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  1. #1
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    Are carbon handlebars worth it? Recommendations?

    Hello All,

    I'm in the market for a new set of bars and am considering both aluminum and carbon fiber options. Can anyone offer any info either way on carbon's properties in handlebars? I know that they can dampen vibrations (I have a fork and seatpost of this material) on a frame, but do you find that they really make a difference in handlebers vs. properly padded bar tape?

    Any suggestions/recommendations as far as bars with varying hand positions or special features like flat tops for gripping?

    I'm not so much concerned with spending the money as I am noticing a difference in ride comfort; if spending $200 on bars will only get me a marginal improvement, then perhaps I'll stick with aluminum.

    Many thanks,
    Nige

  2. #2
    AJS
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    As long as you have a decent Al bar that's comfortable to you, maybe you should put the money towards a better riding all-CF fork if you don't already have one - which means not just the legs being CF but also the crown and steerer tube. That usually makes a bigger difference in ride comfort than swapping an Al bar for a CF bar.

  3. #3
    johnny99
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    Carbon bars can be lighter weight and stiffer (for more sprinting power) than AL. I would be very suspicious of anyone who claims that carbon bars are more "comfortable". If you want more hand comfort, try wrapping an old inner tube under your handlebar tape.

  4. #4
    eminence grease
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    I tried a pair of Kestrels as I managed to find them pretty heavily discounted. Worth it? Fun experiment, but they didn't change my life. When I buy now, I always look first at aluminum.

  5. #5
    Old enough to know better
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnny99
    Carbon bars can be lighter weight and stiffer (for more sprinting power) than AL. I would be very suspicious of anyone who claims that carbon bars are more "comfortable". If you want more hand comfort, try wrapping an old inner tube under your handlebar tape.

    Why would you be suspicious of someone who suggests carbon bars are "more comfortable" then AL? They are simply stating THEIR prefrence. If they say "I think my carbon bars are more comfortable" or "my carbon bars are more comfortable then my old AL ones" then they are simply stating what they believe. They arent trying to sell them to you, and there isnt any grand scheme from them to take over the AL bike word with CF, simply they prefer the CF over AL. All this stuff is personal prefrence everyone should know that by now. FYI I do ride with CF bars and I do like them over my AL bars. That being said the CF bars are oversized and the AL bars were not and I wanted oversized. I already had a full CF fork. The only thing I spend money on is my bike so I spent money. Again dont be "suspicious" of someone if they simply state what they like, be suspicious of them if they run for polictial office. If you like it, its all that matters no one else rides your bike but you so do what makes you feel good.
    Deastin

  6. #6
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    The only real advantage I feel is..

    That most carbon bars have a flat spot on the tops of the bars that make it more comfortable and prevent my hands from going numb on long rides.

    However, bar manufacturers are not making aluminum bars with this feature so the benefit is not purely offered by carbon bars any longer

  7. #7
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  8. #8
    lyleseven
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    I think they are sweet, but...

    the long term verdict is not yet in on them. I am a little concerned about failure with cf handlebars but do have them on one bike (Easton 90s). They are ergonomically very comfortable the way they are designed, but that may account for the comfort factor more than the cf itself. Nonetheless, they are stiff, light weight and comfortable. I also have a Ritchey handlebar that is aluminum and also very comfortable.

  9. #9
    Climbin' Clyde
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    I'm one of the "suspicious characters"...

    I went from a Deda 250 to an Easton EC90 in 2001 and felt an immediate, big time improvement in road comfort. I ride an aluminum frame with a carbon fork, and even though I like a stiff ride, the road buzz on my palms got to me. The Eastons are designed to flex one direction (down, from road impacts) but be stiffer for sprinting & hammering (up). Honestly, I think they achieved it. Its a little disconcerting to take your hand off your brifter and see the end of the bar flapping around 1/8" or so. But this slight "give" lends a big improvement in comfort, and I don't notice any movement when riding. 4 years and many thousands of miles later, for a 190 pound MTB rider who likes to jump curbs and carve canyon descents, these bars have proven themselves to me.

    I remember many carbon horror stories from the 80's and early 90's, and was reluctant to ride carbon bars on a bike that I do 50 mph descents on. So before I bought, I e-mailed Easton concerning strength & durability. Paraphrased response: "When we test our aluminum bars, they go a several tens of thousands of cycles before they break. When we tested the carbon bars, we hit two million and turned the machine off."

  10. #10
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    IRD has A flat top alu bar (heavy)
    Look up Interloc Racing on Google and they have a reasonably priced flat top alu bar. They are, however, fairly heavy, so if you want a lightweight flat top bar carbon is the way...

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