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What to do with this carbon handlebar?

Old 01-08-20, 05:38 AM
  #1  
Sito
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What to do with this carbon handlebar?

Hi guys, looking for advice....I had a crash with my Canyon Aeroad but unfortunately the integrated carbon handlebars must have hit something. There was a cut in the bar tape but when I removed the tape, and the electric below underneath, there is only a minor scratch on the actual carbon bars. It can be felt when touching but there's no crack and everything feels absolutely solid. However, this being carbon I am not sure what to do. Anyone here has experience with this kind of damage on bars?

Should I just use them, scrap them or get them examined by some kind of expert?

Any advice is much appreciated.

Lars
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Old 01-08-20, 06:05 AM
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Hi there ! It's good that you have unwrapped everything around it to have a clear view. Those are some marks of the damage. However, we cannot estimate the amplitude of the damaged part (in this case the handlebar). You can try hitting easy and continuously the handlebar with a coin around the damaged area to see how much it has spread (based on the sound). I would not recommend you riding it again, as it will, most likely do more harm. When carbon starts developing small cracks, because of vibrations, and small road impacts (potholes) they get bigger and bigger with time. If possible, I would advise you to contact the closest Canyon dealer available. What about the bike frame/fork ? Are they in good shape ? Double check them.
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Old 01-08-20, 06:31 AM
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Originally Posted by VladAlex View Post
Hi there ! It's good that you have unwrapped everything around it to have a clear view. Those are some marks of the damage. However, we cannot estimate the amplitude of the damaged part (in this case the handlebar). You can try hitting easy and continuously the handlebar with a coin around the damaged area to see how much it has spread (based on the sound). I would not recommend you riding it again, as it will, most likely do more harm. When carbon starts developing small cracks, because of vibrations, and small road impacts (potholes) they get bigger and bigger with time. If possible, I would advise you to contact the closest Canyon dealer available. What about the bike frame/fork ? Are they in good shape ? Double check them.
Thanks for the reply! The fork was actually broken, already have a new one but I wasn't sure bout the handlebars. If they are not fixable, I'll probably go back to standard aluminium bars, you basically hit your bars every time you crash, so 500 Euro carbon bars aren't really very practical...
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Old 01-08-20, 07:23 AM
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If you have not had a carbon fiber diagnostics and repair expert firm look at your entire frameset, you must do this forthwith.
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Old 01-08-20, 09:48 AM
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Don't get me wrong, carbon is a great material for making bicycles and sport equipment, as long as it's well manufactured. It's got however it's downside mainly in the resin part which makes it so unreliable in the event of a crash. (See the case of formula 1 chassis ). If you can and have the possibility, send the handlebar to a carbon repair specialized company and let them have a look at the severity of the damage and the possibility of repair. This is the technology they use for carbon parts for bicycles at the moment (rigid on one direction and really weak on the other, depending on the fibers orientation). My point of view is that will change in the future with the introduction of graphene. As you well mentioned, the standard alloy bars (may look also into some scandium ones like KCNC, they are pretty light ) offers greater rigidity in the event of a crash, because the metals has the same properties in all direction (it's degree of anisotropy is much lower than carbon and can be better controlled during fabrication ).
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Old 01-08-20, 11:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Sito View Post
Should I just use them, scrap them or get them examined by some kind of expert?
From the picture and your explanation of the defect it looks and sounds like this is just a scratch, I would not scrap them for a scratch.

I had a carbon fiber frame develop a crack in the seat tube (how I don't know) and I opted to get rid of it. You could hear a difference in the sound at the crack by tapping a screw driver lightly on either side of it and then on top of it. This seemed like a pretty reasonable way to determine a scratch versus a crack. Fortunately for me after many phone calls and trips to the LBS that had to process the claim I got a new frame.

see the notion of an "expert" in this thread, I would be curious to know if you find said expert in your area. I don't know what constitutes an expert in this area and or how one becomes such an expert. So bottom line I don't believe in the wide spread existence of experts in this area. I was fortunate that the person at my LBS found the frame crack doing an adjustment on my bike, it may have (not being hyperbolic here) saved my life / arse by finding it. My understanding is that this could have been fine for quite some time or it could have failed catastrophically out of the blue while flying down a hill or something.

So coming back to your situation, I agree with going over the entire frame with a fine tooth come so to speak or more importantly a magnifying glass to see if there is other damage. As far as these handlebars are concerned I think you have determined that they are "OK". GCN has a very good video on carbon versus aluminum bars that's worth watching.
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Old 01-08-20, 11:42 AM
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This is why I like metal.
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Old 01-08-20, 11:48 AM
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Honestly if it were me, I would tap around the bar with a coin as mentioned above and if there were no sound differentiation (as compared to the same spots on the opposite side), I would ride them.

Just my unqualified opinion though
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Old 01-08-20, 11:57 AM
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I suppose the question is: "Does this scratch go through the surface paint into structure?"

You have no idea the number of aluminum seat tracks my work replaced because the engineer didn't know each extruded aluminum track was painted with a very convincing silver color of paint. Now we just touch up the paint.

Similarly, on our composite structure, there is a top layer of glass-ply in all areas near where manufacturing tooling or machining happens.

The point is, often times when/where there is a structure that is intended for dynamic interaction with the environment, there is the "structure," then an added "protecting" layer in some form for service durability. If the damage is only paint, you are still very likely golden. If not, it can be repaired but it's probably best to scrap the part.

It's not unusual for the top layer of carbon parts to be unidirectional ply for strictly cosmetic reasons.

Last edited by base2; 01-08-20 at 12:01 PM.
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Old 01-08-20, 03:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Sito View Post
Thanks for the reply! The fork was actually broken, already have a new one but I wasn't sure bout the handlebars. If they are not fixable, I'll probably go back to standard aluminium bars, you basically hit your bars every time you crash, so 500 Euro carbon bars aren't really very practical...
I wouldn't think that paying 500 euro for handlebars is practical in and of itself.
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Old 01-08-20, 05:51 PM
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I might think that having someone that knows CF could wrap it with a new layer or two. The problem is that it'll cost you.
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Old 01-08-20, 07:49 PM
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For what this is worth, had a customer with Easton EC 90 bar. Crashed, No real signs of damage other than a mark left by the brake lever when it was pushed inward from the crash. He decided it was OK and rode it for a year. The last time he rode it, the bar cracked without warning and he busted his collarbone. Cracked at the precise location of that "scuff" mark from the brake lever. We told him to replace it, he thought we were trying to weasel money out of him. Nope, we didn't, but the hospital sure did. A whole lot more than the cost of a replacement bar!
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Old 01-09-20, 02:32 AM
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Originally Posted by TKJava View Post
From the picture and your explanation of the defect it looks and sounds like this is just a scratch, I would not scrap them for a scratch.

I had a carbon fiber frame develop a crack in the seat tube (how I don't know) and I opted to get rid of it. You could hear a difference in the sound at the crack by tapping a screw driver lightly on either side of it and then on top of it. This seemed like a pretty reasonable way to determine a scratch versus a crack. Fortunately for me after many phone calls and trips to the LBS that had to process the claim I got a new frame.

see the notion of an "expert" in this thread, I would be curious to know if you find said expert in your area. I don't know what constitutes an expert in this area and or how one becomes such an expert. So bottom line I don't believe in the wide spread existence of experts in this area. I was fortunate that the person at my LBS found the frame crack doing an adjustment on my bike, it may have (not being hyperbolic here) saved my life / arse by finding it. My understanding is that this could have been fine for quite some time or it could have failed catastrophically out of the blue while flying down a hill or something.

So coming back to your situation, I agree with going over the entire frame with a fine tooth come so to speak or more importantly a magnifying glass to see if there is other damage. As far as these handlebars are concerned I think you have determined that they are "OK". GCN has a very good video on carbon versus aluminum bars that's worth watching.
There are at least a couple of dedicated carbon repair shops in my area but of course I have no idea how much of experts they are. I have been to one of them previously with a different problem and they told me it would not need repairing and was just cosmetic, so at least it seems they're not after a quick buck
The frame is definitely fine, it hasn't got a single scratch. It was kind of a freak accident. There was a touch of wheels in the peloton in front of me and I had enough time to grab a a handful of brakes, so slowed down considerable before running into the guy in front of me. I still fell over them and it seems something (probably someone's pedal) got stuck in my front wheel and through rotation damaged the fork leg and the broke some spokes. The fork steerer is absolutely fine and so is the frame. I got a new fork through Canyon's crash replacement program at a reduced price. I probably could have gotten the stem/handlebar combo through the same program but it is still very expensive.
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Old 01-09-20, 02:35 AM
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Originally Posted by base2 View Post
I suppose the question is: "Does this scratch go through the surface paint into structure?"

You have no idea the number of aluminum seat tracks my work replaced because the engineer didn't know each extruded aluminum track was painted with a very convincing silver color of paint. Now we just touch up the paint.

Similarly, on our composite structure, there is a top layer of glass-ply in all areas near where manufacturing tooling or machining happens.

The point is, often times when/where there is a structure that is intended for dynamic interaction with the environment, there is the "structure," then an added "protecting" layer in some form for service durability. If the damage is only paint, you are still very likely golden. If not, it can be repaired but it's probably best to scrap the part.

It's not unusual for the top layer of carbon parts to be unidirectional ply for strictly cosmetic reasons.
These handlebars are not painted, are any carbon handlebars? I assume there must be some kind of protective layer but it's not paint.
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Old 01-09-20, 02:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Jicafold View Post
I wouldn't think that paying 500 euro for handlebars is practical in and of itself.
well, I would not do that either. They came with the bike which cost me 3500 in Canyon's 2018 summer sale....if you'd build the entire bike form spare parts it would probably cost you more than 10 grand They are very nice bars though...well, it's an integrated bar/stem combo....
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Old 01-09-20, 02:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Jicafold View Post
I wouldn't think that paying 500 euro for handlebars is practical in and of itself.
Originally Posted by zacster View Post
I might think that having someone that knows CF could wrap it with a new layer or two. The problem is that it'll cost you.
yes, I think that's what I might end up doing, happy to pay a few Euros if the bars can be saved....
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Old 01-09-20, 02:42 AM
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Originally Posted by TiHabanero View Post
For what this is worth, had a customer with Easton EC 90 bar. Crashed, No real signs of damage other than a mark left by the brake lever when it was pushed inward from the crash. He decided it was OK and rode it for a year. The last time he rode it, the bar cracked without warning and he busted his collarbone. Cracked at the precise location of that "scuff" mark from the brake lever. We told him to replace it, he thought we were trying to weasel money out of him. Nope, we didn't, but the hospital sure did. A whole lot more than the cost of a replacement bar!
Ok, healthcare is free (well, everybody's taxes pay for it) where I live but I'd still prefer to not break my collarbone This is actually the 2nd story of the type I am hearing, so definitely won't keep using them without any repair/checking by the carbon guys being done...
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Old 01-09-20, 08:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Sito View Post
These handlebars are not painted, are any carbon handlebars? I assume there must be some kind of protective layer but it's not paint.
Most often it is a light overspray of some matte black. Sometimes high gloss clear if they want to accentuate the carbon-ness of it or high gloss black if they want to make it look "sleek." I have examples of each on my bikes. Both with & with out the layer of glass-ply at the stem and/or shifter areas.

It may not be "paint" like from a cheap rattlecan but if not "paint", it's some functional equivalent. Bare carbon is smooth on the caul side & has a dull sheen. The bag (or bladder) side is rough and matte.

Wheels are the only bike component I can think of that more often than not are exposed bare carbon. They don't suffer from regular daily interaction from the user like a handlebar or stem would...& grams sell wheelsets. By way of repair experience, I can tell you the older Metrons have a purely decorative uni ply. Enough "paint" to protect high dollar deep section wheels would add up very quickly & be obvious waste to the consumer. Even then, branding stickers cover a remarkable percentage of the vulnerable surface area. You can always tell it's not covered from the UV damage when you pull the stickers. Very obvious, if you know what to look for.

Last edited by base2; 01-09-20 at 08:47 AM.
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Old 01-10-20, 09:53 AM
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Ok, thanks for all your input. I've sent pictures to a carbon repair company that was recommended to my by several people I know and they reckon that if you can feel a groove in the surface with your fingernail they should do a small repair job which will set me back 65 Euros...more than happy to do that in order to save the bars...
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Old 01-10-20, 09:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Sito View Post
Ok, thanks for all your input. I've sent pictures to a carbon repair company that was recommended to my by several people I know and they reckon that if you can feel a groove in the surface with your fingernail they should do a small repair job which will set me back 65 Euros...more than happy to do that in order to save the bars...
So they believe that little mark affects the structural integrity? For 65 Euros it sounds like they are just doing a cosmetic repair. If that is the case and there is no structural repair required, I would wrap it with bar tape and ride it.
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Old 01-10-20, 03:03 PM
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I'm far into the "merely a flesh wound" camp,

but that's a high stress spot, & covered w/ bar tape hindering inspection.
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Old 01-11-20, 08:14 AM
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Risk is likelihood times consequence. As an old man the consequence to me would be a very big deal so an easy decision were it mine. You are wise to get input on likelihood to make your decision.
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Old 01-13-20, 02:02 AM
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Originally Posted by easyupbug View Post
Risk is likelihood times consequence. As an old man the consequence to me would be a very big deal so an easy decision were it mine. You are wise to get input on likelihood to make your decision.
I see it the same way, those 65 Euros will buy me peace of mind
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Old 01-13-20, 09:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Sito View Post
I see it the same way, those 65 Euros will buy me peace of mind
Not if it's a cosmetic repair. I would double check to make sure.
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Old 01-13-20, 06:44 PM
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A local racer got some 100 stitches in his face as a result of bars breaking during a city limit sign sprint on evening training ride. He confessed he dumped the bike a few days earlier. So now it's new bars after every crash. Far cheaper than a trip to the emergency room.
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