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Old 08-09-2009, 08:04 PM   #1
creeper OP
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Flexx handlebars by Fasst Co... A Review.

Off-roaders want to be comfortable. Off-roaders want to be in control of their bikes. Off-roaders would like it very much if they didn't suffer fatigue and pain. Fatigue and pain will take comfort and control, beat the crap out of them and toss them off a cliff.

Seats, bars and pegs… the parts where you as a rider “attach” yourself to a motorcycle, all have an effect on your personal level of discomfort.
I build custom seats for a living, so I get to talk to a lot of people, nearly every day, about seating comfort, and their bodies relationship with their seat, bars and pegs.
With some customers, I may even suggest a different bar bend, or peg or bar riser… something that will make the body relationship with their bike better, to reduce fatigue and improve control.


Flexx handlebars by Fasst Co.



I resisted Flexx bars for as long as they’ve been around… I really did. To be honest, I didn’t put much stock in the concept, and the price kept my beliefs in steady check.

At first, I thought I wouldn’t like them. Bars shouldn’t move… says me. After the first hour into my first ride with Flexx bars, I was a believer… a convert, a disciple.
Bars should, in fact, move. At least these bars should… and because they do, you get less hand and arm abuse. Less abuse translates into more comfort and less fatigue. Less fatigue means you enjoy your ride longer and with better control.



I’ve been riding for nearly 4 decades, so I have my seat, bar and peg relationships pretty well sorted out.
Those 4 decades have not been too kind to me physically however.
Among other things, I have carpal tunnel, tendinitis and arthritis. I’ve broken my hands, wrists and arms so many times I’ve lost track.

In the past few years, things have gotten worse.
I sold my ’03 640A because it was too much of a porker to try and maneuver thru typical Western Washington single-track.
I bought a nice, light Sherco 510i Enduro for the simple reason that less weight equals less fatigue… and I was getting fatigued way too soon into a ride.

Now you’d think, replacing a 400 lb wet 640 KTM with a 250 lb wet 510 Sherco, that I’d be good to go… but, such was not the case.
Sure, I could ride harder, faster and longer before the pain set in, but the pain would set in eventually.
Getting old is a sure thing, letting old age slow you down any sooner that absolutely necessary is unacceptable.

The concept and price of Flexx handlebars started to look more and more reasonable every day. I spoke with the Fasst Co. guys and ordered up a set with crossbars to clear my Scott's damper.

They have an excellent selection of pullback and rise choices. In fact, they have a better selection of pullback angle choices than I've ever seen from one maker… if you’re like me and don’t like a lot of pullback, Fasst Co. is the way to go.
(By the way, these guys are real live riders and stone fanatic enthusiasts… so no worries about them not understanding your needs)

Flexx bars are like a small, short travel rear suspension on either end of your handlebars. (That’s my description… you got a better one, lets hear it) A suspension that is fully adjustable for rise, “spring” rate, compression and, if you buy the optional “rebound elastomer kit”… even rebound damping.

The part you grip moves up and down… relatively in line with the forks.
The handguard mounts use the handlebar "axles" as their pivot points as well, so your handguards float with the bars.



The Flexx bar elastomers run from softest to firmest - blue, yellow, red and black.
As I did get the optional rebound kit, I started out with the softest elastomers available… blue for compression and yellow for rebound.
I loved this set-up… nice and super absorbent on compression but not so soft on rebound that I wasted energy when I needed to give the bars a tug to clear a log or other hazard.

Today, I just got back from a ride with yellow elastomers in both the compression and rebound positions... one step "firmer" than the first elastomer set.
I liked that set-up as well, but it was a bit harsher to my wrists than I could take (but, still leaps and bounds better than any conventional bar), so chances are I’ll be going back to the blue/yellow combination.
If I was younger, or my arms less hashed, this is probably the set-up I’d stick with, but I personally need that little bit extra shock absorption that the blue compression elastomers provide.

If you run a GPS, Fasst Co. is working on a number of prototype mounts, with everyone from Jonah Street to the owner’s father in-law testing them. As I already had a EE generic mounting kit, I simply modified it to put the Touratech cradled 60CSx between the crossbars.



Surprise potholes hiding in the shade… G-outs at the bottom of a steep, ugly hill… Forest Service roads with bike and body juddering washboard surfaces that haunt the inside line of corners.
Single-tracks filled with (or so it would seem) all the baseball, football and basketball sized rocks in the universe.
Flexx bars will absorb much of the impacts those “fun” surfaces are known to provide… making many of the hits more of a minor annoyance than a life-flashing-before-your-eyes, wrist snapping, butt puckering experience.

Something that’s hard to explain is the added confidence you get for attacking a road or trail. I can turn my pace up a notch or two if I'm in the mood without being overly concerned about what obstacle is hiding around the next turn.

As far as I’m concerned, a steering damper off-road is more a requirement than an option. If you've never ridden with a real, adjustable steering damper, you have no concept of how much better riding can be.
Now that I’ve ridden with Flexx bars, and I know how much better riding can be again... I'll never go back to one-piece bars.
The point is, Flexx bars work… and they work so well that the price I once thought was too much is now a very reasonable expense for the benefit they provide. A proper bar bend, a tremendous reduction in impact related fatigue and injury... and the surprise of improved confidence at a faster pace.

If you’re an off-roader or adventure rider who likes to push it, but is tired of the upper body fatigue and pain your enthusiasm produces… bite the bullet, spend the money, get a set.

Really.



Ciao,
C

5-12-10 Addendum.
I was recently contacted by a member who was having troubles with his newly purchased Flexx bars. He bought the 14 degree bend (57mm) and discovered that the bend was a bit to severe for off-roading, especially when standing. I suggested the 12 degree (54mm) bend bars to place his hands/wrists into a more neutral position. The outcome of this change is pending.
I mention this because it's generally better to go with a "flatter" bar with less bend or sweep... especially if you're an older rider or have hand and wrist injuries/damage.
The bars I use are the 12 degree enduro... 12 degrees (54mm) of sweep, 31" wide and 92mm high (FL-1001-12-31SD).
I would have liked a bit taller rise, like 98-100mm, but Flexx bars are only available in 92 and 116mm rise... 116 being too tall for me. It's easier to raise the 92mm bars with taller risers than to try and lower 116 rise bars.

Cheers,
C
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Old 08-09-2009, 09:43 PM   #2
ROUNDSTOCK
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flexxx...................

what hand guards did you use? got a set of bars but the handguard choices are limited.the cycras dont agree with my sense of flair..........steve
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Old 08-10-2009, 09:42 AM   #3
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Well said my man.

I, like you, resisted them for a looooong time. I'm a disciple now myself. Singing the praises from the highest perch.

Just got back from the Michaux Dual Sport ride in rock infested Pennsylvania and was so happy with my Flexx bars!

Good write-up Creeper!
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Old 08-10-2009, 10:18 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ROUNDSTOCK
what hand guards did you use? got a set of bars but the handguard choices are limited.the cycras dont agree with my sense of flair..........steve
I used Zeta handguards. Only a small amount of "convincing" required to get them squared up and level.

C
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Old 08-10-2009, 10:29 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by husky123
Well said my man.

I, like you, resisted them for a looooong time. I'm a disciple now myself. Singing the praises from the highest perch.

Just got back from the Michaux Dual Sport ride in rock infested Pennsylvania and was so happy with my Flexx bars!

Good write-up Creeper!
Thanks H123

It's tough to "try something out" when it costs over $300 to take the plunge. I just wanted riders to know that Flexx bars are a real, live money-well-spent benefit for just about anyone.
Even someone in top condition will appreciate the energy conservation aspect.

They ain't the cure-all, do-all, magic bullet that makes me feel like I'm in my 20s again... but they do let me ride like I was 40 again.

Oh yeah... what elastomers and pre-load have you settled on?

C
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Old 08-10-2009, 10:52 AM   #6
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I choose an elastomer and tension which is fairly stiff. With a softer setup you can loose a bit of bar input which can be distracting, almost like a feeling of small deflection. But that's in sand.

Even a setting which isn't noticeably soft is still less tiring.

Be sure to align the bar angle for best effect. It's got a good size sweet spot, but it is possible to put them too far forward and you end up fighting against the pivot instead of working with it.
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Old 08-10-2009, 02:23 PM   #7
husky123
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Quote:
Originally Posted by creeper
Thanks H123

Oh yeah... what elastomers and pre-load have you settled on?

C
I ended up settling with the yellows (like you) on the comp and have gone with the black on rebound. Just couldn't get used to bars moving up with a tug.

Yellow seemed perfect for the old man, dual sport kind of deal. If I were racing again, I'd probably throw in the reds.
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Old 08-10-2009, 06:39 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by husky123
I ended up settling with the yellows (like you) on the comp and have gone with the black on rebound. Just couldn't get used to bars moving up with a tug.

Yellow seemed perfect for the old man, dual sport kind of deal. If I were racing again, I'd probably throw in the reds.
The only thing that keeps my arms from falling off is tight sleeves on my shirt... so I'll give the yellows another try, but those cushy blue elastomers are calling my name.
Maybe the blues and I'll toss in a washer on the compression side for more preload, and try to split the difference between blue and yellow.

I see my photos are gone... smugmug is having "issues".

C
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Old 08-10-2009, 07:29 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by creeper
Maybe the blues and I'll toss in a washer on the compression side for more preload, and try to split the difference between blue and yellow.


C
Yep, that can be done. Super versatile. Oh and BTW, that Sherco is SHARP! It's giving me weird, tingly feelings all over. This could be trouble...
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Old 08-10-2009, 08:00 PM   #10
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I've been racing GNCC's and local races on bikes (A class) and quads (pro class) for the last 20 years. A couple years ago my wrists started hurting pretty bad when taking hard hits to the point that I was ready to quit racing all together. In a last ditch effort, I decided to try the Flexx bars. I can honestly say that my wrist problem is gone!!! I have not had that pain since switching, I will never run a different bar again.
These product is one that works and works well!!!

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Old 08-10-2009, 08:31 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by husky123
Oh and BTW, that Sherco is SHARP! It's giving me weird, tingly feelings all over. This could be trouble...
Awww... you don't want a Sherco. You spend all your time fielding questions from people that have never heard of a Sherco trials bike... let alone an enduro.

"S-h-e-r-c-o? Whatinahell is a Sherco? That a Chinkaniese bike?"
Spanish company... Enduro models made in France... bla bla bla.

"Made in F-r-a-n-c-e? Nosheeeet!... didn't know them Frenchys made motorsikles."
Fuel injected, excellent throttle response, counterbalanced and quite smooth, 6-speed, light weight, excellent handling, plateable in some states... almost no aftermarket at all... bla bla bla.

"Fuel injected! No way fuel injection works on a dirt bike! Sheeeet, what if you get, ah... dirt in it?"
Your right... what was I thinking. I'll trade it in for a '68 BSA 441 Victor tomorrow. Bye.

Thats how it goes...
C
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Old 08-10-2009, 08:43 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff@TheQuadShop
In a last ditch effort, I decided to try the Flexx bars. I can honestly say that my wrist problem is gone!!! I have not had that pain since switching, I will never run a different bar again.
These product is one that works and works well!!!
Seems like everyone that has ever run Flexx bars says the same thing. Maybe we should start a club.

The $50 per year manditory "charitable contribution" can be sent to:

WOoF (World Organization of Flexxologists)
c/o Renazco Racing PNW
Ravensdale, WA. 98051

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Old 08-18-2009, 01:07 PM   #13
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Hey guys,

I'm stoked to see we've finally made it to the ADV board with a product review. Thanks for all the feedback and compliments on our product, I really appreciate it. I've lurked on here a while, and posted a little in the Orange Crush forum as I have a 950. The Orange Crush has been a huge help with my questions, I love seeing what everyone puts their bikes through! It's great to see posts from such diverse customers of ours on this thread, some of you I know and some I don't.


Fasst Company has always been a race oriented company, although throughout this last year we have seen a lot of trail and adventure riders seeking out our Flexx Handlebar to aid in rider comfort. People are beginning to realize that the Flexx Handlebar allows them to ride longer durations more comfortably without sacrificing control. In the past year we’ve had trail/adventure customers put Flexx Handlebars on CRF 230’s to KLR 650’s to BMW GS 1200’s and everything in between. Full disclosure, one of the GS 1200’s was my Dad’s. Although he believes in the concept and loves the Flexx Handlebars on his dirt bikes, he didn’t think he would see much benefit on the big boxer. Luckily for me he did, as he’s our biggest supporter and harshest critic.



If you’re interested in seeing some adventure bikes with the Flexx Handlebars on them or any of the numerous ways we’ve mounted a GPS to them please check out our Facebook page.

Please let me know if any of you have any questions or concerns.

Thanks,
Cole
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Old 08-18-2009, 07:59 PM   #14
Jeff@TheQuadShop
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Hi Cole Hope to see you at Indy again this year!
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Old 08-19-2009, 11:04 AM   #15
Laromonster
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If i had been riding creepers bike i probably would have some angst concerning the big flat pieces of steel/alu aimed at the bridge of my nose.

Yeah i tend to wipe out now and then..

Jeffs bike looks a little more face friendly with the bar pad on it.



Lar
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