Just when you thought BMX specs had become standardized comes the introduction of oversized bar clamp tubes & stems to BMX bikes. Éclat's Strangler 4-piece bars and Slattery stem are amongst the first BMX steering columns to feature a 25.4mm bar clamp diameter, as opposed to the standard 22.2mm. Your first question, I'm sure, has to be"why?" Well, there's a long answer to that, but the first obvious response is that little ping you often hear when someone lands flat. That little ping usually means your bars have moved, which these days is a fairly common occurrence. Look at any road or mountain bike today, and you'll notice the stem clamping area is huge compared to a BMX – those guys have figured out that you can make your front end lighter & stronger by increasing bar clamp diameter, and they don't feel half of the impact that your average BMX rider goes through on a daily basis. Why are our bars nearly 10mm smaller then? Well, as much as BMX overall has evolved over the last decade, handlebars are one of the last parts to experience a whole lot of change. Getting rid of that little ping is a nice perk of the new Éclat front end, but there's plenty more justification where that came from…
It makes complete sense that Éclat is debuting this 25.4mm system with a 4-piece handlebar, because here's a dirty little secret – 4-piece bars are weaker than 2-piece. Sure, they might look tougher and feel a bit stiffer, but because there's so much heat applied to a small welding area, 4-piece bars become weaker and tend to break in the vicinity of the clamp bar. Also, due to most clamp bars being welded to the sides of the grip tubes, downward impacts compound the weakness of this part of the bar. Sure, you could alter the design of most bars to include a longer clamp tube that's welded below the grip tubes, but let's be honest; the few bars on the market with this design are kinda gross looking. So, what Éclat did to keep the look while increasing the strength of the Strangler bar is (obviously) bump up the clamp tube to 25.4mm, while tapering the grip tubes to 25.4mm at the tubing junction, allowing for more surface area which greatly increasing strength and also keeping the rest of the bars 22.2mm. We all know that by using bigger diameter tubing, you can use thinner material while maintaining the same strength, right? So it also makes sense that the Strangler bars are lighter than most other 4-piece bars while being much stronger. Éclat claims that we'll be seeing other manufacturers releasing 25.4mm bars in the near future, but I'm not sure how many will be of the 2-piece variety. Answer tried that way back in the day, but the bars had a goofy look to them while also being marketed to the race crowd, and it'll be very difficult to design a 2-piece bar with 22.mm grip tubes without an unnatural taper somewhere. So it sounds like if you're a fan of 4-piece bars, there may be some competition for Éclat in the near future, but be an early adopter and pick these up first, ok?
Before wrapping this up, I should mention a few details on the Slattery stem, as it's not just a basic, oversided topload stem endorsed by NJ shredder Geoff Slattery. In addition to the 25.4mm clamp size, the Slattery stem features a wider top plate & larger head bolts for maximum clamping power, and the top plate also features Éclat's Shark Tooth Clamping system, which is essentially spline-looking knurling for extra grip. Think back to when you were in school and doing pottery in art class – it's essentially scoring & slipping, but integrated into a steering column. The stem also features 30mm of rise and 51mm of reach, and is also available in the
Éclat's Strangler 4-piece bar and Slattery stem 25.4mm steering column is available now at Dans Comp and all Éclat retailers. The Strangler bars are available in black & chrome and retail for $79.99 (add $10 for chrome), while the Slattery stem costs $64.99 and is available in black only. For more up to the minute team & product news, check out www.eclatbmx.com and be sure to follow them on Instagram @eclatbmxbrand.