace Screw-On Moto Gripz

The file tread gives good levels of grip even when wet or muddy (Image credit: Guy Kesteven)
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Syntace Screw-On Moto Gripz

Available in 30mm and 33mm diameters for different sized hands (Image credit: Guy Kesteven)

 Syntace Screw-On Moto Gripz 

As you’d expect Syntace manages to load more tech into its grips than most brands. The Screw On Gripz Moto uses an inside to outside taper with multi-density Kraton rubber putting a soft pad under your palm and an aggressive file tread under your fingers. They come in 30mm diameter (tested) or 33mm for big paws with a firm but fair feel that matches the bars really well and grip is surprisingly good even when sopping wet and covered in mud.

The rubber sits on a slotted 3D-bar shim for an easy slide onto the bar and it’s secured with 4mm Allen bolts in the big teardrop ends. These give the grips a ‘distinctive’ look which not everyone will embrace, but you can actually use the little stubs as bar ends (if you remember what they are) if you angle them right. The big bolts are far less likely to strip and the bulbous ends with mini end cap inserts protect the bar (and you) if you crash. At just under 60g weight weenies won’t love them though. 

Verdict

Having ridden the Vector bar, Screw-On Moto Gripz and a MegaForce2 stem on the Liteville E-bike we were expecting an impressively precise but not punishing ride and that’s what we got. The range of sweeps and stem sizes lets you do some really interesting things with the ergonomics and weighting of your steering too and we love the 12-degree sweep on long reach/slack setups.

Even with a ‘superlight’ tag what really shocked us was that despite such an outstandingly stiff and precise feel the bar and stem combo actually weighed 2g less than the narrower Syncros Hixon SL one-piece carbon bar and stem we removed to fit it.

Add a ten-year whoever/whatever guarantee and even the stinging prices seem fair if you’re after beautifully made hyper-performance components.

Tech specs: Syntace Vector Carbon Superlight High 10 handlebar, MegaForce 3 stem and Screw-On Moto Gripz

  • Syntace Vector Carbon Superlight High 10 handlebar: 202g (780mm), €225 
  • Syntace MegaForce 3 stem: 88g (30mm), €128
  • Syntace Screw-On Moto Gripz: 58g (30mm), €26.80