Loaded Precision AmX 35 Carbon Bar
Width: 840 mm
Clamp diameter: 35 mm
Rise: 25 mm
Backsweep: 9 degrees
Upsweep: 6 degrees
Blister’s measured weight: 223 g at 840 mm; 215 g at 780 mm
Also available in 0 mm-rise configuration
Loaded Precision AmX 35 Stem
Length: 45 mm
Clamp diameter: 35 mm
Blister’s measured weight: 174 g
Mounted to: Ventana Zeus
Reviewer: 5’10”, 143 lbs.
Test Locations: Colorado Springs, CO; Durango, CO
Test Duration: 1 year
As handlebars get wider and trail bikes get more aggressive, many brands are jumping to the new 35 mm diameter standard as a way to squeeze out additional stiffness without increasing weight. A carbon bar in the 35 mm configuration is arguably the best option for riders that want the ultimate in strength and weight savings.
Loaded Precision has joined a number of other brands in the 35 mm bar game with the AmX 35 Carbon bars. These bars come stock at a ridiculously wide 840 mm, making them some of the widest bars on the market. (As far as I’m aware, Whisky Parts Co. is the only other brand currently making a bar this wide.)
For the last year, I’ve been running an AmX 35 Carbon at 780 mm paired with a matching AmX 35 45 mm stem, and overall, I’ve been impressed with the added stiffness the package provides over a thinner alloy bar/stem combo.
Design, Geometry, and Installation
The AmX 35 Carbon offers 9 degrees of backsweep and 6 degrees of upsweep, which is pretty in line with most other bars on the market. It’s also available in a 0 mm rise option
The AmX 35 stem is designed to aid stiffness in conjunction with the AmX 35 Carbon bar. The construction of the stem looks on par with the beefiest stems out there, and the massive 63 mm-wide faceplate looks like it should aid stiffness as well.
The AmX 35 Carbon features cut lines in 20 mm increments from 840 mm down to 760 mm. This range should suit pretty much anyone that might benefit from a stiff, 35 mm bar, but one could cut them down even shorter if they really wanted. I cut the bar down to 780 mm before installing.
When installing a new handlebar, alignment lines tend to make the job a little quicker and make it easier to see that you’re installing the bars perfectly. The Loaded Precision crosshair logo looks like it’s supposed to serve as a horizontal alignment marker, but as soon as you put the faceplate on, the crosshairs completely disappear from view from behind the faceplate. This is basically the biggest complaint I had about the bar’s design. All in all, not a big deal.
Coming straight off a 31.8 mm diameter alloy Race Face Atlas paired with a 30 mm Syntace stem, the AmX 35 combo provided a noticeable contrast in ride quality. I appreciated the stiffer bar the most when I was muscling the front of the bike into a desired line while bouncing over chunky terrain, or when pushing hard through corners. In these situations, the stiffness translated to the feeling of being able to be extremely precise and aggressive at the same time.
As well as transmitting rider inputs more directly into the trail, stiffer bars also tend to carry more feedback from the trail into the rider. This has the potential to increase arm pump and fatigue over long descents.
While I felt more trail feedback in my hands with the AmX 35 combo, I’m happy to report that it never got to the point that it was causing any real discomfort. I could imagine it beating me up over a long descent with a less dialed suspension setup, but a modern fork like the Rockshox Pike is already quite effective at removing trail chatter.
I think Tom Collier makes a good point to this effect in his review of the Easton Haven 35 – as suspension damping improves, it makes sense to take damping out of the rest of the bike and isolate it in the suspension, where it’s the most controllable and adjustable. Thus, when combined with the highly compliant and adjustable suspension found on most high-end bikes these days, the super stiff AmX 35 doesn’t seem to have any serious downsides.
After a year of abuse, AmX 35 is holding up just fine. I’ve hit trees with it and scratched it on rocks while crashing, but any damage I’ve caused seems to be purely cosmetic.
Rise & Stem Options
It’s hard to find fault in the AmX 35 Carbon bar/stem combo, as it performs exactly as advertised and offers consumers the option of running an 840 mm handlebar. At $250 for the package, Loaded Precision’s pricing is competitive with most other 35 mm carbon bars on the market – $20 cheaper than Race Face and Easton’s offerings, and $20 more expensive than Chromag’s.
My biggest complaint about the whole package simply concerns the amount of options available to the consumer within the AmX 35 lineup. Two rise options (0 mm and 25 mm) are adequate, but the package is only available with a 45 mm stem. If you want a different length stem you’re going to need to go with a different manufacturer.
45 mm is certainly likely to please most people, but it’s worth mentioning that most of Loaded Precision’s competitors (ie. Race Face, Easton, Enve) offer a wide range of sizing options, so picky riders can get their fit and setup completely dialed. I like a slightly shorter stem on my trail bike, so I was a bit disappointed to see that I’d have to order a stem from another brand if I wanted to change my setup.
The Loaded Precision AmX 35 Carbon bar and stem combo offers a stiffness that noticeably improves ride quality over skinnier alloy options. Unlike most of its competitors, it can be run at an 840 mm width, which makes it an especially good option for big and aggressive riders seeking the added control that a wider bar offers.