Handle bars replacement Carbon vs Alloy?

Discussion in 'Mountain Bikes' started by Rockslayer, Oct 15, 2006.

  1. Rockslayer

    Rockslayer New Member

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    I need to replace my handlebars. Just wondering if worthwhile going for Carbon fibre rather than Alloy. I have bent 2 pairs alloy in about 5 months.:eek: I cant bend the alloy back, too fragile etc.. The impacts have generally been directly onto the end of the bars onto boulder/rock and not even high speed.

    Will carbon put up with more punishment and have better flex?
    Have they been know to shatter or splinter I heard that can be nasty itself and cause alot more serious injury.

    Do I need to change the clamp if I switch to carbon bars? :)
     
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  2. alfeng

    alfeng Well-Known Member

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    Based on what you are saying, I would suggest that you STAY AWAY FROM carbon fiber handlebars.

    Carbon fiber will fail -- possibly, pulverize at the point of stress where your current bars are bending ...

    You probably want a DOWNHILL-grade aluminum handlebar OR a cheap, steel handlebar.

    Whether or not you need to change the stem will depend on whether you go for an Over Size (OS/31.8) handlebar or stick with one which has a traditional center section (presuming, THAT is what you currently have).
     
  3. kclw

    kclw New Member

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    Based on what your previous experience I would too recommend staying away from Carbon bars. Although not because they are weaker then aluminum.

    A crash that destroys a carbon bar will also destory an aluminum bar the oppopsite is also true. The cost of a carbon bar far exceeds that of an aluminum bar. Unless you have a sponsor who pays for destoryed bars go with aluminum.
     
  4. sogood

    sogood New Member

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    The other one against carbon is that it can hide damage from a previous impact and then fail suddenly during use later.
     
  5. Rockslayer

    Rockslayer New Member

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    Thank you guys for the advice, it makes sense. I just buy another cheap good alloy one to mangle up. I'm not a weight weenie at this stage. Cost does seem to outweigh benifits.

    I might reduce the length on the next ones to about 600mm to reduce the bending leverage between the grips and stem. Might get some more space between trees in the single tracks.

    I was going to try bend em back but I know the alloy is stretched and weakened. not good for future impacts. :eek: TA!
     
  6. Archibald

    Archibald New Member

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    while we're on the topic of handlebars, can anyone enlighten me as to the pros n cons of a straight flat handlebar vs those that are "bent" upwards?
     
  7. Rockslayer

    Rockslayer New Member

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    Flat bar - Generally target for XC/ XC race, lowers riding position supposed to help with riding and breathing efficiency and bit more Aerodynamic, fit bar ends. More narrow better response like small car steering wheel. generally for road/non technical terrain type riding.

    Bent upwards,
    LowRise/Midrise- in between maybe an all mountain/XC/General riding, aimed at Enduro, longer rides, general riding, ppl wanting more upright riding position, less stress on back/shoulders.

    High Rise- Higher more angle, More for DH riding much more upright position. Usually wider than flat bars, More stable esp at high speed in technical terrain. [​IMG]

    Sometimes just comes down to preference.
     
  8. gclark8

    gclark8 New Member

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    Look for a CrMo steel alloy bar, if Al alloy has failed, steer clear of CF! :eek:
     
  9. mikesbytes

    mikesbytes New Member

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    A lot of track riders use steel handlebars, due to their strength. Quality steel handlebars won't make that much difference in weight and will probably survive the punishment you are currently giving them.
     
  10. 11ring

    11ring New Member

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    IMO oversize alloy is the way to go, bars can't be shaped as much as frames so there is not much benefit of fancy materials.

    Weight for weight, high quality steel, alloy and carbon have similar mechanical properties (stiffness an strength) the advantage of light materials like alloy and carbon is you can make useaable oversize tubing that is lighter and stronger than classic steel structures by virtue of their width.

    If you double the diamater of some tubing with the same wall thickness and you increase strength and stiffness 4 times.

    But bars are limited by standard dimensions, so there is not so much to be gained. But definately go for the fattest bar you can get (i.e. 31.8mm)

    This is one reason why some trackies use steel bars- a 26.0 steel bar is going to be stiffer and stronger than a 26.0 alloy bar. To make a really stiff and strong 26.0 alloy bar you need to use lots of material (like 3mm thick), and you start to get an even smaller inside diamater and therefore a declining marginal increase in stiffness. BUT you can make a lighter and stiffer and stronger 31.8mm alloy or carbor than any 26.0 steel bar ever made (like the easton carbon track bar)


     
  11. garage sale GT

    garage sale GT New Member

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    I think it may be a good idea to swap out your stem bolts, maybe even your stem, if you've busted several bars.

    I'm thinking of doing this on my '01 Raleigh just for good measure due to having clamped and unclamped the bar several times.
     
  12. Rockslayer

    Rockslayer New Member

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    ta, I will change the screws when I install the new bars, if not I might change to a new stem and go oversize bars as suggested as well. In looking it just seems there are more options in oversize bars these days too.
    I was starting to wonder if handlebars are starting to become a disposable item like tyres. :eek:
     
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