Handlebar Fatigue Failure

I jammed a stick inside the handlebar just to get me home

I jammed a stick inside the handlebar just to get me home

I’ve had some WTB custom bent titanium handlebars for over ten years now. They’ve been on more bikes than I can recall. They’ve finished multiple Leadville 100s, XTERRAs, and other races.  They’ve served me well.

But yesterday they finally gave in and snapped.

And I can’t fault them I wasn’t just riding along.

I was riding up a small flight of stairs at Harmonie Park in Downtown Detroit. And I was still buzzing on energy from recently eating a delicious Katie crepe (apples, caramel, and salted butter!) from the nearby Good Girls go to Paris crepe stand.

I wheelied up the first couple stairs before hitting the top one. The bar quietly broke in half. Oddly enough I didn’t crash.

I temporarily fixed the handlebars using sticks, wood, and rebar that I found along the way.  That allowed me to ride a bit longer before heading home.

And on a related note, my Dad’s handlebar stem snapped today. He ended up with what appears to be a separated shoulder. He’s in his usualy high spirits, though this is definitely going to affect his bike mileage goals for the year.


  1. Comment by EJ Levy on August 5, 2008 1:12 am

    Wondering if there is a standard recommendation for replacing bars after so many hard hours of riding?
    Tough to get out the spectrometer to measure metal fatigue but should we replace bars every 4 years or less?

    EJ Levy

  2. Comment by Todd Scott on August 5, 2008 7:21 am

    You’re right, E.J. Aluminum and titanium handlebars should be replaced after so much use.

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