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You Get What You Pay For - Broken Handlebar

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You Get What You Pay For - Broken Handlebar

Old 12-07-17, 09:06 AM
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Ironfish653
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You Get What You Pay For - Broken Handlebar

My commuter / all-arounder is my 1996 Cannondale F-XXXX. I originally built it as an east-coast XC racer; following the practice of the time, it's super aggressive, running 3" of saddle-to-bar drop with straight bars, better for attacking on the climbs.
A few years back, I swapped a ~$15 steel 2" riser bar on to it, since it mostly sees commuter duty, and towing the kids to the park in the trailer. My commute feature a lot of street-to-sidewalk transitions, and the racy MTB is as fast over the 12 miles as either of the road bikes, because I dont' have to slow down for the bumpy/jumpy parts.
Some of them are bumpy/jumpier than others, and as I cleared one of them the other day, I thought, 'The bike doesn't seem like it's tracking right all of a sudden )
Slowed down to check things out, and discovered that the left grip was now a couple inches higher than the right one. The bar had failed at the lower riser bend, and bent UP. Possibly in the left-right juke, or the take-off of the wheelie-hop over the curb. Odd that it bent up tho, and not down; I must be torqueing the bars harder than I realize.



So I went to my LBS in search of an upgrade replacement. Nice 25.4mm MTB bars are getting a little hard to find, but I did find this nice Ritchey Logic 50mm riser: 670mm of shot-peened 6061, I think it should hold up a little better.

Top bar is the old one, bottom one is the Ritchey
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Old 12-07-17, 09:16 AM
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Craptacular8
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Dang. Can you feel a huge weight difference between the two?
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Old 12-07-17, 09:21 AM
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kevindsingleton 
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My hybrid has an aluminum bar that isn't nearly as thick as that appears to be. In fact, now that I think about it, so does my franken-MTB. That looks pretty strong, if the material is as thick as it appears.


Is the steel bar rusted, inside? If you pulled it hard enough to bend it, and it's not structurally compromised, you may need to lay off the steroids!
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Old 12-07-17, 09:36 AM
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Steel riser bars were/are notoriously flexy...it is relatively easy for a full-grown adult to put enough oomph into the handlebar to bend it, once it's been captured by the stem. Manufacturers solved that in several ways: adding wall thickness, welding a cross bar between the risen area ("moto" style), or using a clamp-on bar to bridge the gap and increase the rigidity of the system.
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Old 12-07-17, 10:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Craptacular8 View Post
Dang. Can you feel a huge weight difference between the two?
Originally Posted by kevindsingleton View Post
My hybrid has an aluminum bar that isn't nearly as thick as that appears to be. In fact, now that I think about it, so does my franken-MTB. That looks pretty strong, if the material is as thick as it appears.

Is the steel bar rusted, inside? If you pulled it hard enough to bend it, and it's not structurally compromised, you may need to lay off the steroids!
Weight wise, they don't feel that different, but i'm not counting grams anymore. My XC days are 15 years and 25 lbs in the past, so I'll take strong over light. It definitely feels stiffer than the cheapie.

The original bar on that bike was a Scott AT-1 LF, that was super light, super stiff, and probably thinner than the steel bar.
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Old 12-07-17, 10:32 AM
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Not all steel bars are alike..

Your Steel bar , 'shoe' bent common steel , not 4130... Nitto Chromoly 'albatross bars ' (Riv Bike bike's name) are ChromeMoly,
post bending heat treated, nickel plated..

and mandrel bent, so they are round throughout , even through the bend.. Shoe bends OTOH, are oval thru the bend, it bent further
at its weak point.. where the shoe bender crushed it.


So, how big was the jump ?

The Richey brand bar is not steel, its an aluminum alloy ... (6061-T6 heat treated ?)












.....

Last edited by fietsbob; 12-07-17 at 10:44 AM.
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Old 12-07-17, 10:59 AM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
Not all steel bars are alike..

Your Steel bar , 'shoe' bent common steel , not 4130... Nitto Chromoly 'albatross bars ' (Riv Bike bike's name) are ChromeMoly,
post bending heat treated, nickel plated..

and mandrel bent, so they are round throughout , even through the bend.. Shoe bends OTOH, are oval thru the bend, it bent further
at its weak point.. where the shoe bender crushed it.


So, how big was the jump ?

The Richey brand bar is not steel, its an aluminum alloy ... (6061-T6 heat treated ?)

.....

Oh, yeah, I knew that bar was a cheapie, but I was surprised at the failure mode. Wheelie-hop over the curb and a fast cut left to stay on the sidewalk; strong wheels, stiff frame, and SPD's, the bar was the weakest component in the whole bike. Just surprised it bent UP. The original Scott bar was light, stiff, and ultimately brittle; a hard fall on the bar-end resulted in a 'spiral fracture' all the way to the brake lever clamp.
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Old 12-07-17, 12:28 PM
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That's not broken, it's just bent.
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Old 12-07-17, 01:38 PM
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POS.

Thank god you noticed. Could have been catastrophic.
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Old 12-07-17, 08:49 PM
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I have broken 2 sets of cheapie bars on my fatbike in the course of 3 years. I frequently session a 2 foot drop to flat and weigh 200 pounds. The original bars were the stock bars on my Gravity Bullseye fatbike and I re placed those with Sun brand bars. Now I'm running Raceface bars and limit the amount of drops I do. In both cases I crashed but with no injuries.
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Old 12-07-17, 11:04 PM
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Glad you posted this. I was pondering some cheaper Sunlite North Roads or Dimension Arc bars. But I wondered how important heat treatment might be.

That's why I'm leaning toward one of the pricier Soma, Nitto or other quality bars recommended by friends for my old Univega Via Carisma. While I don't do any curb hopping or tricks, I do want a reliable bar for gravel and occasional off-road stuff -- open pastures, etc.

The Univega came with a massively strong steel flat bar, which I'm swapping over to my Globe Carmel comfort hybrid for more efficient pedaling. The Globe came with a steel 2" riser bar -- good quality bar, but the rise puts me too upright for efficient climbs on modest hills and doesn't make good use of the adductor muscles. Even modest 1%-3% grades are a chore. And I don't need the back sweep of the riser bars.

I swapped the bars last year and liked the swap. The flat bar worked much better on the Globe. And the slight riser bar was great on the Univega when my neck and back weren't strong (long recovery after back and neck injuries in a car wreck). But now I'd like a slightly lower position on the Univega, but also with less reach.

A friend has tried a variety of flipped albatross and North Roads bars on his hybrids and is happy with the Nitto and Soma bars -- no problems with bending, even when he's crashed. And the flipped bars have made him about as fast as I am on my drop bar road bike -- about 16 mph, neither of us is a speed demon, but we're mostly casual riders who occasionally indulge in friendly competition on a few sprints and hill climbs.

BTW, if you can find a riser bar from a Globe hybrid, they appear to be very strong for the money. Better be, heavy as it is.
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Old 12-08-17, 12:17 AM
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Ironfish653
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Glad to share.
I wasn't looking for anything as heavy-duty as that Rizer, but I wanted a quality bar, with ~2" rise, and the 25.6mm clamp kinda limited my options. There are good bars available on line, but that one was on hand, and I wanted to get my bike back together.
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Old 12-08-17, 07:25 AM
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Good choice on the Ritchey 6061 aluminum bar, they make very good and reliable products. Probably not as heavy as some think, 6061 is a nice strong and lightweight alloy choice. The upwards bend most likely came as the wheel hit the curb and you pulled upwards at the same time. @Feitsbob expand the reasons quite well, the lower grade steel and its bending method was the weakness.

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Old 12-09-17, 06:07 AM
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I bent a set of cheap steel bars on a MTB the same way. Didn't really surprise me though. Cheap steel bars are fine for the right application, usually those where the tires never come off the ground while riding and the rider never gets out of the saddle while riding.
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