Mountain biking is all about skill, confidence, and passion. You need to have these to enjoy the sport and bring out your full potential.
Learn the right techniques and do it with confidence. Also build up the fiery passion so you can maintain your pace and reach your destination.
There are many ways to achieve these. But one of the best methods is to cut carbon handlebars.
But how to cut carbon handlebars? And what are the things you need?
That’s what we’ll talk about in this article. We’ll show you the right process and the tools needed so you can avoid any problems along the way.
What You Need
- Measuring tape
- Hacksaw with carbon blade
- Allen tool
- T25 Wrench
- Pipe Cutter
Make sure you have all the aforementioned tools above. Don’t just get any tool you see. They should be in proper working condition.
They also shouldn’t have any damage or wear and tear. This is important so you don’t damage your carbon bars. Especially that carbon handlebars are expensive and twice the price of alloy ones.
Related: What Mountain Bike Tools Do I Need
What is the ideal handlebar length?
It depends on your discipline and arm length. But most downhill riders prefer longer handlebars. This is around 760 mm to 800 mm bars. Most handlebars also measure 800 mm. Meanwhile, enduro riders usually have 750 mm to 780 mm bars.
Cross-country riders are the ones who have short handlebars. These are around 720 mm to 750 mm. It’s also important to consider your height and arm length. Go for the longer measurements if you have a long arm.
You can then go for the shorter ones if you have a short arm. Long handlebars are great if you ride technical trails. They also help breathing. Meanwhile, shorter handlebars are more comfortable on long rides.
The first thing to do is to get a good feel of your handlebar. Sit on your bike, close your eyes, and then reach out to the bars.
Make sure that you feel the position is right. Then measure the grip’s excess length from the outer edge of your hand. Subtract a minimum of 10 mm from the measurement. This gives you more margin. It’s also the amount you’ll remove from each end of the bars.
Do a push up and make sure that your hands are on the ground. They should also be apart with a distance of your shoulder width. Get a friend and let them measure your hands’ position. Then add around 10 mm to 20 mm margin for comfort.
Prepare a carbon compatible blade and connect this to your hacksaw. This is very important because you can damage your bar if you use any other blade.
Ensure that the blade is secure and tight on the hacksaw so that it won’t move. It should also be sharp and ideal for cutting. You don’t want blunt edges, right?
You can test this out on a piece of paper or another junk carbon material. It’s good if it easily slices through it. But if not. Then it’s best that you sharpen it first to ensure a smooth cut on your carbon bars.
Get a foaming cleaner and apply this to the area you will cut. Do this before you cut the handlebar.
This is important because carbon dust can harm your lungs. It can even lead to asthma or other respiratory conditions. Reapply the foaming cleaner on the area as you cut it. This prevents carbon dust from the air so that it won’t enter your lungs.
Do the process for each side one at a time. This lets you easily reference the placement and measurement of each side.
Remove the grip from the bars and move the shifters and brakes inward. Then measure the bar based on how short you want to cut it. Mark the cut point and make sure that you do it accurately. Every millimeter counts.
Install the carbon-compatible blade into the hack saw. Position it so that the blades are directly on the area you’ve marked for reference. Tighten it and do a test to make sure that the blades won’t move.
Cut the area you’ve marked. Do this gently and slowly. Never rush things up because you can have a crooked cut. Gradually add pressure as you move forward. Then relieve some pressure when you go back. See that you stay in your marked area.
Ease up some pressure if you are near the end of the handlebar. This is important because this avoids blurs and crooked cuts. Also, do the process slower because jagged lines usually appear.
Then remove the saw guide and slowly reach back. Get a thin sandpaper or emery cloth to clean up the end of the handlebar. This smoothens its end and ensures there are no hanging particles or debris from the bar.
Do the same process on the other side of the handlebar. But make sure you do this once you’re finished with the other end. Reinstall the grips and put the brake levers and shifters on their original area.
Get a torque wrench to ensure that the levers and shifters are tightened properly. The ideal torque setting is around 4 Nm to 6 Nm. But this depends on your handlebar specifications. Don’t tighten it too much because this can break or crack your carbon bar. Meanwhile, don’t make it to lose as it can turn when you ride gnarly trails.
Knowing how to cut carbon handlebars is important if you want to save money and time. You don’t have to go to the local bike shop mechanic to have your bars cut.
This saves you a lot of money especially that mechanics charge high these days. It also saves you time because you can just do it at the comforts of your home anytime you want.
Hopefully, this step-by-step guide on how to cut carbon handlebars helped you do just this. Just make sure that you use the right tools and follow the correct technique. Don’t rush things up and don’t proceed if you’re unsure.
Always consult experts or experienced mechanics if you have second thoughts. Carbon handlebars are expensive bike parts. And the last thing you want is to break them. It might be scary at first. But you’ll get the hang of it once you’ve cut a few carbon bars.
A writer by day, a tech enthusiast by night, and a mountain biker at the weekends.
After four years in business school and working for multinational clients, Jomar believes he can improve the world through his writings.
Jomar has six years of experience as a writer and has a degree in entrepreneurial marketing. Some of his works have been published on Blokt, Clutch Points, and iTech.