Three mountain bikes, three sets of carbon bars, two of which are six years old. One pair are on my SS, so get heaved on quite a bit climbing hills. Two of those bars are standard size, the oldest ones, and I have every confidence in them. I wouldn't trust an alloy bar that old, especially a light one, and if one of those carbon bars fails, I will replace with carbon without a seconds hesitation, although I may go O/S when/if replacing. Certainly carbon bars make the ride more comfortable, due to their damping qualities, and for that reason I will stick with them. Had enough numb hands with alloy bars, thank you.
Has anyone broke a set of carbon bars...................
Its two different failure modes - gradual or catastrophic. I know which I prefer. The fact some folk dont see the warning signs of a gradual failure is neither here or there - I am confident I would.
You could put the whole non-destructive test (NDT) industry out of business.
For example: aircraft are now designed to damage tolerant, which means the tolerable defect size still be detected with a high degree of reliability. For cost effective purposes at inspection, this is generally visual cracks, but some components may require NDT inspection, where the tolerable defect size is below the visual inspection limit e.g. ultrasound, eddy current methods etc..
So depends how well those bars are designed and how damage tolerant they are, if at all. And if the crack in bars is hidden by stem?....clamping/unclamping stem lots could cause a defect to start in bar.
I think KennyNI and I may well work in the same industry and possibly do similar jobs, because he's saying a lot of things that spring instantly to my mind as well as being very correct indeed!
I think one thing to bear in mind is that a component is not just its material, it's what you do with that material that really counts. If a company designs a bar with the right level of overstress capability, chooses the right layup and gets it made by someone competent then a thousand to one it won't break. If they design the bar so that normal stresses push it right to the limit, choose a crappy layup (unidirectional bars, anyone?) and get it made by numpties, it's going to ruin someone's day.
So there's no 'carbon bars break' or 'aluminium bars don't'. Rubbish carbon bars will vapourise. Good ones will go and go. Same with any material. Buy what suits your needs, but personally I'd be wary of super-mega-light-as-a-feather carbon stuff.
saladoger broke his Easton carbon bars this morning, they broke in exactly the same place as the ones in the pic above, right on the brake lever clamp.
I was there... and all he did was start riding and it just pulled off in his hand!
"if they were actually stronger would top end MX bikes not have thick carbon bars etc?"
MX bars aren't built to stop them getting damaged when they're ridden- they're build to stop them getting bent like a pretzel/broken when 120kg of bike hits the ground at 30mph directly on the bars. It's not a very good comparison.
from my own exp and of people i've been riding with who've 'snapped' bars in front of me, alu bars break from fatigue and are usually 2 yrs + old when they go and carbon bars have been crash damaged or clamps have been overtightened, lock-on grips have broken one of my carbon bars too.
cr-mo bars don't break but are heavy.
a well clamped and non-accident damaged carbon bar, evenly loaded (2 hands on at landing) will stand far more than any of us can do on a bike, but carbon is really easily damaged by fitting errors, stem compatibility etc. I'd bet that every broken carbon bar here has been crashed grip-digging-into-dirt style or had a clamp-crush, it doesn't always take a major off or gorrila-torqued bolts to overload one side and cause unseen damage. it's unreal some of the damage we see on carbon parts, as if people think it's harder than metal so do clamp bolts up to 500% of the torque settings..
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