1. The most important thing about buying a new bike is to make sure it fits. The only way you'll know if the bike is right for you is to size up the bike and make sure that the bike's geometry matches your body's geometry. Ask questions and do some research.
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2. If possible, try to find a shop that will let you demo the bike on real dirt. Five minutes in a parking lot won't cut it. You wouldn't buy a car without a real world test drive, and a bike should be no different.
3. Don't belive the hype. Just because your favorite rider or best friend rides a certain bike, that doesn't mean that's the best one for you. Have an open mind and be realistic about your needs and ability.
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  1. #1
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    Easton Haven Carbon handlebars - problem or cosmetic issue?

    Hi all,

    I've searched and found lots of talk about checking carbon handlebars for cracks/weaknesses etc., but I'm having a hard time figuring out if I have one. (And becoming paranoid of course, through too much reading.)

    The story is I bought a new pair of the handlebars (online) recently and installed them last week. They are my first carbon component, so I tried to be very cautious installing them. I put on a brand-new (Easton) stem and tried to follow all the instructions. I used a ParkTool torque wrench and torqued the stem bolts to 5nm, as directed. I put the brake levers on at 6nm, shifters on at 5nm and grips at 4nm - all as per the documentation I could find. I did have to take the bars out of the stem once, as I hadn't got the orientation right the first time. I thought this went OK, although I had to pull it out a bit as the fit was firm, with the carbon paste helping that. I lubed the stem bolts the first fit, although not the 2nd time, as I figured they'd still be OK (it was the day after).

    Anyway, I have these odd looking lines coming out horizontally from the stem. I can run my finger over them and they feel flat. They look somewhat like a cosmetic issue to me, but the location and orientation of them worry me. And I didn't notice them when I got the bars out of the box initially.

    I haven't yet ridden with the bars properly, just around the streets in my neighbourhood.

    So, I found a picture of someone else's bars online that have the same lines, although for me they are at the top of the bar, coming from about 5mm (0.2 inch) below the top stem bolts. (I can't get a picture of my bars right now, as I'm not at home.) If you notice his bars in the attached pic, there are some lines coming on both sides from around the +2 marker at the bottom, and they run up towards the shifters.

    Any thoughts? Thanks a lot for any feedback!
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Easton Haven Carbon handlebars - problem or cosmetic issue?-easton-haven-carbon-handlebars-750mm-3.jpg  


  2. #2
    Trail Tire TV on blogger
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    It's most likely the mold seam...

    not 100% on the process, but from what I gathered the layers of carbon and epoxy goo are laid up on a sorta balloon. then set into a mold which is clamped over the whole thing and then the balloon is inflated compressing and shaping the bars.. When cured there is a seam from the outer mold which is ground then a last coat of resin/epoxy/goo for a nice finish.

    there are 2 ways I've been told to check for hair line cracks..

    one is to take a small flash light and shine it in one end with it dark out... obvious light will show thru on cracks that goo 100% thru.

    another is tip the bike on it's side fill with water (should be using the rubber type of end plug with carbon) and let sit over night.. look for weeping water.

    Honestly don't know if these are the best way but I do do both as well as take it off and do a visual inspection every 6 months or so or after a major crash...

    I was (and still sorta are) very paranoid with carbon and cracking, failing on bars. Metals bend, groan, creak what ever giving a warning, where carbon will often just fail without any tell tale sign.... but I got to say, they are WAY stronger and take wicked hits without issue.. I've crashed, smashed and even went off a cliff with mine that I know would have bend alum bars... after hmm 3 yrs I guess I've had these Monkey lites they are just fine.. (though thinking of it it's time for their 6 month check up )
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  3. #3
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    Thanks for the response thom!

    Since I posted, I found another picture of the kind of thing I am talking about at http://weblog.icofit.net/wp-content/...9/DSC00628.jpg

    In this case, this was the photo someone took of their bars straight out of the box after delivery.

  4. #4
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    I just bought one of these online and if it arrives with those lines I am returning it for sure!

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by schristie11 View Post
    I just bought one of these online and if it arrives with those lines I am returning it for sure!
    well don't buy any carbon bars, as all that I have seen have it..
    Going to try and bring Trail Tire TV back. go take a look... http://trailtiretv.blogspot.com/

  6. #6
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    Good Grief!

    You have expensive carbon bars from freaking Easton, for goodness sake.
    How much better do you want?
    They are as good as you can get.

    If you are too paranoid to accept carbon fiber parts from a proven supplier, you should stick to good old heavy steel parts. If in doubt, make it stout.

  7. #7
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    Guess I should return my Nomad C, my Havens, havocs and Enve stem they all have mold marks.

    Come to think of it I better cancel my order for my Enve wheels as well.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by tantrumizer View Post
    In this case, this was the photo someone took of their bars straight out of the box after delivery.
    You're fine, that's a parting line from the mold. It would be very difficult to build a part like this without a parting line and if you did, it would probably cost a lot more.

    Those Easton bars are some of the best you can buy, stop worrying and start riding your bike. My Easton carbon bars have lasted for 3 years now including regular trips to the lift served resorts and crashes a go-go, parting line and all.
    Don't you hate it when a sentence doesn't end the way you think it octopus?

  9. #9
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    If all the carbon bars have mold lines then why do the product images the mfg's give out show no lines at all?
    That's maybe the real problem, setting expectations they can't live up to?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by schristie11 View Post
    If all the carbon bars have mold lines then why do the product images the mfg's give out show no lines at all?
    That's maybe the real problem, setting expectations they can't live up to?
    it's just lighting... you only see them at the right angles and with light hitting them just right...
    Going to try and bring Trail Tire TV back. go take a look... http://trailtiretv.blogspot.com/

  11. #11
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    I have several other things in my life that are full carbon and I've never seen a seam or mold line on them,
    plus none of the photos from Easton show lines so I assumed the handle bars would not have any mold lines either.

    However I do understand that it's possible to have them and sometimes necessary, so if that's what I have to live with it's fine.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by schristie11 View Post
    If all the carbon bars have mold lines then why do the product images the mfg's give out show no lines at all?
    That's maybe the real problem, setting expectations they can't live up to?
    And if every magazine cover shows models with flawless skin then those models must have flawless skin!

    They either shop it out or quite likely they just light it away. The product photo on their website shows the area where the parting line would be in a lighting shadow and there is no detail shot of the any of their bars.

    I think the bigger question is how a parting line is a make or break deal. You can see them on any unpainted carbon frame and no one seems to implode because of it.
    Don't you hate it when a sentence doesn't end the way you think it octopus?

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by zebrahum View Post
    I think the bigger question is how a parting line is a make or break deal.

    Simple, the OP said he was concerned it may be a fracture or other defect.
    If it was truly a structural defect then wouldn't that be good cause for returning the item?

  14. #14
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    Except it's not and even after that has been dispelled you are continually saying that there should be no parting lines in carbon and would in fact return the item based on cosmetic reasons when it is probably one of the better handlebars on the market. Zeb and I would know as we have owned them for several years and the carbon quality of Easton is one of the best and they stand behind their product.
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by pfox90 View Post
    Except it's not and even after that has been dispelled you are continually saying that there should be no parting lines in carbon and would in fact return the item based on cosmetic reasons when it is probably one of the better handlebars on the market. Zeb and I would know as we have owned them for several years and the carbon quality of Easton is one of the best and they stand behind their product.
    pfox90,
    That's not what I said... or the OP.

    I said:
    I do understand that it's possible to have them and sometimes necessary, so if that's what I have to live with it's fine.

    The OP was just concerned about a potential defect.
    I think the OP and I both have a different opinion about returning the bars after learning that the mold lines are natural.

    pfox90, maybe you should switch to decaf?

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by schristie11 View Post
    pfox90,
    That's not what I said... or the OP.

    I said:
    I do understand that it's possible to have them and sometimes necessary, so if that's what I have to live with it's fine.

    The OP was just concerned about a potential defect.
    I think the OP and I both have a different opinion about returning the bars after learning that the mold lines are natural.

    pfox90, maybe you should switch to decaf?
    Quote Originally Posted by schristie11 View Post
    I just bought one of these online and if it arrives with those lines I am returning it for sure!
    Quote Originally Posted by schristie11 View Post
    If all the carbon bars have mold lines then why do the product images the mfg's give out show no lines at all?
    That's maybe the real problem, setting expectations they can't live up to?
    Quote Originally Posted by schristie11 View Post
    I have several other things in my life that are full carbon and I've never seen a seam or mold line on them,
    plus none of the photos from Easton show lines so I assumed the handle bars would not have any mold lines either.
    Oh... ok.
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  17. #17
    Trail Tire TV on blogger
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    Quote Originally Posted by schristie11 View Post
    I have several other things in my life that are full carbon and I've never seen a seam or mold line on them, .......
    because they are painted..
    Going to try and bring Trail Tire TV back. go take a look... http://trailtiretv.blogspot.com/

  18. #18
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    I have the same thing on mine. You're golden!

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