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Building up my first cross bike and still pulling together the last couple of parts.

So far:

Van Dessel Holeshot Frame w/VD carbon fork
Ultegra SL Shifters/Derailleurs
Ksryium Elites
TRP Euro X Brakes
And some random "will due for now" cranks, seatpost and saddle.

Stuck on two things.

Handlebars - Carbon? Bad idea? I can get a K-Wing from a trusted source for a price that makes aluminum less appealing, but is that a wise move for a cross bike.

Tires - I know there is a review thread, but anyone have any suggestions for clinchers for races in the Mid-Atlantic area?

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JMack,

I've heard from several folks and witnessed a few others break carbon bars in a crash. That's not to say alum won't get damaged or bent in the same crash, but they'll likely get you home. I think the biggest reason to use carbon are the neat shapes avail up top - but that's a downside if you like top-mount brake levers. One thing to keep in mind is with the larger carbon shapes up top, you might be limited in terms of how thick you can wrap them, depending on hand size. Some folks like me like a thick wrap of tape up top.

I haven't seen many pros use carbon bars, and I imagine many have access to the best stuff.

Weight usually isn't a big reason for carbon bars- as alum bars are often just as light (like the prima 199). Maybe vibration absorption? Can't comment myself on that one.

There are some hybrid (not as in the type of bike but as in a mix of materials) bars (Ritchey makes one) that have an alum/carbon mix. Those are supposedly a safer bet.

I personally am a fan of the shallow drop bars, as well as the ones that have a swept-back top area such as the biomax, nitto noodle, or 3t bio morphe.

Tires - I'm assuming mostly grassy courses? If so, avoid big tall knobs until it gets sloppy.

Best of luck!
Carbon bars more often than not will snap when and not if you crash. The guys on the Fidea team and Katie Compton's run alloy bars for this reason.
Challenge Open Tubulars for clinchers. You can run them at 20psi with little reason to worry about pinch flats due to the Open Tubular format
Carbon bars offer little benefit over ali. OK a little vibration damping but is that gonna make difference on an hour on a cross circuit?

Likely to break in a crash? well maybe... but also any unseen damage from a 'non failure' crash could substantially weaken the bars resulting in failure at another time, this is the same with Ali but Ali is unlikely to fail completely without advance signs. Additionally cross is notorious for being hard on components... how much to replace those carbon bars???

I'm with Andrew on shallow drop. Deda do some great bars and offer a shallow (belgian) drop option accross their range, meaning a bar to suit all pockets. Why would you need that low hand position in cross anyway.

Tyres - horses for courses really. great if you can stretch to two sets of wheels shod with different tyres for different conditions but if you can't I have found Vittoria Evo CX's a great halfway house.
Usually I just sort of lurk around and read stuff without really forming an opinion but this paticular subject is sort of big with me . I have been running k-wings for several years now coupled with a zipp carbon stem, I hit on this paticular combination when I was building up a new road race bike. As a long time (20 year) carpal tunnel syndrome sufferer I have always had numbness problems on the bike, It all virtually disapeared when I started using this pairing.
At the races as far as broken bars go, I see an equal amount of carbon and aluminum , I think that where they break is the only difference, in a crash , carbon bars seem to break near the hoods while aluminum bars tend to break at or nearer to the stem, I'm sure that some would argue but this is just what i've seen. As far as the race only being an hour, I think that the intensity of the race leads to even worse aggravation than just a standard ride, probally from over gripping, not really having the time to change positions or really shake out and flex your hands. Having broken a pair of carbon bars in a classic barrier wipe out I realize that they may be more vunerable than aluminum ones but since I changed to k wings i've had no problems, I keep a pretty good eye on ebay for deals on both the bar and stems and now notice that fsa has expanded the k wing line to include a shallower version , might be worth a try, hope this helps with your build........
J-Ro, curious on the carbon bar you broke? Do you think any bar would have broken from your crash, or is that a bar you'll avoid in the future? Glad you found a combon that keeps you riding cx. Do you use any extra padding on the bars on in gloves?
Thanks. I'm going with the K-Wing. And I'm curious do you wrap the whole bar? Just the drops? With the contours on the tops I was wondering if tape would work well or not.
andrew, the bars that i broke were fsa k force , much more of a light weight road bar than the k wing , I am sure that alum. bars would not have broken but they wouldve been tweaked for sure. I think that due to it's shape the k wing has inherent ' structural integrity' and is just a little tougher all around.
jmack, I usually stop the tape just as it comes square around the corner, I tried taping the whole bar once but it just looked freakish and was too big to grip.
I felt a need to cough up two cents, so bear with me :)

I have a pair of the FSA Wing bars thanks to my generous brother. We both suffer from carpal tunnel issue (thanks for that genetic gift mom) and after the first ride the pain was gone. The bars coupled with a Trek OCLV frame and fork make for the best ride I have ever had. If you don't like the wide "wing" section, Bontrager is now making a nice bar with a smaller flat section and a shallower drop.
here is a link to the bar: http://bontrager.com/model/07006/en
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