Q: Which is better: Carbon or aluminum handlebars? Can you really feel the difference?
A: Both types of handlebars have their advantages and disadvantages. Aluminum bars are more durable, as they will survive a crash better than carbon bars. Carbon bars weigh less than aluminum bars. So which bars “feel” better? The only way to answer that is to get two bars, with exact width, sweep, and style and have your riding buddy wrap some newspaper over them and do a loop on a local trail with each to decide. That is the best way to decide what feels best to YOU.
Carbon bars are good for those riders looking for a little dampening effect, such as riders who roll with a rigid front fork. The bars tend to absorb some of the energy/vibration from small hits but don’t take out much of the bite of bigger hits. While the stiffness of carbon bars varies, some riders feel that they lose a little power when sprinting and have a slightly harder time nailing their intended line under hard braking. A good carbon bar, like the [amazon-product region=”us” text=”FSA K-Force XC” type=”text”]B000SZNYP0[/amazon-product], can minimize the amount of flex that a carbon bar tends to give.
Aluminum bars are the choice handlebars for performance freaks and for people that crash a lot. A good aluminum bar, like the [amazon-product region=”us” text=”Easton EA70″ type=”text”]B0017KHZU0[/amazon-product] can be a set-and-forget part for those not needing the extra cush or for those that just want a durable and solid performing part.
If carbon or aluminum isn’t your thing, and/or you want the best of both worlds plus added functionality, you could always say the heck with it and get the Jones H-Bar ….if you have an extra $500 burning a hole in your pocket.