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Old 12-19-03, 01:39 PM   #1
Avalanche325
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Handlebar lifespan

This was brought up on another thread.

I know that metal fatigues. And handlebars actually can take quite a bit of abuse. But, do they really need regulay replacement?

My MTB has an aluminum flat bar, Kore Litebar, that is about 6 tears old. I ride cross country and mountain fire roads. No hucking except for getting some air coming down the fire roads. This can be at 35+MPH and 2-4ft in the air. I am a 200 lb rider.

I went to my LBS to look at a new handlebar. Mentioned that I was just replacing it because it was old. The guy looked at me like I said that my head was going to fall off. So, I didn't change them.

Am I OK? Or, am I setting myself up to chew on my stem?
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Old 12-19-03, 02:00 PM   #2
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I think you are fine, i think the issue is with carbon bars. if it makes you feel better change them.
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Old 12-19-03, 08:49 PM   #3
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I think this: Snapped bars? was just a freak accident. I got a friend who's been riding the same bike for like 10 years no probs.
I guess its also a matter of how much force is taken by your arms vs knees when landing.
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Old 12-19-03, 09:05 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djbowen1
I think you are fine, i think the issue is with carbon bars. if it makes you feel better change them.
If anything, carbon has a much higher fatigue life than metals. Barring scratches and high-speed impact/crashes, a carbon bar that's inspected often for signs of cracks and/or delamination should last as long as a bar of any other material. I've got a 5 year-old Easton CT2 flatbar on my MTB that's seen plenty of crashes and it shows no sign of trauma. One trick I use to check my CF components and frames is to establish some probe points and use a very sensitive ohmeter to check the resistance across multiple points. I keep track of these and if there's a change, I inspect the area for damage. CF will change resistivity when fibres break. This of course isn't a foolproof method but it can be used as a quick sentinel to trigger more thorough examination. Also, cleaning CF is always a good idea to make it easier to detect damage. Note that you can't probe directly on the surface of most CF, you need to do it at the edges. Actually I use metal inserted parts (dropouts, BB shell insert, seat-tube insert, head-tube insert, water-bottle mount holes, etc) as my measurement points for the frame. For the bars, I take off handlebar plugs and go end-to-end.
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Old 12-20-03, 12:55 AM   #5
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Most of the ultralight AL bars can weaken over time and some of those manufactures recommend replacing them every 2 years. As far as CF is concerned I had a friend that had a Look bar (on a road bike) that splintered while climbing a steep grade and my bike shop mechanic friend seen similar situtions-BUT only maybe 2 since they started selling them about 5 years ago; he has also seen CF forks break enough that he will not ride on them!

But to answer your question, read your manufactures info on that bar or contact them on the web to find out if they recommend a certain period of time before replacement. If you stay away from the super light stuff you should be fine.
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Old 12-20-03, 02:54 PM   #6
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I think bar breakage is related to the types of stems and the installation of your components. Obviously if you over tighten brake levers, shift levers and bar ends your likely to increase the odds of breakage. Check Eastons website, I saw pictures of the stresses various stems put on bars. It will give you insight on what I'm talking about.

Check your bars to see they're 'sagging'. If they arent and there's no squeeking, they should be OK.
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Old 12-20-03, 04:46 PM   #7
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Hi,
or you could get a Ti handlebar and fagettaboutit
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Old 12-20-03, 06:00 PM   #8
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every 2 years for aluminum bars is a good, safe bet. I replace ultralight bars every year. 200gram bars are NOT designed to last! They are designed to be lightweight for the highest performance.
Just as a Formula 1 car engine will not last past 1 race, you need to consider the weight/durability tradeoff when buying ultralight parts.

Aluminum will NOT sag or so any signs of age. It will simply snap off.

Heavyweight bars will, of course, last much longer.

Full carbon has both light weight and durability- as long as you don't damage it or deep scratch it
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Old 12-30-03, 10:23 AM   #9
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Light weight = short life , how short depends on the rider : can´t imagine Eric Zabel using the same bar all the way through the tour de France for example .
If your heavy and ride like a maniac then the life will be short , doubly so on the dirt .
If it´s not too expensive then it´s worth changing just for your peace of mind ( asked in the bike shop this morning , Dani said 2 years was a good safety margin on a light mtb bar ) and anyway a new bar is cheaper than new teeth .
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Old 12-30-03, 11:18 AM   #10
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I had some purple anodized bars from the early/mid 90's and they lasted 2 rides - they got an S bend in them about 1" from the stem, no snapping - they were alum. and weighed 110 grams, too light too weak (the brand was Caloi I think). I had Scott Light Flight - they twisted (intigrated bar ends) after 6 months. I had Easton carbon flat bars - one head on colision and they shattered - I rode them for 1.5 years before that. Ti, no ti bars, but I've had 2 ti posts - both Litespeed, one lasted 3 years or so and bent - the second about 6 months then sheared off - other than frames, no more ti for me. I now run DH risers on my CC bike - light enough and I'm sure they won't break (for CC duty).
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Old 12-30-03, 04:21 PM   #11
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Thanks for the advice. I will probably go ahead and change them since they are not too much $$$.
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