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OK, I'm getting the hacksaw out...(14 posts)

OK, I'm getting the hacksaw out...LC
Jul 9, 2001 11:13 AM
Those handlebar drops are just not getting used, so I think I will just cut them off. Anybody done this? I don't see why I should carry around the extra weight.
re: OK, I'm getting the hacksaw out...TJeanloz
Jul 9, 2001 11:16 AM
That extra 25-30g must really be killing your climbing. I don't know why you didn't think of it sooner.
good comment :) (nM)Mabero
Jul 9, 2001 11:23 AM
Um...nopeloton
Jul 9, 2001 11:18 AM
I wouldn't cut your drops off if I were you. The weight involved is insignificant, and doesn't affect your riding negativly. Taking a hacksaw to your bars could risk damaging your bars and it isn't worth the risk. The damage you may create might not be visible until the bar fails while riding. This is a project that isn't worth undertaking.
Damage the bars?Brian B.
Jul 9, 2001 4:37 PM
You could risk damaging your bars? How? Other than the part you are cutting off, how has the rest of the bar become vulnerable?

What risk? Why would a bar fail from cutting off the ends?

I think that if making a custom-shaped road bar is going to make you ride more comfortably & happier, or just look kinda interesting (like cowhorn bars) then go for it.

Though I would forgo the hacksaw and just use a tubing cutter. You'll need to de-burr the inside for cleanliness, but the cut will be nicer than the saw.

-Brian B.
Damage the bars?peloton
Jul 9, 2001 8:37 PM
A tube cutter puts a lot of stress on anything that it cuts. Don't use one on your bars. Any good mechanic will even not use a pipe cutter on a steerer tube because it can cause unseen stress that can later cause the steerer to fail. The aluminum on a steerer is also far thicker than the aluminum of your bars. Think about it.

That is the problem with cutting aluminum parts. Aluminum is great, but it has a fatigue life and tends to fail suddenly without warning. A part of your bike like the handlebars is not something that you want to put any undue stress on. I hear that it is hard to steer with only one half of your bars still attached to the bike. You don't want to do anything to parts of your bike that might cause them to be closer to failure if said failure could harm your person.

The 30-40 grams you will save from cutting off your drops will certainly cause you to climb faster. Handlebars failing won't hurt you. The Easter bunny is real. :)
Damage the bars?Brian B.
Jul 9, 2001 9:22 PM
Perhaps you and I are envisioning different scenarios. I still can't see how cutting the ends off a bar can compromise it's overall strength.
You talk about having "...one half of your bars still attached..." How does a cut at the end affect the integrity at the stem clamp or anywhere else?
Be it a hacksaw, a tubing cutter, or a plasma cutter, no area of the bar is stressed by the cut other than maybe a couple mm near the ends.

-Brian B.
Damage the bars?peloton
Jul 9, 2001 9:34 PM
I don't mean to be a bull headed jerk here, but I digress. The method of cutting a tube does matter. Using a pipe cutter on a steerer is always a bad idea. The pipe cutter exerts force as you tighten it's mechanism to cut more that can damage a tube's fatigue life. It can cause damage that you can't see that can cause the steerer to fail later when the forces of riding are exerted on the same tube. This is why any reputable bike mech will use a hacksaw on a steerer tube. E-mail Sheldon Brown or another bike authority and you will get a more detailed reason of why this is true.

Now, a steerer tube is a thick tube as far a parts of your bike are concerned. If a pipecutter can damage such a thick tube, think of what the consequences could be on a thiner, and less durable tube such as your handlebars. You don't want to place any unneeded forces on a part of your bike that in the case it should fail could cause serious injury. When a handlebar fails a crash is pretty much inevitable. I wouldn't want to do anything that could compromise the integrity of such an important part. If the thought of your handlebar breaking doesn't bother you, go ahead and monkey with it. I just wouldn't.
Ok, but...Brian B.
Jul 9, 2001 9:45 PM
Right, right, but we are not talking about steerer tubes. This discussion was about you claiming that cutting the ends off a bar compromises the overall strength.
I'll accept that a tubing cutter could cause a bit of stress compared to a saw...and that you should "steer" away from one :-)
My problem with your argument is that we are talking about a handlebar, NOT a steerer tube. The ends of the bar are not a stressed member, unless you go clamping on mountain style bar-ends or something. But I don't think that is an issue here.
There's just no way a cut at the ends can cause it to break in the middle, is there?
-Brian B.
The way I look at itpeloton
Jul 9, 2001 10:26 PM
I figure this, and I may or may not be right. You cut a steerer tube at the end as well. It's a thick tube, and cutting it improperly can cause it to fail further down the tube, usually where the spacers are and flex can occur during a hard effort like a sprint or out of saddle climbing. This thick tube can fail a distance away from where the cut was made due to stress and damage we can't see with out eyes. I figure that if a large tube (like a steerer) can fail due to improper cutting far away from the cut, than the same could hold true for a smaller tube (like a handlebar). A cut made on one part of the tube, could cause a part higher up to break. That higher up part on a handlebar might be above your hand- your means of control over a fast moving machine. A handlebar is pretty minimal nowadays, and I just wouldn't want to do anything to it that could compromise the strength of it's design. It's just not one of those parts that you would ever want to fail, and I would want to be real sure that anything that I did to modify one from it's original design didn't impede it's durability in any way. Crashing isn't any fun :(
Yup - great ideamuncher
Jul 9, 2001 11:31 AM
Did this 3 weeks ago - turned the bars upside down and cut the tops off. This is on my single speed commuter. I have a fairly flat ride, and can get all the positions I need out of what's left - I used to ride almost exclusively on the hoods anyway. You see a lot of courier bikes like this over here (London). I think it's rather fitting on my retro Gazelle with red and white chequer bar tape, and a little different from the norm. Go for it I say, if that's what you want to do.
Result of the hacking!LC
Jul 9, 2001 4:49 PM
Just got back from the first ride without drops, and I'm happy as can be.

1. Saved a little weight, as these were some old thick aluminum bars.

2. Increased the coolness facter of my old bike, actually had a few other bikers do a double-take as I past by them and someone of course asked what kind of bars do you have? I am sure they will be a endless conversation piece.

3. Helped my grip on the hoods since all my fingers can now curve around. On hills it means your two small fingers can grip the bars, while your index finger can shift. On flats I can relax my hands more because all my fingers can naturally curve around the bars.

Try this right now: hold your arms and hands out like your on your hoods, but remember you have to keep to keep at lease two fingers strait because you have that bar coming down. Now relax and just let your hand curve natually...see what I mean!
Well, I did it....flop them over like cowhornscory
Jul 9, 2001 6:10 PM
Before I started raising my bars level with the saddle (I can go on and ON about why that's a good idea...), I never used the drops. On one bike, I flopped the bars over so the drops curled up and toward me (I know, I know; it was a long time ago) and cut them off so they looked like cowhorn bars. The brake levers also got turned around so the open end pointed forward and the cables came out pointing back (this was long before STI or aero levers).
It worked fine, looked sort of cool and didn't hurt anything. I still had two hand positions (on the top and on the "bar end" forward-pointing part). If the perceived geek factor doesn't bother you, why not?
Well, I did it....flop them over like cowhornsLC
Jul 9, 2001 7:12 PM
But how would that set up work with STI levers?