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Recreational Cyclocross and Gravelbiking This has to be the most physically intense sport ever invented. It's high speed bicycle racing on a short off road course or riding the off pavement rides on gravel like :The Dirty Kanza". We also have a dedicated Racing forum for the Cyclocross Hard Core Racers.

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Old 10-29-07, 05:59 PM   #1
crossthreaded
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Carbon handlebars, are the right for cx?

I have an Easton EC90 handlebar and would like any thoughts on using them on my cross setup for racing. The courses here in Ohio vary in terrain from choppy farm fields to park fields, steep ascents/descents and wooded singletrack. Just in case this makes any difference. Thanks.
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Old 10-29-07, 06:14 PM   #2
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Food for thought: email/call Easton and see what they say. I wondered about emailing them about a wheelset I was interested in (would it still be warrantied if something went wrong in a cx race?). They got back to me fairly quickly w/ an actual human response.

PS. Yes.
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Old 10-29-07, 06:23 PM   #3
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the thing is, crashes in cross are pretty common. sometimes they're not your fault and pretty much unavoidable.

also in the pit section, whether you're swapping bikes or flipping your bike for a quick wheel change stuff can get banged around.

if my bars ever took a hit, even if they held up it would bother me enough to mess with my race i think. there's a lot of irrational fear of cf bits out there but i think post-crash damage is a legit concern.

good luck!

Last edited by dirtyphotons; 10-29-07 at 06:33 PM.
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Old 10-29-07, 07:55 PM   #4
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Not the best idea.


Neither are carbon forks.
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Old 10-29-07, 08:22 PM   #5
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Oh dear ... that fork's on the bike in my kitchen right now. Any details on that break?
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Old 10-29-07, 08:42 PM   #6
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Oh dear ... that fork's on the bike in my kitchen right now. Any details on that break?
It was right after a set of barriers. The fork gave out as he jumped back onto his bike, it looked painful. Face first into the ground. Other rides said the heard it crack earlier in the lap, but nobody is really sure.

I didn't see the handle bars break, but I heard it was also some sort of indecent with the barriers.
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Old 10-30-07, 06:53 AM   #7
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i've got 8 races on ec90sl's. working fine so far...

yes, crashes are common at cross races, but they are usually softer than road crashes.
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Old 10-30-07, 09:02 AM   #8
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I know you already have the bars, but what I found when building my bike was Salsa Bell Lap bars are just as light as most carbon bars and are way way less expensive....
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Old 10-30-07, 10:41 AM   #9
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I'm sure they'll work fine, but I'd personally email Easton first.
That being said, I have this fear of carbon bars and posts, but not of forks. Strange, I know.
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Old 10-30-07, 10:44 AM   #10
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That being said, I have this fear of carbon bars and posts, but not of forks. Strange, I know.
me too. that's because forks don't get clamped down on and scored like bars and posts.
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Old 10-30-07, 01:58 PM   #11
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Likewise, but posts make me particularly nervous in cross because of all the hopping on and off putting weird strains on it.
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Old 10-30-07, 02:53 PM   #12
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I'm sure they'll work fine, but I'd personally email Easton first.
That being said, I have this fear of carbon bars and posts, but not of forks. Strange, I know.
A carbon fork failed hopping over a gully in our season opener, and a carbon seat post failed at a recent local mountain bike race.

Me, I won't touch the stuff.

Last edited by flargle; 10-30-07 at 02:59 PM.
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Old 10-30-07, 04:10 PM   #13
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I guess I still don't trust bars enough yet, but after riding rims, frames, and forks, they have been solid for me.

Numbers wise, I'd say statistically, carbon does better than other materials... How many carbon forks are out there? Carbon forks outnumber other forks 4:1 at our local races. Anything will fail if it is abused. I've seen destroyed aluminum bikes (head tube sheared off) at 24 hours of Moab...

Any component can fail, and virtually all will eventually. I've seen aluminum stems fail every couple of years on some peoples bikes.

Ask Hincappie about aluminum steerer tubes...
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Old 10-30-07, 05:59 PM   #14
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Numbers wise, I'd say statistically, carbon does better than other materials...
Unless you have actual numbers, this is a silly statement.

Also, something that recommends a certain material isn't necessarily whether it will fail or not (every material will eventually fail given enough stress), but how it fails. I challenge you to find the steel fork that failed as dramatically as the carbon fork shown earlier in this thread.
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Old 10-30-07, 06:00 PM   #15
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Yeah, even though, I'd rather have a carbon fork with aluminum steerer tube than carbon. I lik enot having to worry about clamping the stem down too hard.
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Old 10-30-07, 06:16 PM   #16
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Unless you have actual numbers, this is a silly statement.

Also, something that recommends a certain material isn't necessarily whether it will fail or not (every material will eventually fail given enough stress), but how it fails. I dare you to find the steel fork that failed as dramatically as the carbon fork shown earlier in this thread.
Agreed, I don't have concrete numbers. I do have a simple observation from my area - Carbon forks outnumber other forks by a wide margin, but we don't see a matching increase in the number of failures. And you won't generally find a steel fork failure to match the one above - 'cause steel yields in failure, unlike carbon... And most aluminum.

I'm not "recommending" a material, but have spent years doing materials failure analysis - I'm an ME. All parts will fail. Steel - The fatigue life is so long, most folks can ride a long long time. Aluminum? Not so much. Carbon? Again, more limited. A big component of these failures will be how the component uses the material... Any component (steel, aluminum, carbon, ti, etc) on the design margins of the material is going to break. Leaving enough material where it is needed will take the fatigue life out a LONG time... This is how vehicles like the '73 buick were designed; too much material.. Hence the tradeoff.

Carbon and Aluminum both often fail dramatically, as seen in the pictures above. If you are lucky, aluminum will fail yielding, and you won't end up in the ditch with half of a steerer in your chest. Carbon pretty much always fails with a bang, and you can count on said steerer in your chest.

I look at aluminum, especially lightweight aluminum, with the same wary eye as I do carbon. I'll gamble that I'm not the only one here that has seen aluminum handlebars fail, snapping right off at the stem. If you want to ride steel, you'll probably get a much better life out of the frame/components - But when I was hit by a car, I retired my otherwise perfect serrota for the same reason I retire other aluminum and carbon parts when I crash them good... All materials fail.

Not meaning to pick any fight, but really, to avoid carbon and ignore your aluminum parts is not admitting that other parts fail pretty dramatically. With most steel alloy stems and bars, the failures will be yielding failures with plenty of time to slow and dismount.
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Old 10-30-07, 08:22 PM   #17
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I didn't see the handle bars break, but I heard it was also some sort of indecent with the barriers.
Hmmm, I'll remember that. Don't get indecent with the barriers.

Ron
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Old 10-30-07, 08:38 PM   #18
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I thought about putting some ec90s on my cross bike. I sold them and bought some lightweight aluminum ones. Used the money to buy some other stuff. It's a great bar, but for me in cross races.
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Old 10-31-07, 06:08 AM   #19
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Not meaning to pick any fight, but really, to avoid carbon and ignore your aluminum parts is not admitting that other parts fail pretty dramatically.
I totally agree with this.
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Old 10-31-07, 07:36 AM   #20
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aluminum bends and creaks. yes, it will snap, sometimes without warning, but most of the time you do get some indication that something's wrong.

yes, carbon forks work quite well and are common on cross bikes but they arent clamped on in many places and scored like carbon bars.

i do admit that aluminum can fail dramatically, and i avoid carbon handlebars on my cross bike because there's damn good reason to (and because the performance improvement does not outweigh the cost).

aluminum and carbon fail differently.
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Old 10-31-07, 04:49 PM   #21
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Yeah there's TONS of carbon forks on the market. Loads on 'cross bikes. So there must be something there.

However, after seeing a 'cross bike with a broken seatpost-- leaving nothing but long shards projecting up out of the seat-tube-- I don't feel that carbon composite components belong on bike ridden off-road.

Furthermore, composite material cannot be recycled. Steel and aluminum can.

Road bikes are completely different in terms of riding conditions, style, terrain, etc. Composites there are fine-- although there's still that issue of end-of-life toxic garbage once a component is discarded.
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Old 10-31-07, 06:38 PM   #22
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Road bikes are completely different in terms of riding conditions, style, terrain, etc. Composites there are fine-- although there's still that issue of end-of-life toxic garbage once a component is discarded.
Interesting point, though I know I'm not the kind of person to upgrade willy nilly. Plus even though I think I'm pretty environmentally conscious, I (unfortunately) produce a lot more non recyclable waste than I'd like to. Enough to dwarf going through a carbon fork very few years.

Personaly I think my line is drawn at parts that clamp down, as mentioned before. So I'm selling my stock carbon seatpost, or maybe just keeping it for road season, but my carbon fork doesn't make me particularly nervous. It has an aluminum steerer (yeah, Hincapie, blah blah ).

Oh, and like all 18 yer olds I'm invincible, so nothing to worry abot.
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Old 11-01-07, 06:53 AM   #23
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there is nothing wrong with carbon bars, but you MUST inspect them often, that means untaping and retaping. if you don't want to do that, then don't use them. if you dump the bike you'd best inspect it

same with CF forks. how hard is it to take off the wheel, and stick your face in there and inspect for cracks ?

then drop the stem and pull the fork out and inspect the steerer. it isn't hard to do and it doesn't take much time. but it is crucial if you want to race and not have sudden failures
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Old 11-02-07, 11:48 PM   #24
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Personally I trust Easton CNT CF over aluminum bars, particularly in CX. I've been using my EC90 Equipe Pro's for the past couple seasons and they've worked great. I ride almost exclusively in the drops and they seem to be almost ideal for my personal racing style. I wouldn't trust just any companies carbon bars however. The Easton EC90X CNT forks seem to be reliable, so I trust their bars to be cross worthy as well.
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Old 11-03-07, 05:36 AM   #25
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there is nothing wrong with carbon bars, but you MUST inspect them often, that means untaping and retaping.
This sentence contradicts itself.
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