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  1. #1
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    29er Titanium bars fatigue too...

    Since a lot of users of alternative bars are on the 29er forum and since the majority of bikes sold now are 29er, I guess it is natural to post this here.
    Since I broke my extra-light aluminium in 1995 after about 15 months of use, I had decided to use exclusively Titanium bars, believing "Titanium does not fatigue" or at least not during your lifetime. Well I have been proven wrong. I am not whinging since I got around 6-7 years out of these but I was convinced when I forked $300 at that time that it was a lifetime investment...
    I don't know if it is the extreme tube bending that created a weakness or if all Titanium bars will fail eventually, just be aware.
    Luckily, it happened 1 hour into my ride while I was climbing a steep single track and I did not even crash this time.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 29er Titanium bars fatigue too...-original-bs-titanium.jpg  

    29er Titanium bars fatigue too...-broken-bs-titanium2.jpg  

    29er Titanium bars fatigue too...-broken-bs-titanium.jpg  

    29er Titanium bars fatigue too...-broken-bs-titanium3.jpg  


  2. #2
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    I would contact Black Sheep (if that's not just a sticker) and tell them. I'm not going to speculate but there's a number of reasons why it may have failed at that point (the material type isn't one of them), you should probably discuss it with them to help improve future designs and to claim your free replacement.

  3. #3
    Elitest thrill junkie
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    Titanium has an infinite fatigue life IF it's not stressed past it's fatigue limit, also assuming no flaws that would significantly lower that fatigue limit.

    The problem on bikes is that **** happens and sometimes you aren't going to be able to use something indefinitely, because you will occasionally encounter those higher stresses. A product may not fail right then and there, but after that it's likely to fail at any time without warning (unless you actually got in there with some sort of x-ray/ultrasonic analysis first). I tend to think this is where many of the "just riding along" type failures come from.

    It either failed from overload or underload. Overload is usually identified by 45 degree "tears" where the metal is usually torn apart, experiencing a stress in excess of it's designed criteria. Underload would usually be a bunch of scalloped marks from an imperfection, although an overload can be a precursor to them as well (technically it's an overload in a very small spot in any case).
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hogdog View Post
    I would contact Black Sheep (if that's not just a sticker) and tell them. I'm not going to speculate but there's a number of reasons why it may have failed at that point (the material type isn't one of them), you should probably discuss it with them to help improve future designs and to claim your free replacement.
    I believe it's a genuine Black sheep.
    I'm in Australia and a colleague of mine used to distribute them at that time. He has moved on, I need to catch up with him because I don't have a receipt as well. After 6-7 years, I'm not really after a free replacement but I'm happy to let the guys at BS know that something went wrong if they think it should not happen.
    Eric

  5. #5
    bog
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    If that tube bending is as bad as it looks I'm surprised you got so much life out of them. The bend closest to the stem, on the non-broken side, looks bloody awful. It almost looks like they barely avoided kinking or creasing the material!
    SC Tallboy C : SC Nomad 3 : Giant TCX SLR : Giant Propel Adv SL

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by bog View Post
    If that tube bending is as bad as it looks I'm surprised you got so much life out of them. The bend closest to the stem, on the non-broken side, looks bloody awful. It almost looks like they barely avoided kinking or creasing the material!
    I was a little worried by this kind of ripples at first but the guy who sold them said it was OK and after so many years without flaws, I started to believe him.

  7. #7
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    Everything breaks, I have had Ti Seatposts, bars and frames break. I would imagine that the bends may have had a little to do with it.

  8. #8
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    Contact James at Black Sheep. I don't think it will matter if your friend is out of the business.
    If you're lucky enough to be in the mountains,
    you're lucky enough.

  9. #9
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    You're right Azjonboy. I have contacted Black Sheep through Facebook and they have been extremely supportive. They have offered to ship a new pair of bars against shipping costs only. I am very impressed by how they stand behind their products.
    First Class Customef Service. I can't recommend them enough.
    I'll ask Todd if he accepts me copying his response here.

  10. #10
    Professional Crastinator
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    Are you sure you didn't have your headlight or your computer over-tightened on that side?


    I am so kidding.
    That sucks. I would go back to the mfr.
    But for $300 I can shop around and get about 7 aluminum handlebars, which should last ~35 years. That's just me, though. I'm sure I couldn't get the warranty and service it sounds like you are getting.

    -F
    It's never easier - you just go faster.

  11. #11
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    I like the way you think and you're mathematically correct but for handlebars, I'll still pick the expensive part. I'd be too hesitant on when to proactively swap....

  12. #12
    Carbon & Ti rule
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    Yep looks like you will need to go to a 1x drive train now. LOL

  13. #13
    ballbuster
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    Quote Originally Posted by eric_syd View Post
    Since a lot of users of alternative bars are on the 29er forum and since the majority of bikes sold now are 29er, I guess it is natural to post this here.
    Since I broke my extra-light aluminium in 1995 after about 15 months of use, I had decided to use exclusively Titanium bars, believing "Titanium does not fatigue" or at least not during your lifetime. Well I have been proven wrong. I am not whinging since I got around 6-7 years out of these but I was convinced when I forked $300 at that time that it was a lifetime investment...
    I don't know if it is the extreme tube bending that created a weakness or if all Titanium bars will fail eventually, just be aware.
    Luckily, it happened 1 hour into my ride while I was climbing a steep single track and I did not even crash this time.
    Same exact thing happened to a friend of mine on the same exact bars. I think Blacksheep might be bending too sharply, or something... does Ti need to be heat treated or stress relieved in some way? Seems that Jeff Jones is putting all kinds of crazy cold set bends on his frames (back when he made frames) and they don't have issues like this.

  14. #14
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    pretty amazing that they supported you like they did... kudos to them, and something I'll definitely remember.
    Quote Originally Posted by pvd
    Time to stop believing the hype and start doing some science.
    29er Tire Weight Database

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by pimpbot View Post
    Same exact thing happened to a friend of mine on the same exact bars. I think Blacksheep might be bending too sharply, or something... does Ti need to be heat treated or stress relieved in some way? Seems that Jeff Jones is putting all kinds of crazy cold set bends on his frames (back when he made frames) and they don't have issues like this.
    The OP is talking bars, not frames. Black Sheep also bends frames in crazy ways.
    If you're lucky enough to be in the mountains,
    you're lucky enough.

  16. #16
    ballbuster
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    Quote Originally Posted by azjonboy View Post
    The OP is talking bars, not frames. Black Sheep also bends frames in crazy ways.
    Yeah, I get that. I was actually talking about bending ti tubing... since this is the second Blacksheep Ti bar I've seen that broke in the same way in the same spot, right in the middle of that first bend. There is a lot of material there, and compressing/stretching/forming it has to stress the heck out of it.

    Wow... back when I did electrical work using EMT (the softer metal conduit) if we bent a pipe in a hand bender and it wrinkled like that on the inside of the bend (like would happen with some of the cheap chinese made conduit, or we didn't apply enough pressure to keep the pipe in the bender tool) the foreman would make us throw it out and do another one.

    Those wrinkles tell me that they are bending the tubing too tightly, too fast, or too much.... not that I know anything about bending Ti tubing, but that would be true of steel conduit tubing.

    Nice to see that Blacksheep stepped up to take care of you. They seem to be a stand-up kinda company. I wonder if they would make me a bar that fits me like my Titec H-Bar, minus the forward horns?

  17. #17
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    These are older bars I'm sure Black Sheep are using a different method of bending now because I've seen a few of their recent bars and none of them have any wrinkling...I'd bet eric-syd's replacements will be quite different.

  18. #18
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    Understand your thoughts. I would think that the smaller diameter tubing of a handlebar is probably more susceptible to breakage than a larger diameter frame tube.

    I have had 4 of Black Sheep's bars and 2 of JJ's. I keep thinking one of these days it's going to happen to me, but knock on wood, not yet 😀
    If you're lucky enough to be in the mountains,
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  19. #19
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    29er Titanium bars fatigue too...

    Quote Originally Posted by azjonboy View Post
    Understand your thoughts. I would think that the smaller diameter tubing of a handlebar is probably more susceptible to breakage than a larger diameter frame tube.
    Smaller diameter than a seat stay?
    Quote Originally Posted by pvd
    Time to stop believing the hype and start doing some science.
    29er Tire Weight Database

  20. #20
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    Not sure what your question refers to?
    If you're lucky enough to be in the mountains,
    you're lucky enough.

  21. #21
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    29er Titanium bars fatigue too...

    Quote Originally Posted by azjonboy View Post
    Not sure what your question refers to?

    You said "smaller diameter tubing of a handlebar" relative to a frame tube. Seat stays are frame tubes that are smaller than handlebars and typically the ones that are bent on frames like BS & JJ.
    Quote Originally Posted by pvd
    Time to stop believing the hype and start doing some science.
    29er Tire Weight Database

  22. #22
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    MY frames seat tubes are slightly smaller than my handlebar, but not much. I think wall thickness may play a part as well. A seat tube also has other tubes that they are attached to that help with alleviating stress and loads. A handlebar probably takes on more stress without the supporting cast that a seat tube has.

    Also, frame tubes are bent in a more gradual arc over a longer distance than h bars.

    Just thinking out loud here, so no studies or empirical evidence to offer.
    Last edited by azjonboy; 10-16-2013 at 11:18 PM.
    If you're lucky enough to be in the mountains,
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  23. #23
    Snapper
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    Blacksheep are exceptional at standing behind their products. It can sometimes take awhile as they are a very busy and small operation but the results are second to none.

  24. #24
    Fat Biker
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    +1 johnd663
    I have 3 BS bars (and 2 bikes) . James@blacksheepbikes takes frame/component issues seriously

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  25. #25
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    Thank you blacksheep

    Just wanted to bring a closure to this thread.
    I can't recommend enough BlackSheep and how they stand behind their products.
    Here is what I have found in my mailbox this morning.
    Todd from BS took care of me and they charged me the shipping costs only.
    Fantastic service.
    Eric
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 29er Titanium bars fatigue too...-new-bs-titanium.jpg  

    29er Titanium bars fatigue too...-new-bs-titanium2.jpg  


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