Do you trust carbon handlebars for gravel?

Especially for light weight issues concerning cyclocross / touring bikes & parts.

Moderator: Moderator Team

Posts: 1752
Joined: Tue Jan 28, 2014 6:52 pm

by AJS914

This week I took two giant hits on potholes. One even made my bars slip in my stem. On my mountain bike with suspension these potholes would normally feel like nothing.

To make me feel even worse about my bars I have these super lightweight Deda Supperleggera bars rather than some beefy carbon bar. Maybe a lightweight bar isn't he best for a gravel bike?

And I have to get better at dodging those big potholes in the first place. I just find that I get up to speed and then quickly come across a sea of potholes and there is nowhere to go but straight through.

Any thoughts?

Posts: 535
Joined: Sat Mar 06, 2010 10:34 pm

by nickf

I have a bontrager xxx integrated carbon bar on my dirt/gravel/cx bike. I'm not worried about it nor do I think about it. My bike comes in around 7.4kg with 28 gravel Kings and it holds up to everything I throw at it. Not feather light but better then many of those full carbon disc tanks people are buying at 8+kg. Gotta have eagle eyes on some of these roads. Have a 80 mile (20 miles dirt) ride tomorrow, I try to not be behind anyone when we enter a dirt sector. Some of those dudes just can't pick a line. Look way ahead. Sometimes you just can't avoid it, shift weight to the back and lighten up on the front end.

by Weenie

User avatar
Posts: 961
Joined: Sun May 25, 2008 10:12 pm
Location: italy

by eliflap-scalpel

I am riding a carbon combo

Inviato dal mio iPhone utilizzando Tapatalk

User avatar
Posts: 1173
Joined: Thu Sep 21, 2006 8:54 pm
Location: Reading, UK

by Miller

I do trust carbon bars, yes, I have not had any hassles with them. Potholes go with gravel rides. My approach is to try and pick a line round them and unweight the saddle if there's no alternative to crashing through bumps and rocks. If your bike is going to take a big hit it needs to be able to move beneath you.

Posts: 56
Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2016 11:01 am
Location: France

by jeanjacques

I asked Ritchey about the choice between carbon WCS and Superlogic handlebar for harsh gravel use. They said no problem with Superlogic one.

Posts: 1382
Joined: Tue Sep 11, 2012 6:07 pm
Location: The Lone Star State

by FIJIGabe

I started using my Bontrager RXL IsoSpeed bars for gravel and CX this year, and no issues (knock on wood). I wouldn't hesitate to use them, if they're quality pieces.
Madone 9
Madone 5

Madone 4, Cobia. I own a lot of Treks.

Posts: 1752
Joined: Tue Jan 28, 2014 6:52 pm

by AJS914

I have a set of Zipp SL70 aluminum bars in the garage. I may throw those on just for piece of mind. I'm not sure I trust a 180gram bar like the Superleggera.

User avatar
Posts: 1373
Joined: Fri May 12, 2006 2:11 pm
Location: Stockholm, Sweden

by cerro

Am using a Deda Superzero on my winterbike and a Specialized S-Works shallow on my summerbike. Got no problem in trusting in quality carbon bars. But would never buy a cheap Chinese carbon bar
/jonas l (my cyclingblog)

Posts: 979
Joined: Sat Dec 07, 2013 10:15 pm

by fromtrektocolnago

I do. unless you are worried about a crash, carbon is very strong.
an aluminum bar won't add much weight, so if you are concerned no real weight penalty.

i use an aluminum stem though. not sure why
Colnago C-59 (Dura Ace)
Trek 5200(ultegra)

User avatar
Posts: 7043
Joined: Sat Jun 19, 2004 11:08 am
Location: Urbana, Illinois

by Juanmoretime

I have a set of Kestrel carbon bars on mine, not the SL’s. Weighing about 220 grams so not light but they will take abuse including clip on aero bars.

Posts: 179
Joined: Tue Jul 26, 2016 5:21 pm

by jfranci3

Keep in mind that the stem/bar connection and hood clamps are weaker than the bars, so if you hit something those two points will give first before the bars should break.

I'm 85kg using 3T Ergonova Team Carbon. I've hit some potholes so hard the bars rotated in the clamp and the hoods moved. They're superior in comfort vibration/impact comfort to my bikes standard AL bars. I wouldn't have a doubt if I needed to buy another.

Moving from an AL seatpost and AL bars to CF on my Trek Crockett made a very very noticeable ride quality difference; big impacts hurt my body far less and I wouldn't be as sore after the ride. I put the Specialized CG-R post on my bike and it made it very clear how rough the front rode. I then put CF bars on it and the ride was balanced again - not soft, but the harshness of impacts mellowed a touch.

Also, remember that high performance AL parts are every bit as delicate as CF. Both are usually overbuilt to steer clear of failure in the marketplace. CF can flex without giving up service life, AL cannot. If the bars can handle hitting a rock or pothole on road tires, hitting some bumps off road on softer tires should be EASIER on the bars.

User avatar
Posts: 151
Joined: Sun Nov 29, 2015 5:47 pm
Location: Near DFW Airport

by IrrelevantD

The only bars I've ever broken were aluminum, snapped right at the stem. I replaced them with carbon. So yea, I'd trust them if they were from a good reputable source.
* There is a 70% chance that what you have just read has a peppering of cynicism or sarcasm and generally should not be taken seriously.
I'll leave it up to you to figure out the other 30%. If you are in any way offended, that's on you.

Posts: 186
Joined: Sun Jan 16, 2011 2:45 am
Location: US

by Tamu8104

Absolutely, been running carbon bars on my gravel bikes and wouldn’t think twice about doing it again but wouldn’t run boutique ultralight or no name carbon bars.
Gaulzetti Cabron Disc = (weight unknown)
Rock Lobster Team Tig SL Disc = (pending)
Sold: Ridley X-Night Disc = 7.80 kg | Ridley Noah FAST = 6.86 | Ridley Fenix = 6.74 | Raleigh HiLife = 7.46 | Fuji SST = 7.34 | Van Dessel FTB = 7.58

Posts: 17
Joined: Mon Oct 05, 2015 10:01 am

by cpark

Yes, I think they are safe.
I only use Enve SES handlebar for all my road/gravel bikes.
I don’t think they are the ightest CF bar out there, but I really like the fit.
The only negative thing is that there is little to no room for any sort of mount, but I use the barfly face plate mount for 3T/Fizik.

Posts: 535
Joined: Sat Mar 06, 2010 10:34 pm

by nickf

I just finished up a 80 mile gravel event last Sunday with no issues from the Bontrager XXX Integrated bars. First time punishing these, my old easton carbon bars never gave me problems either. I was bouncing hard off pot holes when i was chasing the group, can't avoid everything when you doing 27+ on unknown dirt roads.

by Weenie

Post Reply
  • Similar Topics
    Last post