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Product Liability: Who makes reliable bars and stems?(35 posts)

Product Liability: Who makes reliable bars and stems?Coot72
Dec 9, 2003 1:16 PM
Now that the cat is out of the bag, and people are considering how safe their lightweight components are, what brands and models are designed and manufactured to be safe for everyday use and for how long? It would be nice if we could gather data somehow taking into account the design of the products. It seems like the thompson stem, and the ritchey pro stems are getting some nods, but this is anecdotal. What about steel stems from salsa or steelman? Carbon bars can be designed to fail in a progressive manner. I have also read that lightweight AL bars can fail suddenly (catostophically).

Here's a template
When to replace:
weight (for the weenies):

Ride safe!
What can I say?... I'm an old fart...Dave Hickey
Dec 9, 2003 1:31 PM
Brand: Cinelli
Model: Giro d Italia 64-40 circa 1990
When to replace: probably never
weight (for the weenies): over 300 grams(guessing)
Price: $25.00 on Ebay

Brand: Cinelli
Model: XA 100cm circa 1990
When to replace: probably never
weight (for the weenies): 200 grams(guess)
Price: $25.00 on Ebay

Seriously, I have 3 bikes with this set up. They are still the most comfortable bar/stem combo for me.

PS. IMHO, they are also the best looking
Yeah but 66-44.dzrider
Dec 9, 2003 2:51 PM
Also have a Cinelli Eubios on an ITM Stem, but I like those older bars better.
What can I say?... I'm an old fart...MShaw
Dec 9, 2003 5:48 PM
I've got two pair of 65-40s on my track bikes... Mmmmmm. No bashing the forearms sprinting!

What can I say?... I'm an old fart...koala
Dec 10, 2003 4:16 AM
Ya but Dave, dont you think its time to replace that bar just to be safe, you got your money out of it and a replacement 300 gram bar would be cheap. 13 years is a long time, Id hate to hear you had to replace it due to failure.
Ive got a couple of 42cm bars you can have for postage without many miles on them.

You are correct..Dave Hickey
Dec 10, 2003 4:45 AM
But all my Giro bars are NOS. They were made in 1990 but I bought them as NOS in 2000.

You are correct though, I'm sure these older bars could fail. They won't really last forever. They'll probably last longer than todays lighweight bars but old high mileage bars should be replaced
how tall are you Dave?cyclopathic
Dec 10, 2003 8:08 AM
40cm seems narrow..

On a side note I run 64-40 on commuter/century bike (one more in spare parts bin), and it is nice bar, well worth 5$ paid for!
5'7" with a 38" chestDave Hickey
Dec 10, 2003 10:12 AM
Anything wider than 40cm feels too wide.
and 30.5" insteam?cyclopathic
Dec 10, 2003 11:16 AM
if I need a spare bike I think I know where to look for :)
Yep. I'm locking up my LOOK's :-) nmDave Hickey
Dec 10, 2003 11:19 AM
Newton deda stem.the bull
Dec 9, 2003 7:05 PM
Light nice strong stiff pretty!
With OS Newton bar.the bull
Dec 9, 2003 7:06 PM
Nice combo!
For everyday I go comfort.the bull
Dec 9, 2003 7:08 PM
Salsa 90 degree stem (100mm).
For everyday I go comfort.(FEZ- note the tape job!)the bull
Dec 9, 2003 7:13 PM
I think it is what you prefer and whats a good deal.
What's up with the spacers? nmdivve
Dec 10, 2003 2:40 AM
Im getting old here!the bull
Dec 10, 2003 4:45 AM
There is not that many spacers (for 30).
nice... butcolker1
Dec 10, 2003 5:08 AM
did they have to write a detailed description (including bolts) of their product all over it? what's wrong with a nice brochure? ahhh...italians.
Also...the bull
Dec 10, 2003 9:41 AM
The first ones that came out are "non-friendly flip over".Now they make them so the old guys dont feel left out!
Dec 10, 2003 12:48 PM
I've heard of several stripped stems (and I stripped a Magic stem).... and I've been warned the bars are not for big riders and should be replaced frequently.

I'm surprised to hear them recomended as strong.... light, yes... but strong?
Torque wrench nmthe bull
Dec 10, 2003 3:50 PM
What Paranoiadgangi
Dec 9, 2003 8:47 PM
Umm...aren't we being a wee bit paranoid here? Somebody posts an issue about a rider injuring himself using a set of so-called "lightweight" bars (ONE rider - not hundreds) and all of the sudden this board is springing up with a handful of chicken-little posts ("the sky is falling!"). Remember, this was ONE rider, so it is possible this is a statistical anomoly.

No bike part is 100% safe and there are no compiled statistics that will give you an accurate picture of the real-world safety of a component. The only thing a thread like this serves to do is drum up a bunch of fireside stories where people talk about the incredible (and statistically immaterial) horrors they have witnessed about parts breaking ("I once knew this guy who knew another guy who had a problem with ...").

And by the way...don't bother getting in your car. You are 1000 times more likely to get killed or injured while driving your car than being injured by a faulty part on your bike!!

I hate to sound so harsh here, but I am really getting tired of all the worry-warts overrunning this board in the past few days. Just relax and enjoy this sport.

What ParanoiaKiwi Rider
Dec 10, 2003 12:08 AM
Lets also not forget to state the obvious; those bars had done 30000 miles, designed to last 15000 km. To me, they did their job and should've been replaced well before 48000 km! The bars lasted over three times their intended lifespan.
Not an anomalitydivve
Dec 10, 2003 3:02 AM
Here's a pic of the 3T Forgie that failed a relatively recent handlebar test in the German Tour magazine. It did pretty good though. Two runs with separate bars and stems respectively of 126,718 and 190,649 out of the maximum 200,000 cycles before failure. What's really worrying was Ritchey WCS 31.8mm only achieving 52,790/56,425 cycles before failure. Easton with their EC90/EA70 combo was a close second worse with 60,949/63,353 cycles.

Probable reason for the Ritchey failure were out of round stem clamps that deformed the butter soft metal of the bars. In the Easton case the EA70 clamp kept failing without reaching the fatigue limit of the bars.

Ritchey also is traditionally worst in MTB bar's a mystery to me how they ever gained so much popularity as a make.
Is there anywhere to see the results online?? n/mGiant_Tom
Dec 10, 2003 3:18 AM
Is there anywhere to see the results online??divve
Dec 10, 2003 8:43 AM
Unfortunately you can only backorder a specific issue or call one through fax-polling. The latter only works when calling from a number in Germany. The websites can be found at:


what load was applied????C-40
Dec 10, 2003 6:35 AM
Was the applied load a realistic amount, or a much larger than normal amount to insure an eventual failure?

One thing that I always recommend to riders is to QUIT PULLING on the bars. A normal load on a road bar would be 5-10 lbs. Caonstantly pushing and pulling on them as hard as you can may eventually casue a failure.

What's all the bar jerking about? Just wastes energy that should b put into pedaling.
pushing and pulling; crit ridingt5rguy
Dec 10, 2003 6:58 AM
Happened to a friend of mine, same race as I was in. Coming out the 90 degree corner for the n-th time in the pack, on the pedals pushing-and-pulling on the bars for the n-th time (lap 50 maybe, 4 90 degree corners, maybe the 200th time?) His bars broke, he took a very nasty tumble, ended up in the hospital. Anecdotal, but still. Made him buy new bars every year after that.

Lesson: pushing and pulling on the bars is part of crit racing. Breaking parts too (bb's, pedal spindles, seat post clamps, cranks, etc.). Although it doesn't seem to happen that much anymore.
what load was applied????divve
Dec 10, 2003 9:14 AM
The magazines state that they do their best to make the testing as realistic as possible. They tightened the bars to resist a rotation force of 90Nm (60Nm is required by the German DIN for normal utility bikes) and the stems to the steerer with 60Nm clamping force.

The dynamic tests for road bars are performed on an EFBe machine under the supervision of Manfred Otto. Opposite phase pull/push force 275Nm - parallel phase 325Nm. The applied forces are more stringent than DIN but less than the future European CEN norm.

The MTB bars are traditionally tested on the Syntace Red Monster machine. I don't have the specific data handy here, but you can see it in action below:

The testing loads are quite realistic in my opinion. This is further supported by the many high quality bars that do past the test or score very high.

Personally I don't pull much on my bars either neither do I swing much left to right when sprinting or climbing. Yet the forces applied the bars, whether it be pulling and pushing, or simply body weight, are higher than most would estimate. For instance my road bike initially had a 3T Zepp XL stem/handlebar combo, I immediately noticed how much it flexed just by riding along. This is considered by some as quite a good set-up, but it's nothing compared in stiffness to a Deda Newton or ITM Millennium Carbon for that matter. You notice the extra stability right away even when you're not yanking on the bars.
VERY HIGH force....C-40
Dec 10, 2003 10:17 AM
275 N m converts to 203 foot-pounds. If the bars are only 8.25 inches from the center to the point of the applied load,this means the load would be 203 x (12/8.25) = 295 pounds.

This would be a ridiculous amount of force to apply. Are you sure about the value?
Dec 10, 2003 10:34 AM
It should have been 275N and 325N at whatever end of the bar in the 3 most common positions. That converts to 60.63lbs and 71.65lbs respectively. They used 44cm wide bars measured end to end. You'll have to do the calculations for the respective load:)
that's better....C-40
Dec 10, 2003 12:29 PM
That's more realistic but still equivalent to heavy duty bar-jerking fool. If the force was 20lbs I suspect most bars would last indefinitely, which explains how people use 20 year old cheap hadlebars without a problem.
great, so now that I'm replacing my WCS :-)JFR
Dec 10, 2003 5:33 PM
What bar stem combo(s) scored high?

Please do tell, I already went to the german mag site to back order the issue and got pretty lost there in all the german.

Do us a favor if you have the data, and share the high scoring products please.
Dec 11, 2003 9:44 AM
They were quite stringent in the testing and only recommended bar/stem combos that passed the tests twice. The ones that failed any of the tests were considered not good. There was not middle ground in their final verdict.

Cinelli Groove
Deda Newton 31
Schmolke bar/Tune stem
Syntace Racelite CD/F99 stem

Almost passed:
ITM Four 200,000(=max)/176,198

Passed once but the second test scored significantly lower:
Modolo X-tra 200,000/94,927
3T Less XL 200,000/72,433

Not passed:
Easton EC90/EA70 60.949/63,353
Ritchey WCS 31.8 52,790/56,425
Ritchey WCS 181,508/118,422
3T Forgie 126,718/190,694

Those were all the bars tested. Worth noting was that almost every manufacturer had listed the torque specs much too high, to the degree of damaging the bars and or screws/threads. By feel is still the best way to go in my opinion...then again some people simply don't have feel and wreck anything that has to be tightened:)
Great reply....Thanks!!!!!!!!!!!!--nmJFR
Dec 11, 2003 10:10 AM
3T Prima 199...good for at least 30,000 miles (nm)zero85ZEN
Dec 10, 2003 12:03 PM