Ritchey Wcs Carbon Bars- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Ritchey Wcs Carbon Bars

    Hi,

    Interested to see how some of you using carbon bars comment on a test done on a number of big names in the carbon bar industry by BIKE magazine done last year.

    http://www.raceface.com/components/P...BarsReview.pdf

    Ritchey Representatives replied "don't believe everything you read...warranty issues are the retailer's problem" Disappointing,huh?!! But typical of companies unaware of corporate social responsibility and customer service!

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    I like to question myself, it is a good way to make sure not to stick to the same "wrong" assumptions, so i read all these carbon bars tests that coming out every so often.
    When comes to that after every test i see i feel better about my decision to keep my hands safe on Aluminium bars.
    It is very sad that a company like Ritchey take no responsibility for a bad product, and for the fact they make it like that in the first place.

  3. #3
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    I learned my lesson with carbon before it became such a craze with MTB's... nordic skiing poles are the perfect application for carbon because light weight, stiffness and a certain amount of flex make an enormous difference. But the 100% carbon poles are used only for racing, and the 70% carbon/30% fiberglass are used for training lasting only about one winter on average. I have snapped 3 pairs of 70% carbon poles in 4 years. I have seen a pair of 100% carbon poles snap in their third use. But its not the frequency of the breakage that really worries me, its the fact that its impossible to see it coming. The pole will always look fine, but on some ordinary stroke you'll put your arm down and fall on your face because the basket and lower 10" of the pole is gone. Maybe it got caught in a door, maybe someone threw a bag of alpine skis on your bag in the bus, maybe it knicked a tree while you were in a tuck, or maybe you fell on it.

    I know bike parts are designed differently, some very durable. But with carbon you never know when a little flick will snap it... so I am very frustrated with so many otherwise well-designed parts being made of carbon. Fine on road bikes, how often do you crash? Ok on XC race machines where you don't crash... But ANY other application, carbon bars make no sense.

  4. #4

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    I'd be curious what sort of riding the machine they used in the test equates to? I agree if you are an agressive downhill rider or freerider that puts lots of punishment on your bars with big drops, then I don't think carbon handle bars would be a great choice.

    But I would suspect the type of punishment the machine they used put on the bars was probably more the equivelent of riding your bike fast down 100,000 18" tall stairs or something. Or at least I think it is safe to say their machine at least approximated the most aggressive/abusive riding styles. If you do mostly XC and install the bars properly and replace them if they become damaged I don't see any worries with any bars out there. As Ritchey pointed out, if there were significant problems with their bars they would be getting a lot of complaints from customers and bars coming back. They're not. You'd also see people posting on these forums that they are having problems, they're not.

    What is interesting is how did they determine what forces to set the machine at? It just so happens the setting of the machine made a good portion of the bars fail the test. Turn up the forces a little more and they ALL fail. Turn the forces down a little and they all PASS. Were the tests they ran some sort of standard that all handlebars must meet? Nope. Seems like they looked for a setting on the machine that would let them be able to see which bars were stronger than the others. I don't think the test really means much as far as how the bars will actually perform in the real-word. All it shows is how the bars compared to one another.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by consultant
    I'd be curious what sort of riding the machine they used in the test equates to? I would suspect the type of punishment the machine they used put on the bars was probably more the equivelent of riding your bike fast down 100,000 18" tall stairs or something. Or at least I think it is safe to say their machine at least approximated the most aggressive/abusive riding styles.
    Read the test review, it tells you exactly how they tested the bars, and what riding types were tested. They didn't just do loading/unloading the bars for 8 hours, but tested results out of the saddle, climbing, downhill descents, jumps etc. A pretty realistic sampling of what most carbon bars would go thru if you ask me.


    What is interesting is how did they determine what forces to set the machine at? It just so happens the setting of the machine made a good portion of the bars fail the test. Turn up the forces a little more and they ALL fail. Turn the forces down a little and they all PASS. Were the tests they ran some sort of standard that all handlebars must meet? Nope. Seems like they looked for a setting on the machine that would let them be able to see which bars were stronger than the others. I don't think the test really means much as far as how the bars will actually perform in the real-word. All it shows is how the bars compared to one another.
    I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess that the guys running the test weren't ALL a bunch of dirtbag mountain bikers, and that there was SOME science involved here. They didn't use an unrealistic load on the bars, what's the point of the test if you are going to load them with 500-1000 lbs of force...of course bars are going to fail. But as the article outlines, making a Carbon Fiber bar isn't an easy process, it is time consuming and requires some expertise, which is one of the reasons why they're pricy stuff.

    Really tho, it is neither here nor there, even if they ramped up the weight to make more bars fail, I'm going to look at the test, and see that some carbon fibre bars did better than others, and I'll buy those before ones that failed. Sure, a bar like the Ritchey will probably be fine for whatever length of time I own it, but if I know a bar from a different company (say Easton or Race Face) will be stronger, why wouldn't I buy the stronger part? No brainer to me... I for one am glad the bike magazine did this test.

    Tim

  6. #6

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    Wasn't there a previous test with aluminum bars where only 30% of the bars passed? Gee, how many people here have broke their aluminum bars from just normal riding forces (as opposed to a really bad crash.) Not many. And the aluminum bars in general are regarded as less prone to breakage compared to carbon.

    So again, while their testing methodology is of course not outrageously unrealistic, the fact that the durations, forces, techniques they settled on seems to split the field up quite nicely between Super, Strong, and Weak (or whatever they used) is indicative to me they determined what is necessary to break the average bar and put the tests somehere in that vicinity. If the bars get better, as they say they will, 5 years from now if all the bars easily pass the test, do you think the test parameters will be the same. Nope because that would be a boring result (and worthless for comparing bars against one another).

    There are other factors to consider including price, weight, warranty, customer support, etc. when making a buying decision. Heck if I told you Bar X performed the best in the test but weighed twice as much and cost five times as much as Bar Y which got a 'weak' rating I don't think you would necessarily go get Bar X just because it passed some test done by a machine.

    I think experiences of many actual riders with the different bars is a much more valuable measurement as to a bars suitability to your riding application. I think the actual weakness with carbon bars is that they take more care and feeding to perform as intended meaning, good quality stem suitable for carbon bars, proper torque on the stem clamp, periodically inspecting for scratches/cracks, etc. I'd be willing to bet in 9 out 10 cases when someone does break a bar from just riding (not crashing), the bar was probably already weakened somehow due to prior damage or not the correct torque on the stem clamp or shifter lever clamps, or end bars installed on a bar not meant to have them, and on and on.

    But ya, I agree with you, if all other factors are similar (mainly weight, cost, and availability) then ya, of course the test is valuable in letting you choose the strongest bar for your money, whether you need the extra strength or not.

    Don't they make bars for different applications? The Ritchey bars are specifically intended for XC use. Is this test treating bars with different intended purposes the same? Obviously a bar intended for DH or Freeride is going to hold up better than an XC bar.

  7. #7
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    My experience with Ritchey products suggests their position in the scoring is not an anomaly.

    Will

  8. #8

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    Because a real world test would make little sense,...
    and

    NOTE: Influences of weather are not simulated.

    IMHO a test like this is pretty much useless. They may give you an indication about the quality of a product but that's about it.

    It would be interesting to see how much money each company spends on advertising and if equipment has to be returned after testing etc.

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