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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
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    Washington, DC
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    Carbon vs aluminum handlebars question

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    I am considering swapping my aluminum handlebars for carbon ones, on account of hypersensitive hands. Has anyone swapped their handlebars, particularly going between the carbon and alu versions of the same handlebar model and size? (to exclude effects due to fit). Would love to hear your experiences with this. I am thinking of getting the 3T Ergonova Team handlebars.

    Just in case, yes, I've been fitted properly, but fit only goes so far when sections of many local roads could pass for pave sections in Paris-Roubaix.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    West MI
    Posts
    4,308
    I'm interested to hear the responses, too. My bike is carbon, but my handlebars are alum. and I still feel a lot of vibration. Our roads are primarily chip-sealed, so they can be pretty rough. It's the #1 reason I upgraded to carbon after only a year with an alum. bike.
    Kirsten
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Concord, MA
    Posts
    13,102
    At one point I had carbon super ergonomic bars that cost about 400.00 on my carbon bike. Frankly, I didn't notice any difference between them and my Specialized alu bars that are women specific, with short and shallow drops, in terms of the road buzz, etc. Since they cost 40.00 and fit me perfectly, I think I'll stick with them.
    I have other bars on my custom ti bike that are very expensive, which the shop "gave" me, when I hated the ones I had originally ordered. I hate these, too because of the shape of the drops. I am going to replace them with the Specialized ones, as I don't care what the material is.
    For me, the fit/shape is more important than the material. My hands don't hurt if I am not reaching too far or grasping too tightly because I can't reach.
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Rowland Hts, CA
    Posts
    473
    In terms of vibration, my carbon bars have slightly less vibrations than the alloy handlebars that came with my carbon bike. But, yes, there are still vibrations on the handlebars on chip seal roads.

    Just be forewarned, that if you crash, the carbon handlebars break and do not bend like alloy/aluminum bars.

    Maybe my handlebars would be even better at blocking vibration if I had a bike like the Ruby with the Zertz inserts?
    ____________________________________

    2012 Specialized Amira Elite, upgraded carbon handle bars, Jett saddle 143mm switched to 145mm 2012 Selle Italia Max SLR Gel Flow saddle

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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Central Indiana
    Posts
    6,132
    Unless you've already tried it, I'd try running a wider tire with a bit less psi before I'd buy expensive carbon bars if your goal is to lessen road buzz.
    Live with intention. Walk to the edge. Listen hard. Practice wellness. Play with abandon. Laugh. Choose with no regret. Continue to learn. Appreciate your friends. Do what you love. Live as if this is all there is.

    --Mary Anne Radmacher

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Kailua, Oahu, Hawaii
    Posts
    231
    New bar tape or even double bar tape? That's a lot cheaper & carbon doesn't make THAT much of a difference.
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  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Denver Metro
    Posts
    844
    Try different gloves or different tape(I am a huge fan of Lizard Skin).

    I am a fan of aluminum bars on the basis that if you crash your carbon bars are shot. (I know people who have crashed, no apparent cracks- applied pressure to them, no creaking noise and then a month or 3 later they just broke on a ride).

    To me, it is too much money to spend with that risk in there.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    37

    You buy carbon bars twice

    One to make original change, one to replace after a crash.

    Agree with Indysteel regarding reducing road buzz; larger tire and/or lower tire pressure.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Washington, DC
    Posts
    1,686
    Thank you ladies! I will stick to the aluminum bar. I am looking into tires with a higher TPI count, following a racer friend's suggestion since I already play with the tire pressure. My current tires have a 120 tpi and she suggests going with something higher. I see some Continental or Vittoria tires with 330 tpi in my near future.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Big City
    Posts
    444
    So, I actually really like my carbon bars. They are Zipp bars, so the carbon is (or so they say) better quality... But I think they were worth every penny. Riding in west Texas was impossible without them. I noticed a huge difference right away in how long it took before my hands went numb and how much noise I could hear associated with the hoods/computer/headlight rattling on the front of the bike. I think the road is very much smoother with them.

    Out here in the big city where they have never heard of chip seal, it's like riding on glass. So smooth.

    So that's my vote for carbon.

    (If it makes any difference to you, I ride Vredestein tires at 130 psi that are 23s)

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Denver Metro
    Posts
    844
    I hate to say this but you might want to ride with less air in tires- you will have a less harsh ride.

    There is a chart out there that has how much you should actually use based on weight,etc. If you search the forums for tire pressure psi you will find it.

    I know when I put air in my tired I only go up to 105/110 at max and will ride with them as low as 80(no need to put air in every day) .

    I suggest trying to ride with a little less air and see how that feels.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Washington, DC
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    1,686
    Quote Originally Posted by ehirsch83 View Post
    There is a chart out there that has how much you should actually use based on weight,etc. If you search the forums for tire pressure psi you will find it.
    Voila!

    http://www.biketinker.com/2010/bike-...-for-bicycles/

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    California
    Posts
    216
    Here' a link to an online calculator for optimizing tire pressure.
    http://www.dorkypantsr.us/bike-tire-...alculator.html
    Bike Friday Petite Crusoe
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  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Columbia River Gorge
    Posts
    3,583
    Quote Originally Posted by ehirsch83 View Post
    I hate to say this but you might want to ride with less air in tires- you will have a less harsh ride.

    There is a chart out there that has how much you should actually use based on weight,etc. If you search the forums for tire pressure psi you will find it.

    I know when I put air in my tired I only go up to 105/110 at max and will ride with them as low as 80(no need to put air in every day) .

    I suggest trying to ride with a little less air and see how that feels.
    Plus 1.

    Also, you can get gel inserts that help with vibration. They go on the top of the handlebars under the tape.

    I also shy away from carbon bars due to breakage. BF broke 2 sets in one season. One was almost brand new. They fractured for no apparent reason when he hit an apple sized rock that rolled onto the road in front of him. The break wasn't anywhere near where you would expect the bar to take stress and the carbon was very thin in that area. This caused a crash that resulted in fractured ribs and shoulder blade.
    Living life like there's no tomorrow.

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  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    6,449
    Quote Originally Posted by Sylvia View Post
    Here' a link to an online calculator for optimizing tire pressure.
    http://www.dorkypantsr.us/bike-tire-...alculator.html
    How is this possible? It told me to inflate to 59 and 93, respectively? I run at 105 based on my weight. (150).

    Edit: make sure to scroll down to the Michelin tire computer, that give the correct psi.
    So long as the wheels are still turning, life is good.

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