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Benny Hill esque moniker aside, Bill’s Bike Babes race sticks are faithful Cinelli Spinacci copies. Apart from some minor shortcomings (the finish on our test pair could’ve been better) ample adjustability and modest weight means they’re bang on for long runs on the winter bike and budget TT builds using standard diameter drops or pursuit style bars.
Made from anodised, heat treated 6061 aluminium, fitting takes about twenty minutes start to finish and there’s even a 5mm Allen key included to breeze them aboard the bars straight from the shelf should the urge take you. Simply unwind the bar wrap a few turns and loosely position one bracket at a time, tightening all the Allen bolts evenly, leaving a little play. Lazer etched markings provide easy reference and are an improvement over the original design; setting them up with the bike on a stationary trainer seems the most efficient way of honing their position. Once satisfied, simply re-affix the bar wrap, give the bolts a quick once over and you’re road ready.
Performance is good and aside from a quick roadside re-tightening after the first eight miles, they’ve proven sufficiently rigid, affording a welcome extra position to shelter from the wind, greatly reducing fatigue on longer rides. While they're very secure, you should resist the urge to grasp them like MTB bar ends on the climbs. Taping the extensions not only provides a personalised, colour coordinated touch but also improves grip, especially in the wet. Some will point out the absence of an oversized diameter illustrates how dated the design is, but low weight, low cost and reasonable rigidity means they’re still great for reducing fatigue on windy TT courses and training rides. They’ve something to offer long distance tourists seeking alternative hand positions and could equally prove a boon for flat-bar roadies who didn’t mind a slightly unconventional look to their cockpit.
Faithful copies of a classic design and useful for more than simply TTs or training.
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Make and model: Bill's Bike Babes Race Sticks
Size tested: n/a
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
These are basically faithful copies of the Spinacci extensions popular with the pro peleton in the late 90s until outlawed by the UCI in 2000. However, they're great for long training runs and TT riding.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Anodized 6061 heat treated aluminium designed to fit standard 26.0 diameter bars.
Generally very good for budget bars.
158g pair- much lighter than my genuine Spinacci.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
These undountedly offer some aerodynamic advantage when properly set up, reducing rider fatigue into the bargain. Despite being markedly lighter than original Spinacci, they don't feel whippy under normal conditons, although heavier riders might sing a different tune and resist any urges to grip them like mtb bar ends on the climbs.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Faithful copiess of the Cinelli boasting low weight and modest price tag.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Nothing, although the finish could've been better on our test pair.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes, were they fond of the design.
Age: 36 Height: 1m 81 Weight: 70 kilos
I usually ride: Rough Stuff Tourer Based around 4130 Univega mtb Frameset My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,
Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)