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  1. #1
    Go Speed Racer
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    Handlebars: Titanium, Carbon or Aluminum?

    I am building up a new 29er from the ground up and I am having a hard time deciding on what handlebars to get. Leaning towards the Thomson Carbon flat bar, or the Ti Bar (but having a hard time swallowing the price of that bad boy). Basically, I am not a weight weenie, but I am watching the weight of the components because the bike that this build is replacing is a total tank and one of the main reasons I am building a new bike is to get the weight down a bit. I ride mainly XC trails with perhaps just a tad bit of AM mixed in (the occasional 12-18 inch drops taken at fairly slow speed).

    I am also fairly light (140 pounds), so I figure I can get away with a pretty light bar. Also I do have some stubby bar ends that I like to run (I know 90's but I really like them when climbing, especially long grunts). I am worried about putting bar ends on a carbon bar.

    Just looking for some suggestions for a good flatbar, between 640 and 700mm, that is fairly light (say around 200grams), that is good for XC riding...

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    Your profile says you are in the desert southwest--the reason I bring that up is--I use carbon bars to keep the cold temperature transmission down--I am in Alaska--so, not a problem for you, but, is there an equivalent heat transmission issue? If so, something less thermally conductive like carbon may be nice. Otherwise, save money and get a decent Al bar--the weight difference is not that much when you look at it (50 grams? at most). Width, rise, and sweep are going to be the key factors (combined with the correct stem) for riding comfort.

  3. #3
    Go Speed Racer
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    Heat/Cold transfer is not really an issue. Thanks for the feedback. Yeah, my current bike has a riser bar, and I am looking to go with a wider flat bar for a more aggressive riding position. So I am sure I will want to experiment with different widths and sweep, so I probably should start with a al bar

    Thanks again!

  4. #4
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    I'm a big fan of the Salsa Pro Moto handlebar with 11 degrees of sweep. I run the aluminum version, but there does appear to be a quite significant difference in weight if you go carbon - 145g for the 11 degree carbon Pro Moto 1 vs 260g for the Pro Moto 2 aluminum. Can't use your bar ends on carbon though.

  5. #5
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    The Carver Ti bar is 215G I believe at 730mm. Good price too(about $100). I have one on my rigid SS and like it

  6. #6
    ballbuster
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtbdennis View Post
    I am building up a new 29er from the ground up and I am having a hard time deciding on what handlebars to get. Leaning towards the Thomson Carbon flat bar, or the Ti Bar (but having a hard time swallowing the price of that bad boy). Basically, I am not a weight weenie, but I am watching the weight of the components because the bike that this build is replacing is a total tank and one of the main reasons I am building a new bike is to get the weight down a bit. I ride mainly XC trails with perhaps just a tad bit of AM mixed in (the occasional 12-18 inch drops taken at fairly slow speed).

    I am also fairly light (140 pounds), so I figure I can get away with a pretty light bar. Also I do have some stubby bar ends that I like to run (I know 90's but I really like them when climbing, especially long grunts). I am worried about putting bar ends on a carbon bar.

    Just looking for some suggestions for a good flatbar, between 640 and 700mm, that is fairly light (say around 200grams), that is good for XC riding...

    Thanks!
    I say go carbon. These days, carbon bars are super tough, don't fatigue, and even the reasonably cheap ones are of good quality. I liked the shock absorbing qualities.

    ... that is, unless you like wonky shaped bars, like me. Then, there aren't many choices for carbon.

  7. #7
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    Buy whichever one fits your riding style and what you want to spend. Carbon will be more comfortable than the AL or Ti. Think about a tennis racquet from 30 years ago when they were metal or a golf club shaft.

    I did a little research and wrote an article on "bolt on" upgrades and building a bike up... In many cases the really nice AL parts(stem, bars, post) are still quite a bit less than quality carbon pieces and are literally only 2-3 oz. heavier. So add up those 3 pieces and you have a total weight savings of maybe 6 oz? Yet you spent $100's more. But like I said, there are some other advantages to carbon vs. AL...
    Bike Doctor



  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kawigreen99 View Post
    The Carver Ti bar is 215G I believe at 730mm. Good price too(about $100). I have one on my rigid SS and like it

    That seems like a great deal.

  9. #9
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    Using the 710mm Niner RDO carbon bar. Coming from an Easton EA70 alu bar...the carbon made a difference. I'm 142lbs.
    Cervelo S2
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  10. #10
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    I like my S-Works Carbon Prowess...720mm..$125. Great damping and weighs ~180 or so I believe.
    Geologist by trade...bicycle mechanic (former) by the grace of God!

    2012 Specialized Stumpy EVO 29 HT

  11. #11
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    I switched to a ti bar and ti seatpost on my fatbike, both were FSA carbon before. I liked the carbon, but now am switching all my seatposts to ti due to the buttery smooth feel. If I could get a ti road bar in the shape of my FSA K-Wing I would do it in a heartbeat. The carbon did a great job dissipating high-frequency vibrations, but I find the ti at both ends to be smoother overall.

    P.S. I have 3 FSA SL-K 27.2 0-setback posts for sale...guess I better hit the classifieds and pay for that spam.

  12. #12
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    Might be a stupid question but I've never owned any but can you cut carbon bars yo desired length! I found a set for a good price but their too wide.

  13. #13
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    Yes you can cut them with a hack saw.

  14. #14
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    Been happy with Niner Flat Top Carbons at 710mm on both bikes.

    SPP
    Rigid.

  15. #15
    I Tried Them ALL... Moderator
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    Get the Easton EC-70 XC Wide 685mm and be done with it. It's 155g and tough as nails...
    "The mind will quit....well before the body does"

  16. #16
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    Those Eastons are relatively cheap too, I'm shopping too and I like the price/weight/reviews of the Easton ECs.

  17. #17
    Elitest thrill junkie
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    Quote Originally Posted by orind View Post
    Your profile says you are in the desert southwest--the reason I bring that up is--I use carbon bars to keep the cold temperature transmission down--I am in Alaska--so, not a problem for you, but, is there an equivalent heat transmission issue? If so, something less thermally conductive like carbon may be nice. Otherwise, save money and get a decent Al bar--the weight difference is not that much when you look at it (50 grams? at most). Width, rise, and sweep are going to be the key factors (combined with the correct stem) for riding comfort.
    When I was in arizona riding in -5 degrees I definitely would have liked the lack of heat transmission with carbon bars, the only problem is I wasn't using pogies to trap heat anyway, so it wouldn't have mattered. I rode all the time in AZ below freezing, if only I had the gear I have now though...

    There are a few reasons to get carbon bars, mostly it's weight. On my AM bike it's strength and weight, as it's not the lightest carbon bar ever, but it's likely one of the strongest given the thickness and I didn't want it failing while doing gaps and jumps obviously.

    On my other bikes I've went with carbon bars due to the weight and stiffness. Aluminium is just not that rigid at those wall thicknesses and sizes, but carbon can get way out there. You might consider a nice wider carbon bar (740-760mm), which spreads your hands out nice and negates having to run bar-ends to a large extent, plus it gives you more leverage while standing and pedaling. It's an old myth that your handlebars should be as "wide as your shoulders".

    I've found no real advantages to carbon or ti in terms of "frequency absorption".
    "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

    You're turning black metallic.

  18. #18
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    I thought there was a big difference in the chatter absorbing abilities of carbon bars. Going from an EA-70 to Ritchey WCS Carbon smoothed out the ride for me considerably. I ride a flat bar on a hardtail in old fashioned race-type position and it really was noticeable for me at least.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by smilinsteve View Post
    Yes you can cut them with a hack saw.
    Correct; however you are supposed to use painters masking tape to tape that area to cut to prevent splintering and use a v. fine blade (can't remember the type) - Niner's website has info on this if you look at the instruction sheet for the carbon bar.
    Geologist by trade...bicycle mechanic (former) by the grace of God!

    2012 Specialized Stumpy EVO 29 HT

  20. #20
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    Went from Easton EA70 alu bar to a Niner RDO carbon bar. I was actually able to tell a difference in my hands.

    Recently switched my GF's bars on her Niner to the Easton EC70.

    Never used a Ti bar.
    Cervelo S2
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  21. #21
    650b me
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    I have to agree with some others here...I can feel a difference between carbon and alu. Carbon is superior at damping vibration. I've owned a few Easton carbon bars and found them to my liking. Currently running the EC 70. For me, it's wide enough, very light and plenty strong.

    I just put a Carver ti bar on my other bike, but I only have one ride on it so I really can't compare to carbon yet.

  22. #22
    650b me
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    Oh wait...this is the 29'er forum. Please disregard my previous post. Those bars are on a 26" and 650b, respectively.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtbdennis View Post
    Basically, I am not a weight weenie, but I am watching the weight of the components because the bike that this build is replacing is a total tank and one of the main reasons I am building a new bike is to get the weight down a bit...
    As somebody else pointed out, you're only going to save 2-3oz going carbon instead of aluminum.

    Do this: figure out what saving gram or an ounce is worth to you. Is a gram worth a dollar? Is 100g worth $100? Is a kg worth $1,000? Is an ounce worth $25? Or $50? Then start shopping.


    Quote Originally Posted by mtbdennis View Post
    Also I do have some stubby bar ends that I like to run (I know 90's but I really like them when climbing, especially long grunts)...
    Me, too. I don't know how people ride without them.


    Quote Originally Posted by mtbdennis View Post
    Just looking for some suggestions for a good flatbar, between 640 and 700mm, that is fairly light (say around 200grams), that is good for XC riding...
    I still have the 680mm "C3" bar that my Cannondale came with (I replaced it with a 760mm Origin8). It's just gathering dust here. If you're interested, just let me know.

  24. #24
    Rub it............
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    I've ridden all 3 types.

    Aluminum - budget friendly, avail in multitudes of widths, sweeps and rises, fairly light depending on the model.

    Least favorite

    Carbon - Cost is much higher that aluminum. Expect a minimum of $130 but can rise to over $200 easily. Has vibration dampening characteristics. Avail in very similar widths, sweep and rise as aluminum. Usually the lightest of the bunch.

    Loved my Easton EC90 SL bars - 135 grams, but very narrow at 635mm. Loved the stiffness when climbing.

    I have ridden Easton, Forte' (nice bar for the money), Enve (long demo ride) and Truvativ bars (friends bike).


    Titanium bars - These are my absolute favorite. VERY, VERY EXPENSIVE. Currently running Thomson Ti 12 degree sweep flat bar, cut down from 730mm to 680mm. Smoothed out the ride. I don't feel as beat up on the longer 20+ mile rides like I did when I was using the carbon bars.

    These were 1/2 lb heavier than my Eastons, and around 100 grams heavier than alloy bars I have ridden in the past.

    I will take the weight penalty for comfort any day.



    To the OP, your criteria calls for a carbon bar regarding width and weight. I like the Enve, Truvativ and Eastons.

    What you buy comes down to budget.

    Cutting Aluminum - Any 18tpi or 24tpi hack saw blade will work. Use a file to smooth out the edges.

    As for cutting Carbon, use at minimum a 24tpi blade. If you can find a finer tooth count, like 32tpi or a diamond coated blade, then do so. Tape up the carbon with painters tape to minimize splintering, followed by a fine file to remove the rough edges.

    Cutting Ti - Use a cut off wheel. Seriously. I destroyed 2 18 tpi hacksaw blades cutting down my Ti bars. Then followed by a file.

  25. #25
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    I love my FSA carbon bars.. they feel good, look good, and do help with vibration IMO
    Rockhopper 29er

    -FSA Carbon handlebars, stem, & seatpost
    -2011 Rockshox Reba
    -Stan's Flow Wheelset
    -Ergon Grips

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