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Are Titanium Handlebars BANNED?

Facebook conversation about titanium handlebars being banned

Titanium is a very misunderstood material. Every now and again we get some interesting comments on our socials – usually fuelled by misinformation and myths. There has always been a lot of marketing about materials in the bike industry trying to persuade people in a certain direction. We thought this would be a great opportunity to dig down to facts and dispel some myths for the greater good. So let’s dig into this one about why Titanium handlebars were supposedly banned!

The fact that this person took the time out of their day, maybe 5-10 minutes, to write this comment and was adamant enough about it to reply, shows just how far misinformation can spread and transform over time. It also points to how pervasive marketing can be that it shapes our belief systems and dictates our actions. Titanium and other materials like carbon, have been marketed for a range of different commercial reasons that don’t always reflect the material’s actual properties.

Our goal with this post is not to humiliate this person, but rather to ask “Is that true? And if not, where did that idea come from?”

Titanium bars are BANNED?

So let’s start with myth number one. This isn’t the first time this one has come up – we often get people confusing our Titanium MTB handlebars for motorcycle handlebars. Indeed the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) did outlaw the use of Titanium for racing in the 1970s but it wasn’t for reasons of safety as is commonly misstated. If you dig into this the reasons are mostly attributed to a crazy Swede who started whooping butts by a long margin at motocross events across the USA in the early 70s – on a Titanium frame!

Lars Larsson with his Husqvarna motorcycle

Because the frame was so light, yet incredibly strong, it was considered an unfair advantage. The high cost of the material was considered a barrier to entry for racing so banning it was intended to keep the playing field level. This was probably the right decision – races should be won by skill and determination instead of how much cash could be injected.

This article details the story of Lars Larsson and his Titanium Husky. 

Of course, the account is from Lars Larsson’s perspective in this article so it is probably a little biased. It is important to look beneath commonly held beliefs to find the facts and make up your own mind. So here are the exact words used by the AMA on their website in an article about the bike:

“Though legal when it was made, the frame was disallowed for the 1972 season by AMA officials, who feared titanium would escalate racing costs.”

For some reason the article is no longer available on the AMA website but with a handy use of the Wayback Machine you can read it here

Is Titanium a safe material?

Most mentions about Titanium safety online come from forums which means they are most likely recycled beliefs only, well-informed or not. We can’t find any references to Titanium failures in early designs for motorcycles at all! This leads us to assume this is another myth that has become pervasive due to misinterpretation and repetition.

The article above doesn’t say what type of Titanium was used – nor any reference to critical Titanium failures. This is important because confusion over pure Titanium and Titanium alloy is also very common. The properties of pure Titanium are not so great for motorcycles or bicycles so we assume it was some sort of Titanium alloy. When mixed with other metals to further enhance the performance characteristics, Titanium alloy is considered a super alloy which is why various forms are used in the aerospace industry.

Our Titanium MTB handlebars are made from GR9 Ti3Al2.5V which has a degree of Aluminium and Vanadium. This gives it a good balance of characteristics including strength, compliance and fracture toughness over pure Titanium.

Even if there were some critical failures in the early 70s, engineering and safety standards have moved on a tremendous amount since. Manufacturing methods have advanced drastically so that the way we make components is in a completely different league from the 70s. We have advanced engineering methods, FEA analysis and safety standards that didn’t exist back then. Our Titanium MTB handlebars are tested to comply and exceed ISO4210 for example.

Also, motorcycles and MTB present completely different forces and engineering challenges to each other. What a motorcycle needs is not what a mountain bike needs. In our opinion, Titanium is the best and safest material for use in mountain biking.

They (Titanium MTB handlebars) cannot be annealed when manufactured

A misconception stemming from confusing pure Titanium and Titanium alloy. Certain Titanium alloys can be annealed but there is no reference about it being needed for Titanium handlebars.

Tensile strength cannot be confirmed

Ummm… wut?

A quick search will show that Ti3Al2.5V tubing shows a tensile strength (yield) of 620 MPa.

They are often brittle

This one is patently untrue. Again this is a misconception due to not understanding the difference between pure Titanium and Titanium alloy. Pure Titanium can be brittle at cold temperatures which is one of the reasons why it isn’t used in the cycling industry – commonly just for implants that live inside the human body.

There are situations that can make Titanium alloy brittle, such as when the mix of oxygen is too high which is why welding has to be done in a very specific way. But our handlebars are not welded or 3D printed so it’s a non-issue.

In fact, the strength and compliance of our Titanium MTB handlebars is one of its major drawcards. They are designed and tested to exceed fatigue testing which involves 100,000 applications at 450N of force downwards and upwards + 270N torsional force to meet ISO4210. They also tested as the most compliant MTB handlebars on review in 2024 by Bikerumor.

For some great information on Titanium alloy grades and properties have a look at

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