In 2011 when Deda Elementi first introduced the 35mm “standard” it was a a tough sell as our comments on the article illustrate. Since then, Deda has continued to expand their road offerings in the jumbo diameter and maybe more interesting is making a push into the mountain bike market with the new size. Downhill component manufacturers seem to have embraced 35mm more than any, with companies like Easton, Spank, Straightline, and Kore all with either 35mm stems or bars, but the trail/enduro segment is still fairly sparse. Again, Deda seems to be leading the charge with the new Condor and XDR 35 bars, and Reverso and Box 35 stems.
Deda also sent over their new MNLINK carbon seat post and Deda Tape in new Neon colors. Check out the new gear along with actual weights after the jump.
What started out with the M35 carbon road handlebar has now given birth to the lighter Superleggera 35 drop bar. Molded from UD carbon fiber, the bar has a massive 35mm clamp section that extends the entire way across the bar. As mentioned in the last post, you are only intended to tape up to the dotted line on the end of the bar. This is due to the bar’s varying wall thickness that supposedly absorbs road vibrations so well that tape isn’t needed. We’ll find out once we get these mounted up. What has to be the most annoying part of the 35mm standard is that typically getting sent the wrong size stem meant simply running whatever stem we have lying around. When it’s a completely new size though, that is no longer so easy. In my case it’s still a size that even most shops around here don’t have, so if you run into an issue you could be without a replacement for awhile. Also note that Deda measures their bars from outside to outside, meaning their 44 measures the same as a 42 from a company that measures center to center.
Cables are routed through a large port in the bar to aid with the transition, which is quite easy to push the cables through without putting them under a lot of stress. Underneath the shifter locations are rough clear coat spots to increase grip of the shifter band clamp.
Parts wise, we were sent the 35 Alloy stem in 110mm length, the Superleggera in a 44cm, the Reverso 35 in 80mm length, and the alloy XDR 35 mountain bar. The weights for the stems are fairly average, but the bars are actually quite impressive. At 184g (180g claimed) the Superleggera is among the lightest road bars in the QBP catalog – meaning not the super weight weenie stuff. As for the XDR mountain bar, when you consider that it is alloy and an impressive 750mm long, at 271g (300g claimed!) it’s quite good. I’m actually impressed that they produced a properly wide bar – not that everyone should ride a 750 but it’s a lot easier to cut excess off than add it on.
The XDR is the Condor’s alloy counterpart made from 7050-T6 aluminum with a low rise and a comfy sweep – no exact numbers are given though. Initial impression is that is seems very stiff in spite of feeling like one of the thinnest-walled handlebars we’ve seen. Personally, I think the 35mm standard makes a lot more sense for mountain bikes as handlebars are radically wider than they used to be. Using a 35mm clamp diameter allows for making a 750mm wide bar that is actually stiff without incurring a weight penalty. Just compare it to something like the 31.8 Answer Pro Taper 720 AM alloy bar – the Deda is 30mm wider, and 63g lighter. I’m guessing road may be slow to adapt but we’ll see a lot more 35mm mountain stuff in the future.
While we’re on the topic of standards that may or may not catch on, Deda introduced their new full carbon MNLINK seatpost at the end of last year. Monolink started as a Selle Italia design that ditches conventional rails in favor of a carbon rail similar to SDG’s Ibeam design. The system actually has quite a few benefits, and in the case of Deda’s MNLINK post there are few drawbacks. When used with a Monolink saddle you gain more fore and aft adjustment than a typical railed saddle, and perhaps more important – saddles can be constructed with a narrower nose. If you legs are rubbing on the nose of your saddle to the point of wearing through cycling shorts, you know what I’m talking about. Monolink saddles also allow the adjustment to be carried out with two bolts, one for pitch and one for fore/aft which means changing one setting won’t affect the other. Our test sample is a 31.6/350mm post with a 24mm set back though the post is also available in 27.2.
But what if you don’t have a Monolink saddle? Then you can take advantage of Deda’s included rail adapter which allows the mounting of any standard railed saddle (not the tall oval style). By removing the top bolt and upper Monolink clamps and replacing them with two rail plates, traditional saddle installation is fairly straight forward. Once the saddle is installed it transitions to a single bolt system for all adjustments, but it is still very easy to use. Best of all, even with a 4mm bolt and little torque there has been zero slippage. What’s most impressive about the MNLINK post is that it isn’t an either-or situation, where one method was clearly an after thought. I am happy to use this post with either style saddle as it packs versatility, super easy adjustment and good looks all into a super light package.
The back of the post features gradients for marking saddle height, though they stop about halfway down the post.
Not to be left out of the neon craze, Deda is now offering their Deda Tape in bright colors that would make Supacaz take notice. All three colors feature silver Deda logos printed on the tape, but it almost blends in. With a perforated fake leather type feel, it is similar to Fi’zik’s Microtex with a slight adhesive foam backing for padding.