Can you change my mind about CF handlebars?

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

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gb123bike
Posts: 50
Joined: Mon Dec 16, 2019 1:02 am

by gb123bike

I've always ridden AL bars. I've got Ritchey WCS Logic II's on my main bike now. IMHO they're pretty light for an AL bar, 233g (claimed) 245g (measured on my scale).

I know I could save a solid chunk of weight on my next build with a CF bar. I've just never been comfortable with them, and it's not even because I am afraid the part will stress-fail (although I've seen plenty of "failed carbon handlebar" pictures around the net). My bigger concern is that I strap all manner of junk on there. Things that would make any self respecting weight weenie break down and weep in utter dispair. I've got mirrors, bells, dual light mounts, a GPS mount, sometimes a bag mount, sometimes one-off random things for a week or two.

Point is, I'm always mounting and unmounting things in a not particularly careful fashion. I don't carefully torque all of that stuff down, I just halfass it on until it stops shifting around over bumps. I'm not super careful about avoiding nicks and scrapes. I lean the bike's handlebars against brick walls.

The AL bars hold up to this rough life. I have an old bike with some AL bars I've been riding for 40+ years and they're still trucking.

I'd like to WW it up with carbon bars... but I'm kinda afraid they won't stand up to the constant cycle of knocking around and reckless tightening that my AL bars live through. A handlebar failure while riding isn't pretty.

by Weenie


robertbb
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Joined: Thu Jul 23, 2009 3:35 am
Location: Melbourne, Australia

by robertbb

gb123bike wrote:
Sun Dec 22, 2019 11:40 pm
I've always ridden AL bars.
Long may it continue.

I'll never ride a carbon bar, nor one of those utterly stupid "integrated" bar and stem combo's.

I'm going in the same direction with frames and wheels, to be honest.

gb123bike
Posts: 50
Joined: Mon Dec 16, 2019 1:02 am

by gb123bike

robertbb wrote:
Mon Dec 23, 2019 1:22 am
I'll never ride a carbon bar, nor one of those utterly stupid "integrated" bar and stem combo's.

I'm going in the same direction with frames and wheels, to be honest.
Haha! Ok thanks :D. That has always been my view too, but I also want to keep an open mind. If there are lots of people having good luck with similar slightly rough duty on carbon bars, then it's interesting to learn and maybe change things up for myself too.

All my rims are AL right now. I have one CF frame and it's pefectly fine, but that bike lives a more pampered life than my daily driver.

robertbb
Posts: 1304
Joined: Thu Jul 23, 2009 3:35 am
Location: Melbourne, Australia

by robertbb

gb123bike wrote:
Mon Dec 23, 2019 2:30 am
robertbb wrote:
Mon Dec 23, 2019 1:22 am
I'll never ride a carbon bar, nor one of those utterly stupid "integrated" bar and stem combo's.

I'm going in the same direction with frames and wheels, to be honest.
Haha! Ok thanks :D. That has always been my view too, but I also want to keep an open mind. If there are lots of people having good luck with similar slightly rough duty on carbon bars, then it's interesting to learn and maybe change things up for myself too.

All my rims are AL right now. I have one CF frame and it's pefectly fine, but that bike lives a more pampered life than my daily driver.
The devil is in the design, the material in and of itself means very little.

While carbon can certainly be made as strong and as durable as alloy, it can also be made very lightweight and therefore more susceptible to damage and ultimately to catastrophic failure. The dichotomy is that when longevity is the goal, the weight difference as compared to aluminium is negligable. So why bother?

Jugi
Posts: 616
Joined: Sun Jun 24, 2018 8:10 am

by Jugi


gb123bike wrote: I know I could save a solid chunk of weight on my next build with a CF bar. I've just never been comfortable with them, and it's not even because I am afraid the part will stress-fail (although I've seen plenty of "failed carbon handlebar" pictures around the net). My bigger concern is that I strap all manner of junk on there. Things that would make any self respecting weight weenie break down and weep in utter dispair. I've got mirrors, bells, dual light mounts, a GPS mount, sometimes a bag mount, sometimes one-off random things for a week or two.
Doesn't make much sense to me. You're describing a utility bike and a utilitarian use case. You want to save 50g from the bars while adding on potentially about 1000g worth of accessories?

I wouldn't be too worried about a carbon part failing catastrophically mid-ride, but I can't see any cost effectiveness here.


gb123bike
Posts: 50
Joined: Mon Dec 16, 2019 1:02 am

by gb123bike

Jugi wrote:
Mon Dec 23, 2019 8:39 am
Doesn't make much sense to me. You're describing a utility bike and a utilitarian use case. You want to save 50g from the bars while adding on potentially about 1000g worth of accessories?
Hah... you make a good point, but weirdly, yep, I do.

The bike I mean to replace is a utility bike, yes, but it's also a bike I ride for 5 hours of climbing up mountain passes in the dirt and mud. It also sees light duty singletrack use. It wears many different hats. For utility duty it's got lights, mirrors, bells, and fenders mounted. When I run it as a pure gravel bike it doesn't, and that's when I want it to be as light as possible, without sacrificing durability as a utility bike. Btw even as a utility bike, it sees quite a few hills, so the lighter it starts out, the lighter it'll be with the accessores on it.

Now I'm a lighter rider so I'm not very hard on bikes in a force sense. if a CF bar would stand up to mounting and unmounting accessories every month or so for years of riding, it's something I'd consider from a WW perspective, even if I'm just going to load a kg of accessories on the bike sometimes.

(You're not far off on your 1 kg guess, btw... I've measured :-P )

TheRich
Posts: 606
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2019 1:36 am

by TheRich

Because carbon bars on mountain bikes with various junk mounted on them and regularly subjected to impacts with the ground is such a rarity.

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Miller
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Location: Reading, UK

by Miller

Carbon bars are absolutely fine, they're strong and durable and you don't need to baby them. I love carbon bars, frankly, they can be more intricately shaped than alloy, they're warm to touch and they're lighter.

jfranci3
Posts: 821
Joined: Tue Jul 26, 2016 5:21 pm

by jfranci3

Highend, highly shaped aluminium is equally as frail as mass produced carbon. Yank the crap out of your drops on the carbon bars after you install them. If they don't fail there, they won't fail later. Carbon mfg isn't as foolproof as metal, but it's not all that scary.

robertbb
Posts: 1304
Joined: Thu Jul 23, 2009 3:35 am
Location: Melbourne, Australia

by robertbb

jfranci3 wrote:
Tue Dec 24, 2019 6:21 am
Highend, highly shaped aluminium is equally as frail as mass produced carbon.
This is so not true.

jasonh
Posts: 127
Joined: Thu May 26, 2016 6:55 pm

by jasonh

To me, carbon fiber bars are an absolute MUST for any road or gravel bike. I’ve run Easton, fsa and 3ttt and the difference in comfort is noticeable and definitely worth it. It was especially true a dozen years ago, with 105psi 23c tires- and still today riding 60psi 28c tires or at 40 psi 35c tires.

by Weenie


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