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  1. #1
    Elite Rider Hermes's Avatar
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    Experience with Carbon Handlebars

    Does anyone have any on the road experience with carbon handlebars? I want to replace my 42 cm aluminum bars with 44 cm. I am considering both flat and round shapes.
    "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Einstein

  2. #2
    Senior Member jazzy_cyclist's Avatar
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    When I built up my last bike, I decided to try the FSA K-Wing bars. I really like them; very comfortable.

  3. #3
    OnTheRoad or AtTheBeach stonecrd's Avatar
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    I also change from round bars to flat tops. I love the look of the CF bars and of course the weight is nice, the price however is not. I ended up going with the ControlTech Al hydroformed bars. They are close to the same weight as CF bars but substantially cheaper. They don't look as good though. The main driver for me came to dealing with crashes, I don't crash a lot but when I have the bars always take a hit. I did not want to have to untape CF bars and do inspections and I did not want to cough up another $200+ to replace a set from a simple lay down crash. I am happy with the control techs and love the flat tops over the round tops. The FSA K-wings are hot though.
    The problem with the gene pool is that there is no lifeguard and the shallow end is much too large

    2013 Noah RS

  4. #4
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stonecrd View Post
    I also change from round bars to flat tops. I love the look of the CF bars and of course the weight is nice, the price however is not. I ended up going with the ControlTech Al hydroformed bars. They are close to the same weight as CF bars but substantially cheaper. They don't look as good though. The main driver for me came to dealing with crashes, I don't crash a lot but when I have the bars always take a hit. I did not want to have to untape CF bars and do inspections and I did not want to cough up another $200+ to replace a set from a simple lay down crash. I am happy with the control techs and love the flat tops over the round tops. The FSA K-wings are hot though.
    Think this my thought. Accidents do occur and the bars always seem to take a hit. I have enough to think about with regard to C/F/ Forks and seatpost after a knock.
    How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


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  5. #5
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    The best bar I have ever used is the ITM Carbon Wing Shape which is an aluminum with a carbon coating. Light, stiff and just the right ammount of bling. The wing shape top gives a comfy place for the hands. Also sold several years ago under Felt brand. Check scambay if you have the time to wait for the right deal.

  6. #6
    Semper Fidelis
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    I paid around $200.00+ for Easton carbon, had a wreck and even though the bars looked ok they took the hit on the lower end of the drop bar.

    I felt it could have compromised the bars even though I did check them and they seemed ok.
    I just did not wantto take a chance.
    I replaced them with Bontrager xxx lite alumn..
    Not much difference in the weight and a heck of alot cheaper
    "Advantages Must Be Pressed, Disadvantages Must Be Overcome"

  7. #7
    Senior Member
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    I switched from an aluminum Ritchey WCS 42 to this http://www.downtube.com/Deda_Spectru...ectrum_31.html 42 bar and have noticed they are stiffer and they are lighter. The only drawback is the shape of the bar from the tops going towards the cuved part of the bar. Click to enlarge for a better view. Hard to get used to if you like riding on the tops with your hands a bit wider.

    With respect to crashing, etc...This summer I layed the bike down on the non drive side going around 30mph. The brake lever, curved part of the bar and the rear skewer took all the energy. The bars were scratched up but not cracked if that makes sense. I'm sure for every story like mine, there is on saying the opposite. For me the weight and performance are worth it. YMMV.

  8. #8
    Hanging On
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    I was in a bike shop the other day and checked out some of the CF bars they had on display. Good Lord, they are light! But even the aluminum ones are really light compared to mine, which were light when I bought them. As with the other posters, I'd worry about any kind of crash. Aluminum will bend, CF will often fail catastrophically. Fortunately for me, I have a 1" steerer tube and a quill stem that will not accommodate todays bulging bars so I did not feel the allure of the CF bars.

    -soma5

  9. #9
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    I've got S-Works carbon bars on my S-Works Roubaix. They have over 2000 miles on them with no problems, good stiffness, low weight, and lots of comfort. I am, however, very careful and use a torque wrench, which makes on the road adjustments a "no can do".
    Last edited by BSLeVan; 08-24-07 at 06:53 AM.
    Oh I used to be disgusted and now I try to be amused. But since their wings have got rusted, you know, the angels wanna wear my red shoes. But when they told me 'bout their side of the bargain, that's when I knew that I could not refuse. And I won't get any older, now the angels wanna wear my red shoes.

  10. #10
    Elite Rider Hermes's Avatar
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    Thanks for the responses...I am getting the FSA carbon bars.
    "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Einstein

  11. #11
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hermes View Post
    Thanks for the responses...I am getting the FSA carbon bars.
    Know nothing about the bars- BUT I do hope they are better than their Cranksets.

    After sales service not too good

    That FSA click...crap :(
    How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


    Spike Milligan

  12. #12
    Senior Member gpelpel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jazzy_cyclist View Post
    When I built up my last bike, I decided to try the FSA K-Wing bars. I really like them; very comfortable.
    +1.

  13. #13
    Don't Bug Me mantis's Avatar
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    I have ITM K-Sword carbon bars with the matching stem on my Merlin. Paid a fortune for the rig and I really don't like it that much for the simple reason that my hands start to tingle after a short time when I ride on the bar flats. Stiff and it performs well over the ITM aluminum bars I replaced, however.

    I have a FSA K-Force anatomic carbon bars and matching stem on my Look. I like that set-up much better as it is extremely comfortable wherever my hands happen to be and I can easily reach the shift levers when I am in the drops.
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  14. #14
    Peddlin' Around Detroit Motorad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hermes View Post
    Does anyone have any on the road experience with carbon handlebars? I want to replace my 42 cm aluminum bars with 44 cm. I am considering both flat and round shapes.
    Can't say that I've sailed over any carbon handlebars, but I'm getting real good at sailing over aluminum handlebars.

    I'm 63 inches tall (short?), my shoulders measure at 43cm, and the Riv folks recommended 44cm-width for the nitto noodle bars on my bike. Pretty comfortable, and allows a good range of hand positions. I like flat handlebars because they are more responsive for quick turns, but flat bars start getting to my wrists after about 30 minutes, because of limited hand positions.

  15. #15
    Senior Member gear's Avatar
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    About a decade ago I put carbon bars on my MBT, since then I've crashed and basicly slammed down on them quite a few times. I'm not a bit worried about using carbon bars now and have them on my other three bikes (two drops). All my bars are Eastons, the only reason I have for that is I kind of like to stick with things that are working well.

  16. #16
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    Another consideration. The weight difference of most carbon bars isn't really a big margin over aluminum. I think stiffness is the selling point for carbon bars, however, what good does a carbon bar do with an aluminum stem? Just something to consider if you haven't. I honestly don't know if it matters, but, it seems logical to me.

  17. #17
    Small Member maddmaxx's Avatar
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    Good carbon (Easton and who knows who else) is good. Cheap carbon is quality unknown. Use a torque wrench for all fasteners on carbon (the cheap stuff will crack easily). I'm not sure the weight reduction is worth the effort. You are not a heavy rider so that problem will not rear its ugly head.

    My total, 1 damaged while learning how to handle carbon and 2 with hidden cracks near the stem during annual physicals. Now I use lightweight aluminium without failure.

    Suprisingly, the only carbon used on my few customer bikes without failure...............FSA cranksets..................go figure.

    Oh, I do use carbon forks and seatstays on road bikes.

  18. #18
    Elite Rider Hermes's Avatar
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    Well...LBS could not install today so I will reschedule installation for another day. Now, I can think some more about carbon v aluminum and flat v round. Thanks again for comments.
    Last edited by Hermes; 08-22-07 at 07:31 PM.
    "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Einstein

  19. #19
    Senior Member
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    You've already picked a bar, but I have 44cm Easton EC90 Equipe bars on my bike, I really like them. As light or lighter than any AL bar, and very nice vibration absorption. They have a slight D-shape to them, but no real flat area for the hands, still quite comfy.

  20. #20
    Senior Member Terex's Avatar
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    I have FSA K-Wings and stem on my Trek 2300. They do a good job of vibration damping, and if you ride mostly upright, they provide a couple of comfy spots for your hands - but, when riding on the hoods, the transition curve hits right at the base of your palm. Also, if you try riding racer style, hands on hoods or just behind, forearms parallel to ground, the fit doesn't work at all. I've got Ritchey AL bars (stock) on my Scott CR1 SL, and although they beat me up more, they provide more useful surfaces for aggressive riding and maintaining an aerodynamic position. Good luck.
    "It could be anything. Scrap booking, high-stakes poker, or the Santa Fe lifestyle. Just pick a dead-end and chill out 'till you die."

  21. #21
    Semper Fidelis
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    Quote Originally Posted by luv2cruz View Post
    You've already picked a bar, but I have 44cm Easton EC90 Equipe bars on my bike, I really like them. As light or lighter than any AL bar, and very nice vibration absorption. They have a slight D-shape to them, but no real flat area for the hands, still quite comfy.
    +1 same on one of my other road bikes
    "Advantages Must Be Pressed, Disadvantages Must Be Overcome"

  22. #22
    Elite Rider Hermes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Terex View Post
    I have FSA K-Wings and stem on my Trek 2300. They do a good job of vibration damping, and if you ride mostly upright, they provide a couple of comfy spots for your hands - but, when riding on the hoods, the transition curve hits right at the base of your palm. Also, if you try riding racer style, hands on hoods or just behind, forearms parallel to ground, the fit doesn't work at all. I've got Ritchey AL bars (stock) on my Scott CR1 SL, and although they beat me up more, they provide more useful surfaces for aggressive riding and maintaining an aerodynamic position. Good luck.
    This is a great point (as were others I received). I will test ride FSA K-Wings on a Madone to see how comfy they are for me. The objective of the replacement was to open up my chest a little more with wider bars and potentially improve breathing and comfort. It was not necessarily to go carbon or create a significant revenue event for an LBS.
    "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Einstein

  23. #23
    OnTheRoad or AtTheBeach stonecrd's Avatar
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    The controltech bars I am using have dip at the transition curve for your palm so they feel pretty good on the hoods. But you should try different hand positions before buying. I probably ride mostly on the hoods or on the tops with my hands tight to the stem. I primarily use the drops only when I have a head wind.

    The problem with the gene pool is that there is no lifeguard and the shallow end is much too large

    2013 Noah RS

  24. #24
    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    I concur with stonecrd and stapfam. For safety reasons, I plan to stay with aluminum bars for the time being.
    "Early to bed, early to rise. Work like hell, and advertise." -- George Stahlman
    Capo [dschaw'-poe]: 1959 Modell Campagnolo, S/N 40324; 1960 Sieger, S/N 42624
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  25. #25
    OM boy cyclezen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stonecrd View Post
    The controltech bars I am using have dip at the transition curve for your palm so they feel pretty good on the hoods. But you should try different hand positions before buying. I probably ride mostly on the hoods or on the tops with my hands tight to the stem. I primarily use the drops only when I have a head wind.

    Looking at these, and mullin over where I put my hands, the hands never seem to be directly on the 'top' of the flats. I would say a good part of the contact also wraps around behind and down the backside of both the 'flat' and the 'top bend' areas. 'Angle of attach' of my hands being more around 30 deg up from horizontal...
    I'd be concerned about the sharper bend/angle the bar shape has at that rearward end of the 'flat'.

    ** stonecrd, You have any comments on how the 'edge' feels for you? **

    I do like that traditional 'round' drop much better than any ergo bend...
    I've been moving back to the traditional round bend on all my bikes as opportunities for getting a traditional bend bar come up. Right now I still have my Spec Roubaix and a Marin which both need the ergo bars to be swapped out.

    As for 'CF', My Spec. Roubaix came with a 44 CF bar with ergo bends. As ergo goes, this one is at least tolerable. But I don't like 44 (42 feels just right) and the bend at the brake mount is so sharp that finding a good spot for the brakes is an issue. I prefer a lower mount than most, and moving them further down the bend on these bars makes the brake lever location really ungainly both in the drops and on the hoods.
    'CF' comfort? I don;t really feel any difference compared to the ALU bars I have on the other machinas.

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