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  1. #1
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    Handlebar Damping: Titanium or Carbon

    So assuming a few things are realatively equal (weight, length, price), which would be better in terms of vibration damping, carbon or titanium?

    Right now I'm running a Performance Forte 720 flat bar (it has a little rise to it). which is about 199 grams, $22, and 720mm wide. Aside from how stiff it is, it's a perfect bar for my titanium Motobecane Fly Ti 29er. I'd like maximum comfort, and I've had carbon bars before and I know they do make a difference, but I've never had a titanium bar. Just to clarify the issue a bit, these are the two bars I'm considering:

    -Answer ProTaper Carbon AM 720mm, .5" rise ~$110
    -Carver Ti Pry Bar, 12 degree backsweep, 730mm ~$100

    Anyone have both materials and prefer one over the other?

  2. #2
    Doesntplaywellwithmorons!
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    The carbon bar will dampen vibrations better than the titanium bar. People think because titanium is naturally resilient and makes a good material for springs, that this translates into it being more comfort in a handlebar and ignore the fact that carbon fiber can be made into springs also. Its all in how the material is used, but in terms of basic inherent properties of the CF and titanium, the CF dampens better.
    I don't post to generate business for myself or make like I'm better than sliced bread

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeeEight View Post
    The carbon bar will dampen vibrations better than the titanium bar. People think because titanium is naturally resilient and makes a good material for springs, that this translates into it being more comfort in a handlebar and ignore the fact that carbon fiber can be made into springs also. Its all in how the material is used, but in terms of basic inherent properties of the CF and titanium, the CF dampens better.
    Thanks for the response! I guess I'll go carbon again.

  4. #4
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    agreed, it depends how they make the carbon bar but most likely it will be compliant than the ti

  5. #5
    > /dev/null 2&>1
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    I have a steel bar on my (relatively new) AM bike and a carbon bar on my trail bike, and, I really can't tell the difference in damping between the two, I think any damping from the bar is very modest in comparison to the damping in the fork, such that you don't really notice it. Maybe its just me, or maybe I don't have enough miles yet (on the same trails) to notice a difference.

    If you have a rigid fork, or perhaps a short-travel fork (100-120mm) it might be much more noticeable. Since you're looking at AM bars, doesn't seem like you're in those categories, so I say make your decision based on weight, price & strength, but not damping.

    My 2cents :P

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by ddprocter View Post
    I have a steel bar on my (relatively new) AM bike and a carbon bar on my trail bike, and, I really can't tell the difference in damping between the two, I think any damping from the bar is very modest in comparison to the damping in the fork, such that you don't really notice it. Maybe its just me, or maybe I don't have enough miles yet (on the same trails) to notice a difference.


    If you have a rigid fork, or perhaps a short-travel fork (100-120mm) it might be much more noticeable. Since you're looking at AM bars, doesn't seem like you're in those categories, so I say make your decision based on weight, price & strength, but not damping.

    My 2cents :P
    Well actually I'm on a relatively short travel fork (Reba RL 29er, 100mm), but I prefer the wider bar, short stem combo these days. On the 29er with such a long wheelbase, i've found that a shorter stem tends to make the bike a bit more manueverable in tight turns. Plus, my hands always seemed to inch past the ends of anything narrower than the 720mm bar I have now.

  7. #7
    It's about showing up.
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    I have arthritis in my hands. I have used carbon on my mtgs as I believed in the dampening effect. I went from steel to carbon on my commuter and the dampening is huge. I have not used Ti.
    I don't rattle.

  8. #8
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    Well I almost bought a 2012 Stumpjumper comp carbon, but I crash often enough that durability is a concern for me... And I can't afford to replace a frame all the time, so I went titanium. That, and titanium is sexier to me.

  9. #9
    www.derbyrims.com
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    Was this was a question for road or rigid trail bike riders? I've often heard road riders say that their carbon fork, frame, handlebars were smoother and more damped than a ti bike.

    Using a suspension fork, is the handlebar damping difference noticeable? If yes, then it's way past time to service the fork!

  10. #10
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    A lot of variables, bike, tires, psi, suspension, geo, bar thickness etc.
    here's my take. Steel will flex as ti does, but ti springs back much more. Aluminum doesn't flex as much as anything else and carbon flexes more than any of the above. Carbon can offer the most shock/vibration dampening.
    Round and round we go

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Berkeley Mike View Post
    I have arthritis in my hands. I have used carbon on my mtgs as I believed in the dampening effect. I went from steel to carbon on my commuter and the dampening is huge. I have not used Ti.
    you are a VERY sensitive guy, my goodness you can really tell the difference between frame materials, and your old worn out body? maybe you are UBER sensitive

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by BORDERCOLLIE View Post
    you are a VERY sensitive guy, my goodness you can really tell the difference between frame materials, and your old worn out body? maybe you are UBER sensitive
    If you can't tell the difference than maybe you're not paying attention. There can be a huge difference.
    Round and round we go

  13. #13
    Front Range, Colorado
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    Quote Originally Posted by theMeat View Post
    A lot of variables, bike, tires, psi, suspension, geo, bar thickness etc.
    here's my take. Steel will flex as ti does, but ti springs back much more. Aluminum doesn't flex as much as anything else and carbon flexes more than any of the above. Carbon can offer the most shock/vibration dampening.
    Nailed it ^^^

    And as far as telling if your bar is taking some of the dampening on an AM rig. Yes I can totally tell on washboard type terrain. The bars soak up quite a bit that the fork doesn't. BTW I run Easton Carbon Monkeylites and have been on the same bar for 13 years. Apparently as BORDERCOLLIE says I'm a Uber sensitive guy like Berkeley Mike.
    Not really, I just pay attention.
    Last edited by DIRTJUNKIE; 02-09-2013 at 08:36 AM.
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  14. #14
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    My question was mainly to compare titanium to carbon... I have no doubt that carbon dampens better than aluminum. I've had a carbon bar and liked it, but now I have a titanium bike and i like how it rides over aluminum, plus it has superior durability over both materials, but for a handlebar, I'd like the material that dampens best.

  15. #15
    Front Range, Colorado
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    Quote Originally Posted by allthatisman View Post
    My question was mainly to compare titanium to carbon... I have no doubt that carbon dampens better than aluminum. I've had a carbon bar and liked it, but now I have a titanium bike and i like how it rides over aluminum, plus it has superior durability over both materials, but for a handlebar, I'd like the material that dampens best.

    I know "this is serious business"
    As you said Titanium has better durability over Carbon. But for bars the dampening traits of Carbon are more than Titanium. They both have better dampening over aluminum. I think the difference between Carbon and Titanium is very minimal and may not be noticeable unless you have a ridged fork.. But what I have heard and read over the years is Carbon has a slight edge over Titanium in dampening. But I don't have experience with both this is just what I have heard.
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  16. #16
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    I have a Easton carbon bar on my Canfield N9. My bike also rocks a Niner carbon fork. The bar is stiff, but not as stiff as my old aluminum bar. That said, it all depends on how the bar is made. Carbon can be made plenty stiff. My road bike is a Scott Foil 30, and it is probably the stiffest carbon frame I have ever ridden. I have tried some Ti bars that are pretty flexy, but I think the main difference between Ti and good carbon is that the carbon absorbs some of the chatter where Ti flexes to relieve some of the chatter... if that makes any sense.

  17. #17
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    The meatball,whatever, most the guys I know buy carbon because they are arrogant.A rider can use different tires with correct pressure and tune their suspension for comfort.The significant extra cost of carbon is not beneficial enough to justify the cost unless you are racing at top levels where every ounce can make a difference.To me the shitty part of this sport is listening to guys like you brag about something that few others have, that is pathetic..and sad.See ya, I have not been on here for months, now I remember why.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by dubthang View Post
    I have a Easton carbon bar on my Canfield N9. My bike also rocks a Niner carbon fork. The bar is stiff, but not as stiff as my old aluminum bar. That said, it all depends on how the bar is made. Carbon can be made plenty stiff. My road bike is a Scott Foil 30, and it is probably the stiffest carbon frame I have ever ridden. I have tried some Ti bars that are pretty flexy, but I think the main difference between Ti and good carbon is that the carbon absorbs some of the chatter where Ti flexes to relieve some of the chatter... if that makes any sense.
    Most sensible and accurate response so far. Yes carbon has some inherent damping but there is much more to the equation. There are some carbon bars that are so stiff, the so called inherent damping effect of the material doesn't matter. Two that come to mind by experience, Enve and Ritchey WCS bars are brutal, damping properties aside, regardless of your fork tuning, even compared to many aluminum bars. Ti bars vary too in their characteristics. Yes, they can be flexy but not damped well but unless you try them you may never know what property best suits your situation.


    So please, don't judge by broad popular thinking, the facts lie in their use by an individual.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by BORDERCOLLIE View Post
    you are a VERY sensitive guy, my goodness you can really tell the difference between frame materials, and your old worn out body? maybe you are UBER sensitive
    This is pathetic and sad. ^, followed by your next post. You assume alot. I could brag about lotsa stuff I have that you may never, not my style, but carbon bars? lol, not. It does get under my skin when people think they're superior thou, or when they dish out insults or try to knock others down to fill their own ego. I find it hard not to take a turn at that most times, so here goes....
    I learned a long time ago to be happy for people that have, even when I had not. Calling me meatball, and others arrogant, or suggesting someone's body is old just shows you are way beyond that concept so I won't bother to explain.
    Op was/is asking for advice, not money, or how to pay for it. Wanting nice/expensive stuff doesn't make you arrogant, thinking you're better, smarter, or having an exaggerated sense of your ability or knowledge does. Open a dictionary, then take a look in the mirror.
    For the record, some of my riding buds have about as much carbon as you can have on a bike and are totally cool, and you are not. I treat people with the same repect whether they're riding a wallyworld special or some exotic I never heard of, until they give me reason not to as you have. If you can't post without personal insults than don't let the door hit you in the @ss

    Back on topic
    Last edited by theMeat; 02-10-2013 at 07:32 AM.
    Round and round we go

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by danaco View Post
    Most sensible and accurate response so far. Yes carbon has some inherent damping but there is much more to the equation. There are some carbon bars that are so stiff, the so called inherent damping effect of the material doesn't matter. Two that come to mind by experience, Enve and Ritchey WCS bars are brutal, damping properties aside, regardless of your fork tuning, even compared to many aluminum bars. Ti bars vary too in their characteristics. Yes, they can be flexy but not damped well but unless you try them you may never know what property best suits your situation.


    So please, don't judge by broad popular thinking, the facts lie in their use by an individual.
    True, good stuff
    Round and round we go

  21. #21
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    I have CTS and spent some time finding the best bar. LP Composites handlebars are the best for comfort. They are designed to have a small amount of vertical flex and if you push on them you can see them move a couple millimeters. It's not enough to affect steering, but makes a huge difference. I tried a White Brothers DH titanium bar, Race Face Next carbon bar, and an Easton EC70 carbon bar. They were all better than aluminum, but the LP Composites far surpasses them for shock absorption. I'm no engineer and don't have a BSc in Materials Science, but my wrist has never lied to me. The LP Composites is by far the best for comfort. They're also exceptionally cool looking and do not trade lightness for durability. They are very strong. It also make a difference with a suspension fork. Unless you have absolutely zero stiction in your fork, hands still absorb part of the hit.

    You might also try ESI grips. These work very well too.
    Hope this helps.

  22. #22
    Gigantic Hawk
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    ^^^^
    Does LP Composites still exist? I thought they stopped making parts a couple of years ago.

  23. #23
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    I ordered mine from Cambriabike a couple years ago so I'm not sure if they're still available. However, I cannot stress enough how much more comfortable they are than anything else I tried. The flex is a little weird at first, but I have no pain anymore when I ride. None. I put them on all of my bikes including my old Rocky Mountain Sherpa that has a rigid fork, and never have any problems.

    LP still has a website.

  24. #24
    mtnbkr4life
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    I built a Fly Team Ti 29 and had ti stem seatpost and the Carver pry bar
    Carbon Rovals
    The bike is sick
    If you have front suspension goe all ti it looks great and will last way longer

  25. #25
    hold my beer & watch this
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    I had standard aluminum Ritchey bars, and swapped to Easton carbon in hopes of additional vibration damping, making my hands go to sleep less....did not make a nickels difference. They are lighter and look cool though.
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