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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
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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.
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  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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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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  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by bluebeard View Post
    If you have front suspension goe all ti it looks great and will last way longer
    The "looks great" bit might be telling.

    Why will Ti "last way longer" and how are you defining "way longer"?

    The Pry Bar looks interesting but unfortunately is way too narrow at 730mm for some folks' tastes.

  27. #27
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    There is this "new technology" adage that I like a lot. It states: "We tend to overestimate short term impact and underestimate long term impact of a technology." As an example, when planes became viable and mass produced, futurists imagined that normal people would start using them like flying cars and go shopping or to the movies with their plane. They did not much imagine long-distance jets that could whisk 500 people at a time from one continent to another in 8 hours...

    What's that got to do with AL, Ti, and CF bars you ask? I think that anyone who imagines that their new, sold as highly compliant bar, will make the bike feel like it's floating on an air cushion will be disappointed. Maybe, you can't feel any difference at all when you first try it. However, the difference may very well come in after a tough 30 mile ride when your hands, wrists and shoulders feel less fatigued than they did with a stiffer AL bar. Or maybe your entire body feels a bit less beaten up. In other words, I think bars make no or very little difference in the feel of the front end of the bike. But they can and will, for many riders, make a difference how you feel after the ride.

  28. #28
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    carbon bars make me nervous. (sorry, they just do).

    ti bars are great, no reason not to run them other than price.

    on a budget - alu

    doing it to the level you deserve - ti

  29. #29
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    I've got a lot of miles on a lot of bikes and high quality anything makes a better bar than cheap anything else. Frankly, better grips will do as much as marginal increases in dampening. Good Steel, Carbon and Ti are all better than most OEM bars. I find as much improvement from the right shock set-up, tire pressure and grips as from better bars. It's a well known fact (among statisticians) that fully 50% of all statistics are inaccurate and the other 75% are made-up on the spot. It is also well known that Americans can be obsessed with inconsequential improvements. I'd buy Ti or steel because they fail predictably when they fail (if that's a concern). I'm more concerned with bar sweep and width than material, like I said, a good set of grips does good things. I am old and uber-sensitive, but I've been riding the same body since I turned 4 (that makes 47 years by my public math) and over time I've busted and torn a lot of body parts. I know when something is out of sync and I'm guessing other older riders are pretty tuned in as well. Call me a wimp when you break three vertebra and 30 years later one is still not healed.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by octavius View Post
    carbon bars make me nervous. (sorry, they just do).

    ti bars are great, no reason not to run them other than price.

    on a budget - alu

    doing it to the level you deserve - ti
    uh oh! Don't fly in any planes (now) or drive any cars in the future!
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  31. #31
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    Handlebar Damping: Titanium or Carbon

    Quote Originally Posted by BORDERCOLLIE View Post
    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.
    I think you meant ignorant where you say arrogant.


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  32. #32
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    I'm rolling with a set of Easton carbon bars on my Fly Ti 29er, so much better than anything else I've tried.......
    Rigid 29er Ti SS / 29er SC Tallboy AL

  33. #33
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    Damping and flex are two different things. Ti flexes and carbon dampens. My opinion of course.
    Geologist by trade...bicycle mechanic (former) by the grace of God!

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  34. #34
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    If you want light and stiff, go with Carbon bars.

    If you want light and flexy, go with Titanium.

    If you want reasonably light reasonably priced, go with Aluminum.

    Steel bars! Really, I haven't seen good quality steel bars for anything but BMX bikes, but that doesn't mean they don't exist. Those of you with some experience with steel MTB bars, please post some links, I would like to see them.

    As for the OP, I agree with some of the other posters here. Grips will make more of a difference than bar material. Bonus, it costs much less to try new grips than it does to swap out bars. More bonus, with lock on grips, it is much easier to try multiple grips out than it used to be.
    "There are those who would say there's something pathological about the need to ride, and they're probably on to something. I'd wager though that most of the society-approved compulsions leave deeper scars in the psyche than a need to go and ride a bicycle on a mountain." Cam McRea

  35. #35
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    I have arthritic hands. Ergon grips helped. Carbon bars were a blessing over steel and Alu. Lower tire pressures helped. A contemporary shock had the greatest effect.
    I don't rattle.

  36. #36
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    Handlebar Damping: Titanium or Carbon (comment #21)

    hey so i read this forum looking for a carbon fiber handlebar for damping vibrations (i have a rigid no suspension bike that is a lot of fun riding but sometimes i think might be rough on my joints at times) (i'm pretty light but would not want handlebar to break)

    from this site (above) i came up with this (from comment #21)

    1. LP Composites - Handle Bars - B5 - Straight

    and also from research these handlebars (which are lighter but no idea how they function in that regard)

    2. karacho: lenker - tune.de

    3. Handlebars (i would have thought the opposite from this Handlebars standard)

    4. Atom Flattie | Ultimate Sports Engineering

    5. http://www.mcfk.de/en/products/handl...ar-6°-en3.html

    i was wondering if anybody has experience using any of these handlebars and what they thought was the best for vibration, flex, bump absorption ?
    Last edited by clkshp; 11-25-2014 at 12:10 AM.

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