I have been struggling to find a bar and stem combo that is extremely comfortable (very flat transition to hoods and round drop), decently light, strong, stiff and of course good looking.
I have always been a classic bar guy although most of todays classic bars have a transition to the hoods that is much too steep for me. Deep drops (Belgian style) seem to have a flatter transition, but I did not want such a deep drop. I also did not want carbon, so this eleminated the Zipp bar which design wise would have met my needs.
Having the same brand of bar and stem is also something else I had to have. Although mixing and matching would probably get me the best combo of weight, comfort and stiffness I like having the same brand of bar and stem. There is something about matching the bar and stem that is visually attractive to me and I am sure many would agree.
I have used these bars in the past 6 months.
* Ritchey's SuperLogic Carbon Evo and Ritchey 4Axis Stem. I got this set dirt cheap so I thought I would try them. I liked the transition to the hoods, but disliked the ergo drop and carbon build. I can not get used to ergo drops no matter how hard I try.
* Ritchey Classic bar and 4Axis. Nice bar, but seemed flexy and the transition to the hoods was much to severe for my taste. I am currently on Sram Red and though the levers fit better than my DuraAce they don't seem to fit on this bar like Campy Record does.
* FSA white Pro Wing bar and OS-115 White stem. The bars were comfortable due to the super flat transition to the hoods. I also liked being in the drops but I felt this design really put the brakes in a hard to reach position much too far away from the hands. Interesting considering all the info on these bars advertises the great fit for smaller hands. My hands are not very small and I always felt I was really reaching for the levers. I thought the stem quality was top notch and much better than the 4Axis in terms of stiffness, looks and build. This set up was quite heavy and I just couldn't get over the looks of the compact bar style no matter what I did.
The WINNER!! I just put on a set of the PRO Vibe Thor Hushovd signature
Aluminum bars and stem. Unfortunately I was so excited to put them on, I didn't get a chance to weigh them. They were lighter than the FSA setup but not as light as any of the Ritchey combos I tried. Of course this was judged just by picking them up so please take this info with a grain of salt.
The bar is very nice and I couldn't be happier. They are a traditional design with a very flat transition to the hoods which is very hard to find. They are stiff and look to be very nicely made. The almost circular drop design is not only sweet looking it is the most comfortable drop I have ever ridden in (even better than my Cinelli Beligians I rode in the late 80s and early 90s). They are a semi gloss black with white graphics and small Thor signature. I find the graphics to go great with my black and white scheme but others may find them too gaudy. One thing that was really nice about the bars was the silkscreened lines they added where the lever clamps meet the bars. This made leveling and set up of the levers extremely easy. I am suprised more manufactured don't do this.
I didn't need the stem considering I have about five or six sitting around that are all top notch, but like I said before I prefer to match the combo. The stem has an nice rounded square tube design and a semi black gloss finish with some nice white graphics that match the bars perfectly. The thing I really liked about the stem was the 80degree design. As most of you know, 73 or 84 is pretty much the norm these days. This is cool because it is a little more aggressive looking than th 84 but not as radical as a 73. The face plate was a 4 bolt design and made of aluminum. The face of it is machined into a nice v design that makes centering your stem to your front wheel a breeze.
I just put this set up on about 5 days ago and have done over 200miles on them. Stiff, comfortable and good looking without a ton of weight.