Saturday, September 23, 2006

Titec 118: A Tale of 2 BERTs

The Titec 118 is a MTB flat handlebar. When I bent my X-Lite 540 Pro Titanium handlebar in a crash, the next narrowest production titanium handlebar I could find to replace the out-of-production 540 mm X-Lite is the 555 mm Titec 118. As the name suggests, the Titec 118 weighs a svelte 118 grams. It is a butted length of Grade 3 Titanium with a 3-degree bend. To keep costs low (I suspect), rather than swaging the center section with an expensive die for the stem clamp, a plastic shim is simply used to increase the diameter to 25.4 mm.

As the walls of the Titec 118 handlebars are extremely thin, some of them come with a shim at each end. They appear to be made of titanium too. If the bar has a noticeable ridge at the both ends, your handlebar already came with them installed. If you are not planning to use bar ends, there is no need to remove them.


Handlebar Shim
Wall thickness: 0.5 mm
Ridge + wall thickness: 1 mm
Length: 6 mm
Internal diameter: 20.9 mm

To remove the shims, use your index finger to firmly tug them out.

If you plan to use bar ends, you should install the Bar End Reinforcement Things (BERTs) to provide additional structural support. If your handlebar comes with the titanium shims installed, you MUST remove them prior to inserting the BERTs. In the picture, you can see that the beveled end of the BERT almost fits into the shim. (Note: handlebar not pictured.) However, if you try and force the 21.4 mm outside diameter BERT through the 20.9 mm inner diameter shim into the handlebar, you will crinkle and collapse its thin walls.

My first Titec 118 handlebar, purchased from an online retailer, didn't come with BERTs. One email to Titec's customer service and a Mr. Gonzalez sent me a pair of BERTs via US Priority Mail, free of charge. I was so impressed with the handlebar that I bought a second one. The second handlebar came with BERTs, but they were different from the ones sent by Titec customer service. Due to their smaller internal diameter, they would not accept bar plugs. So I was off emailing Mr. Gonzalez again, explaining that even though my second handlebar already came with a pair of BERTs, I would like another pair:

Hi Mr Gonzalez,

I was so impressed with the Titec 118 bars that I purchased a 2nd one for my other bike:

However, the BERTs that came with 2nd Titec 118 handlebar are different from the one you sent:

Their inner diameter is much smaller. Hence, I cannot use a rubber end plug.

Can I purchase another set of BERTs like the ones you previously sent. I will gladly pay for them and postage as well.

His reply?
Within 24 hours, I received this:

Hey Ben,
I'll make it happen brother!

What showed up at my door 48 hours later.

What's inside.

A comparison of the BERTs that came with the handlebar (left), and those from Titec customer service (right).


BERTs on the left
Length: 20 mm
Internal diameter: 16.5 mm
Bevel: yes, 3 mm bevel.

BERTs on the right
Length: 38 mm
Internal diameter: 19 mm
Bevel: no.

This time, they included a set of bar plugs as well.. Is that incredible customer service or what?

A view of the Titec 118 Titanium handlebar with the thick-walled BERT installed.

A view of the Titec 118 Titanium handlebar with the thin-walled BERT installed.

No comments: