need help choosing stem and bar combo

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by namg_engr, Jan 14, 2006.

  1. namg_engr

    namg_engr New Member

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    Hello, I'm in the process of building up a Specialized S-Works Tarmac and would like some opinions on choosing a bar and stem combo. I do weight 165 lbs and would like something that is reliable.

    On my old (yes old) bike, I'm used to riding a cinelli aluminum quill stem and cinelli aluminum bar. This setup has been very reliable and durable but it is now time to move on and use something different.

    I've been looking at the Easton EC70 Carbon bar and stem but don't know its reliability/durability - especially when doing 90km/hr downhill. Maybe the EA70 would give me more peace of mind since it is Aluminum. Other options are to use a specialized bar and stem combo. It seems there are so many options out there but am afraid of picking a flimsy pair to save a few grams and regretting it later. Please help. I'd appreciate some of your wisdom. Thanks.
     
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  2. mark higgins

    mark higgins New Member

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    Bars are always a personal choice- do you stick with normal round bars or get anatomics? I used nomal Cinellis for years but have Deda 215s on my road bike now with a Newton stem. The hand position on the drops is at a better angle. My advice is to go to your LBS and handle a few. Unfortunately you sometimes never know how the will be until you have used them for a while. As far as reliability goes at 165lb you should have no problems with most if not all bars and stems. I weigh 155 and have no issues with the 215gr bars.
     
  3. PeterF

    PeterF New Member

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    If you are worried about the integrity on a fast descent :eek:, the stem should be the main point of concern. Some stems have problems with titanium bolts in the face place breaking during hard efforts. If you buy a two-bolt design, make sure it has stainless steel hardware. Personally, I have good luck with Ritchey's. 4-bolt front, stainless hardware and very light (in the WCS OS models). I like 3T's as well, but would stay away from the Zepp models, unless you plan on swapping the ti hardware for stainless.
     
  4. hd reynolds

    hd reynolds New Member

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    I've had a CF bar break unexpectedly under the tape after I knocked it on an earlier crash. IMO an aluminum stem and 7075 bar combo is better in terms of weight and durability. On another note I think the weak link in an ahead style bar-stem set up is the fork steerer (be it AL or CF).
     
  5. PeterF

    PeterF New Member

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    True, especially if it's not set up properly...
     
  6. alienator

    alienator Well-Known Member

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    Neither is necessarily true, and this is more of internet myth than anything. Al bars are break, too.
     
  7. hd reynolds

    hd reynolds New Member

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    Didn't imply that AL bars don't break coz they do. From experience, if I were to choose between CF and AL bars on weight-to-strength ratio my money is on the AL bar.
     
  8. alienator

    alienator Well-Known Member

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    Didn't say ya did. Just wanted to reinforce that a parts performance can't be judged by material alone. Seems to be a tendency, especially among new riders and the older crowd, to make judgements based only on a material.

    That said, CF does offer some unusual shapes that might benefit some people. And I believe that FSA is offering a hydroformed Al handlebar......but not too sure if it was FSA or not.

    As for stems, it's gonna take the CF people a few more iterations to beat the likes of a Ritchey WCS stem or a Syntace 99. Those Al stems are muy light and strong. Most CF stems seem a bit porky.
     
  9. PeterF

    PeterF New Member

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    Ritchey WCS can be found for as low as $50 on e-bay and $65 at Pricepoint. The oversized model is silly-light (something like 110 grams for the 100mm model). I like the looks of some of the carbon stems (specifically the ITM Millenium Carbon), but it's hard to justify spending $109 while adding about 2 oz of weight to the bike.
     
  10. hd reynolds

    hd reynolds New Member

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    Ritchey WCS stems are sourced in china. The same stem is available under the Chinese brand MOB costing $16 with the clamp plate painted black.
     
  11. PeterF

    PeterF New Member

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    Any stems actually made in Italy? My 3TTT Zepp says Italy on it, but the box says Taiwan, my 3TT less says made in Italy (I'm sceptical).
     
  12. Insight Driver

    Insight Driver New Member

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    For me it it boils down to bling and performance. On the one hand aluminum is light and cheap. The downside is aluminum is cheaper. Carbon is more expensive. The downside is carbon is more expensive.

    Maybe I'm lucky. The only thing I ever broke, crashing, was a wheel that potato-chipped. Most of my crashes were of the sliding type. I've had material ground off, mostly end of cranks and edge of brake levers, oh and me.

    Giant bicycle now makes some carbon bars and stems. I have them on my custom build. Since Giant is such a huge company what they can do that the smaller, highly-regarded manufactures can't is build in the tens of thousands to get the economy of scale. So you can get carbon bits from Giant cheaper.

    As far as design is concerned, two bolts or four bolts is fine. A good design can be made with either fastening method. As far as toughness is concerned, don't be a weight-weenie. Get the bits from the manufacturer in their mid-range stuff, not in their exalted high-end gossamer-weight stuff. If you went be the theories that aluminum is better, then you ought to extend that theory and get steel, since aluminum will eventually fail where steel won't. Oh, the the eventually of aluminum failure exceeds most people's lifetimes. Of course, using common sense, crashes don't count since you don't know what you'll break when you crash or get crashed into.
     
  13. rek

    rek New Member

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    I'd have no hesitation in running Easton carbon stuff, they know their business well (I have EC70 bars and seatpost on my MTB). That being said, I'd be very surprised if most reputable manufacturers didn't over-engineer their carbon bits to be, if anything, stronger than their aluminium offerings. (e.g. like this (click) )

    My road bike came with an FSA K-Wing carbon handlebar; the flattened sections are very comfortable, but to buy the handlebar separately is $$$. I've seen aluminium versions of the same style of bar made by (at least) FSA and ITM, which would be a lot cheaper.

    In the end it all comes down to what sort of bar you like the feel of most.. different brands have slightly different ergonomics to their bars, and a few will most likely stick out as being 'nicer to hold' than another.
     
  14. hd reynolds

    hd reynolds New Member

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    Specialized offer an in-house brand one-piece carbon stem/handlebar combo for the tarmac. Although not as pretty as other stem/bar combinations out there, it is a rather solid piece, light and won't lighten your wallet.
     
  15. namg_engr

    namg_engr New Member

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    Back Again,

    I purchased the EA70 bar and stem combo. Some may argue putting this low-mid budget combo on such a nice frameset does not do the bike justice, but I have had good experience with the Cinelli bar/quill aluminum stem combos that sticking to like materials is most practical and it would retain my confidence.

    -Tom
     
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