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Old 10-03-07, 06:31 AM   #1
CdCf
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Drop bars rated for offroad use?

Are there any drop bars specifically designed for offroad use? I wouldn't trust the super-thin aluminium in my bars for anything more than the occasional pothole. Since people ride with drop bars on CX bikes, I assume there must be some bars designed for the purpose. How do I find these specific models?
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Old 10-03-07, 07:05 AM   #2
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On-One Midge bars
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Old 10-03-07, 07:09 AM   #3
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Maybe take a look at some cross bikes and see what bars are used by the manufacturers?
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Old 10-03-07, 07:23 AM   #4
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WTB Dirt drop
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Old 10-03-07, 08:55 AM   #5
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Ever see how a pro leverages his bars in a sprint? You'd be surprised how strong a quality set of drops are.

That said, as others have pointed out there are bars designed for the CX crowd. Not necessarily made any stronger but the drops, reach and flair are more appropriate for off-road use.

I have On-One Midges, really nice.
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Old 10-03-07, 11:58 AM   #6
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Ever see how a pro leverages his bars in a sprint? You'd be surprised how strong a quality set of drops are.
The alu is barely a millimetre thick. I don't think I'd trust anything less than 2-3 mm of high-grade steel. I doubt a regular one would hold up to even a single one-foot drop. That's an incredible amount of force compared to the forces in a sprint, assuming you put most of your body weight onto the bar.

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but the drops, reach and flair are more appropriate for off-road use.
Please elaborate.
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Old 10-03-07, 12:02 PM   #7
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Maybe take a look at some cross bikes and see what bars are used by the manufacturers?
I don't trust them to be speced to do the real job, just look the part. That's the norm for most bikes, sadly.
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Old 10-03-07, 02:12 PM   #8
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The alu is barely a millimetre thick. I don't think I'd trust anything less than 2-3 mm of high-grade steel.
What? You would only trust drops made of 2mm thick steel? That's crazy and I doubt there's such a bar made anyway.

Cyclocross riders use all different kinds of drops from ritchey biomax to nitto randoneer, neither of which are specifically made for offroad, and they hold up. Just don't buy the super lightweight bars. Specific dirt drops have already been mentioned.
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Old 10-03-07, 02:14 PM   #9
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If you believe Grant Peterson., any of Nitto's bars are strong enough for off-roading.
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Old 10-03-07, 06:40 PM   #10
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The straight or riser bars provided as OEM on high-line MTB's are Al or carbon and are no have no thicker walls than road bars and they take the type of abuse you describe. If they are strong enough, normal (not ultralight) road bars should be also.
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Old 10-03-07, 06:50 PM   #11
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Cdcf, this really doesn't help you determine which bars to get, but every time I see a thread on this subject I like to post a pic of John Tomac downhill racing in 1990 with drop bars. The guy wasn't just insane, but insanely good:


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Old 10-04-07, 12:30 AM   #12
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Cyclocross riders use all different kinds of drops from ritchey biomax to nitto randoneer, neither of which are specifically made for offroad, and they hold up. Just don't buy the super lightweight bars. Specific dirt drops have already been mentioned.
Maybe they do, but how often to the bars fail? And how often do they replace them to prevent disaster?
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Old 10-04-07, 09:41 AM   #13
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Maybe they do, but how often to the bars fail? And how often do they replace them to prevent disaster?
I don't know, maybe we can consult the great big failed bars database that doesn't exist.

Everyone's told you the score, if you want to go ahead and be paranoid about it and have 3mm thick steel bars, feel free.
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Old 10-04-07, 09:56 AM   #14
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How many stories have you heard anywhere, ever about bars failing? The other thing you could do is go to the cyclocross forum and ask the crossers. They'll know. If, however, you've already made your mind up, you could just go and hew some bars from solid steel and use those.
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Old 10-04-07, 10:35 AM   #15
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Ok, so what then is a light-weight bar? The three drop bars I have on my bikes are ~250, ~260 and ~310 g. Sounds ridiculously light to me, but maybe it's not?
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Old 10-04-07, 11:01 AM   #16
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Weight isn't necessarily a measure of relative strength. IN fact it absolutely isn't considering different materials have different properties and so does how those materials are used. By light-weight what we mean is bars marketed specifically as ultralight because those are going to have the thinnest walls. If actual weight indicates something to you then maybe find out how much say, a salsa bell lap bar weighs in comparision to a same sized drop that isn't specifically designed for cx like the bell lap is. Maybe that will have some meaning for you and the bell lap can be a guide.
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Old 10-04-07, 04:22 PM   #17
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Hmm, the Bell Lap seems to weigh in at ~280 g for 46 cm. Pretty close to the ones I have. I still can't understand how a light road handlebar can be used for hard offroad riding. That either means that the bar is horribly overweight for road use or dangerously light for offroad use. Or something in between.
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Old 10-04-07, 04:44 PM   #18
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Hmm, the Bell Lap seems to weigh in at ~280 g for 46 cm. Pretty close to the ones I have. I still can't understand how a light road handlebar can be used for hard offroad riding. That either means that the bar is horribly overweight for road use or dangerously light for offroad use. Or something in between.
What it means is that at the rigidity required by the end user the strength is a given. The bar mfrs. could make it lighter, with the right material, but we'd all complain about 'rubber' handlebars. Quit being a wussy and mount up some drops!

If you want to be all theoretical about it and all, the hits on dirt are not as sharp as those on the road due to softer tires/surfaces, as compared to 100+ psi road tires on cobblestones.

Later

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Old 10-04-07, 05:01 PM   #19
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How many stories have you heard anywhere, ever about bars failing? The other thing you could do is go to the cyclocross forum and ask the crossers. They'll know. If, however, you've already made your mind up, you could just go and hew some bars from solid steel and use those.
This.

And what kind of riding will you be doing that would warrant such an extreme design (2mm steel?). If you are just going for some light single track or CX, I think any non-ultralight bar would do.

If you are going for something more extreme that that, well, you shouldn't be riding drops in the first place.
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Old 10-04-07, 05:09 PM   #20
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If you are going for something more extreme that that, well, you shouldn't be riding drops in the first place.
Refer to the pic of Tomac downhill racing on a rigid mtb.
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Old 10-04-07, 06:10 PM   #21
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FWIW, I've got an Easton EC70 flat mtb handlebar on one of my bikes, it weighs a claimed 125 grams. That's extremely light for a handlebar. It's got thousands of hard, off road miles on it. The Easton EC90 flat bar weighs a claimed 98 grams. That's almost unbelievably light. These weights are from a few years ago, I have no idea if they're still current, or if they even still sell the bars under these names.

Obviously, it takes more material to make a drop-style handlebar than a flat bar, because of the difference in shape, so weight comparisons between the two are meaningless. But just for the sake of information, it might be worth contacting Easton with a few questions. Do EC90 mtb bars and road bars have the same wall thickness in the tubes? Same question for the EC 70 bars? Same question for their various aluminum bars? Will one type be expected to fail, in off road conditions, before the other because of the different shape, etc.? I have no idea. Maybe ask Easton (or some other handlebar manufacturer) these questions, it would be interesting to see what they say-

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Old 10-04-07, 07:06 PM   #22
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FWIW, I've got an Easton EC70 flat mtb handlebar on one of my bikes, it weighs a claimed 125 grams. That's extremely light for a handlebar. It's got thousands of hard, off road miles on it. The Easton EC90 flat bar weighs a claimed 98 grams. That's almost unbelievably light......
Obviously, it takes more material to make a drop-style handlebar than a flat bar, because of the difference in shape, so weight comparisons between the two are meaningless.
Well, one thing is that flat bars are typically wider than road bars. The widest road bar I know of is 46 cm (~18") while off-road bars are usually significantly wider at 21" or 22". So, the leverage on a flat bar is even higher than on a road bar and the weights you quote imply flat bars are made of tubing at least as thin walled as road bars.
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Old 10-04-07, 09:24 PM   #23
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I can't believe nobody's said it yet -
Strong, light, cheap - pick two
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Old 10-05-07, 01:35 PM   #24
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I can't believe nobody's said it yet -
Strong, light, cheap - pick two
Hell yes, the Bontrager headsets.

I have a question...

Because road bikes and CX bikes have shorter frames (so when pedalling your foot passes very close to the front wheel) because of the fact that road bars lean you forward, would this not make you have to lean aggressively forward on a MTB frame? Like, right over the headset? MTB frames aren't made for use with drops.
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Old 10-05-07, 01:49 PM   #25
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Hell yes, the Bontrager headsets.

I have a question...

Because road bikes and CX bikes have shorter frames (so when pedalling your foot passes very close to the front wheel) because of the fact that road bars lean you forward, would this not make you have to lean aggressively forward on a MTB frame? Like, right over the headset? MTB frames aren't made for use with drops.
Huh? Road bars don't lean you forward, bike setup leans you forward. Mtbs are built sturdier than road bikes but you think a mtb can't take pressure in front of the headset? Huh?

Drops are just handlebars, you don't have to have a special bike to use them.
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