Subsequently, the manufacturers added about 50 grams and then levelled out step-by-step at 170 grams, a weight which was considered as acceptable. These dark times of careful approaching are fortunately behind us. However, not all suppliers in design and testing have kept pace with the rapidly developing sport. Today’s loads are clearly higher and the number of riders exploring their limits has increased. Handlebar breakages in the area of the lock-on grips, brake lever clamps or stem failure, as created by the test stands on some of the handlebars tested still happen in practice. By testing only according to what is required by the standard does provably not result in safe and durable products. For us, handlebars must be designed in a way to withstand for example regular events, such as falls.
The test results show that the best handlebars remain very long unaffected even by the strongest loads. It is certainly amazing for many people that of all things carbon handlebars show highest durability. The potential of the material is huge, the risk of making mistakes, as well. Carbon handlebars are fabricated by manually inserting the fibre mats. Therefore, each single component has to be checked for quality at the plant, otherwise risky products come on the market. Everybody who chooses weak handlebars with a large variance from the test field in addition should replace consequently after every fall for safety reasons!"
Author: Dirk Zedler, graduate engineer, bicycle expert
Editorial: Dirk Zedler’s institute for bicycle safety is considered one of the best addresses when it comes to laboratory tests. Even the German foundation for comparative product testing (StiWa) has meanwhile come to this conclusion. For this reason they visited the bicycle expert in the Swabian city of Ludwigsburg. Zedler had directed massive criticism against StiWa for their Pedelec test and presented on this occasion realistic alternatives to the StiWa testers. Our handlebars laboratory test was also performed at the Zedler institute, as for BIKE the practical relevance of the test procedure takes top priority, too.