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  1. #1
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    Aluminum, Steel or Titanium?

    I'm choosing between handlebar materials.

    I'll be riding a rigid mountain bike, mostly off-road over a long period of time.

    I don't care about handlebar makes or models, shape, size or weight.

    Between aluminum, steel and titanium, which handlebar material would serve me best?

    And why?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Senior Member Chuckie J.'s Avatar
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    I use titanium for my off-road touring, pretty much the only touring I do. Supposedly it absorbs the shocks a little but I have NO IDEA if its really doing anything. Its a Seven flat bar and got it when I ordered the bike. Its light! Not sure if there are riser bars in titanium but I wanted flat (with bar ends).

    Steel, I feel, would be overkill in the strength department. I had one of those Surly 1x1 Torsion bars and they were crazy heavy but obviously really strong.

    Aluminum is cheap and plentiful. Any shape you like.
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  3. #3
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nameless View Post
    I'm choosing between handlebar materials.

    I'll be riding a rigid mountain bike, mostly off-road over a long period of time.

    I don't care about handlebar makes or models, shape, size or weight.

    Between aluminum, steel and titanium, which handlebar material would serve me best?

    And why?

    Thanks!
    Quality steel handlebars are hard to find (cheap heavy gas pipe ones aren't) and overly heavy. Titanium is expensive and not all that easy to find. Aluminum is readily available, about as flexy as you'll ever need (the bars have a smaller diameter than frame tubes), cheap, durable and light. I'd just go with aluminum.
    Stuart Black
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  4. #4
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    since you don't say what matters and size/weight don't matter it really doesn't matter what you get. But I'm guessing there are issues about durability and shock absorption given the description of off road riding for a long time. I'd get a heavy aluminum one and the biggest tires that will fit on the front fork and a GOOD pump that makes frequent changes in tire pressure easy. Heavy because it'll probably be strong and you won't waste money paying for something light that is more likely to bend or suffer bending where bar ends are attached. Curious to hear others experience on bar bending.

  5. #5
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Available are Nitto 'Albatross' in Chromoly, they fit Bar end shifters or reverse levers.

    I like Trekking bars , ITM and Modolo in Europe make nice ones, use thick wall aluminum
    then heat treat it after bending to return the aluminum to a stress free temper.

  6. #6
    Senior Member late's Avatar
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    We are as gods, we might as well get good at it.
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  7. #7
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
    Available are Nitto 'Albatross' in Chromoly, they fit Bar end shifters or reverse levers.

    I like Trekking bars , ITM and Modolo in Europe make nice ones, use thick wall aluminum
    then heat treat it after bending to return the aluminum to a stress free temper.
    The Albatross is not a good choice for off-road riding. When riding on a surface where your front wheel can be bounced around a lot, you don't want a handlebar that sweeps back towards you. It's good way of ending up with bruises in odd and painful places. The bruises would be about an inch in diameter. There is a reason that mountain bikes use bars with very little rearward sweep
    Stuart Black
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by nameless View Post
    I don't care about handlebar makes or models, shape, size or weight.
    That's too bad, because these are all that matter... not material

  9. #9
    Senior Member gregw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by positron View Post
    That's too bad, because these are all that matter... not material
    +1

  10. #10
    Real Men Ride Ordinaries fuzz2050's Avatar
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    When it comes to handlebars, I almost always pick a shape that I like, and then go from there. Doing it any other way seems backwards.

    The most shock absorbing handlebars in the world would be horribly uncomfortable if you don't like the hand positions offered.

  11. #11
    Dog is my co-pilot 2manybikes's Avatar
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    Agreed, the material is not an important thing. I will say that my ti MTB bars do absorb a small amount of shock. And they do take a beating in stride. I don't think the shape would be good for touring. For long rides I prefer roadie drop bars.
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  12. #12
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    I'm a gravel road rider , single track , straight bars are probably OK . Maybe add bar ends.
    I wouldnt want to tour on them trekking bars are 7/8" tube so the controls
    stuff on the straight bars slide right on.

    Road bars are bigger diameter so you have shifter changes and
    V brake short travel brake lever issues , etc.

  13. #13
    Riding twobadfish's Avatar
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    Why not carbon?

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by twobadfish View Post
    Why not carbon?
    They tend to be expensive, have no discernible advantage over aluminum, and may be more likely to fail catastrophically during a crash.

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