Results 1 to 16 of 16
  1. #1
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Posts
    481

    Carbon stems and handlebars... worth it?

    In my experience, they are not worth the hassle.

    At the beginning of the season, I purchased a carbon stem and carbon bar. While they've been working just fine, I don't see any particular feature I can point to that makes them clearly superior to alloy components. In fact, I see several drawbacks. First of all, they're a pain to install as you have to be extremely careful with torque settings and they require assembly paste (adding another step). Secondly, use of carbon bars basically prevents you from using clip-ons (for a TT or tri). Thirdly, while the setup seems plenty durable for anything they encounter while riding, the bars clearly don't seem as impact resistant as an alloy setup. Lastly, they're really no lighter than a similar priced alloy setup.

    Overall, I loathe ever having to adjust or "tinker" with my bars and stem and I miss being able to use clip-ons. Add the incremental cost of the components and I won't be buying this type of set-up again. There may be a reason why very few pro mechanics ever use carbon bars and stems.

  2. #2
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Posts
    2,729
    I like that carbon bars get rid of the road buzz and that reverb affect when hitting a bump.

    Put that with my 25mm tires and I'm happier.
    It's a fire road.............
    I'm on a road bike..........

    They have enough in common to blast down it.

  3. #3
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation: Pirx's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Posts
    2,222
    Quote Originally Posted by Hiro11 View Post
    First of all, they're a pain to install as you have to be extremely careful with torque settings and they require assembly paste (adding another step).
    You don't need assembly paste, and being careful with your torque is a good idea in any case, and doesn't really add work. Just don't be a klutz.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hiro11 View Post
    Secondly, use of carbon bars basically prevents you from using clip-ons (for a TT or tri).
    Not true. Pretty much all manufacturers sell bars that are explicitly meant to be used with clip-ons.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hiro11 View Post
    Thirdly, while the setup seems plenty durable for anything they encounter while riding, the bars clearly don't seem as impact resistant as an alloy setup.
    How is that clear? In my experience, they're typically about the same.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hiro11 View Post
    Lastly, they're really no lighter than a similar priced alloy setup.
    That I mostly agree with, in particular when you are talking about bars that can take clip-ons. Yes, the difference in weight is small, if at all present. For stems, there really is no meaningful difference.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hiro11 View Post
    Overall, I loathe ever having to adjust or "tinker" with my bars and stem and I miss being able to use clip-ons. Add the incremental cost of the components and I won't be buying this type of set-up again. There may be a reason why very few pro mechanics ever use carbon bars and stems.
    You should have gotten bars that can take clip-ons, then. For the bars, in my experience, they do give you somewhat better damping than aluminum, which you may or may not care for, depending on the roads you typically ride on, and the distances on such roads. On the stems I agree that carbon is a waste of money there.

    As for the pros, I think there is a somewhat greater danger of carbon bars unexpectedly failing after a crash. If you crash with an alloy bar and it still looks alright, then it probably is. If it's bent, don't ride it anymore. If you crash with a carbon bar, it may be cracked and look perfectly normal. Not a big problem to inspect it if you're a hobby rider (or on a training ride), but during a race that can waste precious time.

  4. #4
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Posts
    159
    Quote Originally Posted by Hiro11 View Post
    Secondly, use of carbon bars basically prevents you from using clip-ons (for a TT or tri).
    This is not true for all carbon bars, I have 3T Ergonova and they specifically mention being able to use clip ons. My bike came with carbon bars and I have no complaints about their performance, stiffness, weight, etc. I do agree that their ability to soak up vibrations makes the ride a bit more comfortable.

  5. #5
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Posts
    182
    Had my Scott Foil fitted with PZ Racing CR 3.1 stem and handlebar, Lizard Skins DSP 2.5mm bar tape. This surely is a superb combo. Vibrations that i felt before is absent and the grip zones are surely superb. Weight is not what i cared for, soak up vibrations and the grip was all.Carbon stems and handlebars... worth it?-p1000450.jpgCarbon stems and handlebars... worth it?-p1000452.jpgI have no regrets i love this
    Last edited by Rickard Laufer; 02-01-2013 at 10:02 AM.

  6. #6
    Recreational
    Reputation: Psyclist.Pinkbike's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Posts
    13
    I was told that alu bars will be better overall. But guess there's no harm in trying carbon ones.

  7. #7
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Posts
    23
    In trying to keep the bike as cheap as possible while still having nice features, carbon bars is not an area where I would shell out extra cash.

  8. #8
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Posts
    3,223
    I'd agree if you said not worth the money, especially with regard to the stem, but I don't get not worth the 'hassle'.
    one of my bikes came with carbon bars and stem and I haven't experienced any hassle or drawback. I also haven't noticed any improvement over my other bike's alloy bar and stem which cost less so not worth the 'money' would make some sense to me.

  9. #9
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Posts
    2
    Hello guys,

    I bought recently an used bicycle with a carbon handlebar, a FSA K Wing. I love it, but at the moment I can't figure it out if it is a fake or original handlebar! It doesn't have the QR code, but has a serial number. I contacted FSA but didn't get any response. Also, it has some plastics inside which I think are used in the FSA manufacturing process..Am I correct?

    Is there anyone that can help me? I really like that handlebar but I don't want to compromise my security with cheap replica handlebar.

    thanks for any help you can give me!

  10. #10
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Posts
    67
    I stumbled upon the same FSA issue while researching new bars for my bike. A few users ran across the same issue, but it was when they bought that FSA bar from pricepoint. He had two of the same model bars, but there dimensions were very far off.

    I also have contacted FSA on quality issues with one of there headsets, and received zero response. I have found from my own personal experience that FSA quality isn't up to par when compared to other mfg's. In the future I will avoid their products.

  11. #11
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation: velodog's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    3,089
    I had carbon bars and stem on a carbon bike and swapped them out for aluminum.
    I am now in the process of swapping all the components off the carbon bike over to a steel one.

    I don't know if this even pertains to the OP, but I have decided that carbon ain't all it's cracked up to be.

  12. #12
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Posts
    2
    Quote Originally Posted by jonshonda View Post
    I stumbled upon the same FSA issue while researching new bars for my bike. A few users ran across the same issue, but it was when they bought that FSA bar from pricepoint. He had two of the same model bars, but there dimensions were very far off.

    I also have contacted FSA on quality issues with one of there headsets, and received zero response. I have found from my own personal experience that FSA quality isn't up to par when compared to other mfg's. In the future I will avoid their products.
    Hello jonshonda,

    thanks for your answer. But did you buy any of those K-Wing handlebar? I like mine..I really do, but if it isn't an original one I have to go to the spot where I bought the bike to replace it!

    My bar just look like an original one, but with the missing QR code is difficult to believe.... I just wanted to know if anyone with an original bar like this one have the QR code or no!!

    Thanks! Regards..

  13. #13
    irony intended
    Reputation: carlislegeorge's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Posts
    861
    Quote Originally Posted by Hiro11 View Post
    In my experience, they are not worth the hassle...
    I just elected myself sheriff of thread title etiquette.

    Why would you title your OP as a question, then just go and rag on how you don't like the subject of discussion, not really asking for honest feedback, just confirmation of your new found bias?

    Luckily, you still got some valid arguments in return.
    2011 Tarmac Pro SL3 Project Black (gone but not forgotten)
    2012 Parlee Z5 SLi (because I can)
    2014 Colnago C59 AD04 (why not)

  14. #14
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Posts
    182
    When i first began looking for carbon handlebar and stem i ran across dhgate. Asking some of the sellers of these items, they told me they were of high quality, but not original. Same on ebay! I wonder if some have had the unluck of buying bad carbon!? It's just and idea. I have asked several dealers of carbon and most have told me it is not a problem if you torque it correct and are not over 90Kgs (bike, wear and you.)
    Atleast some brands carry warranty if bought at a dealers. I have 2 year of warranty so i am saving recepit as warranty goes through dealers (atleast PZ Racing).

  15. #15
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation: velodog's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    3,089
    Quote Originally Posted by carlislegeorge View Post
    I just elected myself sheriff of thread title etiquette.

    Luckily, you still got some valid arguments in return.
    Badges


  16. #16
    Velocipediologist
    Reputation: metoou2's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    1,253
    Quote Originally Posted by Rickard Laufer View Post
    Had my Scott Foil fitted with PZ Racing CR 3.1 stem and handlebar, Lizard Skins DSP 2.5mm bar tape.
    your bars have the Mumps

    Quote Originally Posted by carlislegeorge View Post
    I just elected myself sheriff of thread title etiquette.

    Why would you title your OP as a question, then just go and rag on how you don't like the subject of discussion, not really asking for honest feedback, just confirmation of your new found bias?

    Luckily, you still got some valid arguments in return.
    The OP posted this Thread in April 2012, they may have attended reform school since then. They may have attended reform school since then?

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

Hot Deals

Latest RoadBike Articles


Latest Videos

RoadbikeReview on Facebook