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Long Distance Competition/Ultracycling, Randonneuring and Endurance Cycling Do you enjoy centuries, double centuries, brevets, randonnees, and 24-hour time trials? Share ride reports, and exchange training, equipment, and nutrition information specific to long distance cycling. This isn't for tours, this is for endurance events cycling

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Old 12-22-17, 07:15 AM   #26
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It is neither true nor false. It is an opinion, and a reasonable one considering that the point of using expensive and fragile carbon fiber is lower weight compared to aluminum.


Why would you select an expensive carbon bar if there are no benefits?
Nah, it’s a fact that carbon bars aren’t “very heavy” because they have to be overbuilt due to clamping forces. 220 grams for a handlebar is not “very heavy,”

Expensive is definitely an opinion though. The cost difference between the same bar in aluminum and carbon as a proportion of the total cost of a bike can be negligible.

“Fragile” is also an opinion that doesn’t jive with my experience with carbon bars - both road and MTB.

I realize that many folks have an irrational fear of carbon though.
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Old 12-22-17, 12:48 PM   #27
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Nah, it’s a fact that carbon bars aren’t “very heavy” because they have to be overbuilt due to clamping forces. 220 grams for a handlebar is not “very heavy,”

Expensive is definitely an opinion though. The cost difference between the same bar in aluminum and carbon as a proportion of the total cost of a bike can be negligible.

“Fragile” is also an opinion that doesn’t jive with my experience with carbon bars - both road and MTB.

I realize that many folks have an irrational fear of carbon though.
I've worked as a mechanic for many years. The hidden damage of carbon bars under the tape is not something I associate with sturdy aluminum bars.


And you might not think that a 4 pound frameset is "heavy" - it would be light if made of steel - but you would call a carbon frameset of that weight "heavy", which is what we are talking about when saying that carbon bars with aluminum weights are "heavy". Relative to the weights of other carbon fiber goods, the bars are not very light.


Carbon fiber has a greater cost and lower impact resistance than similar weight aluminum bars, and they don't absorb more road shock. What are you paying for?
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Old 12-22-17, 12:58 PM   #28
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Truthbomb, are you in here just because you saw a discussion of materials or because you are interested in long distance riding? Just want to know who I'm talking to.

Restating my objection for the literal minded, carbon bars are relatively heavy vs. the actual weight required of a handlebar because they have to withstand clamping forces at the stem and brake levers. There are aluminum bars that weigh 30-50 grams more than carbon bars and are more robust. This also means that carbon bars are stiffer than they would be if it weren't for the clamping forces. So, since this is the long distance forum, I suggest that this robustness is probably worth the weight. People who think that a century is long distance can feel free to save a few grams. The OP mentioned a 600 km ride. That changes the calculus in my mind. It possibly means riding with little sleep, in the dark, while fatigued. This leads to stupid things happening occasionally that just don't happen very often to the average recreational rider.


Obviously, if everyone broke carbon bars they wouldn't be sold. However, people do break them. I submit that randonneurs are possibly going to be on the forefront of that group due to the nature of the sport. I know weight weenie randonneurs and I just shake my head.

Another aspect that applies to randonneurs and generally not other riders is just worrying about failures. We were on the 23rd hour of a fleche when one of the riders started to worry because his carbon bike had developed a creak. I looked it over for him and didn't see anything wrong, so we rode on. But that's the sort of worry that can really ruin a ride. I prefer to avoid it.
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Old 12-22-17, 12:59 PM   #29
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Relative to the weights of other carbon fiber goods, the bars are not very light.
Again, that's not what was claimed.

"I would skip the carbon bars. They make them very heavy because of the clamping forces, so there is almost no advantage to them."

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Carbon fiber has a greater cost and lower impact resistance than similar weight aluminum bars, and they don't absorb more road shock.
Again, the cost difference is negligible in the grand scheme of things. Your claim of lower impact resistance doesn't make sense although it is a common refrain from carbon-fearful folks.

A real life example using Easton EA70 AX bars: 220g Carbon bar vs. 290g aluminum bar. If the aluminum bar would have the same impact resistance at 220g, why can't the manufacturer offer the aluminum bar at 220g?
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Old 12-22-17, 01:03 PM   #30
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Carbon fiber has a greater cost and lower impact resistance than similar weight aluminum bars, and they don't absorb more road shock. What are you paying for?
Yes, I tend to want to get some advantage if I pay more. Anecdotally, I witnessed a carbon bar crack when the rider hit a pot hole on a descent. It didn't collapse, nor did he crash, but it certainly got our attention.
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Old 12-22-17, 01:04 PM   #31
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Truthbomb, are you in here just because you saw a discussion of materials or because you are interested in long distance riding? Just want to know who I'm talking to.
I'm here because I read your claim about carbon bars. A claim that doesn't make sense given my experience and the weights that various manufacturers publish.

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I submit that randonneurs are possibly going to be on the forefront of that group due to the nature of the sport. I know weight weenie randonneurs and I just shake my head.
I would submit that folks riding drop bars on gravel and singletrack put handlebars through more abuse.
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Old 12-22-17, 01:22 PM   #32
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Again, that's not what was claimed.

"I would skip the carbon bars. They make them very heavy because of the clamping forces, so there is almost no advantage to them."



Again, the cost difference is negligible in the grand scheme of things. Your claim of lower impact resistance doesn't make sense although it is a common refrain from carbon-fearful folks.

A real life example using Easton EA70 AX bars: 220g Carbon bar vs. 290g aluminum bar. If the aluminum bar would have the same impact resistance at 220g, why can't the manufacturer offer the aluminum bar at 220g?
They do offer 230 gram aluminum bars. Most of them have 26.0 clamping sections, which work great for aluminum but were problematic for carbon, so the industry moved to 31.8 to accommodate the clamping problem with carbon, which also adds unnecessary weight to the aluminum bars.

I don't know what "doesn't make sense" about carbon's lower impact resistance. I have seen several carbon bars crack at the brake lever clamp after minor impacts, and I have NEVER seen an aluminum bar fail in that section. How much more concrete a difference do you require?


I'm not "down on carbon fiber". But for certain uses, like where there is a great deal of mechanical clamping forces, CF parts rarely have a real advantage over aluminum, which is why carbon bars and cranks aren't lighter than their aluminum competitors, even though carbon frames and aero rims are.


If you've invested a lot of money and pride in CF bars, I'm sorry. No one is trying to make you feel bad about your purchase. But you do need to exercise more care with your CR bars, and if you have any sort of impact you need to remove the bar tape and inspect for cracks. Same if you get any popping or creaking - especially in the drops.


Aside from pure weight, one advantage of CF bars that is similar to CF rims is that you can make a large aero shaped bar lighter out of CF than aluminum. As with rims, where aluminum clinchers are still the lightest, larger aero sections get "heavy" (there's that word again) when you make them out of aluminum vs CF.
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Old 12-22-17, 01:27 PM   #33
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Some facts, backed up by data rather than idle speculation:

"
Carbon Fiber vs. Aluminum: – While carbon offers little or no weight savings when applied to stems, the lightest handlebars are usually made from laminated fiber. Handlebars are stressed primarily in bending, and 0-degree carbon fibers take these loads very, very well. When you throw in a few layers at 45 degrees to deal with torsional loads and maybe some circumferential reinforcements where the levers mount, you often end up with a bar that’s a bit lighter than the equivalent aluminum bar.


As noted above, aluminum bars tend to fail by bending permanently (ductile failure) while carbon bars usually snap into pieces (brittle failure). While “shattered” carbon bars make for shudder-inducing post-crash photos, keep in mind that a strong carbon bar will shrug off loads that would bend its aluminum counterpart. Ductile failure is not necessarily a better failure mode than brittle failure.


Reduced weight is a wonderful thing, but carbon bars offer another advantage: they tend to damp high-frequency vibration better than aluminum bars. Composite structures generally damp vibration better than metallic ones, and many riders have found real-world damping benefits when they fit a carbon handlebar. It would be interesting to quantify carbon bar damping; one way to do so would be to wire an accelerometer to the drops and then gently strike or pluck the bar, letting it “ring” at its natural frequency. One could then read the accelerometer data to see how quickly the vibrations dissipated. This ring-down test may be on the Fairwheel menu for a future article, but is outside the scope of this test."


Happy reading: Road Handlebar Review - Fairwheel Bikes Blog



p.s. "If you've invested a lot of money and pride in CF bars, I'm sorry." is a weird piece of projection.
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Old 12-22-17, 01:55 PM   #34
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Some facts, backed up by data rather than idle speculation:

"
Carbon Fiber vs. Aluminum: – While carbon offers little or no weight savings when applied to stems, the lightest handlebars are usually made from laminated fiber. Handlebars are stressed primarily in bending, and 0-degree carbon fibers take these loads very, very well. When you throw in a few layers at 45 degrees to deal with torsional loads and maybe some circumferential reinforcements where the levers mount, you often end up with a bar that’s a bit lighter than the equivalent aluminum bar.


As noted above, aluminum bars tend to fail by bending permanently (ductile failure) while carbon bars usually snap into pieces (brittle failure). While “shattered” carbon bars make for shudder-inducing post-crash photos, keep in mind that a strong carbon bar will shrug off loads that would bend its aluminum counterpart. Ductile failure is not necessarily a better failure mode than brittle failure.


Reduced weight is a wonderful thing, but carbon bars offer another advantage: they tend to damp high-frequency vibration better than aluminum bars. Composite structures generally damp vibration better than metallic ones, and many riders have found real-world damping benefits when they fit a carbon handlebar. It would be interesting to quantify carbon bar damping; one way to do so would be to wire an accelerometer to the drops and then gently strike or pluck the bar, letting it “ring” at its natural frequency. One could then read the accelerometer data to see how quickly the vibrations dissipated. This ring-down test may be on the Fairwheel menu for a future article, but is outside the scope of this test."


Happy reading: Road Handlebar Review - Fairwheel Bikes Blog



p.s. "If you've invested a lot of money and pride in CF bars, I'm sorry." is a weird piece of projection.
Those aren't facts, they are marketing material provided by an online retailer. In tests, carbon bars have not been showed to lower road vibration - they are made too stiff to do so.

And my real world experience as an industry professional isn't "idle speculation".


You have a very odd relationship with "truth".
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Old 12-22-17, 06:08 PM   #35
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Back on the carbon topic - just finished a ride using my 5+ year old carbon MTB bars that have been crashed numerous times.

Once again, they didn’t break (despite a slight tree kiss).
Fantastic. What brand are they, and what do they weigh?
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Old 12-22-17, 06:15 PM   #36
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Jan Heine was a little wacky, not in his actual analysis, but the way he presented it. I don't know how many times I've had people tell me that wheels stand on the bottom spokes because they misunderstood the provocative double negative Jan used to described spoke tension.
You are confusing Jan with Jobst as it is his description of spoke tension you are quoting to have confused people.
While a brilliant engineer, Jobst was indeed wacky though.

Jan is just a crafty, a bit stubborn, and sometimes - misinformed marketer, who toots whatever merchandise he has to sell.
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Old 12-22-17, 10:12 PM   #37
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Fantastic. What brand are they, and what do they weigh?
Enve DH. Somewhere in the 233-245g range. I’ve never weigh it.
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Old 12-22-17, 10:50 PM   #38
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You are confusing Jan with Jobst as it is his description of spoke tension you are quoting to have confused people.
While a brilliant engineer, Jobst was indeed wacky though.

Jan is just a crafty, a bit stubborn, and sometimes - misinformed marketer, who toots whatever merchandise he has to sell.
I did confuse them, thank you! I quite like what both of them have to say, but Jan's focus is always so narrow the applicability is sometimes tough.

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Enve DH. Somewhere in the 233-245g range. I’ve never weigh it.
Considering that MTB bars start below 100 grams, and even alloy or Ti bars get down below 150 grams, is your bar light or heavy?
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Old 12-22-17, 10:59 PM   #39
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Considering that MTB bars start below 100 grams, and even alloy or Ti bars get down below 150 grams, is your bar light or heavy?
That’s easy. It’s light for an 800mm DH bar. It’s also not fragile.

“At 233 grams, roughly a 1/4 lb lighter than most aluminum offerings, the DH bars are still light enough for all purpose riding.”

More info here:

https://www.bikerumor.com/2013/02/11/initial-review-enves-ultra-wide-carbon-dh-handlebar/

If you have a link to some 800mm alloy or Ti bars that are below 150 grams I would love to check them out. Thanks.
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Old 12-23-17, 12:40 AM   #40
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That’s easy. It’s light for an 800mm DH bar. It’s also not fragile.

“At 233 grams, roughly a 1/4 lb lighter than most aluminum offerings, the DH bars are still light enough for all purpose riding.”

More info here:

https://www.bikerumor.com/2013/02/11...-dh-handlebar/

If you have a link to some 800mm alloy or Ti bars that are below 150 grams I would love to check them out. Thanks.
Weightweenies doesn't have listings for any 800mm bars. If you cut it down to 580mm (and it was the same thickness all the way across), it would be 170grams.

I wouldn't expect any carbon fiber thing to be "heavy" compared to something made of steel, for instance. But the way you buy durability with carbon is the make the walls thicker and the weight higher - which is why my Calfee is pretty indestructible, but weighs close to 3 pounds. That's not heavy compared to a 5 pounds lugged steel frame, but it is heavy compared to a 1.8 pound Cervelo. I wouldn't have bought the Calfee if it cost as much as the Cervelo. And that's all any of us have been getting at.
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Old 12-23-17, 07:51 AM   #41
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Weightweenies doesn't have listings for any 800mm bars. If you cut it down to 580mm (and it was the same thickness all the way across), it would be 170grams
You can’t find any because they don’t exist.

800mm Ti and aluminum bars are in the 290 gram range.

Equivalent carbon bars are lighter and at the same time not fragile- as you have erroneously claimed. Nor is the weight higher than aluminum or Ti so that durability can be maintained. “carbon bars and cranks aren't lighter than their aluminum competitors” is demonstrably false.

Re: carbon frame weight and your Calfee example - “But the way you buy durability with carbon is the make the walls thicker and the weight higher”

The best way to evaluate that is to compare like bikes.

For example my carbon frame and fork is 3.63lbs.

The same frame in steel with the same carbon fork is 6.13 pounds.

Last edited by TruthBomb; 12-23-17 at 10:02 AM.
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Old 12-23-17, 09:46 AM   #42
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OP, if you're building a randonneuring bike get aluminum handlebars. Compact drops like the somas you have now are a fine match for your frame, since I assume you'll be using brifters.

Last edited by Homebrew01; 12-23-17 at 03:13 PM. Reason: Removed quoted off topic content
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Old 12-23-17, 12:13 PM   #43
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You can’t find any because they don’t exist.

800mm Ti and aluminum bars are in the 290 gram range.

Equivalent carbon bars are lighter and at the same time not fragile- as you have erroneously claimed. Nor is the weight higher than aluminum or Ti so that durability can be maintained. “carbon bars and cranks aren't lighter than their aluminum competitors” is demonstrably false.

Re: carbon frame weight and your Calfee example - “But the way you buy durability with carbon is the make the walls thicker and the weight higher”

The best way to evaluate that is to compare like bikes.

For example my carbon frame and fork is 3.63lbs.

The same frame in steel with the same carbon fork is 6.13 pounds.
You don't seem to be reading anything I wrote, since I posted that I couldn't find any 800mm bars of any type, and I already compared carbon and steel frame weights.

So I'll let you continue having this argument by yourself.
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Old 12-23-17, 12:46 PM   #44
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You don't seem to be reading anything I wrote, since I posted that I couldn't find any 800mm bars of any type, and I already compared carbon and steel frame weights.

So I'll let you continue having this argument by yourself.
Nah, I’ve read and understood everything that you posted.

Much of it makes no sense, like comparing the theoretical weight of my 800mm carbon bar if it was cut down to match some aluminum bars that you found on weightweenies.

A valid comparison, as I noted above, is to follow your suggestion and compare the carbon bar to its aluminum and Ti competitors.

When you do that, the carbon bar isn’t heavier, as you have erroneously claimed. The same applies to frames.
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Old 12-23-17, 01:01 PM   #45
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No one has claimed that carbon bars are heavier than metal bars
Really?

This guy claims that they are either the same weight or heavier. Which simply isn’t true.

Unless “aren’t lighter” has some alternate meaning that I’m unaware of.

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CF parts rarely have a real advantage over aluminum, which is why carbon bars and cranks aren't lighter than their aluminum competitors, even though carbon frames and aero rims are.
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Old 12-23-17, 01:04 PM   #46
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Really?

This guy claims that they are either the same weight or heavier. Which simply isn’t true.

Unless “aren’t lighter” has some alternate meaning that I’m unaware of.
"Aren't lighter" absolutely does not mean "heavier". Not in English, anyway. >/</=

Good luck with your future forum endeavors.
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Old 12-23-17, 01:17 PM   #47
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"Aren't lighter" absolutely does not mean "heavier". Not in English, anyway. >/</=
Yeah, see the “same weight” part above.

Kontact claims:

“which is why carbon bars and cranks aren't lighter than their aluminum competitors”

The truth is:

Enve 800mm bar 233-245g, aluminum competitor (Thomson 800mm) 295g.

Easton carbon AX bar 220g, aluminum competitor/version 290g

Etc.,etc.
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Old 12-23-17, 02:38 PM   #48
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Regarding the original question on vibration cushioning, I often put a layer of cork tape parallel with the bar on the top of the bar and on the top of each drop before I wrap the tape. That way I get twice the thickness of the tape on top where my hands press down on the bars.

I have never ridden carbon bars, have no opinion.
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Old 12-26-17, 09:11 AM   #49
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I would like to see a photo of the randonneur bike with the 800 mm handlebar. It sounds excessive, but what do I know.
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Old 01-03-18, 09:04 AM   #50
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Carbon fiber has a greater cost and lower impact resistance than similar weight aluminum bars, and they don't absorb more road shock.
They don't, can you please site sources? or is the above an opinion?
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