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  1. #1
    mtbr member
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    Wrecking too much for carbon?

    I recently upgraded my handlebars on my pitch w/ spec carbon enduro bars. I didnt really think about it beforehand since I used to use a carbon kayak paddle that could was indestructible. BUT, considering I am known to dump my bike quite a bit, low speed stuff usually, is carbon maybe the wrong choice for me? I have always thought carbon was pretty bombproof, but stuff I have read on here makes me think otherwise. What is your opinion. I love the way it feels and rides, but I dont really feel like shelling out that kind of money on a regular basis? Am I just looking into it too much? Should I just shut up and ride until it breaks??? I assume carbon is stronger than the oe aluminum bars?

  2. #2
    Nouveau Retrogrouch SuperModerator
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    The bottom line is if you do not trust it, do not ride it.
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  3. #3
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    If you're worried about shelling out money, than you should probably follow the age old addage for bike components "The more expensive it is, the more you'll have to spend to replace it".

    Unless you're racing or being a weight weenie, I'd just beat up some aluminum components for a while until you get more comfortable on your bike. Just my opinion.

  4. #4
    mtbr member
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    From my experience with carbon, I trust it, but some of the info I have read on mtbr makes carbon sound like it is a ticking time bomb cause the damage is not always noticeable and can then fail on you later when you least expect it. I would think for the money, it is more durable than aluminum.

  5. #5
    g3h6o3
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    I've been running Easton carbon bars on my AM (Monkeylite DH) & XC hardtail (Monkeylite SL) builds for years now. No problem whatsoever. It's not a matter of material, it's a matter of build quality.

    And BTW, I ride the same trails on both bikes but at different speeds and choosing different lines so, no, it's not a problem. Moreover, I love the added comfort it adds on the hardtail and wouldn't look back.
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  6. #6
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    The weakest parts on my bike are the magnesium clamps and assembly on my Avid Juicy Ultimate brakes. I've crashed and never broken the carbon fiber brake levers, nor damaged my Easton Monkeylite carbon bars. I pull up hard on the handlebars on climbs and can feel them flex (which feels good to know it'll flex for me on the descents and long rides too). This is the third time I'm having to buy a new brake assembly because of brittle magnesium. With all the money I spent, I could have afforded some other model of brakes by now.

    I've used the same USE Alien carbon seatpost through two bikes, and replaced two metal seatpost clamps on it.

    After several years of abuse, the flexible carbon fiber chainstays on my old first-generation Cannondale Scalpel looked a little shredded, but they never broke. The rest of the rear end developed some problems that weren't worth fixing, but I still have the frame intact on my shop wall.

    Running 185mm cranks, I've whacked my Time ATAC XS carbon pedals on rocks and roots many times and they are still working reliably for me, best pedals I've ever owned.

    Carbon fiber is tougher than a lot of lightweight metals.
    Last edited by TunicaTrails; 12-23-2010 at 08:05 AM.

  7. #7
    mtbr member
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    I broke a set of carbon bars once, they broke right at the brake lever clamp, sent me to the ground hard. never used carbon again, not on a single component (not even the headset spacers i used to have, lol)

  8. #8
    g3h6o3
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    My experience is that when it breaks at a clamp/contact point, installation is at fault.
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  9. #9
    mtbr member
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    Quote Originally Posted by PissedOffCil
    My experience is that when it breaks at a clamp/contact point, installation is at fault.
    That might be true for most cases, but I did mine with a torque wrench to spec, so I stopped trusting carbon anyway.

  10. #10
    mtbr member
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    I gotta say that after reading your responses, I do feel better about my purchase. Thanks!

  11. #11
    g3h6o3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Luigiugueto
    That might be true for most cases, but I did mine with a torque wrench to spec, so I stopped trusting carbon anyway.
    Because you had a bad experience with carbon doesn't make it flawed. You didn't mention the brand of the bar so I'll give myself the privilege to doubt their QA... Hehehe

    We have all seen aluminium or steel parts break for different reasons, as I said it's not a matter of material but rather construction quality.

    FWIW, on a bad crash at high speed on my AM bike I banged my Monkeylite DH. The rock hit the grip, shredded through it and then scratched the carbon underneath. The bar is still working as it should so I'm not worried at all that carbon is suitable for AM or even DH for that matter.
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by PissedOffCil
    Because you had a bad experience with carbon doesn't make it flawed. You didn't mention the brand of the bar so I'll give myself the privilege to doubt their QA... Hehehe

    We have all seen aluminium or steel parts break for different reasons, as I said it's not a matter of material but rather construction quality.

    FWIW, on a bad crash at high speed on my AM bike I banged my Monkeylite DH. The rock hit the grip, shredded through it and then scratched the carbon underneath. The bar is still working as it should so I'm not worried at all that carbon is suitable for AM or even DH for that matter.
    I didn't say it was flawed, just said I dont personally trust it. By the way, the bars were Answer Protaper....
    I'm glad you've got good experiences man! thankfully your bar has taken the beating better than mine did!

    cheers

  13. #13
    perpetual pucker factor
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    Carbon is cool. Very cool. Do I use it for my bars? Nope. There are a few factors that can DRAMATICALLY impact the life of a set of cf bars. 1) how tight you run your clamps on your brakes, shifters, etc, and 2) the clamp interface with the stem and the bars. Many stems have a fairly ovalized cavity for the bars, so that they will pinch them hard and keep them in place. This can, over time, cause micro cracks in the resin binder that holds the fiber bundles together. Also, if the edges of the stem's bar cavity are not rounded correctly, they cause a stress concentrator right at that joint. The constant fatiguing at the same exact position without spreading the load over a larger area is probably the worst offender in broken bars. Some stem manufacturers have even started making carbon bar approved stems for that reason. Very subtle changes in the shape, but very big changes in lifespan.

    Bottom line, check your equipment. Make sure you don't crush your bars without mercy when you tighten your levers, shifters, and stem. Make sure that the edges of your stem are shaped so that they are not going to concentrate every bit of the force right along that seam. Check your bars every few rides for micro cracks. They'll be super tiny usually, but most of the time they're still visible. Then go ride.
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  14. #14
    g3h6o3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Luigiugueto
    I didn't say it was flawed, just said I dont personally trust it. By the way, the bars were Answer Protaper....
    I'm glad you've got good experiences man! thankfully your bar has taken the beating better than mine did!

    cheers
    Reading the reviews, breaking at the shifter seems common : http://www.mtbr.com/cat/controls/han...66_123crx.aspx
    Check out my SportTracks plugins for some training aid software.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by lamb
    From my experience with carbon, I trust it, but some of the info I have read on mtbr makes carbon sound like it is a ticking time bomb cause the damage is not always noticeable and can then fail on you later when you least expect it. I would think for the money, it is more durable than aluminum.
    My advice, don't rely on MTBR armchair scientists to tell you whether carbon is or isn't safe. It's a great place for information, but not that level.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by lamb
    Should I just shut up and ride until it breaks???
    If you're worrying about it, swap it out. Having it niggle away while you're riding will do far more damage to your riding time than a part failure that may never happened. Best go back to the old ones and stop worrying.

    #On carbon. My experience of carbon bars is that they are less tolerant of bad mechanics than alu or steel bars.
    Other than that they are a wash. A big point impact (say, sharp rocks coming in at speed with a rider landing on top of them) will kill them, but that kills alu bars too.

  17. #17
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by fotu
    I've been sweating over the carbon crank that's coming stock on my new all mountain rigg. I just cant imagine that a carbon crank is suitable for the more aggressive end of the all mountain spectrum.
    Four wheels move the body.
    Two wheels move the soul.

  19. #19
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    Buy them off a reputable company and they will be fine.

  20. #20
    addicted to chunk
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    Quote Originally Posted by fotu
    I bet if there was a website dedicated to cracked aluminum, it would have a lot more failures than that page...
    Riding.....

  21. #21
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    I completely trust carbon handlebars. I do not like carbon seatposts, as they are harder to setup, not much lighter, if at all, then a proven Thomson. Frame to seatpost interface is just not made for carbon.
    And I have seen too many cracked chainstays on a variety of frames to ever get arsed to get a frame with carbon bits down there. Maybe in a few years they will figure everything out. Aluminum for FS and titanium for HT are good enough.
    Cranks - I am sure they are solid enough, but value proposition over XTR is just not there. XTR and SLX are proven reliable.

  22. #22
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    I have and use a lot of carbon parts. No problems
    with Bontrager and Easton carbon bars. I haven't
    really had any problems with any of my carbon
    parts. I have read and heard of problems with
    Answer carbon bars and NEXT carbon cranks. I
    have always felt if carbon is good enough to use
    on a F18 jet fighter than it is fine for a bicycle.

    Best, John

  23. #23
    mtbr member
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Kuhl
    have always felt if carbon is good enough to use
    on a F18 jet fighter than it is fine for a bicycle.
    Next time F18 rolls down a rocky ravine after its pilot had ejected - and does not need to be replaced, that would make for a very relevant analogy.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Luigiugueto
    I broke a set of carbon bars once, they broke right at the brake lever clamp, sent me to the ground hard. never used carbon again, not on a single component (not even the headset spacers i used to have, lol)
    Man- if you ever break an aluminum part, you'll have to go all Ti. God forbid you ever break a Ti part. You'll have to quit biking.

    As for me, I've beaten the crap out of my monkeylight handle bar for almost 8 years straight now. They look pretty beat up, but still work as well as ever. I'm going carbon frame/bar/wheels on my next bike.

  25. #25
    mtbr member
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Kuhl
    I
    have always felt if carbon is good enough to use
    on a F18 jet fighter than it is fine for a bicycle.
    The Carbon on MTBs is nowhere near that standard, I've cut up Giant and SC frames, if a dude at McDonnell ever built a part with that much filler in it he'd get the sack.

    But bikes are much easier structurally. They're never going to hit a bird at 700knots, or get friction heating at 900knots, or suffer a few tons of recoil and vibrations when firing it's main gun... or... or...

    Where was I again?

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