Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Northern Colorado
I also prefer aluminum handlebars for durability, and have not noticed any increase in comfort with carbon fiber bars. I've found that the best way to dampen vibration and make my hands more comfortable, is to put a thin layer of closed-cell foam along the top of my handlebars and all the-way up to the shifters.
I got the idea from those foam inserts that Specialized puts on their new bikes, especially the plush models like the Robaix. I noticed that the foam looked a lot like the stuff that they pack new computer parts in that we get in at work all the time. I shaped and shaved some foam from work to look like a slightly thicker version of the type that Specialized sells, and used double-sided carpet tape to place it on my handlebars. Then, I compressed it down about half-way with my bar tape to make it a bit smaller and firmer. I did not have any problems covering the foam with regular Specialized bar tape.
It feels great, and does a much better job than gel gloves, or carbon handlebars IMO.