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  1. #1
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    Durability of Carbon Handlebars?

    I wasn't sure which forum to post this in, so hopefully this is the right place.

    I'm considering making the switch to carbon bars on my AM bike. Something fairly wide in the 700 - 730mm range. My one main concern is durability. I don't have much experience with carbon parts as I have steered clear in the past. But the weight savings of carbon is hard to resist, and as I hear, the ride quality is much better.

    I understand that stem clamp bolts need to be torqued to spec, and that's fine, but what really concerns me are the brake levers and shifters. I normally keep these parts relatively loose on the bar, so they can fairly easily be rotated by hand without having to loosen them first. Also to lessen the chance of damage in a crash as they will just rotate on the bar instead of break. I'm pretty sure this is fairly common practice. However, with carbon bars, if the levers and shifters get rotated once in a while, either just from me adjusting them, or in a crash, will this not scratch the carbon finish and therefore compromise the strength of the bar? Much more so than with an AL bar? Anyone have any experience with this?

  2. #2
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    Had mine on my MTB since 2009. No probs

  3. #3
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    And do you keep your brake levers and shifters loose enough on the bar to be rotated by hand? And if so, have they actually rotated from time to time (whether from a crash, or to adjust)? Any damage or scratches on the bar as a result?

  4. #4
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    I have an set of Profile carbon riser bars from about 2000 or 2001, they have a much thicker clearcoat on them than most other carbon bars I've seen so I haven't had any problems with them yet. I've had the brake levers get spun a ton of times from crashes and so far the bar is still holding together, though I'd guess that it's worn about halfway through the clearcoat. I'd imagine that with most other carbon bars I'd be cutting into the fibers by now which would definitely worry me a bit.

    If wearing through to the fibers is a concern you can look for a bar with a nice thick clearcoat on it so that it takes longer to wear through, or you could try adding a few extra layers of clearcoat to the bars where the shifters & brake levers attach.

  5. #5
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    Huh. Seems like alot of trouble and worry to save a few grams. Maybe I'll just stick with a nice light Aluminum AM bar. For peace of mind.

  6. #6
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    The sort of scratching caused by a rotating gear/ brake level is not the sort of thing which would compromise a carbon bar, don't worry about it.

    I've had Easton Monkey DH and now have the Easton Havoc carbons. Both have been bomb proof. The Monkey bars were gouged quite badly early on in their life after I clipped a pedal at Cwmcarn and went flying. It was clear the damage was cosmetic.. Yes the clear coat was scraped but the stuff underneath was fine. They've lasted forever since.

    What will break carbon bars is tightening stuff to the point you stress fracture them; or the same sort of thing as would bend an alu bar.

    Course not all bars are equal. You buy an XC bar and you're looking at something considerably weaker, but the Easton Havoc and Haven products are quality.
    Don't fight the mountain

  7. #7
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    Thanks for the input. I'm back to undecided again! The bar I was considering was the Haven.

  8. #8
    Front Range, Colorado
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    Here we go again! This question gets asked once a month on here.
    I have been running Easton Monkeylites (same bar) for 12 years with zero issues. I also run my brakes and shifters lose which is an old motocross trick. I weigh 210lbs and ride aggressively, all mountain type. I'm not sure about the rest so stick with the best. Easton are the pioneers in the industry so they must know what they are doing. If these companies didn't they wouldn't be in business. Lawsuits galore. Just do it and stop worrying about it.
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  9. #9
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    And, do your levers rotate on the bars from time to time when you crash? And if so, is it gouging the carbon bar at all?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by DIRTJUNKIE, View Post
    Here we go again! This question gets asked once a month on here.
    I have been running Easton Monkeylites (same bar) for 12 years with zero issues. I also run my brakes and shifters lose which is an old motocross trick. I weigh 210lbs and ride aggressively, all mountain type. I'm not sure about the rest so stick with the best. Easton are the pioneers in the industry so they must know what they are doing. If these companies didn't they wouldn't be in business. Lawsuits galore. Just do it and stop worrying about it.
    You really don't come here much?

    I'd say the "carbon question" gets asked at least once a week

    .....and the replies are the same as well, made by the same people, every week.

    Magura

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    No, I really don't come around here much. I just do when I need advice about specific stuff! Usually this is the best place to look, at least in my experience.

    Although, my question is slightly different from most I think. I'm concerned specifically about whether or not my brake levers rotating will damage the bar. Not just the durability of the bar. I know carbon bars from reputable manufacturers are good and durable, it's been proven. But I also know how I like to run my setup, and wanted to know others experiences who run the same setup with their levers, but with carbon bars. To help me make up my mind.

  12. #12
    Front Range, Colorado
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    Quote Originally Posted by Freerider View Post
    And, do your levers rotate on the bars from time to time when you crash? And if so, is it gouging the carbon bar at all?
    Yes they rotate hence what I said running them lose. They don't gouge the carbon but rather "barely" scratch it. Not enough to where it compromises the integrity of them. I think my post above speaks for itself of the durability of them.
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  13. #13
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    Carbon bars are a lot easier on the hands and
    wrists than other bars.My wife has problems
    with her hands and wrists and the carbon bars
    do help. We have been using carbon bars from
    a number of different companies and haven't
    had a problem with any of them. So don't give
    it a second thought.

    Best, John
    Last edited by John Kuhl; 03-22-2012 at 03:25 PM.

  14. #14
    DIY all the way
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    Quote Originally Posted by Freerider View Post
    No, I really don't come around here much. I just do when I need advice about specific stuff! Usually this is the best place to look, at least in my experience.

    Although, my question is slightly different from most I think. I'm concerned specifically about whether or not my brake levers rotating will damage the bar. Not just the durability of the bar. I know carbon bars from reputable manufacturers are good and durable, it's been proven. But I also know how I like to run my setup, and wanted to know others experiences who run the same setup with their levers, but with carbon bars. To help me make up my mind.
    Hey, that was meant for DirtJunkie, not you. Hence the quote

    For your specific question, as it is with anything else composite interface related, it's a matter of deburring the interface, in your case the clamps.

    So no worries, just make sure you have no sharp edges on your clamps.


    Magura

  15. #15
    Front Range, Colorado
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr.Magura View Post
    Hey, that was meant for DirtJunkie, not you. Hence the quote

    For your specific question, as it is with anything else composite interface related, it's a matter of deburring the interface, in your case the clamps.

    So no worries, just make sure you have no sharp edges on your clamps.


    Magura

    Yep! It's all about the "smooth bore". Check your brakes and shifters clamps inside bore for sharp edges. If there is none your good to go. If you find an edge file it smooth. Stop worrying and ride them. As I said earlier I have rode them lose (moto style) for 12 years no issues.
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  16. #16
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    Thanks all for the help.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by DIRTJUNKIE, View Post
    Here we go again! This question gets asked once a month on here.
    I have been running Easton Monkeylites (same bar) for 12 years with zero issues. I also run my brakes and shifters lose which is an old motocross trick. I weigh 210lbs and ride aggressively, all mountain type. I'm not sure about the rest so stick with the best. Easton are the pioneers in the industry so they must know what they are doing. If these companies didn't they wouldn't be in business. Lawsuits galore. Just do it and stop worrying about it.
    Ditto on the bars, length of time and rider weight. (weird)

    Buy the carbon bars.

  18. #18
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    Yup Easton MonkeyLight 31.8 diam risers on my bikes since Feb 2008 - excellent!

  19. #19
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    Carbon is 5x stronger than aluminum. I've seen aluminum sheer off without any warning.





    Quote Originally Posted by Freerider View Post
    Huh. Seems like alot of trouble and worry to save a few grams. Maybe I'll just stick with a nice light Aluminum AM bar. For peace of mind.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Kuhl View Post
    Carbon bars are a lot easier on the hands and
    wrists than other bars.My wife has problems
    with her hands and wrists and the carbon bars
    do help. We have been using carbon bars from
    a number of different companies and haven't
    had a problem with any of them. So don't give
    it a second thought.

    Best, John
    That. /\

    No strength or durability problems. Stronger than aluminum. Don't over tighten stuff. Use a carbon paste product with grit to help things stay in place.

    Don't listen to Luddites.

    Read more

  21. #21
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    Had some monkey lites on my old dh rig and they never let me down.

  22. #22
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    Easton Haven Carbon bar on my bike. I have no worries about it snapping.

    Make sure to use carbon assembly paste and torque to spec.

    Though it shouldn't be a problem with keeping your levers loose, I personally wouldn't because eventually it might start scoring.
    Current Ride:
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    '11 Specialized Roubaix Compact Rival

  23. #23
    R T
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    I've always had carbon bars (variety of brands) on every bike I've ever owned and never had an issue.

  24. #24
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    The Easton bars on my bike are 10 years old and have been crashed many times but never had any issues with their structural integrity. I run my controls at official torque settings and they don't twist/spin. Doing so has never caused an issue and aside from a few cosmetic marks and losses to the decals they're as good as new.

    Go good quality carbon, it's kind to your upper body and will not tire you in the way aluminium can. It's a no-brainer.....
    Using yesterday's technology, to create tomorrow's problems, today.

  25. #25
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    So how is carbon easier on the hands and upper body? Less flex?

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