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  1. #1
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    New question here. Short Bars (~660mm)

    Anyone else riding a plus (hardtail) with bars around 660mm besides me? We have so many narrow tree gaps here in South Jersey trails that I decided to h3ll with the ridiculously wide stock length on my Scale 720 Plus! Probably doesn't hurt that I'm a fairly little dude (5'5.5"). I haven't had any issues at all with steering on steep climbs or taking turns at speed after cutting them down, either! Don't feel like I'm really missing anything from going shorter, so I'm not entirely sure what I'm (supposed to be) missing without the original width?

    -Ed

  2. #2
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    Short bars are fine, especially when you are trying to squeeze between trees. Wide bars are an example of a few people touting their preference followed by a mass switch to (often overly) wide bars. If you are riding wide open enduro type trails they are great. IF NOT, RIDE WHAT WORKS IN YOUR AREA. I live in the Utah mountains and we have lots of trees, I have gone a little wider on my bars lately, but I still like to keep them under 720mm.

  3. #3
    Why so uptite?
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    I'm in the same boat. I use 660mm bars.
    Collection of fun carbon & titanium bikes

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  4. #4
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    I've had 560 to 800mm bars and won't ever go back to narrow. I did live in a place where even narrow bars wouldn't fit everywhere, but I'm settled in a place where there are only a couple narrow gaps. A few weeks ago we went a hour south, and my buddy didn't go left around 2 trees and was stopped dead and hard when both grips smacked the trees. Interestingly, I got my first 760 bar along with a 50mm stem because I was taking my 03 5 Spot to a DH park for a week. Eye opener on the steep stuff, and I liked it so much I converted all my bikes to similar setups. When I bought my second mtb in 89 the shop cut the bars to 560mm before I picked it up, and without discussing it with me. Apparently back then it was impossible to ride with a wider bar back then
    I got some bad ideas in my head.

  5. #5
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    Nothing wrong with short bars, if you have the equally long stem to balance it out, and not have it be all twitchy. Short stems and narrow bars sound like a recipe for disaster. My last bike had 660mm with a 90mm stem. I like 760mm bars and might try 780, and I manage the tight trees with a bit more bobbing and weaving.

  6. #6
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    Interesting. I'm running a 45mm stem with these bars and don't feel overly twitchy, ever. Wonder if the geo on my frame helps this.

    -Ed

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by EddNog View Post
    Interesting. I'm running a 45mm stem with these bars and don't feel overly twitchy, ever. Wonder if the geo on my frame helps this.

    -Ed
    Part bike, part 5'5,5", and part you're used to it.
    I got some bad ideas in my head.

  8. #8
    Braille Riding Instructor
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    My first bike had 580s, the next 620s, which I replaced with 680s with the intent of cutting them down, but never did. The full-susser I purchased in December 2015 came with 700s, but I replaced those with carbon 740s.

    I like the feel of the 740s, but on three separate occasions last year, I clipped branches and got dumped at a fairly good clip. The obstacles didn't even register--just seemed like there was clearance.

    Chalked it up to learning/adjusting, but don't think I'll be going any wider.

    Go with what you like and what works for your trails. After all, it is your ass on the seat, not someone else's.

  9. #9
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    I have 640mm on my race bike, and in narrow unfamiliar terrain I'm happy to have them that narrow. 6'3" btw, and a fairly long stem (interesting point).

  10. #10
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    I used to run super narrow bars, probably around 650 mm. Worked very well for my tight trails and steering felt very responsive. I'm running 720 mm bars (cut down from 750) on my Salsa Timberjack and I like them a bit better. 6'2" tall for reference.

  11. #11
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    Edit: double post

  12. #12
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    660 handlebars? Not on my bike. Mine came with 800mm bars and I'm not cutting them down. I also have super tight and twisty, tree-lined trails and it's a pain at times but it just feels right and i like the width. I have to slow to a crawl and lean the bike to get through a few spots, but i'm still not cutting them down.

    I'm also building a new bike soon and i plan on using 750-760 bars. For me that's a compromise and will help in a few real tight spots.
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  13. #13
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    I'm with you on the bar width. I'm using an Origin8 Space bar, which is 655mm wide, but also has a bunch of sweep. Lots of trees in these parts as well, so it makes no sense to me to run really wide bars. Slowing down to a crawl to get through trees with really wide bars also makes no sense to me, sorry!

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by mk.ultra View Post
    I used to run super narrow bars, probably around 650 mm.
    That's funny! I guess you weren't around when bars were in the low 500mm range! I'll send you one to try out if you want!

  15. #15
    bigger than you.
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    I'm splitting the difference at 690mm and a 60mm stem. I can't go much wider and make it though the trees in my local trails. I wouldn't go narrow and I'm not crazy about wider, although If I lived out west where there aren't any trees, I'd perhaps change my mind.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by *OneSpeed* View Post
    660 handlebars? Not on my bike. Mine came with 800mm bars and I'm not cutting them down. I also have super tight and twisty, tree-lined trails and it's a pain at times but it just feels right and i like the width. I have to slow to a crawl and lean the bike to get through a few spots, but i'm still not cutting them down.

    I'm also building a new bike soon and i plan on using 750-760 bars. For me that's a compromise and will help in a few real tight spots.
    And you're also really tall, right?
    There are two types of people in this world:
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  17. #17
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    I currently have 660 on my Dragon and 700 on the SL. I just picked up a new bar that is 720 or maybe 740 but haven't mounted it yet. Planning on cutting it down to 700, that is wide enough for me. The 660 will go on my SS, at least for the time being; the new bar was for the SS but I've decided it will work better on the Dragon.
    There are two types of people in this world:
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by chazpat View Post
    And you're also really tall, right?
    Kinda, I'm 6'3". but IIRC BikeNY is tall too and he said he likes little narrow girly bars, so it's not all about height necessarily.

    Quote Originally Posted by chazpat View Post
    I just picked up a new bar that is 720 or maybe 740 but haven't mounted it yet. Planning on cutting it down to 700,
    Do me a favor, don't cut them down until you ride them. it's quite easy to remove them and cut them down if you want after a couple rides. Just give it a try first, you just may like it more.
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  19. #19
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    Cool-blue Rhythm

    I got tight tree's, I ride 720 mm bars, Got good at making quick snap bar swings, kinda looks like a track stand without stopping If I'm quick about It and I get my weight of the front fast enough. And If my speeds not up to far it works.

    If ya miss ya must not tag the leading grip end :P

    I don't breathe like I like to with 680's 90's, I like my chest more opened up.
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  20. #20
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    I keep wondering about this, especially how it relates to fitting a bike.

    I am short, but with broad shoulders and strong arms. I think I would be fine on pretty wide bars, and I might enjoy the leverage on the big wheels.

    I wonder for a given ETT, how much shorter my stem should be to not change the fit drastically though when trying out 720 or 740 bars from my existing 685mms.

    I could just graph it but that would still just be an assumption

  21. #21
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    I don't know what the bars were on my last bike when I bought it, but after I had it fit they cut it down to 680. I kinda felt like I was driving a car with one of those mini chain link steering wheels. My new bike is a 740 and while comfortable and navigable I feel like they could get a little narrower, but not 680, maybe 700 or 720.

  22. #22
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    Hmmm, I'm running 750's and have clipped a few saplings that put in on my arse. Maybe I'll take an inch off each side.

  23. #23
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    I'm short, also just barely 5'6", though I do have wide shoulders. I ride tight trees. I had 580's for years. Then 680's. The last 4-5 I rode with 762. Recently switched to a new bar that is an 800 thinking I would cut them down. After about a dozen rides I'm not cutting them. "Rowing" through the tight spots is worth the leverage in the fast corners.

  24. #24
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    Cool-blue Rhythm

    Wide Bars, down here we call them 'Holly Wood' bars, :P

    Most of us Old Farts don't care, but It's true to a point, wide Is good for us long armed wide shouldered, lanky monkeys...

    Old School ,, Drop down and do some push ups, once your comfy measure how far apart your hands are,Your grips should be in your palms at that distance, That right there Is the bar width you should ride,

    Unless you like a more upright riding position,
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    Or you got bad wrists, arthritis, too many motocross crashes?
    Or If your so freakin strong you can choke a bull then ride 550's


    Unless yer a down hill adrenaline junkie

    "My bars are wider than yours, and I ride with less tire pressure than you."

    OOoookay ~
    “I seek only the Flow”, "27.5+ Hard Tails Rock"
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  25. #25
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    760-785 mm for me, but I live on the west coast where the trees are large, but the gaps between the trees are in feet and yards, not inches.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD so please forgive the typos that occur when typing with two fingers.
    Riding slowly since 1977.

  26. #26
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    Lol I love how anything under 700 is a "narrow bar" these days.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by StumpyandhisBike View Post
    I'm short, also just barely 5'6", though I do have wide shoulders. I ride tight trees. I had 580's for years. Then 680's. The last 4-5 I rode with 762. Recently switched to a new bar that is an 800 thinking I would cut them down. After about a dozen rides I'm not cutting them. "Rowing" through the tight spots is worth the leverage in the fast corners.
    Pretty much the same at 5'7" but superwide shoulders too. Old enough to have started with bikes with stock bars in the mid-500 mm range but so much more comfortable now with 800mm bars and short stems. I have 810 mm big rise ones on order

    The push-up test is accurate as far as I can tell. Height isn't the sole factor so tall skinny guys might be uncomfortable on 800s and short wide guys built like a badger or wolverine might think 660s suck.

    As far as the "I can't ride wide bars - trees" thing, that's not the obstacle guys make it out to be. I'm in Pennsylvania - its all trees which made me learn to aim the wheel at the base of the tree on one side while leaning and pivoting through at speed dealing with the tree on the other. At worst, you scrape the end of your grips time a little.

  28. #28
    I have Flat Pedal shame.
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    Pop a wheelie and turn the bars to get through tree-gates.
    We don't ride to add days to our life, we ride to add life to the days we have left here.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thustlewhumber View Post
    Pop a wheelie and turn the bars to get through tree-gates.
    Great idea in theory, but there's a wicked sharp turn immediately before and/or after the narrow gap half the time with the way my devious local trailsmiths like to engineer things here.

    -Ed

  30. #30
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    I'm 5'8" and I ride a 680. Anything longer and I feel like my arms are monkeyng out too much, and it's just not comfortable. My .02. Ride the width that feels right, not sure why people think there is one "right" answer, because there's probably not.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by EddNog View Post
    Great idea in theory, but there's a wicked sharp turn immediately before and/or after the narrow gap half the time with the way my devious local trailsmiths like to engineer things here.

    -Ed
    A real man could do it.
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  32. #32
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    There is obviously no right answer. As other mentioned, it depends on a lot of variables, like height, body type, riding style, trails, etc. For me, it comes down mosatly to where i ride. There are places where, with really wide bars, the only way through is to slow down to a crawl and row the bars back and forth to get through. Even with bars in the 680mm range, it's a delicate procedure to squeeze through. I'd much rather keep my momentum up and deal with my 'narrow' bars. I've never had a problem controlling the front with these 'narrow' bars. Although I admit I've never tried really wide bars, so maybe I just don't know what I'm missing! BTW, I'm 5'10", so not tall as somebody mentioned, and old enough to remember riding 22" flat bars!

    Trying to wheelie and turn the bars at 15mph on tight twisty singletrack does not sound like the solution! Also, if I turn the bars 90 deg., my wheel is wider than the bar, so that doesn't help!

  33. #33
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    I'm waiting for the 1000mm+ wide bars (coupled with super short, slammed stems) craze to start up.

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shark View Post
    Lol I love how anything under 700 is a "narrow bar" these days.
    No, anything less than 760 is narrow, keep up.

    Seriously, 760mm is as narrow as I will go from now on. When I compare my bikes from 15-30 years ago to now, the change is shocking. On nearly all of our trail, its not an issue, and I feel awkward on anything narrower now. The added leverage has saved my ass more than a few times.
    I got some bad ideas in my head.

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by rogsim View Post
    I'm waiting for the 1000mm+ wide bars (coupled with super short, slammed stems) craze to start up.
    Bah, super wide bars on long (120mm) reversed stems are perfect. You'll never fly over the bars again because your knees will not clear the bars!

    Ok, in all seriousness. My bars are currently 725 and 760mm, with the outlier being a 680mm with a 100mm stem on the ol' MUSS. I'm 5'10" and have wider shoulders, so having a wider bar opens up the chest for those uphill breaths. The narrower bars with the longer stem have a similar effect, with me being longer instead of stouter. Bar width should be based on your bodily dimensions, like the rest of the bike. Trees and narrow paths shouldn't necessarily dictate bar width, but if you get bloody knuckles from punching the trees as you fly by I can certainly understand a desire to narrow the bars so one can squeeze through mostly unscathed.
    I don't know why,... it's just MUSS easier to pedal than the other ones.

  36. #36
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    I have 660mm bars on my hardtail and 685mm on my FS. I am fine with both. Buddies have lent me longer bars to try. For where, what and how I ride I am good with what I have.
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  37. #37
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    "Lol I love how anything under 700 is a "narrow bar" these days."

    and:

    Quote Originally Posted by Travis Bickle View Post
    No, anything less than 760 is narrow, keep up.
    That's really why I ride 720's ,, just wide enuff to make It Into the cool sizes
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  38. #38
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    I recently traded whips on a local trail with a buddy of mine who has an old Santa Cruz - narrow bars, v-brakes, 26" wheels. It felt like I was on a little toy. Things have changed a lot in the past decade, largely for the better.

    Hard for me to go less than 720 any more, and 740 is pretty ideal.
    "The only way we can truly control the outcome of a ride is not going on it, which is a choice I'm unwilling to make." -K.B.

  39. #39
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    Kinda of like how purple is cool again.....
    I'm waiting for the 550 bars to be back in style.....just wait...just wait

    I think I'm at 685mm if i remember right....works well enough, it's wider than whatever is on my old trek (backup bike).

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