I don’t ride carbon bars on my road bike because I’m lazy… let me ‘splain you somesing. Carbon is awesome: it’s light, super strong, can be molded into aeroness beyond compare… but it has one big flaw compared to aluminum bars.
If you crash, or if you bike just falls over, or if you’re just a big buck stud, you could easily damage your carbon bars. The problem is carbon is super strong, and can fracture and still keep it’s shape and be relatively strong. Wait, that’s not the real problem. The real problem is those cracks and fractures while visible are hidden underneath your bar tape. You can’t see the damage.
But, the damage is done and one day will fail.
If you’re lazy like me, you won’t remove your bar tape every time you crash or the bike falls over. You’ll just keep getting on and riding. In a race, you might pop up full of adrenaline, get on that bike, pull hard on the bars to accelerate only to have them break apart. There’s a million scenarios and rare is the outcome good.
My pal Frank had his bars fail last night. He’s a good guy, so karma was in his favor and he managed to somehow stay upright.
You’re probably a good person too, but I don’t believe in Karma as much as I believe in checking out the bars when needed.
I don’t worry about it too much on my mountain bike because so much of the bars are exposed to easy visual examination.
When aluminum cracks, it fails instantly… at least that’s my experience from tearing my head tube off of the top and down tubes… a story for another day.
(only the tape is keeping this bar together)