For me, the ITM forged Lite Luxe stem is as close to perfection as I could want. It’s forged and therefore has smooth lines. It has reversible graphics, meaning you can flip the stem around to get a higher reach. It uses a face plate with a 4 bolt clamp; the socket head bolts require a 4mm allen key. By using M5 bolts with 4mm heads instead of 5mm sockets, the tendency to over-torque the stem at the handlebar clamp is reduced. The M6 bolts at the steerer clamp use 5mm heads to prevent slippage on carbon fibre fork steerer tubes. These two bolts oppose each other to help distribute the clamping force & they don’t stick out and cut your knees like some other stems. It’s available in the most common sizes: 90, 100, 110, 120 and 130mm lengths with either a 26.0mm clamp or a 31.6mm clamp for oversized handlebars. The finish of the stem is also very durable. It’s available from as little as 25 or ‚¬30.
It’s nice to be able to use the same bar/stem/seatpost combination. Cyclists consider consistency a nice bonus, especially when they are Italian bicycle parts. Therefore, I’ve reviewed the bar and stem together as siblings. Unfortunately I can’t say too many good things about the ITM Lite Luxe wing shape bar. It’s a budget-priced semi-ergonomic aluminium alloy bar. Or rather, it’s a standard bar with flat tops. As most of you know, in recent years, the number of handlebars available on the market has exploded. Try a few and you realise that the shape of your handlebars becomes a very personal choice, just like saddles. Unlike saddles however, your hands can’t really adjust to a handlebar like your arse can adjust to a saddle. If a handlebar doesn’t feel right to begin with, it never will.
With that in mind, in comparison to several other bars that I have tried, the flat tops do not extend far enough outward where the bar curves forward towards the brake shift-levers. I really like to use flat tops, I think they’re a natural step in the evolution (or refinement) of a traditional round bar. Flat tops encourage you to place your hands on them. But because the bars are essentially round where I normally place my hands, I found myself wanting to hold the bar quite a bit closer to the centre position than what I am accustomed to. The flats extend almost all the way up to the stem – but I’ve never seen a cyclist hold their bars with their hands adjacent to the stem (you can’t get enough control of the bike). The double grooves underneath are pretty shallow also. If you’re still keen on buying this bar, remember that the width of ITM bars are measured outside to outside. I’d reccomend the FSA wing pro handlebar instead, which is in a similar price point.