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Hello all
I am looking for some advice and feedback on Carbon bars. I need a size 46 center to center and the only 2 comanies that I can find that produce this side is Kestrel and Bontrager, Currently I am using Ritchey aluminum and find these bars flimsy. I am about 6'"3" 270 . Will carbon work for me? and is there a big difference between carbon and aluminum? Any advice or tips would be greatly Appreciated. Thanks in advance.
 

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It seems like you should be able to find a strong aluminum bar that would work. It might be a bit heavier....

If you really think a CF bar is necessary, these models are also available in the 46cm width.

Deda Elementi Spectrum Wing

Zipp Contour (B2 Handlebar)
 

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i would say go for aluminum. all aluminum bars are not created equal- you should be able to find some very nice, suitable geometry aluminum bars that will work well for ya.
i am not sure about their widths, but i would recommend easton's EA70 bars if they fit. they definitely aren't flimsy, but they are high-performance. Plus, if you ever crash, you wont have to unwrap the bars and spend a long time searching for cracks- same reason many pro riders are hesitant about carbon components. (note discovery using the dura-ace seat post instead of a xxx lite)
 

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I switched to carbon bars and noticed a huge difference. I was using TTT Prima 220 on one bike and newer TTT Prima 200 (or 199 or whatever the number is) on the other. My wife got me an Easton bar for Christmas. I put it on my bike and the difference was very noticable. It is much stiffer.

I admit that the TTT probably isn't the stoutest aluminium bar, so maybe you can find an aluminium bar that works better for you, but you won't regret a carbon one.

I ran out a week later and bought another one for my other bike.

Anyone want a pair of used TTT bars cheap?
 

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Anti carbon...

pmf said:
I switched to carbon bars and noticed a huge difference. I was using TTT Prima 220 on one bike and newer TTT Prima 200 (or 199 or whatever the number is) on the other. My wife got me an Easton bar for Christmas. I put it on my bike and the difference was very noticable. It is much stiffer.

I admit that the TTT probably isn't the stoutest aluminium bar, so maybe you can find an aluminium bar that works better for you, but you won't regret a carbon one.

I ran out a week later and bought another one for my other bike.

Anyone want a pair of used TTT bars cheap?
I'd have to go the opposite way of what you said.

I don't like the carbon bars. Some of them are stiff, and they're nice stuff, but they have their drawbacks in my opinion (TTT is a noodle I think).

1. Cost. For an aluminum bar that is just as stiff, and just as light, the cost is about a 1/4 of what a carbon bar would be.

2. Ease of replacement. You crash, and maybe break your bar. Replacing is much cheaper, and you can get a lot of crashes out of aluminum bars, but I crashed the one carbon bar I had, and it cracked on first impact. Replaced with, yep, AL.

3. The oversized AL bars are nice, and super stiff.

I still like the old AL bars for the price and for the stiffness factor. And, the only bars I've ever seen personally break in a race, were carbon bars. Not saying it happens a lot, but over the course of the last few years, I've seen probably 5-10 carbon bars that broke.
 

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magnolialover said:
Not saying it happens a lot, but over the course of the last few years, I've seen probably 5-10 carbon bars that broke.
Aluminum will certainly fail, but when CF fails, it fails catastrophically.
The word most commonly used when describing a broken aluminum bar: "cracked."
The word most commonly used when describing a broken CF bar: "shattered."
 

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Will carbon bars work for you? Yep, if you want to pay for them. I think carbon bars are really nice; however, when I compare with aluminum offerings, it seems as though I'd pay a lot of money for no noticeable weight savings. And that's before the durability factor. This is, of course, just my opinion.
 

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fixintogo said:
Aluminum will certainly fail, but when CF fails, it fails catastrophically.
The word most commonly used when describing a broken aluminum bar: "cracked."
The word most commonly used when describing a broken CF bar: "shattered."
That's the most ridiculous thing I ever heard. Shattered. Yeah right.
 

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I would echo the comment about not all aluminum bars/stems being equal. Some are stiff, some are light, and some are neither. I had ITM Millenium bar and stem combo and found these pretty flexy. Granted, I think it had more to do with the 2-bolt stem than the bars, but fast descents were not confidence inspiring. I'm not a big dood either. I decided to try 3T 4GXL bar and stem. A little heavier on paper, but they are much stiffer. Very noticeable. You could go carbon, but why bother?
 

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Don't get me wrong...

fixintogo said:
Aluminum will certainly fail, but when CF fails, it fails catastrophically.
The word most commonly used when describing a broken aluminum bar: "cracked."
The word most commonly used when describing a broken CF bar: "shattered."
DOn't get me wrong, I know aluminum bars fail as well.

I've just seen only busted up carbon bars in the last few years.
 

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Blah! Blah! Blah! said:
Hello all
I am looking for some advice and feedback on Carbon bars. I need a size 46 center to center and the only 2 comanies that I can find that produce this side is Kestrel and Bontrager, Currently I am using Ritchey aluminum and find these bars flimsy. I am about 6'"3" 270 . Will carbon work for me? and is there a big difference between carbon and aluminum? Any advice or tips would be greatly Appreciated. Thanks in advance.
If you value comfort over ergo looks, go with Rivendell Noodle bars. These are nice and stout and extremely comfortable. They aren't the lightest bars on the planet, but guys in our weight-range (I'm 250lb @ 6'6") really shouldn't be weight weenies.

http://www.rivendellbicycles.com/html/parts_noodlebar.html

And yes, carbon fiber is much more likely to fail catastrophically than is aluminum. Especially when huge brutes like you and me are involved in a crash.

Good luck!

- FBB
 

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Carbon vrs Aluminum failure modes.

Seeing everyone mention how carbon "shatters" or fails without warning vrs the more forgiving aluminlum failure mode reminds me of the days when the industry was switching from steel to aluminum.

Everyone was then saying the same things about aluminum "failing without warning" vrs steel bending first. You can still find examples of this at the Rivendell website.

My point it that you have to understand the strengths and weaknesses and failure mode of the parts you are using. If you do this everything will work out for you. If you ignore this it doesn't really matter what material you use, you are going to have problems.

Steel is fine, aluminum is fine, carbon fiber is fine, titanium is fine, magnesium is fine. For that matter, bamboo is fine.

Ride your bike.
Pay attention to what you are doing.
Things will be fine.
MB1
Rivendell riding fool.
 

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One might paraphrase your statements as:

"If you're gonna be a weight-weenie, do your homework first."

That said, new technologies, in the wrong hands, can be very scary. I remember a friend's Spinergy wheels delaminating at 30+ mph. He still has scars. But I also remember snapping an aluminum Gipeme crankarm in a pack sprint in 1985 (Ow! It still hurts when I think about it). A different friend rode a titanium atb with a rigid fork in which the blades were butt-welded to a horizontal "crown" tube at a 45 degree angle. Could you figure out a joint design which was MORE likely to fail?! The weld came apart at speed, causing a crash that was even nastier than that caused by the bad spinergies. I remember looking at "Nuke Proof" hubs in the early 90s and seeing the carbon fiber right up against the aluminum. When I spoke to a Nuke Proof rep about the inevitable galvanic reaction at the junction, he told me they used a "special" epoxy to prevent it. OY!!! Misinformation abounds and leads to really bad designs.

Another good example of poor composite design that persists to this day is unpainted carbon fiber. CF degrades in ultraviolet light, which means it degrades in sunlight. Many companies have figured this out - they paint the CF parts or lay up a layer of black fiberglass on top of the CF. But other companies still think carbon looks cool, so they leave it naked on the top layer.

There are a lot of good, solid, reliable composite frames and components out there. But there are still some scary bad carbon bits out there as well. If you cannot tell the difference, or you don't have a trusted advisor whom you KNOW can tell the difference, stick with something with a longer track record, like aluminum.

So, I suppose my advice to MOST (but not all) is "Go with proven technology." Thirty years ago that might have meant steel over aluminum. Nowadays, it might mean metal over composites. Twenty years from now, when K-Mart is selling composite bikes, it might mean composites over dark matter.

Good luck!

- FBB
 

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That pretty much says it all.

fbagatelleblack said:
One might paraphrase your statements as:

"If you're gonna be a weight-weenie, do your homework first."

Good luck!

- FBB
MB1
Lucky fool.
 

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pmf said:
Anyone want a pair of used TTT bars cheap?
Maybe. What size are they?
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Aluminum it is!

Thank you to everyone whe responded, It looks like I will be looking for a stiff Aluminum bar. At this point aluminum has more advantages for me. I think I will start with Rivendell.
Again thanks for your responses. This was my first post.
 

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carbon bars

One issue I did not see addressed was the option of clip on aero bars. I have heard that this is a problem with carbon. Anyone have any experience here?
 

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elindemann said:
One issue I did not see addressed was the option of clip on aero bars. I have heard that this is a problem with carbon. Anyone have any experience here?
I don't have any experience with clip on bars and carbon drops, but I can tell you that, if done wrong, this could cause some real problems.

Take a standard piece of 12K unidirectional carbon - which is to say, a piece of carbon fiber "tape" with 12,000 strands of carbon all oriented in the same direction, lengthwise along the length of the tape. Now carefully attach that piece of carbon tape to something weighing several hundred pounds and gradually pull up on the tape. You can lift that weight off the ground!!!

Take the same piece of carbon tape, notch it with your fingernail, and try to tear it horizontally at the notch. You can tear it apart with just your hand strength!!

All of this is to say that carbon fiber is very strong in tension and really weak in "shear" or "abrasion." So, if your clip-ons have a sharp-edged piece of metal pressing up against the carbon, flexing and "digging in" over time, you could definitely start a failure over time. Once the failure got significant, the bar would probably go all at once.

You could solve this problem with good design of your clip-on hardware or by covering the bar with fiberglass or Kevlar at the junction point of the bar and the clip-on. I'm sure that knowledgeable, quality-oriented companies do this, but I'm not at all sure that "Joe's Discount Carbon Handlebar Factory" understands the problem enough to design around it.

Good luck!

- FBB
 

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fbagatelleblack said:
One might paraphrase your statements as:

"If you're gonna be a weight-weenie, do your homework first."
Well, you don't have to be a weight weenie to look carefully at your kit. And in a similar vein, just because something is light doesn't mean that it's a failure waiting to happen.

fbagatelleblack said:
That said, new technologies, in the wrong hands, can be very scary. I remember a friend's Spinergy wheels delaminating at 30+ mph. He still has scars. But I also remember snapping an aluminum Gipeme crankarm in a pack sprint in 1985 (Ow! It still hurts when I think about it). A different friend rode a titanium atb with a rigid fork in which the blades were butt-welded to a horizontal "crown" tube at a 45 degree angle. Could you figure out a joint design which was MORE likely to fail?! The weld came apart at speed, causing a crash that was even nastier than that caused by the bad spinergies. I remember looking at "Nuke Proof" hubs in the early 90s and seeing the carbon fiber right up against the aluminum. When I spoke to a Nuke Proof rep about the inevitable galvanic reaction at the junction, he told me they used a "special" epoxy to prevent it. OY!!! Misinformation abounds and leads to really bad designs.
When CF first came on the scene, there were problems, but today the problems are much fewer and farther between. In fact, the state of the art is quite high, and for examples you can look to Parlee, Carbon Sports (Lightweight Wheels), THM Carbone (Clavicula cranks w/ CF BB axle), Easton, Reynolds, Look, Time, Stronglight....and so on. There are always going to be manufacturers that use a given material without really understanding it. That's true for Ti, steel, Al, CF, Mg, or whatever. The CF market is dominated, now, by competent products. Note that competent doesn't necessarily mean pretty or lightweight.

fbagatelleblack said:
Another good example of poor composite design that persists to this day is unpainted carbon fiber. CF degrades in ultraviolet light, which means it degrades in sunlight. Many companies have figured this out - they paint the CF parts or lay up a layer of black fiberglass on top of the CF. But other companies still think carbon looks cool, so they leave it naked on the top layer.
This presumes that CF manufacturers don't know this or that clear coat manufacturers are unable to put a UV filter in their clear coats. This isn't the case. Again, if you get a clear coated CF frame from a competent maker, then you don't have too many worries.

fbagatelleblack said:
There are a lot of good, solid, reliable composite frames and components out there. But there are still some scary bad carbon bits out there as well. If you cannot tell the difference, or you don't have a trusted advisor whom you KNOW can tell the difference, stick with something with a longer track record, like aluminum.
The case is the same with any other material: there are scary bad bits out there. That's why a buyer has to use their head and not buy into marketing speak. If you don't think there are scary Al bits or steel bits out there, then find on of those Al or steel frames whose tubes you can pinch w/ your fingers. The industry track record with CF is quite long now, long enough that any extra track time that Al has is insignificant.

fbagatelleblack said:
So, I suppose my advice to MOST (but not all) is "Go with proven technology." Thirty years ago that might have meant steel over aluminum. Nowadays, it might mean metal over composites. Twenty years from now, when K-Mart is selling composite bikes, it might mean composites over dark matter.
Unfortunately, proven technology has little to do with how well someone manufactures a given part. CF has been around long enough that it's well proven, but that doesn't mean CF manufacturers design and build appropriately. The same is true for Al, steel, Ti, or whatever.
 

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I agree with pretty much everything you say, and I don't find anything that really conflicts with my previous post.

I'd like to find out more about clear coats with UV filtration. They could come in handy for me.

Thanks,

Forbes
 
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