Redshift Sports introduced the Shockstop stem in 2018 as the gravel race scene was heating up. With that success Redshift Sports developed more products aimed to offer comfort and control for the rider including the Shockstop suspension seatpost and a handlebar to pair with the Shockstop suspension stem. We first saw these prototype products at the Sea Otter Classic 2019.
In 2021, a relatively full calendar of gravel events was successful in the U.S., and with pandemic solo riding, off-road adventure cycling is on the rise. Redshift released the Kitchen Sink handlebar and an updated Shockstop Pro stem. We had the opportunity to ride this combination throughout the summer.
Kitchen Sink Handlebar
The Kitchen Sink Handlebar is so named because it has everything- rise, flare, backsweep, drops, tops, and even an accessory loop in front if you want. It is available in three widths, 44cm, 47cm, and 50cm as measured where the brake levers would typically mount. All widths are available with or without the accessory loop. We have a 44cm version with the accessory loop.
The Kitchen Sink bar is 6061 T6 aluminum. Our review sample measures 44cm at the top bend and weighs 473 grams (the claimed weight is 472g). It is available without the loop to save 110 grams. For comparison, a Ritchey WCS VentureMax drop bar is around 280 grams. The Cinelli Spinaci, a vintage (and still available) clamp-on bar extension weighs 220 grams.
From the stem, the Kitchen Sink bar rises 20mm and sweeps 7 degrees back towards the rider. The bar flares 25 degrees to the shallow 110mm drop section. The extension loop is positioned at the same angle as the bar tops and extends 150mm forward. The loop is 170mm wide at the base and tapers to a 100mm flat front section for mounting accessories.
An available accessory for the Kitchen Sink handlebar is the Cruise Control grip set. The Top Grips are a dense rubber material shaped to offer a wide contact area for your palm at the bend of the tops, right behind the brake hoods. They attach with included adhesive and tape. Regular handlebar tape will cover the Top Grips giving an integrated look. The Top Grips are 100 grams for the pair. Considering the amount of real estate the Kitchen Sink bars have, especially with the Cruise Control Top Grip installed, Redshift Sports offers their Cruise Control Very Long bar tape, available only in black. It is nicely padded with a rubbery textured surface.
The Drop Grips slide on over the end of the bar like mountain bike grips and tighten on with a pinch-clamp. They are made of a firm, rubbery material and are not designed for handlebar tape covering. The Drop Grips weigh 110 grams for the pair.
The whole package of a 44cm Kitchen Sink Bar with the loop and Cruise Control grip set is 683 grams. (573 grams without the loop)
ShockStop Pro Stem
The ShockStop stem is one of RedShift Sports’ original products. The new version loses some weight and has an updated finish. A 9cm version is 232 grams (233 gr. claimed). The original non-Pro version weighs 264 grams in the same length. The 32-gram saving is achieved mostly by the ‘skeletonized’ faceplate and steerer clamp area. For comparison, a Paul Component Boxcar 9cm stem is 171 grams, and an FSA SL-K aluminum stem is 141 grams.
The internal construction and function are the same as the original ShockStop stem. Redshift Sports says that there is up to 20mm of vertical movement. That amount will depend on the length of the stem, where the rider weight is positioned with the pivot point (just forward of the stem mount), and the selection of elastomer firmness. 20mm with a 120mm stem is 9.5 degrees, which is less than 1/3 of a clock hour. That movement is exaggerated when riding on the brake hoods, minimized when holding the bar tops, and almost non-existent when using the Drop Grips at the end of the drop section.
The ShockStop stem follows the suspend-the-rider philosophy as opposed to the suspend-the-bike philosophy. In my opinion, any suspension makes all the difference on a hard-packed bumpy descent. Larger tire volume, lower tire pressure, and padded handlebar tape all play a small role to keep the bike under control and reduce rider fatigue. The RedShift Sports ShockStop stem adds a significant level more suspension to the front end. It kept my hands more comfortably on the bars and kept the jarring from blurring my vision. It offers the same effect as the Future Shock of the Specialized Diverge we reviewed pre-pandemic at the end of 2019. Unlike the Future Shock, the bars rotate down, but the amount of rotation is not noticeable in use since the maximum travel is only 20mm. We described this in our review of the original Shockstop stem and the function of this Pro model is identical.
A drop bar already offers multiple hand positions. The Kitchen Sink offers more. The swept-back top puts the wrist in a more natural position, offering some comfort. The flare that begins at the hoods offers a better wrist angle also. These features combined with the larger surface area provided by the Cruise Control grip improve long-distance comfort by spreading the pressure over a wider area of the hands.
The loop provides an aero-bar type position, but the short length and flat position disallow your elbows from resting on the tops. I tried taking a wider stance with my elbows on the Top Grips but found it a bit awkward. Still, the loop offers more real estate for mounting accessories and you can use it to change your hand position for short periods while gaining some aero advantage. One of our testers liked using the loop for lights, as it kept the front wheel out of wide beams.
Certainly, the wide flared drops will negate some of the aero advantage gained by flattening your back in the lower position. However, the shallow 110mm drop and wide stance is comfortable, and with the added palm surface area of the Drop Grips, it makes you feel in control during long hauls in a paceline on loose gravel. The long, flat portion of the drops puts the Drop Grips just a bit outside optimal reach to the brake and shifter levers unless you have long fingers. The end of the drops can be cut shorter to move the Drop Grips forward so your hand is in a better position to reach the brake levers, or simply move your hand forward to the ‘hooks’ when you need to be cover the brakes while in a low position.
There are counterpoints to the need for the Kitchen Sink handlebar. If you want more rise, use a riser stem. Descending in the drops puts too much weight forward, so the additional width at the drops is unnecessary. Lastly, the loop does not really act like an aero bar since you cannot rest your elbows on the tops when using it. That said, I’m glad the Kitchen Sink bar exists because we need more choices. Though the loop version is not technically illegal in UCI cyclocross racing, I would not push my luck with the commissaire.
Redshift Sports Kitchen Sink Handlebar
Cost: $99, $129 with loop
Weight: 362-383g without loop depending on width, 472-497g with loop
Bar width: 44, 47, 50cm
Rise, sweep, drop, flare: 20mm, 7 deg, 110mm, 25 deg
Material: 6061 T6 aluminum
Cruise Control grips: $55 includes Top Grips and Drop grips
Redshift Sports Shockstop Pro Stem
Weight: 227-254g depending on length
Stem Angle/Length: +/- 6-degree, 90, 100, 110, 120mm; +30-degree, 100mm
Diameter: 31.8mm; 25.4 and 26.0mm shims available
Elastomers: Two installed, three additional provided
Effective Travel: up to 20mm
More info: redshiftsports.com