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I am wondering if anyone has had any issues with handlebars breaking from just plain wearing out. I have an Answer Hyperlite straight bar that has been on the bike for about 4 years. I would like to continue using it but someone said that I should replace it every two years, which to me seems excessive.
 

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Trail Rider
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Jups said:
I am wondering if anyone has had any issues with handlebars breaking from just plain wearing out. I have an Answer Hyperlite straight bar that has been on the bike for about 4 years. I would like to continue using it but someone said that I should replace it every two years, which to me seems excessive.
I used to use aluminum bars and replaced them every two years. I did buy real light bars. Some of my friends have the same bars on for 4 years. I bought a Ti 160 gr. bar and have used it for years(7). It probably depends on how much you ride.
 

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6x7=Dont Panic!
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I wouldnt really worry about it myself. If it is not showing signs of wear then its probably fine. Aluminium should at least bend before it breaks. Ive seen people use carbon bars for longer than youve used that thing.
 

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Simple, use the formula

Jups said:
I am wondering if anyone has had any issues with handlebars breaking from just plain wearing out. I have an Answer Hyperlite straight bar that has been on the bike for about 4 years. I would like to continue using it but someone said that I should replace it every two years, which to me seems excessive.
For aluminum bars there is a simple formula

First you take the weight of the bar in grams......and divide that by the weight of the rider in pounds......
So a 160 gram bar divided by a 140 pound rider....gives you 1.14....
Now square that to get approx. 1.30
1.30 is the "bar strength" ratio

OK....now take that 1.30 and divide it by the square root of the "A" factor
The "A" factor is how agressive is your riding style.....
Real Agressive = 2.0 Fairly Agressive = 1.5 Medium Agressive =1.0 and mild = 0.5

So lets say you are a Fairly Agressive rider.....take the square root of 1.5 which is 1.22

OK.....so its 1.30 divided by 1.22 for a data point of 1.065

Now come the distance and use factorials
First we take the 1.065 x 2,500 for a distance factorial of 2664

Then we divide 2,664 by the months you ride squared, times the days per week that you ride squared....
For example, supppose you ride 9 mths a year and 3 days per week.....

Ok thats (9x9) squared = 81 times (times) (3 x3) squared =9
So its 81 x 9 = 729....

Finally you take the 2,664 and divide by the 729 which leaves you with 3.66 years

So you could expect that 160 gram handlebar to safely last a 140 pound "fairly" agressive rider, riding 9 months per year, 3 days per week, about 3.66 years.....
No doubt you could round it off to 4 years and still be safe.

However if your style of riding was to get more agressive or you began to ride year round or 6 days a week.......all the figures could change
Also, as you can see, your own personal weight can greatly affect the outcome of the formula....

As an example I use a special 280 gram aluminum ARC bar and I only weigh 132 pound so my "bar strength" ratio is 4.5 instead of 1.30........
On that factor alone, my bar is going to last me 3.46 times as long as our example bar .....Also add to that my "medium" agression in riding style and I can expect my set of bars to safely last for over 10 years....

So see how your data from use and strength ratios works out......
 

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WWYD?
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My personal horror story

I've never had bars break on me, and I have both carbon and aluminum. BUT, I recently had my three year old stem on my road bike break off while riding. I immediately crashed hard and my helmet saved me from something worse than a broken cheek bone and separated shoulder.

My road bike was involved in a previous crashing at 15 mph into a curb at night and it had bent the fork. I replaced the fork and headset but not the bar or stem. And six months later the stem cracked off with no warning at all. The part was aluminum and was a Diamond back issue so the quality may be suspect but I think the crash had stressed it enough for it to fail.

I think any aluminum part will eventually break when its been stressed. If the part has been slammed hard against a rock or tree, I'd look for a dent or pit and monitor it. Or just replace it because slamming you head on the ground hurts--even with a helmet!

My two cents.
 

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Yummy
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Actually, some aluminum alloys (the 6xxx and 7xxx series) can age harden at room temperature. That means that they get harder and more brittle with time, leading to brittle fracture under stress.

Kn.
 

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age hardenging also doesn't change the fact that aluminum has a pretty severe fatigue rate. if you're on lightweight bars I would recommend every two years. I snapped some carbon bars once, it sucked. now I replace my bars every couple years. I don't buy the expensive lightweight ones anymore either.

btw, nice formula chester, but it all goes for not when you're the one laying on the trail wondering what just happened.
 

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Better safe than real sorry.

As more people go to lighter, thin-walled 7000-series Al bars to save weight (which don't bend quite as much as the 6000-series and are more likely to fail all at once), there will probably be more breakages. Even if they're not used they lose strength over time. Since bars are relatively inexpensive (and are often on sale) I have started to look at them like tires: the cost and trouble of replacing them is more than justified by the safety factor.
 

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Samsonite Tester
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dusty said:
As more people go to lighter, thin-walled 7000-series Al bars to save weight (which don't bend quite as much as the 6000-series and are more likely to fail all at once), there will probably be more breakages. Even if they're not used they lose strength over time. Since bars are relatively inexpensive (and are often on sale) I have started to look at them like tires: the cost and trouble of replacing them is more than justified by the safety factor.
Yep thin walled aluminum snaps. I have changed my XC bars at 2 years for aluminum and 1 year for carbon .

DH I will only ride doublewall aluminum. I'm seriously considering a MX bar for DH. Better safe than sorry.
 

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Since Nineteen Forgotten
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I usually ride cross country on trails with some sections riding thru 1' or 2' ft drops but nothing more. My stem is the forge one piece Race Face kind and I really do stay away from welded stems, just wondering if anybody ever broke a forge stem.

Had a lite alloy handlebar (Controltech) for 2.5 years and found a hairline stress crack by the stem. Swapped it for a new one immediately. So a 2-years lifespan for bars sounds about right.

steve3 said:
Another good question is how long do you guys use stems for? There are tow major types and they're welded and non welded. I would think the non-welded types would last longer.

I have five years on my Titec one piece stem.
 

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Trail Rider
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Actually there are 3 types

steve3 said:
Another good question is how long do you guys use stems for? There are tow major types and they're welded and non welded. I would think the non-welded types would last longer.

I have five years on my Titec one piece stem.
You have the one piece cold forged stems. Then you have the one piece forged CNCd(Thomson), and the welded types. You have to consider weight also. I'll trust a 180 gr. cold forged stem over a 180 gr. forged CNCd type. Usually the welded types are heavier also. A heavy welded type stem might last a long time also. Before the cold forged type stems came out, I used chrome moly welded stems.
 
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