One More Reason I Hate Carbon

from Rookie’s Keyboard

Hello, friends

A while ago, when I was into bike touring, I saw two road cyclists tinkering with what appeared to be a fancy set of aero bars. 

“Be careful,” said one of them while the other was tightening the bars.

I’ll admit that at the time, I was a rookie and didn’t know the actual reason behind “be careful”. 

But now I do.

The problem?

Well, carbon doesn’t like being squeezed. It has inferior resistance to clamping pressure; if you overdo it, you may crush the tubing.

So, I guess that one of those guys didn’t know that and was tightening the bolts of the aerodynamic bars as if the handlebars were made of alloy while the other (probably the owner) was getting a mild panic attack from seeing his expensive carbon bars on the verge of abuse. 

And this my friends is one more reason why I don’t like carbon – it’s just too much of a baby. 

To avoid the issue when installing clamp-on accessories such as aero bars on carbon tubing, you need a torque wrench. 

The torque wrench is pre-set to a value given by the producer of the component and then you you tighten the bolt until you hear a click coming from the wrench – that’s an indication that you have reached the needed torque and going further will damage the tube.

More Info On Aero Bars

First, it’s important to note that not every set of carbon bars is compatible with aero add-ons. Ideally, contact the manufacturer of the bars to avoid unnecessary risk.

I did some research and found the following information:

  • There are carbon bars with “integrated aero bars”. In other words, the manufacturer has already engineered a way for the user to attach a specific set of aero bars.

Some models that have the feature are:

  1. Zipp’s Vuka Aero (846g)
  2. Profile Design Aeria T2 Carbon (663g)
  3. Vision Metron TFA (1155g)

To be honest, those are kinda expensive for me, but I guess there are rich rookies out there that might be interested. 

  • The manufacturers of the following bars have listed them as compatible with clip-on bars:
  1. Bontrager XXX Aero (231g)
  2. Bontrager Pro IsoCore VR-CF Road Handlebar Legacy (249g)
  3. SES Aero Road Handlebar (compatible only with the SES Aero Extensions)
  4. Syntace RareLite Carbon L (214g) (compatible with Syntace C3 aero bars)
  • Some aero bars attach to the stem

Some aero bars models can be attached directly to the stem. In that case, the rider is bypassing the handlebars, and there’s no clamping stress on them.

Consider Saying“No, thank you.” To Carbon Handlebars

Honestly, the excessive care that carbon bars require is a turn-off for me. 

And what is the benefit of the entire exercise in servitude so to speak? What do you get?

Some people say that carbon bars are flexible and thus more comfortable. Well. maybe. But if you have wide tires and or suspension do you need additional compliance? 

And of course, the main argument is always that carbon is lighter. But let’s see how much lighter:

The table below compares the weight of carbon and aluminum bars:

DEDA Piega 26260gLEVELNINE Pro Team Carbon Stealth215g
Ritchey Comp ErgoMax320gEaston EC70 Aero Carbon255g
DEDA Speciale 26320gRitchey WCS Carbon Streem II235g
Ritchey Comp Butano295gLEVELNINE Pro Team Carbon215g
PRO PLT Compact Ergo 275gNEWMEN Wing Bar Advanced 318200g
Zipp Service Course 70 XPLR305gPRO PLT Ergo Carbon195g
Ritchey WCS Streem III 275g3T Aeroflux LTD223g
Procraft Road Pro Compact Classic280gEaston EC90 Aero Carbon230g
Syntace Racelite 7075256gPRO Vibe Di2219g
Cinelli Giro d’Italia280g3T Aeroflux LTD223g
Average:286.6gAverage: 221g
Weight comparison

So, carbon monsters are only 65.6 grams lighter than alloy ones. I don’t know about you, but I am not playing this “babysitting game” just to save 66 grams. I can just remove one coin from my wallet and voila. The grams are saved.

Or maybe ignore aero bars altogether?

Don’t forget that you can always drop aero bars completely. This is especially true for people who aren’t doing triathlon. As Bruce Lee would say “Simplicity is the key to brilliance.” And aero bars seem to be more of a needless complication than a necessity for the vast majority of riders.

They take up space and make the cockpit look a little weird. 

But the decision is yours, ofc. I made mine a long time ago – no aero bars for me. 

Ok. Friends. I have to end this post as I have to go get a haircut now. 

Thank you for stopping by. Check back on the site as I am currently writing regularly and new info is coming DAILY. 

Until next time, 

– Rookie






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