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Decent Steel Bars

Old 02-25-20, 01:08 AM
  #1  
HopHornbeam
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Decent Steel Bars

Hello,
I pull rather hard on my handlebars, and on the bikes I ride a lot the aluminum bars will often develop a creaking/light popping sound when under a load (both flat bars and bullhorns). I've been looking for steel bar options in the trekking bar/dirt drop realm, but haven't seen many. $50 or less would be ideal. I don't really care about light weight here, I'm just looking for something strong with a good fatigue life. Does anybody have any suggestions? I have access to machining and metalworking facilities, so I could make/modify my own if I really wanted to, but getting everything symmetrical would be difficult, and it would take a lot of time.
Thanks,
HopHornbeam
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Old 02-25-20, 02:06 AM
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how 'bout some used/ebay motorcycle bars?
i believe they have the same OD as aluminum bicycle bars,
so's you can still use your mtb brakes and shifters.
ID will be a bit larger, so inserts may need a spacer thingy.
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Old 02-25-20, 05:41 AM
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Given that riders much stronger than us use aluminum and cf bars all the time, I would suggest getting all of your bike parts checked for tightness and that things are in proper condition. Stem bolts of all kinds etc
Unseen diagnosing is of course impossible, but you may have a preexisting problem with your bike.

Around here, cheap heavy steel straight bars will be found in any used bike shop, if they haven't recycled them.

sprint away!
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Old 02-25-20, 06:21 AM
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The creaking could easily be from corrosion in the bar/stem interface. I sweat a lot and dump water on my head when it's really hot. Several times my road bike had creaking as a result of corrosion. Cleaned up that area. Creaking gone.
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Old 02-25-20, 07:41 AM
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Ergotec has a number of steel and even stainless steel handlebar models and they offer Safety level ratings for each model. That being said, all of their Level 5/6 models are aluminum mountain bike models.
I have mounted an inverted Stuttgarter handlebar in stainless steel, as it is close to an inverted North Road handlebar, on my girlfriend's bike and they seem to hold up just fine.

You could also consider switching to a different stem like a Nitto V4 stem with two clamps.
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Old 02-25-20, 11:35 AM
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Are there any drop-bars in cro-mo?
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Old 02-25-20, 12:17 PM
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I like my old chrome riser bars. They just feel right. 👍
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Old 02-25-20, 01:29 PM
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As above, it's sort of a crazy assumption that you are so singularly strong that you can cause a problem with your bars that nobody else has. I guarantee that the problem is one of assembly or cleanliness and not your overwhelming strength.
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Old 02-25-20, 02:00 PM
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Creaking would mean movement, to me. If it is a crack, it probably would have propagated by now. Thus, I am persuaded to agree with Indy that something is loose. If the stem is steel and the handlebar aluminum, there is likely to be corrosion between them. Perhaps if you disassemble, clean and reassemble (with anti-seize compound) the creaking will disappear.
Good luck
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Old 02-25-20, 03:03 PM
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Stems are definitely not loose: the bolts are tight almost to the point of stripping. I suppose that it could be corrosion, but I don’t think that’s the problem. Either way, I’m not looking for a diagnosis, I just wanted to see if there were any decent steel bar options as far as dirt drops and trekking bars go. Really I just like steel better.
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Old 02-25-20, 03:28 PM
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Some track racers use steel bars, but I think they have a different geometry in general, like, aren't intended for brake levers or riding anywhere but the drops.

https://www.velodrome.shop/sprint-bars/deda-velocita-chrome-sprint-bars/

Upon
looking at theat website, though, it seems that the vast majority of bars they sell for track riding are aluminum. You do you, though.
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Old 02-26-20, 06:17 AM
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There is no down side to you disassembling it all and checking all the surfaces and bolts and greasing. Heck I've snapped seat post bolts from over tightening and I'm a skinny little bugger and not strong. You easily could have a bolt or two that is suspect.

bottom line is that with bikes or cars or whatever, creaking and popping is a sign of loose stuff or metal fatigue.
hell I've had an old car with creaking that I ignored until one of the steering rods broke while driving and pesto, turned out wheel and screeching to a halt.

you don't a want to screw around with a bicycle front end failure, but hey, it's your face.

and even if you are right, you will have to disassemble anyway to put on new bars.
good luck, but it ain't luck, it's proper inspection and assessment, no matter the outcome.
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Old 02-26-20, 07:34 AM
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I don't know about modern steel drop or trekking bars (you just have to google search I guess) but you could use some basic steel flat bars with basic steel bar ends. Cheap if not a bit heavy. You could use a set of older steel dropbars from a 1970's era bike and even spread them a bit to create some flair but they have a smaller central stem diameter. I did that for a 1969 Gitane rebuild.

FWIW, although you don't want a diagnosis, someone else with the same issue might. The creaking is from dry metal flexing against dry metal. The same sound sometimes comes from a crank set. Take it apart, add a little bearing grease, and it should go away. Super tightening doesn't work. The little bit of grease won't make your bars fall out.






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Old 02-26-20, 08:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Happy Feet View Post
I don't know about modern steel drop or trekking bars (you just have to google search I guess) but you could use some basic steel flat bars with basic steel bar ends. Cheap if not a bit heavy.
I am sure there are decent steel bars available (I used to have a set of Tioga cromo steel bars that were literally tough as nails, but that was 25 years ago), but the suggestion to grab just any steel bars is a poor one - most steel handlebars are specced on less expensive bikes because they are cheap, not because they are strong. In fact, most cheap bikes, if actually ridden, will develop what I call 'Sad Bar Syndrome' - where the ends of the bars gradually bend down to make the front of the bike look like a frowny face. Have a close look the next time you see a Huffy locked up somewhere to see what I mean - it happens to almost all of them. Also the clamped segments in the middle of steel bars found on cheap bikes are prone to crush damage when clamped, but this is probably as much to do with the cheaply made stems as the bars.
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Old 02-26-20, 09:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Happy Feet View Post
FWIW, although you don't want a diagnosis, someone else with the same issue might. The creaking is from dry metal flexing against dry metal. The same sound sometimes comes from a crank set. Take it apart, add a little bearing grease, and it should go away. Super tightening doesn't work. The little bit of grease won't make your bars fall out.
another creak story fixed by grease. I had a bike with a sealed square taper bb that developed a creak. Annoyingly on a 80km ride one way, 80k back--creak creak creak. Two days of incessant creak every pedal stroke.

Spindle turned fine, not rough, so removed bb, cleaned out the sandy gunk in threads, greased with thick anti seize grease and voila, a few more years out of the bb and nice and quiet immediately.

Ymmv
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Old 02-26-20, 09:43 AM
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OP is misdiagnosing the source of the noise coming from the bar/stem interfaces. It's called crystal twinning and is benign. Several of my bikes make those twinning-related noises in humid weather but not in dry weather. Widespread phenomenon, nothing to worry about.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crystal_twinning
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Old 02-26-20, 09:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Wilfred Laurier View Post
I am sure there are decent steel bars available (I used to have a set of Tioga cromo steel bars that were literally tough as nails, but that was 25 years ago), but the suggestion to grab just any steel bars is a poor one
I'll maintain that it's a good one, because the problem isn't that his current bars are weak. The problem is the metal is creaking because it's dry.

And I will just have to assume people will use their due diligence and not pick crappy bars if they go that route. I can't provide a comprehensive shopping guide with every post. The flats in my second pic above are from an entry level commuter e bike. They will never fail from regular use.

Don't mean to be snippy but I took the time and effort to respond to the OP and don't appreciate having that called a poor suggestion because of some vague reference to bike boom era noodlly bars. Chrome rims sucked too - in case anyone needed reminding of the obvious.

Last edited by Happy Feet; 02-26-20 at 11:02 AM.
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Old 02-26-20, 10:11 AM
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Originally Posted by saddlesores View Post
how 'bout some used/ebay motorcycle bars?
i believe they have the same OD as aluminum bicycle bars,
so's you can still use your mtb brakes and shifters.
ID will be a bit larger, so inserts may need a spacer thingy.
If you find motorbike bars are a shape you are happy with, they are normally strong. As mentioned, the ends should be the same diameter (just check to be sure). The middle section where it bolts to the stem may need a spacer, depending on what size the opening in your stem is.
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Old 02-26-20, 01:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Happy Feet View Post
I'll maintain that it's a good one, because the problem isn't that his current bars are weak. The problem is the metal is creaking because it's dry.

And I will just have to assume people will use their due diligence and not pick crappy bars if they go that route. I can't provide a comprehensive shopping guide with every post. The flats in my second pic above are from an entry level commuter e bike. They will never fail from regular use.

Don't mean to be snippy but I took the time and effort to respond to the OP and don't appreciate having that called a poor suggestion because of some vague reference to bike boom era noodlly bars. Chrome rims sucked too - in case anyone needed reminding of the obvious.
Your suggestion implied that 'basic steel flat bars' are easy to come by and 'cheap', and your response to me was that one should know not to get crappy ones... well I am not aware of any non-crappy steel flat bars that would be easy to source, as you implied.

Your exact suggestion was 'basic steel flat bars' with bar ends. The steel flat bars that come on Huffys and Murrays, the only steel flat bars I know of that would be easy to obtain, are not 'bike boom' steel bars, they are, unfortunately, still being made. The time and effort you spend to make recommendations are wasted if the recommendations are so poor, or so easily misunderstood that they could lead to a person getting what I think of as 'basic steel flat bars'.

There was good advice elsewhere in your comment, but the part about basic steel flat bars was bad advice, at least without a link or advice on how to find some that are not BSO crap, if such bars are available..
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Old 02-26-20, 02:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Wilfred Laurier View Post
Your suggestion implied that 'basic steel flat bars' are easy to come by and 'cheap', and your response to me was that one should know not to get crappy ones... well I am not aware of any non-crappy steel flat bars that would be easy to source, as you implied.

Your exact suggestion was 'basic steel flat bars' with bar ends. The steel flat bars that come on Huffys and Murrays, the only steel flat bars I know of that would be easy to obtain, are not 'bike boom' steel bars, they are, unfortunately, still being made. The time and effort you spend to make recommendations are wasted if the recommendations are so poor, or so easily misunderstood that they could lead to a person getting what I think of as 'basic steel flat bars'.

There was good advice elsewhere in your comment, but the part about basic steel flat bars was bad advice, at least without a link or advice on how to find some that are not BSO crap, if such bars are available..
Whatever. Keep digging your hole. You show your ignorance when you say: well I am not aware of any non-crappy steel flat bars that would be easy to source.

I was trying not to be snippy but now you are just being ridiculously obtuse. Steel flat bars, like those commonly sold in mom and pop bike stores are multiple degrees stronger than are needed for the application. If you aren't well versed in parts and building bikes don't try to take someone who is to task.

Common sense tells us this because:

a. you don't hear of people routinely needing to go to the store to replace their bent handle bars and...
b. just don't hear of industry recalls for basic steel flat bars because of weakness.

But, you are welcome to try and find the lowest example of a bicycle possible and scour the interwebs trying to find a random picture somewhere of a flat bar that bent on a bike. Here's a starting place (though I suspect they are all fine): https://www.theatlantic.com/photo/20...cycles/556268/

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Old 02-26-20, 03:12 PM
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I like that pic of the bicycle heaven (or is it bicycle hell?) 🤔😁
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Old 02-26-20, 03:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Happy Feet View Post
Whatever. Keep digging your hole. You show your ignorance when you say: well I am not aware of any non-crappy steel flat bars that would be easy to source.

I was trying not to be snippy but now you are just being ridiculously obtuse. Steel flat bars, like those commonly sold in mom and pop bike stores are multiple degrees stronger than are needed for the application. If you aren't well versed in parts and building bikes don't try to take someone who is to task.

Common sense tells us this because:

a. you don't hear of people routinely needing to go to the store to replace their bent handle bars and...
b. just don't hear of industry recalls for basic steel flat bars because of weakness.

But, you are welcome to try and find the lowest example of a bicycle possible and scour the interwebs trying to find a random picture somewhere of a flat bar that bent on a bike. Here's a starting place (though I suspect they are all fine): https://www.theatlantic.com/photo/20...cycles/556268/
I'm not sure where you live, but in North America, I cannot recall seeing steel handlebars for sale in any 'mom and pop' shop for a long time. I looked through the Cylces Lambert online catalogue (largest distributor to LBSs in Canada) and there are precisely zero (0) steel mountain bike bars available.Aluminum bars MSRPs start at 19.99 CDN$. I also looked at Babac, a smaller distributor who is known for carrying budget and older styles, and they had exactly one steel riser mtb bar in their catalogue, out of several dozen styles.

So these 'basic steel bars' you are talking about don't really exist, except maybe in your imagination, and possibly takeoffs from cheap bikes for the rare occasions that a person riding a Huffy actually gets their bike fixed instead of junking the whole thing, which is common and probably why you don't hear about the bars getting replaced - the rest of the bike is usually trashed by the time the person realizes their bars are messed up..

So it's not that your advice was 'bad', so much that is was 'wrong' and 'useless'.
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Old 02-26-20, 03:30 PM
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PS. Happy Feet I looked at a bunch of other sites and cannot find this 'basic steel handlebar'. Please provide a link to prove I am wrong.
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Old 02-26-20, 03:56 PM
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Wald makes a variety of bars in steel. I just got a set of North Road bars in steel off Amazon.
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Old 02-26-20, 04:02 PM
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Originally Posted by gorillimo View Post
Wald makes a variety of bars in steel. I just got a set of North Road bars in steel off Amazon.
Walds were the only ones I could find even remotely resembling what OP is talking about. Wald makes very good stuff, too.
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