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ITM Handlebars - Multiple Failures

Handlebar_DaveHandlebar_Dave Posts: 9
edited September 2019 in Workshop
Has anyone else managed to break their ITM super 330 handlebars. I have now managed it 3 times on 2 different bikes. The failures have all been sudden and result in a complete shearing off of the bar at the stem. After the second occurnace (both on the same Winter training bike) I contacted a mechanic who assured me that this bar had very good operating experience and that it must be a fault in the stem. I changed the bar and stem to a more robust oversize bar and 4 bolt stem. However, reassured by the mechanic, I left my summer bike unchanged.

On Friday, the bars on the summer bike snapped and the broken half fell into the wheel, writing off the front wheel and front forks :( and also breaking my arm in the subsequent fall :(:( .

I am interested in

a) Letting people know of this potential for ITM handlebar failure
b) Getting any similar stories.
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Posts

  • alfabluealfablue Posts: 8,497
    I think you should take this up with ITM in a very serious manner - this could be lethal!
  • Already done with both ITM and the cycle shop that supplied the bike and I plan to push them to distribute the information wider. However I guessed that a wider and quicker audience would be via the various cycling forums, so this message is in parallel to the official route! As you say it could have been (and may still be) lethal!

    I will also follow up with letters to the major cycling magazines (CW, CP etc) but I cannot guarantee publication.
  • alfabluealfablue Posts: 8,497
    Already done with both ITM and the cycle shop that supplied the bike and I plan to push them to distribute the information wider. However I guessed that a wider and quicker audience would be via the various cycling forums, so this message is in parallel to the official route! As you say it could have been (and may still be) lethal!

    I will also follow up with letters to the major cycling magazines (CW, CP etc) but I cannot guarantee publication.
    Good on you - well done.

    I wonder why you chose that forum name...

    Let us know how ITM respond
  • Jonathan McpJonathan Mcp Posts: 2,472
    I use the Super 330 bars on 2 bikes, a winter bike and my summer bike; the bars on the summer bike are now 7 years old, the winter bike closer to 3.

    I've heard of bar failiures throughout cycling, especially the 90's fad for silly lightweight MTBs, but less so nowadays.

    One thing to consider; over tightening the stem onto the bar can contribute to failiure. ITM do specify torque settings to try & prevent such problems, while you have had 3 bars of the same make & model break, on 2 bikes, with 2 different stems, then there would have to be a query here about "user error" resulting in premature failiure.

    It will be interesting to see ITM's reply to your problem, have you offered to send them the latest broken bar for them to inspect? There is always a chance that you have had 3 bars with a manufacturing problem resulting in weakness - unlikely, but could happen.

    Bottom line I suppose would be to change brands of bar & stem completley, and place strength above weight, although the 330's are not really sold based upon their lightweight - I have them because I'm a none competitve rider who builds bikes to a budget, so looks for VFM.
  • Regarding user error, the user in this case would be the cycle shop (same in both cases) who built the original bikes. I have not moved or tightened them since (just visually inspected them regularly after the first failure.

    Worth noting that when this happend the first time, the cycle shop took the bike back and repaired the damage free of charge and also replaced the apparently undamaged front forks. Maybe they were worried about further action!

    The bike shop in question is very well respected and whose name appears in more than one posting on this forum. If this was an error by them, then I would expect to see many examples of similar failures, but so far I have had no positives for ITM bars.
  • Monty DogMonty Dog Posts: 20,614
    The 330 is a fairly hefty bar by today's standards - and certainly no lightweight. I'm strongly inclined to believe that there's something about the assembly or set-up that's causing you multiple failures rather than blame ITM per se. Are you using a particular type of stem, or clamping something to your bars? How do you know that the clamp bolts are tight enough? Given the length of time these bars have been available, that it's unlikely to be batch-related as you probably bought them at different times, then the only common factor is the product and the user. One is likely to have a stringent quality control process, the other not....so why always blame the product?
    Make mine an Italian, with Campagnolo on the side..
  • Thanks Monty. In both cases the shop fitted stem was the ITM road racing 2 bolt stem. Given the good reputation of the bike shop I assumed they had tighened them correctly and as there was no slippage, they were not too loose.

    Regarding blaming the product, I don't actually recall blaming the product, I named it to be helpful to other cyclists an maybe save a life! I am deliberately not blaming anyone at the moment, just gathering useful feedback!
  • KléberKléber Posts: 6,842
    there was no slippage, they were not too loose.
    It could be that they overtightened the stem, crushing the bars or at least causing stress concentration.
  • EurostarEurostar Posts: 1,806
    Reading between the lines it sounds like you got both bikes from the same shop, they fitted all three sets of bars, and you didn't adjust them or tighten them at all - correct? Sounds like the common denominator here might be the mechanic. What does he/she have to say?
    <hr>
    <h6>What\'s the point of going out? We\'re just going to end up back here anyway</h6>
  • Dave,

    How can I ask this without causing offence, ok here goes!

    Are you built like a whippet or are you a bit of a big lad I only ask as I use the same bars and have never had a problem but it would be good to know if I am comparing like-with-like.

    Cheers,
    MC.
  • LangerDanLangerDan Posts: 6,132
    Back about 6 years ago, there were several failures of the ITM Millenium stems amongst local riders here.
    'This week I 'ave been mostly been climbing like Basso - Shirley Basso.'
  • Well MC, as you asked so nicely, I wouldn't describe myself as small, but wouldn't say I was a lard bucket either.

    My current weight is 13st 10lbs and has been static for a few years now.
  • Jonathan McpJonathan Mcp Posts: 2,472
    Dave,

    How can I ask this without causing offence, ok here goes!

    Are you built like a whippet or are you a bit of a big lad I only ask as I use the same bars and have never had a problem but it would be good to know if I am comparing like-with-like.

    Cheers,
    MC.

    I am a "big" lad, and have no problems with the bars.

    I do wonder if Dave has an LBS that hasn't heard of torque settings though!!!

    Re Millenium bars, they are much lighter and I know that ITM Millenium stems have a torque setting during installation, I've got one fitted. It isn't fair to say user error is responsible for the majority of bar failiures, but it is up there with accident damage as a common cause of bar failiure. Probably commoner than manufacturing faults.
  • SpeckSpeck Posts: 53
    Is the stem radiused where it clamps around the bars, if not this can cut into them and start a fracture. I have seen solid bars brake in heavy engineering because of a lack of a small radius.
    He said, "You should be riding a Fixie" I replied, "But, Dad, I'm 62 years old".
  • SpeckSpeck Posts: 53
    Have a read at the 1st article in "The Hub" on page 16 in Sept's Cycling Plus.
    He said, "You should be riding a Fixie" I replied, "But, Dad, I'm 62 years old".

  • I do wonder if Dave has an LBS that hasn't heard of torque settings though!!!

    Just to clarify, I am referring to a National Mail Order Bike Shop here that most cyclists will have heard of. I am deliberately not mentioning their name as I wish to have ongoing cordial relations with them to establish the root cause in the hope of feeding back any useful information to other cyclists if necessary.

    If it turns out to be my riding style at fault, so much the better for everyone else :D , but not for me :cry:.

    thanks for all your useful input, keep it coming and I will also feed back the final outcome
  • cougiecougie Posts: 22,512
    And theres no sharp edge on the stem ? I made sure I sanded down my stem before putting my bars on to avoid any problems with this. Been fine with me.

    Good luck anyway !
  • cougie wrote:
    And theres no sharp edge on the stem ?

    No, there is nothing obvious on the stem. When this happened last time, I specifically checked the inside radius of the stem for rough bits that could have acted as stress raisers. Nothing obvious that time and nothing obvious from a visual check this time.
  • acorn_useracorn_user Posts: 1,137
    No trouble with mine. Since they are a very common bar, I would have thought that any inbuilt problems would have surfaced already.

    I bet the manufacturer will tell you that you are supposed to replace the bars every couple of year...
  • Hi Dave - I'd like to know what was the outcome of this? - My ITM Super 330 handlebar has also just had a sudden break near the stem. Thanks.
  • I've also just had my ITM Wing Shape Lite Luxe Handlebars fail in the same way as described in the original post from 2007.
  • davidawest wrote:
    I've also just had my ITM Wing Shape Lite Luxe Handlebars fail in the same way as described in the original post from 2007. :D please email me at [email protected] re: your experience with ite wing shape lite luxe handlebar failure. george tardiff
  • Very old thread, but I've just had a set of ITM Wing Shape Lite Luxe handlebars fail in exactly the same way described in this thread. My best guess is they're from a similar era.

    They cracked at the stem very suddenly and I went down. I was taken in an ambulance to emergency. No broken bones but my knee in particular is pretty sore and I can barely walk.

    Did anyone have any outcome from contacting ITM about these failures. Just this thread alone suggests more than a coincidence.
  • Were the bars 12 years old?
  • imposter2.0imposter2.0 Posts: 11,969
    what-year-is-it-png-file-i-still-think-2013-was-last-year-png-319.png
  • These things dont last for ever.
  • These things dont last for ever.

    No, but I can imagine there are many road bikes out there with bars 10-12 years old and much older.

    Handlebars breaking suddenly is not a common occurrence and finding this thread with anecdotes of the same model bars and other similar bars from that period is of interest.

    I can see the humour in a zombie thread being revived but it wasn’t so funny laying up with serious injuries and just trying to get some information.
  • keef66keef66 Posts: 13,123
    As I understand it ITM went tits-up years ago, possibly about the time of the O.P.

    I know because I'd just bought a bike for my 50th birthday and it came built up with an ITM carbon fork. I think the bike shop bought a job lot of stuff when ITM folded. Hopefully my forks don't.
  • keef66 wrote:
    As I understand it ITM went tits-up years ago, possibly about the time of the O.P.

    I know because I'd just bought a bike for my 50th birthday and it came built up with an ITM carbon fork. I think the bike shop bought a job lot of stuff when ITM folded. Hopefully my forks don't.

    you can still buy ITM branded bars now. (might be a different company though)
  • keef66keef66 Posts: 13,123
    "ITM, the handlebar and stem maker and one of my first suppliers, had shut its doors in 2008. I remember the pleasant surprise that greeted me when I first visited ITM in 1981. The offices were furnished with elegant and expensive-looking modern Italian furniture that gave a striking sense of opulence and taste to the space. ITM was Marco Pantani's bar and stem supplier for the 1998 Tour and Giro. Until his doping disgrace before the penultimate stage in the 1999 Giro, people had gone nuts for anything Pantani used. In 1998 the demand for ITM equipment was white-hot. That moment in the sun wasn't enough to sustain the firm through the current economic storm."

    From https://www.bikeraceinfo.com/travel/ita ... aly09.html

    Which is what I remember; I'd bought the bike in Sept 2007 and soon afterwards read about their demise. Maybe somebody bought the brand?

    Apparently so; this from a US cycling forum:

    "Italmanubri (ITM) was one of the Italian greats, but that original iteration of the company shuttered and liquidated in ‘08. The brand is now owned by a Taiwan company."

    Then looks like a relaunch in 2013 : "The most dominant handlebar and stem brand of the 1990's, ITM is back! Resurrected by the former general manager of the ITM parent company, Italian industry veteran Luigi Seghezzi is staying true to the past success of "Italmanubri", a legend of cycling"

    They have a facebook page and website:

    https://www.facebook.com/pg/ITMItaly/ab ... e_internal

    http://itm.it/itm/en/company/company-profile/
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