So you just picked up a brand new pair of Supercross Carbon Bars. Congrats! Now all you gotta do is break them out of the packaging, remove your old bars, and torque away at those stem bolts until your Allen wrench bends, right? Well, Not quite.
Carbon bars retain the same general shape of traditional alloy bars; However, the Carbon material requires a slightly different install process. Luck for you, we're here to help! In this article, we will take you through the entire instal process step by step. In addition, we will also outline everything you will need for a smooth install.
And that's it! You are now ready to begin the install process.
We won't count this as a step but the first thing to do is remove your old bars. Unscrew each of the stem bolts fully to remove the stem cap liberating your old bar set from your stem.
Remember that you will need a 31.8mm Stem to install the Carbon BMX Pro bars. The 31.8mm is a measurement of the clamping area on the stem. This measurement is not to be confused with the length of a stem. The Carbon BMX Pro bars are larger at the bottom of the bar than tradition handlebars. You will need an "oversized" stem or 31.8mm stem in order to install these bars.
Watch as Factory rider KJ Romero walks you through the installation process of his fully carbon fiber front end. For those needing help with actually installing the stem, this video will help you out. In this article we are focused on the installation of the Carbon handlebars specifically.
Take a small amount of Carbon Paste and apply a thin layer to both the clamping portion of the stem as well as the clamping area of the bars.
Be frugal with the carbon paste because a small amount goes a long way. If you apply too much paste then the bars will be prone to slippage. If at any point during the install process you see excess paste oozing out of the clamping area, wipe off the excess and ensure there is a thin layer of paste.
You may be wondering why you are even putting this paste on in the first place. As KJ explains in the video, Carbon paste contains microscopic shards of glass. This glass creates more friction between the two clamping surfaces. The added friction allows you to use a lower torque setting while still achieving optimal grip on the carbon. Using a lower torque setting prolongs the life of your carbon and reduces risk of damaging the carbon structure during clamping.
After applying sufficient Carbon paste, place your bars into the clamping area of your 31.8mm stem. Place the stem cap over the base of the bars and begin hand tightening your stem bolts into place. Make sure that you are tightening your bolts in a diagonal fashion. Start at the top left bolt, them move to the bottom right bolt, and continue on ward with the bottom left. If you follow this pattern then the top right bolt should be the final bolt your tighten.
After each bolt is hand tight, grab your Allen wrench and begin tightening even further. Remember to continue tightening your bolts in the same order previously mentioned. Moving across the stem bolts ensures that you are applying even clamping pressure.
With your Allen wrench, get each of the bolts tight enough so that the stem can independently hold up the handle bars. But you don't want the bolts fully taught yet. Ensure that the stem is still loose enough for you to move your bars back and fourth as you will now begin adjusting the angle of your bars.
Now adjust your handlebar angle to your desired setting. It's common practice to match the angle of the steer tube. However, some people favor a setting that is slightly behind or in front of the steer tube. If you aren't sure where you want your bars, then start by aligning them with the steer tube. You make more adjustments after you ride around and have a better idea of what will make you the most comfortable. Refrain from deviating too far from the steer tube angle as improper placement increases the risk of slippage and can even damage your carbon bars!
Again, KJ is back to help you out with more tech tips. Here he breaks down proper handle bar angle and shows you his personal set up and preferences. Everyone is different, so what works for Kj may or may not work for you. After some time, you will find a setting that is comfortable to you.
Now that your bar angle is dialed in, it's time to begin the final stage of this install. Swap out your Allen wrench for the torque wrench. If you have a multi-setting torque wrench, ensure that it is set to 6NM. Begin to tighten each stem bolt in a criss-crossing order. You will feel the torque wrench overrun (disengage). The torque wrench is telling you that the bolt is tightened to its proper torque spec.
After all the bolts are fully tightened, check the stem cap. Ensure that there is an even gap across the whole surface. You want to avoid one side of the stem cap having a smaller gap then another side. If the stem cap is uneven, then it means that the stem is not applying even clamping pressure. If this is the case, loosen all stem bolts and retighten until you have all even gaps.
Watch as Nick Valencia, another factory Supercross rider, takes you through what a torque wrench is and how to use it.
If you have successfully performed each of the actions up until this point, then you are ready to shred! To wrap things up we got one more video for you. This one comes from Factory rider Josh White. Much like this blog post, Josh takes you through the whole install process again in video form. By now you should be a pro carbon handlebar installer!
If you're still struggling with installing these bars, feel free to reach out to us via email. A Supercross employee would be more than happy to walk you through the process again, or address any additional questions you may have.
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