When you want to choose a handlebar material for your bike, the choice is between carbon handlebar vs. aluminum. So which one should you pick?
Carbon handlebars are lighter than aluminum ones for the same strength, stiffness, and shape. However, aluminum handlebars are more affordable and durable than those that can withstand your everyday rough rides.
There are different paradigms for choosing between a carbon handlebar and an aluminum one. Read this whole guide to find out which one will be best for your riding habits.
What are Carbon Handlebars?
Carbon handlebars provide better stability, aerodynamic, and ergonomic advantages. For years, carbon has been the choice of most high-end brands. Its flex pattern allows them to be molded in any shape easily compared to aluminum.
What are Aluminum Handlebars?
Aluminum handlebars are more stiff and durable. These will last you for an extended period of time, even if you ride them regularly without causing a hole in your pocket. Due to this stiff structure, aluminum handlebars won’t bend easily, even with tighter grips.
Carbon Handlebars Vs. Aluminum Handlebars: which one is better?
Buyers are often confused about which handlebar material to pick. Therefore, to guide you all in the right direction, we made a comparison between carbon and aluminum handlebars based on five parameters.
The five crucial things we need in a handlebar are- comfort, stiffness, cost, durability, and weight. Now let’s compare both these types based on these features.
If you spend even an hour regularly riding your bike, you’ll want it to be comfortable. Handlebar materials play a great role in ensuring you get a comfortable ride. Carbon is better in terms of absorbing vibrations compared to aluminum.
When you ride on bumpy trails, carbon handlebars will save a lot of energy as your hands won’t feel the rattles. But with aluminum handlebars, you will face this rattling issue.
Besides, carbon handlebars are lighter and provide a better aerodynamic advantage. I recommend using the Alfa Pasca MTb Riser handlebar, which has a great damping performance.
Due to the better damping performance of carbon, they are not as stiff as aluminum bars. Aluminum bars, in this case, have an upper edge. These are more rigid and won’t flex easily with tighter grips.
When it comes to the price, aluminum bars are more affordable than carbon bars. The price of carbon bars is twice as much as aluminum bars. The BW 31.8mm MTB handlebar is one of the best budget models.
Carbon handlebars tend to break easily, even with minor cracks or scratches. But aluminum bars can bear the rough patchy rides without breaking easily.
Moreover, carbon bars won’t give you any signs of fatigue. Aluminum bars, on the other hand, give clear signs of fatigue. So, you would know when it’s time to change them. I recommend using the Upanbike aluminum alloy flat bar, which can tolerate different riding conditions.
In terms of weight, carbon handlebars are clear winners. They are lighter than aluminum bars. If weight is your primary concern, you should go for a carbon handlebar. The Kabon Carbon Fiber handlebars are one of the best light handlebars to try.
Carbon Handlebars Vs. Aluminum Handlebars: Pros and Cons
To make sure this guide is completely unbiased, I have tried a couple of models of both types. As per my observation, both have their pros and cons, which I have listed below.
Carbon handlebars pros and cons
|Carbon handlebars have a better damping performance.||Carbon handlebars are way more expensive than aluminum bars.|
|Carbon handlebars are extremely lightweight.||Carbon handlebars are not as durable as aluminum ones. |
|Carbon handlebars have a great flex pattern. These can be molded to any shape and size.|
|Carbon handlebars provide better stability|
Aluminum handlebars pros and cons
|The first major benefit of getting aluminum handlebars is durability.||Aluminum handlebars are quite heavy.|
|Aluminum handlebars are cheaper than carbon ones.||These won’t be ideal for riding on jittery paths.|
Carbon Handlebars Vs. Aluminum Handlebars: Verdict
After testing a few models and going through the pros and cons, it’ll be safe to say both are best for certain conditions. The best thing I liked about carbon handlebars is that they are quite stiff and provide better riding comfort.
Carbon handlebars also absorb the vibration better than aluminum bars which is another plus point. The Ritchey WCS Carbon Streem II, carbon drop handlebar is a good model.
But if I have to pick one model, I’ll go for the aluminum ones because, for me, durability is more important. I don’t want to spend an exceedingly large amount just to end up with a broken handlebar within a few months. I have used the Bicycle Fixed Gear Riser handlebar and really loved its performance.
Carbons can easily crack when we apply too much pressure in a single area. But this is apparent with handlebars. We will be clasping the handlebars in a particular position for a long time which will cause the handlebars to tear down.
After trying a couple of carbon handlebars, I have come to a conclusion that, when riding in the hood, these can bend easily because of their flex pattern. But with the aluminum ones, this was not the case.
This was my verdict. But ultimately, it comes down to a rider’s personal preferences. If you need a bike only for occasional usage, carbon handlebars will also perform well enough. Just make sure it does not get rough cuts or scratches.
Do carbon handlebars break easily?
If carbon handlebars get cracks more often, they can break easily. Hence, you should do a proper inspection after any minute crack to see if there is any significant damage.
Do carbon handlebars minimize vibration?
Yes, due to the flexy nature of carbon, it minimizes the vibration when you ride through jittery roads.
Are carbon handlebars stiffer?
Yes, carbon handlebars are stiffer, but not as much as the aluminum ones.
Are aluminum handlebars stronger than carbon handlebars?
Yes, aluminum handlebars are stronger than carbon ones. They are more durable and will last you up to three years.
Carbon Handlebar Vs. Aluminum Summary
Frankly speaking, the difference between both the handlebars isn’t that noticeable. Ultimately it depends on your budget and preference which one you want to pick.
Hopefully, this unbiased and honest guide could help you make a decision, and you are ready to push your bike to the ultimate limits.