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Gentleman Loser
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
My apologies for the redundancy of this message.

If your carbon handlebar is more than a couple of years old, or has recently taken a serious beating, it may be time to replace it.

Mine busted last night, as I pulled up to roll a log pile. There was no indication of weakening before it let go.

From the photo, one can infer that the bar was scored by my brake lever clamp.

I'm ok. Very scary, though.
 

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Lever installation tips

It's a good idea to take a small round file and file a chamfer around the inside and outside edge of your brake lever and shift lever. File the corners off the split clamp corners and slot of the same. A sharp corner can put a stress riser into any carbon or alloy bar. File off sharp corners on the stem too and follow the manufacturer's recommended torque settings.

Tighten the shift levers only tight enough so they do not move under a panic shift. Tighten the brake levers to the point where if they take a hit, the lever will move.

Follow these and have confidence in any bar - provided that it is made by a reputable maker.
 

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Gentleman Loser
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
ssmike said:
Lever installation tips

It's a good idea to take a small round file and file a chamfer around the inside and outside edge of your brake lever and shift lever. File the corners off the split clamp corners and slot of the same. A sharp corner can put a stress riser into any carbon or alloy bar. File off sharp corners on the stem too and follow the manufacturer's recommended torque settings.

Tighten the shift levers only tight enough so they do not move under a panic shift. Tighten the brake levers to the point where if they take a hit, the lever will move.

Follow these and have confidence in any bar - provided that it is made by a reputable maker.
Right on. I have been in the practice of tightening the clamps as you suggested. However, I have never chamfered the clamp edges.

My personal decision is to go back to more burly aluminum bars, though!
 

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Complete Bastard
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2,282 Posts
If you tighten your brake levers and shifters with a torque wrench to the specs indicated on the bar (FSA) you'll find it's not very tight in comparison to how people normally crank them down on an aluminum bar. VERY light, in fact. Exceeding these is what causes failure and it's pretty common for people to overtighten stuff this clamp. Use a torque wrench, if you can.
 

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outdoor miner
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5,516 Posts
just say no to carbon

trbogti said:
Every time I get mentally ready to buy a carbon bar I hear another story about them breaking. The question is, would you guys buy them again if you had the chance?
I've used various carbon parts on windsurfers, and having experienced several failures, there is no way I would use a carbon handlebar.

It is really strong, until...bang!

The mix of carbon and kevlar is a lot less scary, at least it hangs together when it fails.
 

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Trail Rider
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I use only Ti bars

leximog said:
I've used various carbon parts on windsurfers, and having experienced several failures, there is no way I would use a carbon handlebar.

It is really strong, until...bang!

The mix of carbon and kevlar is a lot less scary, at least it hangs together when it fails.
I've got an Ibis Ti bar on one of my bikes that has been in use since the mid 90's. My Tracer has a wider Litespeed bar also with a bulged center. I've seen some Ti riser bars also, but I use only flat bars. I stopped buying aluminum bars because I felt I had to replace them every other year to be on the safe side. I would never buy a carbon bar either.
 

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"Ride Lots" - Eddie Mercx
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1,317 Posts
I bought my carbon bar

trbogti said:
Every time I get mentally ready to buy a carbon bar I hear another story about them breaking. The question is, would you guys buy them again if you had the chance?
to replace two different aluminum bars that broke (both Easton). My carbon bar has performed flawlessly in three plus years. I have a new one ready to put on only because it's about that time.

most of the failures are due to overtightening of brake or shifter clamps or having a sharp edge on anything that attaches to the bar which results in a stress riser in the bar. those that use carbon bars should be taking their parts off periodically to see if anything is scratching the carbon which could ultimately result in failure.

Of course, taking a big crash can result in a simliar failure sometime in teh future so bars should be inspected after a big hit too.

As has been mentioned before though, the problem with carbon fiber is that when it goes, it just goes. there's no indication like with aluminum. Aluminum may start to bend and then slowly crack but it won't just shatter like Carbon.

I"m happy with my carbon bar though and I'm going to put the new one on today.

YR
 

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As a follow up to my post above and to the others who "say no to carbon," I'm running E a s t o n carbon bars (one Monkey Lite SL, two Monkey Lite XC's and one Monkey Lite DH) on four of my bikes (including a tandem) with zero issues/problems/concerns. The oldest is probably 3 years old.
 

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Gentleman Loser
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
ssmike said:
As a follow up to my post above and to the others who "say no to carbon," I'm running E a s t o n carbon bars (one Monkey Lite SL, two Monkey Lite XC's and one Monkey Lite DH) on four of my bikes (including a tandem) with zero issues/problems/concerns. The oldest is probably 3 years old.
Yup, and I've been running carbon bars for about six years now, replacing my bars on two or three year intervals.

They're strong and firm, as another person mentioned, until they break. The real problem, I think, is that they snap (CRACK!) instead of bending and breaking.
 

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I love Pisgah
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Yup. Been running 2 Easto ns, Answe r 1 Pro Taper, and 1 Max M over the last 2+yrs. That covers many races, 2 broken collarbones from crashes, and tons of epics(been on a vacation for over a year). No problems.
 

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outdoor miner
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5,516 Posts
now there is a handlebar material...

Quattro said:
I've got an Ibis Ti bar on one of my bikes that has been in use since the mid 90's. My Tracer has a wider Litespeed bar also with a bulged center. I've seen some Ti riser bars also, but I use only flat bars. I stopped buying aluminum bars because I felt I had to replace them every other year to be on the safe side. I would never buy a carbon bar either.
I have a cro-mo bar on my beater, that thing has been to hell and back, a couple of times, and enjoyed the trip. Heavy though, I suppose.

My wife's bike has a Ti bar, I'd never thought of it for a handlebar, but that was on the bike when we brought it. I rode it a couple of times and really liked the feel, sort of "damped". She has weaker wrists than me, so I'm leaving it on there for her.

Of all the bits on her bike, that is the one I'm most tempted to swipe :D
 

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so, whats the real deal with carbon bars? is it worthy to save 20/40grams and be worried about this kind of things? i dont think so.. i used to ride a easton ct2 carbon flat bar but that thing never inspired any confidence on me. sold it and got a wider and almost as light bontrager race lite. perfect for me. if i had the $$ i would buy a seven or moots ti bar and forget about it.
 

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The final fix

I've filed down the sharp edges of the brake levers, the edges that go around the bar and at 90 degress the two edges that meet to close the circle.

As a final touch put one layer of electrical tape around the bar so the lever doesn't touch the bar at all. Now the levers are tight enough but still can rotate during a crash without scratching the bar.
 

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dirtbag
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Hmm...

I've been running an Easton flat carbon bar on one of my rides for about 3 years now with no problems (yet). I wonder what the fatigue life is for carbon bars, I've had a couple crashes on it.
 

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Something about my Easton MonkeyLite XC bars that just feels good. Not sure if it's the perfect rise, sweep, etc., but they have a very nice feel to them. Something I can't say about my aluminum bars on my other ride.
 
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