The Pro Taper Fuzion handlebar has been around for a while now and was a totally new concept to the off-road world (for crossbar lovers) when it was released a few years ago. The flex locking system allows riders to choose between a stiffer, more controlled handlebar feel or a softer more shock absorbing feel depending on terrain and rider preference. Changing the bar from “Locked” to “Unlocked” takes only seconds by simply turning a knob. The Fuzion utilizes Pro Taper’s exclusive aluminum alloy, 4mm wall design for lightweight, strength and comes in six different bar bends.
Depending on what type of bike I am riding depends on if I like running a crossbar type handlebar or not. For example when I am riding a Honda I like to have a crossbar because they come standard with one. When I ride a Yamaha I go to a handlebar without a crossbar. Why? You guessed it, because they come stock with that style. I usually can tell the difference in stiffness when I go back and forth between each type of bar so this made me want to really test this Fuzion bar.
The 1-1/8 Fuzion handlebar weighs in at 1lb, 15oz. and was put on several of my test bikes. The easy-to-adjust locking system can be adjusted by simply taking the bar pad off and turning the knob in the middle of the crossbar. If you’re used to running a 7/8 bar with a crossbar on your bike, but want some added strength, the Fuzion is a great option. The downside to using a standard oversize bar with a crossbar is getting added rigidity through the bars that could be hard on the arms/wrists. Setting the Pro Taper Fuzion to the “unlock” position was most noticeable on the 2018 Honda CRF450R due to it being a more rigid feeling chassis. In stock form the Honda comes with a 7/8 handlebar and putting the Fuzion bar on gave me only minimal gains in stiffness through my arms. On braking bumps and hard slap down landings the bar flexed as if I didn’t have a cross bar on. Does it flex more than an oversize crossbar-less handlebar? After spending more time on both types of bars I would say it is very close.
I am very picky when it comes to handlebars and I felt that the Fuzion handlebar (when in the “locked” position) is slightly more precise (than on the unlocked position) when trying to corner on hard pack slick surfaces. Also, only a little more rigidity was felt on braking bumps and on flat landings when “locked”. The smoother the track surfaces the better the Fuzion worked in the locked position. However, 90% of the time I felt the Fuzion felt best when “unlocked”. Especially for the hacked out, choppy, desert tracks I test on. A few tip overs and one big get off left me praising the Fuzion’s durability. This happened on the CRF450R and the handlebar got twisted in the bar mounts, but the handlebar itself wasn’t bent.
So at the end of the day why not just use an oversize non-crossbar handlebar you ask? The Fuzion handlebar eliminates having “crossbar lovers” cut his/her oversized crossbar handlebars (and avoiding potential handlebar failure to achieve desired flex when he/she demands a crossbar). I like that ProTaper addressed the need for this niche and picky people like myself. Especially for riders that need to see a crossbar yet have flex when he or she rides. Yes, it is more expensive than your average 7/8 handlebar, but it also will last longer in case you are a crasher like these dudes on MX Fails.