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When to replace handle bars?

Old 02-11-11, 05:33 PM
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jim p
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When to replace handle bars?

I bought a used road bike and when I removed the bar tape there was some corrosion on the aluminum bars. I have put about 3000 miles on the bike and then I have taken about a 2 year break from riding and now I am getting the itch again. So do I need to replace these bars or if they fail will they give me some warning. I don't sprint out of the saddle but sometimes I do pull on the bars when I am seated. When I was a kid I had a JC higgins sears bike and I would do wheelies. One day I was doing wheelies and the right side of the steel handle bars slowly pulled up about 45 degrees. At the time I didn't know how to get parts and repair the bike and the 3 speed hub would disengage under acceleration so this was a death sentence for the old bike.

So how often do you replace handle bars?
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Old 02-11-11, 05:40 PM
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When I pick up a used bike, I like to replace the bars as soon as I find some I like on sale.

After that replacement interval depends on number of crashes and their severity. I've had my 3T bars for about 10 years now and thinking about some new ones. They've probably been in about 7 or 8 mild crashes/laydowns.

I've never broken a bar but saw a guy break one at a MTB race and it wasn't pretty.
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Old 02-11-11, 06:16 PM
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Thanks. One of my problems is that I don't know what kind of bar that I would like. The bars on the bike are what I would refer to as just standard bars with circle like curve down to the drops. Some of the newer bars seem to have a couple of bends getting down to the drops. I am getting so old that I may want to put the bars on upside down and cruise around. I think that I would like some bars that sweep up from the stem about an inch and then have several bends as they go down into the drops. I don't know if any aluminum bar is even made that fits this description.
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Old 02-11-11, 06:27 PM
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The ones with a "couple bends before the drops" are known as "Ergonomic drops" while the older "standard" bars you talk about are just known as drops".

Putting these bars on upside down are known as "bum-bars" in most cycling circles because you see homeless people rocking this style of bars around major metropolitan areas in the US.

Your ideal bars that you describe do not exist as far as I know, but maybe you wanna check out "riser" bars. If you find that you still want the drops, they do make clamp-on drop bar extensions.
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Old 02-11-11, 06:29 PM
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Originally Posted by jim p View Post
Thanks. One of my problems is that I don't know what kind of bar that I would like. The bars on the bike are what I would refer to as just standard bars with circle like curve down to the drops. Some of the newer bars seem to have a couple of bends getting down to the drops.
Those are typically referred to as anatomical, sometimes ergonomic. I'm not a huge fan of those, but some folks like 'em.

Originally Posted by jim p View Post
I am getting so old that I may want to put the bars on upside down and cruise around. I think that I would like some bars that sweep up from the stem about an inch and then have several bends as they go down into the drops. I don't know if any aluminum bar is even made that fits this description.
Well, you could take a MTB riser bar with a shim and attach Origin8 drop bar ends to it. I wonder if they're the right diameter to mount road brakes to, though.

I'd just get a higher stem if you want your bars higher.

Some nice compact drops would probably be helpful also, unfortunately if you have 26mm clamp area your handlebar choices are dwindling by the day.

Last edited by LesterOfPuppets; 02-11-11 at 06:33 PM.
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Old 02-11-11, 06:32 PM
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Nitto Mustache bars will take some of the road parts, offer a decent ride ,
lose the drops , but they're not straight across, so offer more hand holds.

Trekking bars, a figure 8 bend, has even more hand positions

Last edited by fietsbob; 02-11-11 at 06:35 PM.
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Old 02-11-11, 07:35 PM
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Aa lighter aluminum bar should be replaced every 5 years or if it is bent in a cash. I use Nitto bars. They have a little more A. in them so they are a little heavier and last a lot longer. Since 2001 I have replaced a few broken helmets, but never managed to bend the bars.
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Old 02-11-11, 08:46 PM
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Thanks for the advice. I need to take a look at some of the suppliers such as nashbar just to see what is available.
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Old 02-11-11, 09:27 PM
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You really need to replace aluminum bars every 5 years???!!!. I have 30 year old bikes that have the original bars and stems and they seem to be functioning just fine.

I am still wondering about this corrosion since aluminum doesn't rust, what does your corrosion look like?
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Old 02-11-11, 09:42 PM
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I bet some manufacturers would recommend a 3-year replacement interval, if not shorter.

Rust is an oxide and aluminum can oxidize. It can look almost like a white dusting on the parts. If you rub the part with your finger, your finger will turn black.
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Old 02-11-11, 10:00 PM
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Originally Posted by cyclist2000 View Post
You really need to replace aluminum bars every 5 years???!!!. I have 30 year old bikes that have the original bars and stems and they seem to be functioning just fine.

I am still wondering about this corrosion since aluminum doesn't rust, what does your corrosion look like?
5yrs isn't bad, for off-road it might be sooner? I am considering replacing a set i have now, only 5yrs in, but older aluminum/carbon handlebars give me the willies and foget it, i'm not using a steel bar.

There is a lot of flexion when sprinting, and when i do they creak... so add that up.
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Old 02-12-11, 12:46 AM
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Replace as often as possible....a majority of my bar setups are shop take-offs.

But, if the bars concern you for any reason, it will not hurt anything to swap, except maybe hurting the billfold.
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