upgrading to Carbon bars ( on an Aluminum cockpit bike).... use a carbon or aluminum stem?
Aluminum or Carbon Stem?
Aluminum because it is lighter. A Syntace or Rotor stem is probably 40 grams lighter than most carbon stems
Aluminum."There is no better than adversity. Every defeat, every heartbreak, every loss, contains its own seed, its own lesson on how to improve your performance the next time."
What everyone else said. Al, less flex, less or same weight, and threads hold torque over time much better.
I have a carbon stem on my Cannondale, but it gives no advantage over aluminum as it is heavier. It looks cool, though.
Vanity. I chose a carbon Look stem over a perfomance aluminum one at more weight. But it look waaaay cooler! We are talking about what 10-15 grams.
Aluminum and also don't upgrade the bars if you haven't already.
I switched back to Alum bars on a bike two weeks ago.
The expensive carbon bars I had just weren't the right fit and so I replaced them with Alum bars for a third of
The price, the same weight, and I can't feel a bit of difference, except
The shape is more comfortable.
Carbon for parts like bars, seat posts, stems are just "for looks or for status".
They have no advantage in weight, feel or performance.
Put your money into wheels and tires.
depends on where you are.
In the US, aluminum
In the UK or down under, aluminium.
except you will have to replace those aluminum bars 3 times or more than the carbon bars. Of course that also means you keep the bike 15 years too.
Smokey - in Canada we can have it both ways :-)The wise man said follow me...and he walked behind.
I actually like carbon bars better. It might be imaginary, but I swear they feel more comfortable and absorb road vibrations better. I have Easton bars on my two bikes now and like them a lot. But, I've only crashed on the carbon bars once, and it wasn't a heavy crash. If I did crash hard on them, I'd always wonder about their durability after. That's a big disadvantage to carbon parts. Damage is often very hard to determine.
"Put your money into wheels and tires."
Those were the second upgrades; Easton EA-90 Aero wheels, Conti GP 4 Season @ 25's. Fizik Arionne saddle was first. (All eBayed NIB or OEM takeoff for cheap. Last year full Ulegra)
Just lately an Easton EC-90 post really was a noticible "buzz-killer",No question.
It's the mixing materials ( over stressing carbon with alu clamps) I have concern about.
Bike the road
stem makers are very sensitive to the issues of matching carbon and aluminum and it is solved. Carbon fork to aluminum stem to carbon bars is pretty normal. Carbon paste and better radius on both the bars and stems have reduced the clamping force necessary to hold it all tight. I too have chosen carbon bars for reasons of comfort related to their damping effect.
If you fasten the bar to the stem with a torque wrench there is no issue. If you don't have a torque wrench, the money you save buying an aluminum stem can be put toward a good torque wrench. One can always justify new tools right?
A good stem will have nice chamfered corners and won't cut in to the carbon or aluminum bar. Proper torque and technique will keep you from over tightening and damaging a carbon part or thin walled aluminum.Lance who??
The more robust one - which is usually aluminum for this type of component.
Just make sure whatever stem you get has a very good front plate and solid design. A Ritchey came with my bike and prior to a gran fondo ride when unloading the bike from the car, the plate snapped all the way across the bottom two bolts. On closer inspection, I could see how they shaped the front plate so thin where it cracked and placed the bolts very close together (no doubt to reduce frontal surface area for weight)basically guaranteeing that this plate could get a stress fracture easily. And it succeeded. Thank goodness it happened in the car, bot on the road. And no, I didn't torque it all to heck beyond spec - clearly a design flaw in my mind.
I "downgraded" to the next model down in the ritchey line gained all of 10 grams and got wider front bolt spacing and thicker aluminum in the face plate. Why ritchey a second time? Because it was what the only shop in town had the night before and generally I had had good luck with their quality in the past for many things.
Stems are not a place to go stupid light imho and ensure what you choose gives you a good, solid connection to the bars.
In terms of carbon bars, they overbuild those generally, and they add excess material where the clamping forces go, so if you get a quality set, I wouldn't worry about it. To me though, I don't see a real benefit to them over aluminum so it's not always teh best return on spend.
All sound advice appreciated
Let me get the next round ;)
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