The Specialized color trade catalog for 1993 accessories showed 6 different handlebars and described 7, one the HardRock went un-photographed probably because it was a less desirable all steel handlebar with a 2" center rise. The 1994 color trade catalog for accessories showed that they had already discontinued all but 3 of them. Not a very strong belief in their line of handlebars. But lets take a little of the mystique out of this, there is no Specialized handlebar factory, they sell handlebars that are actually manufactured in the orient by other companies within the bike industry. A well placed source has revealed that the company "Strong", located in Japan and a known maker of stems, seatposts, and handlebars is the real manufacturer of the Specialized brand mountain handlebars that are "drawn" of aluminum and sold as the Rock Barª and the Team Edition bar. Those Specialized branded handlebars that have a "sleeved" center, which for 1994 means only the Mod V are made by the Japanese company "Nitto". Nitto is also a known maker of stems (included Ritchey branded stems), seatposts (including Ritchey branded seatposts) and handlebars. We will review their Rock Barª only, because it's the only one of their handlebars still made since last year that we have actually found Specialized to inventory.
The Rock Barª is made of 6061 aluminum alloy with a T6 temper by, as we are told, the Japanese company Strong. The Rock Barª is an ATB flat bar with a 4 inch long bulged center section that has 1 1/2" long knurls laid horizontally around the circumference. The center section has a 25.4mm outer diameter, while the ends have a 22.2mm diameter and wall thickness of 2.6mm. The inner diameter of the Rock Barª at the ends is 17.9mm. The Rock Bar is 589mm (23 3/16") long and has a 6 degree bend with a smooth outer surface. Though Specialized states in its accessory brochure that's available in Black, Red, or Silver, their price list un-characteristically shows a listing for Black only, from which we have concluded that Black is the only production color. Its weight is also a point of contention. In the 1993 and 1994 product brochure Specialized describes the weight of the Rock Barª as "less than 200 g". However the 1992 product brochure is much closer to the truth when it states the weight the Rock Barª as "275 g.". The Rock Barª actually weighs 270 grams. We find this deliberate deception of the past two seasons rather distasteful. If there are no overt benefits to a product, not marketing it would be preferable to misleading customers. This is also an item where Specialized hasn't set a "perceived minimum retail" so we are actually free to sell it for considerably less, as a percentage of our cost, than we are permitted to on most Specialized goods. $ Price in Catalog