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Monty Sears

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Reply with quote  #1 
After 35+ years racing MX, my wrists are a little jacked, question: do you think replacing the aluminum bars on my ‘18 Diverge with carbon bars would make a difference?
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clarksonxc

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Reply with quote  #2 
LOL, poor Ben....

Monty - this thread would probably fit better under a different forum category.  But to answer you (before Ben deletes this) I would keep your alloy bars and try a Redshift Shockstop stem.  That seems to be the general consensus when these type of questions come up.
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frontrangegravel

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Reply with quote  #3 
Ha Grant..... nah, just moved it. 
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bnystrom

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Reply with quote  #4 
I've found that carbon bars are typically so stiff that they make the problem of harshness worse, not better. I recently removed the Thomson KFC bars from my gravel rig and replaced them a pair of 3T Ergosum bars, the same as I use on my road bikes. They're definitely stiff enough to be efficient, but they do have a bit of flex. It made a big difference in comfort.

I know I'll catch some heat for exposing that the king has no clothes, but the claims that carbon fiber's vibration-damping ability makes carbon bars more comfortable are complete BS. Yes, CF damps vibration, but only at frequencies way above those that are helpful to cyclists. Stiff bars are stiff bars, regardless of the material. It's that stiffness that beats the crap out of your hands, wrists, arms, shoulders and neck. That's why there's such a huge emphasis these days on building vertical compliance or actual suspension into road, 'cross and gravel bikes.
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sgtrobo

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Reply with quote  #5 
wrist problems?

1. Better fit
2. Try out multiple bars to see which one fits your 'preferred angle' best.  Different dirt drops (like Salsa's Woodchippers/Cowchippers/Cowbells, etc)  feel entirely different than standard road bars. You might want to go with something like a Jones bar which has a really different feel to them
3. Bigger tires with lower pressure = more cushion for the 'pushin', so to speak 😉
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bobknh

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Reply with quote  #6 
My $.02 - I'll agree with other posters that carbon bars don't really improve comfort. I would suggest that you start with whatever shape and size bars you've been using on your road bike. Then, if you are having issues with your hands and wrists riding on unpaved roads and trails, consider trying bars like the Ritchey Venture Max, Salsa Cowchippers etc. These bars feature shorter reach and drops, with flared ramps -- all of which improve comfort while riding in the drops. I've found that when I ride on unpaved roads and trails I spend a lot more time on my drops for improved bike handling and security - especially on high speed descents.
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bnystrom

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Reply with quote  #7 
I definitely agree with using wider rubber and I run 40 mm tires on my gravel rigs with pressures of 26/28psi front/rear for off-road and usually a few pounds more on packed dirt roads to reduce rolling resistance.

I don't use the drops much on any of my bikes; I ride mostly on the hoods or just behind them. The Ritchey and Salsa bars mentioned above would make the drops more usable and they're also wider, which would provide more control. Additionally, the extra width and tubing in these bars will give them more flex for improved comfort, all things being equal.
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Monty Sears

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Reply with quote  #8 
Great info thanks!
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vinuneuro

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Reply with quote  #9 
The Future Shock in your Diverge will give you more compliance than anything else. In fact with that much compliance from the suspension carbon bars wouldn't do anything.

Most wrist discomfort starts with the way your bars/shifts are angled. Make sure they are oriented such that your wrists are straight and not bent. 
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mrbadwrench

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Reply with quote  #10 
I would agree with the shock style stem. also, there is a lot to be said about different carbon lay ups. different brands of carbon handlebars can feel very different. I have been having great luck with enve bars over alloy.
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bnystrom

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Reply with quote  #11 
As with frames, carbon fiber has the potential to be as compliant as necessary for comfort. Unfortunately, all of the carbon bars I've ridden have been insanely stiff, much like early carbon frames. Perhaps manufacturers will get the hint like they did with frames and seatposts. However, unless someone can figure out how to make a carbon bar that flexes downward somewhat in response to bumps, but is stiff if you pull up on it, I think we're stuck with limited choices.
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M_Six

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Reply with quote  #12 
I just replaced the bars on my road bike with carbon bars. My original bars were too wide and since I wanted to replace them anyway, I went CF for the weight savings. But I concur that it hasn't made any noticeable difference in damping vibrations or bumps. However, the narrower bars, which now nicely align my wrists with my shoulders, have made a big difference in wrist comfort.
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vinuneuro

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Reply with quote  #13 
@bnystrom You nailed it. Unfortunately most carbon bars are oriented towards road cyclists and most of those guys buy carbon bars to shave weight. Like with frames, the lighter the carbon product gets the stiffer it gets. Most road cyclists who buy carbon bars are also looking for a stiff cockpit that responds well when out of the saddle. 

I had to do a huge amount of research to find bars that are compliant and damp well. The few that are suitable to gravel are Easton EC90 SLX3 (this the previous gen, current SLX is pretty stiff), Ritchey WCS Carbon, Enve, Zipp Course 30 SL (this Zipp is alloy but is compliant and damps well), Syntace Racelite Carbon. I don't know how the gravel/adventure specific ones compare.
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bnystrom

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Reply with quote  #14 
The crazy thing about the current market situation is that more compliant handlebars could actually be lighter than the stiff stuff, which would accomplish two goals, lighter AND more comfortable. Alternatively, they could use lower modulus carbon which would make the bars more comfortable and cheaper for around the same weight. Again, it would be a win-win situation.

Thanks for the heads-up on compliant carbon bars. As for alloy, I would add the 3T Ergosum to the list, as it's got enough give to take the sting out of rough roads without feeling too flexible.
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DADZSUN

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Reply with quote  #15 
I'm running Fizik Cyrano 00 'Bull' HiMod carbon bars at 44cm that I purchased on clearance (new) for only $200 Cdn.

It definitely has more flex than my usual go-to Easton EA70 ergo.

Great bars and super light.

https://www.fizik.com/us_en/men/components/handlebars/cyrano-handlebar-00-bull.html

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