My shoulders get very sore after I've been riding for a while; this starts when I've been in the saddle for 2 or 3 hours, and gets worse as time goes on. Stopping for a break can help, but the soreness comes back in a few minutes when I get back on the bike. I feel like I'm Frankenstein, and the pin holding my arm into my shoulder is rusty and falling out.
This happened faster than normal on a weekend ride on a dirt and gravel trail. A friend (offline) suggested that it's probably from the bumpiness, and pointed out that most of our roads aren't smooth, but suggested that it takes longer to get sore on the road because they're in much better shape than the trail. He thinks carbon bars would be a big help. I'm skeptical, but if it works, I'd be happy; this is what's holding me back from century and longer rides. (I know one of the reasons photographers like CF tripods is their vibration dampening power.)
So, my first question is for people who've switched from aluminum to carbon fiber bars at some point: does it smooth out the ride much? Are you more comfortable with them, particularly in the shoulders? Or will I already be shaking things up enough with an alu fork, stem, etc, for it not to matter? I've already got gel under my tape...
And my next question is about buying them used. I've seen them used on Craigslist for as little as $85, but I know carbon fiber can have structural problems and look fine. I emailed local somebody about a pair and got this reply: "these are 44's and both sides have have chips at the ends where the end caps go. I switched to a more compact design but other then the ends I think they are structurally sound" Would a bang at the end compromise the whole bar, or if there was a problem, could it be localized at the ends?
I'm asking about drop bars, by the way.