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To start, here's a disclaimer. I can only comment on these bars for use on a XC machine. At first I was reluctant to try them for that purpose, fearful they would ruin the handling characteristics of my bike for technical single track and extended climbs. I previously had a set of flat bars on my bike and shortened to about 680mm for tight work among the trees. So far I've left the Turbine risers at their starting length, 725mm. I may lop off a centimeter from each side in the near future. But the transition from a medium length bar to a longer has shown me the benefits of having that extra leverage when negotiating a 29er through the rock gardens of the technical single track loop I ride frequently. On the other hand, I’m no longer confident leading with my shoulder through a tight turn festooned with tree trunks and sneaking the bars through. That’s why there are happy mediums. But to the bars.
They feel light and strong out of the box. The central 31.8 diameter section is substantial. And the bars on the bike don't feel whippy at all. They make for a solid cockpit and lend themselves to that positive leverage I mentioned earlier. As for the handling, at first I thought my fears had come true. Although the 3/4 rise appears slight compared to a flat bar, the shape definitely repositions the rider differently and requires some initial getting used to.
The two main differences I noticed after a few rides were, one, a significant decrease in stress on the lower back on extended climbs and, two, a proportionate increase in demand on the upper body to "work" the bike through technical landscapes and support the body on long climbs. For me these were positive changes - it makes for more of a whole body effort on technical terrain and also helps isolate the muscle groups below the waist for climbing, taking away that strain on the muscles around the lumbar.
And handling? After a few weeks I'm back to swinging my 29er around the tightest switchbacks. Good bars. No regrets.
If you started out a roadie and wearing Lycra, you know the pitfalls of mountain biking in baggy shorts. They're baggy, and saggy. I'd agree with the first reviewer: these shorts are light, breathable, stretchy, and durable. The insert is good quality and works well. In fact, the whole short is made really well - good zippers, good materials, nice snaps up front, good fit standing up straight in them. But get on the saddle and you understand that saggy part above. I don't think mountain bike clothing makers have figured out the baggy thing yet. Lycra, of course, grabs you all over and therefore resists falling toward your knees when you're moving around on the saddle. And a bib even betters that equation. But a baggy short can only grab you in one place, around the waist. So the various manufacturers have focused on fastening systems that cinch up around this area. But I haven't found anything that works so far. And I'm afraid Fox hasn't altered my record on that count with the Attack Q4 short. The velcro fasteners inside do tighten things up around the waist. But they leave pleats around the outside of the waistband, which I find a little uncomfortable. And although the shorts fit nicely while standing on my feet, moving around on the saddle still gradually drags the shorts lower on my body so that soon enough the hems of the shorts are flapping in the wind around my knees like sheets hung to dry on a clothesline. I'm constantly looking for a straight so I can stand on my pedals and hike the short back up around my mid-section. I'm a 32 waist, and the 32 fits well. The cut is like a surf short, and they're stylish and comfortable to hang out in. I think it's a fundamental design flaw with baggies that keep them from serving the purpose well. Someone needs to engineer a better waistband, maybe. It's just unfortunate that I spent a chunk o' change on them to have to keep dragging them back into place periodically during a ride. (And they've just gone on sale!)