Review: Thomson DH Alloy Handlebar
Alright, lets get a few things straight. I love Thomson products, always had nothing but great experiences with them. Great quality, never had a failure. I have never said an bad thing about them, until now.
I had my lbs order a Thomson Alloy DH bar, and the Thomson Carbon AM bar from Thomson. I figured I would check them both out, but was really hoping that the finish on the Alloy bar would be different than your standard mat/sating black handlebar. My lbs thought forsure that Thomson would do something different to stand out....something to justify the $110 pricetag (FOR ALLOY!!).
Well, the bars show up and ofcourse the shop owner pulls out the carbon. Ohhhh...nice looking bar, except for all the small scratches in the clearcoat of the bar. Nothing deep, but I bet there were hundreds of them. "I bet this one will be better", he said, and pulled out another carbon Thomson. Nope, same story as the first one. "Seams like they could use better packaging on a $160 handlebar" says the lbs owner.
Disapointed but still hopefull for the Alloy bar, I pull it out of the bag to find that it looks exaclty like every other handlebar out there. Mat/satin black. LBS owner and I both kinda looked at eachother and said "huh...looks like every other bar out there...and they want how much for it?"
Feeling bad that I had him order both, I figured the least I could do was buy the cheaper one. Took it home, mounted it up and said to myself "yup, you just paid a lot of $$ for a little Thomson sticker".
YES..I appreciate craftsman ship! YES, I do appreciate "Made In America". No, I do not like Thomson charging $50-70 more than they should because there is a Thomson sticker on a product.
I am willing to dish out $$ for something I feel is unique or uses cutting edge tech that could make a difference. This handlebar rides and looks just like the $30 handlebar that came with my bike.
I would have loved for this bar to be something special, but it is not. If you are looking for a nice handlebar, save yourself the $$ and go with a Race Face, Answer, or one of many other bars under $40.
I never had to overpay for certain brands to know that for most riders the brands you mentioned will suffice.
In most cases buyers pay more for the name than the actual materials and craftsmanship. You could ask 10 people what kind of aluminum their bike has and how it's formed and most wouldn't know, let alone the handlebars.
Truvativ and Raceface has been great for me at 1/3 the price.
What exactly were you expecting about the finish of the alloy bar? I have one, and yeah, it looks like a lot of other bars - nothing particularly better or worse. But I've been impressed by the bar - the dimensions are great and it is perhaps one of the stiffest bars I've ever used. And they do use some different butting techniques in the bar (which, in my view, contributes to its stiffness). So that, maybe, is where they spent some extra dough (and making it in USA).
Thread title is a little misleading, should say Purchasing Experience: Thomson...
I've had about a dozen Thomson seatposts and a handful of stems... those IMO are the standard, are Made in the USA, and generally worth the asking price. I bought the AM Carbon bar and mated it with my 90mm X4 stem. The bar, while only about 6 months old, has a ton of scratches in the clearcoat. From the top, it looks like I've had it for years. I used to have an older CT2 Easton which was about 9 years old that looked newer than this bar does now.
I commented on their Facebook post when they announced the pricing of the 780mm titanium riser bar... a staggering $385. Also, NONE of their bars are made in the US... all are outsourced to a vendor in Taiwan FWIW.
I generally feel that their older products were worth it because they are designed well, look nice, last a long time, and are made in the USA... but I am pretty certain that this bar will be my last Thomson product, simply because I don't think you can charge such a premium for an average product, with an average warranty that isn't made in the USA like the rest of your price premium products.
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