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Handlebar life expectancy?(8 posts)

Handlebar life expectancy?Jekyll
Jun 26, 2002 8:51 PM
Being AL (for the most part) one would assume that bars have a finite life expectancy. Mountain bikers always talk about swapping in a new bar every one or two years. Any thoughts on road bar life expectancy?
re: Handlebar life expectancy?LC
Jun 26, 2002 11:23 PM
It really depends on so many variable that it is impossible to guess, but I can give you my worthless opinion anyway. Thickness and density of the bar and even the stem and the bolt torque all factor in. The biggest is how you use them. Do you just rest your hands there, or do pull on them like your going to rip them off your bike in a field sprint?

If your hard on them then every two years is all I would go.
If your gentle with them then you can probally get away with up to 5 years. Problem is you really don't want to find out that you went on one ride too many with them as bad things happen when they break. I have actually seen more stems break than bars, but either way it is not pretty when they fail.
To me this is a scary issue.Leisure
Jun 27, 2002 3:02 AM
Every time I descend over a bunch of choppy roadage I wonder about the bar stability. I can clearly feel the thing flexing under my weight, and the proximity of my teeth to my stem gives me the jitters. Even though it's fairly new I've contemplated getting it replaced with something beefier for my own peace of mind.
To me this is a scary issue.koala
Jun 27, 2002 5:30 AM
What is it and are you sure its not the stem?
One of those TTT ones.Leisure
Jun 28, 2002 9:36 AM
I can't say the stem doesn't add to the noticeable flex, but I can tell that the bar does because it bends inward as it goes down, going in an arc that's basically centered about where the stem meets the bar.
re: Handlebar life expectancy?Pygme
Jun 27, 2002 5:29 AM
Replace your tape often..every two months or so. When you replace, inspect your bars. (You will also get good at taping.) Clean the bars of all salt and mineral deposits left from your sweaty hands.

I always replace my bars after a crash. I have been road riding for many years and have only seen two bars break on a ride.
re: Handlebar life expectancy?paulj
Jun 27, 2002 6:09 AM
This is one area where lightweight parts dont make sense. I use ITM 260 gram bars and the cheaper/heavier Ritchey stem. Less money with more peace of mind. A carbon fiber bar sounds like lunacy to me....
I've broken bars in a month ...Humma Hah
Jun 27, 2002 6:48 AM
I'm talking steel cruiser bars here ... steel has indefinite fatigue life below a certain stress, whereas aluminum will eventually fatigue at very low stress.

I got to the point that bars on the cruiser lasted a month before breaking. As I'd gotten stronger and worked the bars harder during acceleration and climbs, bar life dropped from 2-years to 6 months to 2 months to 1, and I'd had enough of being dumped in a pile on the ground.

The present set of bars are filled with polyester resin to reinforce them against the indentations that were initiating the buckling failures. That pair of bars, possibly the first "solid" MTB bars ever made, are still in use a quarter of a century later.