Sep 252012
 

Fasst Company’s Flexx Handlebar Review

Not long after launching this blog, I decided I would contact companies who manufacture and sell ATV performance parts and ask if I could review their products and share my opinion on here. The very first company that I contacted was Fasst Company who designed, developed and distributes the game-changing Flexx Handlebars. At the time, I had very little content posted on the blog so I wasn’t expecting much of a response from them, if anything at all. Let’s just say I was pleasantly surprised…

THE REAL FASST COMPANY

I’m an old man, so these days the simple things like customer service are almost as important as the quality of the product I am purchasing. Fasst Company set a new standard in customer service for me the moment I received the first email response from their rep, Colt Brinkerhoff. Had I not already known about the company, you would be hard-pressed to convince me that they have a HUGE presence in the industry based on the detailed, personal customer service that I received from Colt. You just don’t see that these days from companies who market products that are in high demand such as the Flexx Handlebars. If their superior customer service doesn’t knock you off your rocker, this will: Fasst Company typically gives Veterans a 25% discount on all of their products. Thanks Fasst Company and more importantly, thank you Colt!

THE PRODUCT

I was pretty stoked the day these bars arrived at my doorstep as I get beat up pretty bad while racing and the arm pump that I experience is quite debilitating. Upon opening the box, I could tell immediately that these bars are of the highest quality as nothing on them screams “cheap” or looks like it would break, bend or even scratch if dropped on the floor. The concept behind the Flexx Handlebars is so simple that I’m still kicking myself for not thinking of it first! Basically, as you can see from the picture below, there are 3 main pieces which I will refer to as the center and end pieces. The center, which is what hooks up with the steering stem and is fixed once tightened down. The end pieces (where your grips, levers, dancing hula girls, etc. are mounted), are NOT fixed and add an additional suspension-like effect for your hands, arms and upper body.

IMG_1338 resize2There are 4 different colored bushings called elastometers that ship with the Flexx Handlebars. Each color represents a different level of resistance allowing the rider to tune the handlebars to achieve optimum performance. The bars ship with the red elastometers which are the second to highest level of firmness they offer. I decided to go with these first as I’m a heavy guy and Fasst recommends using these first to establish a baseline feel anyway.

THE INSTALL

Tusk Fat Br Adapters.

Tusk Fat Br Adapters.

The hardest part about this install was getting the stock bars off of the bike, and that was more time consuming than anything. My YFZ 450 came with the smaller diameter handle bars, meaning, I needed to buy adaptors. I asked Colt if they preferred a specific brand and he assured me that basically all of them would work with these bars. I went with the Tusk adaptors as I have ordered a lot from Rocky Mountain ATV with good results AND they cost less than the others.

After learning the hard way, I now use Permatex Threadlocker on every bolt on this bike when I am given the chance. If you’ve never used any type of riser adapter, the concept is pretty simple as you can see in the pictures below but there are more screws involved than the stock setup, so Threadlocker gives me that extra peace of mind. Breaking down, miles away from civilization due to lost bolts is not my idea of a good time and the thought of a DNF just flat out gives me nightmares.

OEM handlebars and clamps.

OEM handlebars and clamps.

Bottom of Fat Bar adapters.

Bottom of Fat Bar adapters.

Flexx Handlebars mounted with Fat Bar adapters.

Flexx Handlebars mounted with Fat Bar adapters.

 

 

 

The Flexx Handlebars fit nicely into the adapters and I tightened them down just enough so that I could still move them for final adjustment. However, before making any adjustments, I went ahead and mounted the clutch and brake levers, my glueless Odi grips and PowerMadd wraparound hand guards. Everything fit perfectly. In fact, there is actually a lot more room to mount everything on these bars compared to the stockers. With everything mounted, I snugged the bars down at an angle I thought would feel the most benefit.

  Flexx Final 2

 

THE FIRST RIDE

My driveway is exactly a 1/4 mile long with a nice, smooth lawn running right along the side which is what I ride on to minimize tread wear. After warming the bike up, I took my first trip down the driveway at an easy pace to get used to the changed arm/hand position with the new Flexx Handlebars. At first it felt like the back end of the bike was diving out (swerving suddenly) every 30 feet or so, but I wasn’t sure.

When I got to the bottom of my hill I flipped a 180, cracked the throttle wide-open and started to jam through the gears with a smile on my face. That was short-lived however, as I felt like I was about to lose control of the bike with again, what felt like the rear tires diving in and out. So back to the garage I went, wondering what I messed up on the installation or which bolt I forgot to tighten. After going over everything and not finding any issues, I decided to raise the bars up an inch so that the grips were more in line with the steering stem. As I had hoped, this reduced the “feeling” of a wobbly rear end and I instantly felt like I had more control as I gave it another try on the driveway.

Now that everything felt right I began crossing ditches, rocks, fallen trees and anything else I could find that would normally give me a good jar. The more confident I felt with the bars, the harder I hit obstacles. As I had heard before, I definitely felt the difference between the Flexx Handlebars and the stockers during the first 10 or so minutes of riding. But after riding for a few minutes and concentrating on the terrain instead of my cramped forearms, they feel as if they had always been on the bike.

THE FIRST RACE

I did horrible in my first race with the Flexx Handlebars, but not because of my new parts. Technical difficulties (read my 9/9/12 race post) resulted in me scoring my first ever DNF. Using the red elastometers as per Fasst’s recommendations, I actually made it through 7 3/4 miles of the first 8 mile lap in this race and felt zero arm pump during this time. This is a HUGE difference compared to races that occurred prior to my Flexx Handlebar miracle in that I was usually hurting after the first 5 minutes of really hard riding. I also discovered another MAJOR benefit to having these bars mounted on your ATV…

About 4 miles into the lap, I made a huge rookie mistake. I was actually keeping up with the pack but instead of focusing on the track ahead of us, I was looking at the rear tires of the bike in front of me. As a result, I failed to see a 90 degree turn up a bank in time to make it and rolled the quad over. I was okay but the quad rested upside down, on the handlebars and seat. I was literally ready to cry as I pictured my brand new Flexx Handlebars bent and scratched up BUT, the flex and “give” saved the bars. Actually, there were no scratches either as the durable matte-like finish held it’s ground.

UPDATE: I just raced a hare scramble at High Point in Pennsylvania 2 days ago, this time using the blue elastometers. I’m 6’1, 200 lbs and these were WAY too soft for me. Most of the time they worked perfectly, but the occasional G-out literally caused me to lose control of the bike as I felt like the bars were going to give way. Considering my size and the fact that the blue elastometer is the softest Fasst Company includes with the Flexx Handlebars, this is to be expected.

THE VERDICT

RACING – I hate to say that these handlebars are a “must have” for XC racers and to be honest, I don’t have enough racing experience to make that claim. I can, however, honestly say that I saw about a 70% decrease in the arm pump that I had experienced previously. A simple concept, but miraculous results and that is no exaggeration. I also believe that for those new to the sport, the Flexx Handlebars will greatly help you increase your skill level. Racers need to ride a lot to get better and these bars go a long way toward achieving maximum seat time. They also reduce concern for the “endurance factor” when setting your pace which adds to your confidence.

ERGONOMICS – The Flexx Handlebars aren’t just beneficial for racing. If you experience arthritis, chronic pain, Carpel Tunnel or anything similar in your upper extremities, these bars can literally bring the joy of riding back into your life. If you don’t experience any of these issues, these handlebars will greatly reduce your risk of doing so.

SAFETY – When properly tuned, they also increase the safety of your ride in that less fatigue/arm pump allows you to better control your bike. Pain is also one of the biggest distractions one can experience. Less pain results in your ability to better concentrate on what is in front of and around you.

BOTTOM LINE – This is the best mod I have done to my YFZ 450 and I will never own an ATV or motorcycle that I do not have the Flexx Handlebars installed. The product is the real deal. Fasst Company is top-notch when it comes to kind, informative and most importantly, helpful customer service. They also show their support for our Nation’s Veterans by offering them a 25% discount on their products which, by the way, are produced in the good old USA.

BUY THESE BARS. You will not regret it.

 

For more information, call or email Colt Brinkerhoff at:

877.306.1801 ext. 1
cbrinkerhoff@fasstco.com

Or, visit Fasst Company on the web at:

www.fasstco.com
www.facebook.com/fasstcompany