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  1. #1
    Chris Bling
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    High, Mid, Low Rise on an AM build

    Finally thinking that it might be a good idea to replace my handlebars. I currently run Answer Pro Tapers with the 2.5'' (high) rise and I think they are 28'' wide with a 50mm Thomson stem. Had them for a number of years and have loved them. Recently changed bike to a 09 5 Spot and the bars feel just like what I have been used to.

    Guess the question is what is the advantage/disadvantage of going to a bar that is has less rise and it wider. It seems to me that most everyone is rocking mid to low rise bars that are much wider than mine. Trend or advantages?

    Thanks
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  2. #2
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    I always find it pretty silly when people say that stuff like this is better one way or another, because it's completely a matter of fit. I say try them out and run what feels best to you.

  3. #3
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    Has NOTHING to do with fit. Here's a good article that explains it: Mountain Bike Handlebars: The Width Issue - BikeRadar

    The lower risers are better for the longer forks. I like 0-15mm rise on any bike with forks over 170mm of travel, 20-50mm rise for everything else. Keeps weight over the front tire eliminating some oversteer issues and has been proven now in DH racing again and again. Has NOTHING to do with how it feels but rather the CONTROL it gives you!!!

    Have FUN!

    G MAN
    Last edited by Gman086; 11-18-2012 at 05:49 PM.
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  4. #4
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    It's all personal fit.

    The following things tend to make handling slower -

    - Stem length increases
    - Bar height rises
    - Bar widens
    - Head angle slackens

    Inverse of the above makes handling quicker.

    These don't really take weight distribution into consideration, so there are some additional limitations. For example, if your COG is too far back it'll be hard to keep the front end planted in corners.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by dustyduke22 View Post
    Finally thinking that it might be a good idea to replace my handlebars. I currently run Answer Pro Tapers with the 2.5'' (high) rise and I think they are 28'' wide with a 50mm Thomson stem. Had them for a number of years and have loved them. Recently changed bike to a 09 5 Spot and the bars feel just like what I have been used to.

    Guess the question is what is the advantage/disadvantage of going to a bar that is has less rise and it wider. It seems to me that most everyone is rocking mid to low rise bars that are much wider than mine. Trend or advantages?

    Thanks
    You use whichever bars put your hands in the position you need, which is effected by the geometry of the frame and fork and IS about fit and weight distribution.
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  6. #6
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    Weight distribution has nothing to do with fit!!! Say your bike came with 50mm rise bars and a 140 fork and was perfectly balanced. Then you slap on a 160mm fork with an A/C increase of 25mm. SO... you should go down to 25mm rise bars (OR drop the stem if you have that much steerer tube available which is highly unlikely). There's no GUESSING here peeps! Lower rise bars have evolved BECAUSE OF longer A/C length forks HELLO!! Also keep in mind different bend and sweeps will all affect the weight distribution so you're not always comparing apples to apples and need corrections to compensate. This isn't a fad, there is real science and physics behind the trend to longer and wider bars as the industry has shifted to shorter stems and longer forks.

    Have FUN!

    G MAN
    "There's two shuttles, one to the top and one to the hospital" I LOVE this place!!!

  7. #7
    Chris Bling
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gman086 View Post
    Weight distribution has nothing to do with fit!!! Say your bike came with 50mm rise bars and a 140 fork and was perfectly balanced. Then you slap on a 160mm fork with an A/C increase of 25mm. SO... you should go down to 25mm rise bars (OR drop the stem if you have that much steerer tube available which is highly unlikely). There's no GUESSING here peeps! Lower rise bars have evolved BECAUSE OF longer A/C length forks HELLO!! Also keep in mind different bend and sweeps will all affect the weight distribution so you're not always comparing apples to apples and need corrections to compensate. This isn't a fad, there is real science and physics behind the trend to longer and wider bars as the industry has shifted to shorter stems and longer forks.

    Have FUN!

    G MAN
    So lets use this scinerio because its my case.

    Have used a 70mm 0 degree rise stem with a high rise bars the past 6 years.
    Recently looking to change the stem to a 50mm to try it out and see how it feels. What would keeping the high rise bar do vs slapping on a mid or low riser?

    I would suspect that by putting on a lower rise bar it would transfer some weight forward, and change the COG slightly. Possibly back to where it was with the 70mm stem installed. Am I thinking correctly?
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gman086 View Post
    Weight distribution has nothing to do with fit!!! Say your bike came with 50mm rise bars and a 140 fork and was perfectly balanced. Then you slap on a 160mm fork with an A/C increase of 25mm. SO... you should go down to 25mm rise bars (OR drop the stem if you have that much steerer tube available which is highly unlikely). There's no GUESSING here peeps! Lower rise bars have evolved BECAUSE OF longer A/C length forks HELLO!! Also keep in mind different bend and sweeps will all affect the weight distribution so you're not always comparing apples to apples and need corrections to compensate. This isn't a fad, there is real science and physics behind the trend to longer and wider bars as the industry has shifted to shorter stems and longer forks.

    Have FUN!

    G MAN
    Dude...there's more going on in your example. When you increase the fork a/c, you're also slacking out the head angle. So you've pushed COG farther back in comparison to the front wheel, you've raised the bar height, and you've slowed down steering.
    Last edited by gurp; 11-18-2012 at 07:00 PM.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by dustyduke22 View Post
    So lets use this scinerio because its my case.

    Have used a 70mm 0 degree rise stem with a high rise bars the past 6 years.
    Recently looking to change the stem to a 50mm to try it out and see how it feels. What would keeping the high rise bar do vs slapping on a mid or low riser?

    I would suspect that by putting on a lower rise bar it would transfer some weight forward, and change the COG slightly. Possibly back to where it was with the 70mm stem installed. Am I thinking correctly?
    Lowering the bar height will quicken up the steering and place more weight over the front wheel. Widening the bars would slow down the steering. A 28" bar with a 50mm stem is pretty narrow unless you have really narrow shoulders. A lot of people use a combo of short stem (makes tech riding easier, and quickens steering with slack head angles), wide bars (allows your shoulders to open up for control and compensates for quicker steering from short stem) and lowish bar height (keeps front wheel weighted with the short stem). However, the answer of HOW short, wide, low depends on your body, your riding style and your bikes other geometry numbers.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gman086 View Post
    Weight distribution has nothing to do with fit!!! Say your bike came with 50mm rise bars and a 140 fork and was perfectly balanced. Then you slap on a 160mm fork with an A/C increase of 25mm. SO... you should go down to 25mm rise bars (OR drop the stem if you have that much steerer tube available which is highly unlikely). There's no GUESSING here peeps! Lower rise bars have evolved BECAUSE OF longer A/C length forks HELLO!! Also keep in mind different bend and sweeps will all affect the weight distribution so you're not always comparing apples to apples and need corrections to compensate. This isn't a fad, there is real science and physics behind the trend to longer and wider bars as the industry has shifted to shorter stems and longer forks.

    Have FUN!

    G MAN
    If the bike and setup does not fit you do not have proper weight distribution and vice versa. You can not separate them.

    In your example above you assume the bike fits and has balanced weight distribution. Changing to a longer fork does require lowering the bars (by whatever means--less rise in the bar and/stem, fewer spacers) to maintain the FIT and WEIGHT DISTRIBUTION of the bike. The long fork can affect other things, too, but that is another discussion.

    To say if you have a fork with XXX travel you need a bar with XX rise and XX width is just overly simplistic and wrong.

    You need to consider the overall geometry of the frame, the build of the rider, the fork, all the components. They are all factors in the performance BECAUSE they determine the fit AND weight distribution. There is no such thing as one size or setup fits all, no matter what a magazine tells you. Not that simple.
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by shiggy View Post
    If the bike and setup does not fit you do not have proper weight distribution and vice versa. You can not separate them.

    In your example above you assume the bike fits and has balanced weight distribution. Changing to a longer fork does require lowering the bars (by whatever means--less rise in the bar and/stem, fewer spacers) to maintain the FIT and WEIGHT DISTRIBUTION of the bike. The long fork can affect other things, too, but that is another discussion.

    To say if you have a fork with XXX travel you need a bar with XX rise and XX width is just overly simplistic and wrong.

    You need to consider the overall geometry of the frame, the build of the rider, the fork, all the components. They are all factors in the performance BECAUSE they determine the fit AND weight distribution. There is no such thing as one size or setup fits all, no matter what a magazine tells you. Not that simple.
    Blah blah blah - at the end of the day you'd better get used to it because this is not a trend, wider shorter rise bars is reality and it's not going away any time soon for reasons I already stated. Bike FIT is largely determined by the top tube and you shouldn't have to make MAJOR changes to the other components if it FITS!!! You're twisting words for sake of argument, as usual, Shiggy.

    Have FUN!

    G MAN
    Last edited by Gman086; 11-19-2012 at 12:30 AM.
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by gurp View Post
    Lowering the bar height will quicken up the steering and place more weight over the front wheel. Widening the bars would slow down the steering. A 28" bar with a 50mm stem is pretty narrow unless you have really narrow shoulders. A lot of people use a combo of short stem (makes tech riding easier, and quickens steering with slack head angles), wide bars (allows your shoulders to open up for control and compensates for quicker steering from short stem) and lowish bar height (keeps front wheel weighted with the short stem). However, the answer of HOW short, wide, low depends on your body, your riding style and your bikes other geometry numbers.
    I'll agree with that. Bottom line is short stem quickens steering so you slow it back down with wider bars and vice versa. The short stem, wider bars thing works better than the longer stem shorter bars thing because of leverage and control as well as body position. Bar height is a largely a function of bike geometry and fork A/C lengths and the trend is slacker HTA's with longer forks SO... shorter rises to maintain pressure on the front tire.

    Have FUN!

    G MAN
    "There's two shuttles, one to the top and one to the hospital" I LOVE this place!!!

  13. #13
    Chris Bling
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    Quote Originally Posted by gurp View Post
    Lowering the bar height will quicken up the steering and place more weight over the front wheel. Widening the bars would slow down the steering. A 28" bar with a 50mm stem is pretty narrow unless you have really narrow shoulders. A lot of people use a combo of short stem (makes tech riding easier, and quickens steering with slack head angles), wide bars (allows your shoulders to open up for control and compensates for quicker steering from short stem) and lowish bar height (keeps front wheel weighted with the short stem). However, the answer of HOW short, wide, low depends on your body, your riding style and your bikes other geometry numbers.
    I am on a 09 5 Spot with a 160mm fork. I think the HA is 68.5 with the higher fork. Just trying to decide between a .5'' rise bar or a 1.25'' bar. Both are 785mm wide. I think the 1.25'' rise will put be back to a similar riding position as the 2.5'' rise and 70mm stem. But that is just a guess.
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    Dusty, looking at your posts, it sounds like there's a number of things you've changed already:

    - New frame
    - New stem length

    Is this correct? Or have you only changed the frame already?

    Based on what you've changed already, how does the bike feel when riding it? What do you like/not like about the handling?

  15. #15
    Chris Bling
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    Quote Originally Posted by gurp View Post
    Dusty, looking at your posts, it sounds like there's a number of things you've changed already:

    - New frame
    - New stem length

    Is this correct? Or have you only changed the frame already?

    Based on what you've changed already, how does the bike feel when riding it? What do you like/not like about the handling?
    that is correct. New frame and 50mm stem.

    As far as the handling characteristics go, I love the way it rides. I guess the only thing that is a negative is that its a little cramped for the steep climbs and that I have a difficult time cornering as hard as i would like. Whether this is a result from the stem swap or just my lack in cornering ability, its yet to be determined
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  16. #16
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    Cramped when climbing - that's the tradeoff of a short stem. If you can live with it just bear it, as long as the tech handling is better. If it's too much, you can try a 55mm or 60mm stem.

    Cornering - I'd try a wider bar, it'll give you more leverage on the front end. I'd get something like a 780mm then test out different widths and cut it down when you find what you like. As far as height, how many spacers do you have to work with above your stem? You could try a lower rise bar if you have some steerer tube to play with, or if you have a zero rise stem currently (if you find your new bar is to low, you can swap the stem out to one with some rise to compensate. I'm assuming you have no spacers under your stem currently?

  17. #17
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    FYI - the best way to figure this stuff out for yourself is to test the extremes, ie, go in one direction until it feels bad then back off. For example-

    - Raise your stem using spacers until it feels bad descending/cornering, then do the opposite
    - Buy a few different stem lengths and try them out
    - Buy wide bars then move the controls/grips around until you find what works before you cut them

  18. #18
    Chris Bling
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    Quote Originally Posted by gurp View Post
    Cramped when climbing - that's the tradeoff of a short stem. If you can live with it just bear it, as long as the tech handling is better. If it's too much, you can try a 55mm or 60mm stem.

    Cornering - I'd try a wider bar, it'll give you more leverage on the front end. I'd get something like a 780mm then test out different widths and cut it down when you find what you like. As far as height, how many spacers do you have to work with above your stem? You could try a lower rise bar if you have some steerer tube to play with, or if you have a zero rise stem currently (if you find your new bar is to low, you can swap the stem out to one with some rise to compensate. I'm assuming you have no spacers under your stem currently?
    That is correct. So you would say get the .5'' rise vs the 1.25'' rise?

    **Because the new frame's HT was longer, I wont have the option to put spacers under the stem to lift it up at all.
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    .75" is a dramatic decrease. Since you won't have the option of adding spacers to dial things in I'd go for something a little more incremental like a 20 or 25mm rise bar.


    * Considering that your setup doesn't feel that bad to you now, try a 25mm rise bar first.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gman086 View Post
    Has NOTHING to do with fit...
    Looks like I kinda missed the discussion on this, but consider this example:

    I have long legs and a short torso, my girlfriend is more or less the opposite. My saddle is approximately 10 cm higher than my stem when climbing, hers is ~10 cm lower. Both bikes fit fine. Should we both use bars with the same amount of rise?

  21. #21
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    Handlebar height is fairly easy to figure out. Like many have already said, handlebar height has a key impact on weight distribution. You want to be balanced on the bike. You can use spacers to jack up the handlebar height or run a higher rise bar. Same difference. Most people like to have their handlebars about even with the top of their saddle. Higher bars are generally better for technical terrain, because it keeps their weight back. I had to buy a 50mm rise bar for my Ragley Blue Pig to get the bars where I needed them. It's entirely about fit and balance on the bike. If you have to ask on the internet, you need to post pics of your body position, bike setup, and your riding style. Otherwise, it's all speculation and guessing.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by cerebroside View Post
    Looks like I kinda missed the discussion on this, but consider this example:

    I have long legs and a short torso, my girlfriend is more or less the opposite. My saddle is approximately 10 cm higher than my stem when climbing, hers is ~10 cm lower. Both bikes fit fine. Should we both use bars with the same amount of rise?
    I hear what you (and the others) are saying but consider this...
    When you commit to a 50mm stem you're committing to a more gravity oriented setup where (most of us anyway) seat position goes out the window as we don't use the seat anymore. For trail riding (and 70mm stems or longer), knock yourselves out - it DOES have a lot to do with fit! Gravity riding I stand by my statement that it has zero to do with fit and everything to do with compensating for the shorter stem and longer fork. Flat wide bars with 30-50mm stems will be the norm for gravity bikes within 2 years. The only reason they have 25mm rises now is that people like the aesthetics because risers are "kewl". Mark my words!

    Have FUN!

    G MAN
    "There's two shuttles, one to the top and one to the hospital" I LOVE this place!!!

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gman086 View Post
    I hear what you (and the others) are saying but consider this...
    When you commit to a 50mm stem you're committing to a more gravity oriented setup where (most of us anyway) seat position goes out the window as we don't use the seat anymore. For trail riding (and 70mm stems or longer), knock yourselves out - it DOES have a lot to do with fit! Gravity riding I stand by my statement that it has zero to do with fit and everything to do with compensating for the shorter stem and longer fork. Flat wide bars with 30-50mm stems will be the norm for gravity bikes within 2 years. The only reason they have 25mm rises now is that people like the aesthetics because risers are "kewl". Mark my words!

    Have FUN!

    G MAN
    There is still such thing as fit on a DH bike. The difference is you're looking at it from the attack (standing) position, so for instance you talk more about reach then top tube length. A lot of world cup riders run rise bars because they're racing on very steep tracks, in fact in the past two years the trend has been away from flat bars. No matter what there's always such a thing as too low, too high, too wide, too narrow, too long or too short for a given rider.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by dustyduke22 View Post
    Finally thinking that it might be a good idea to replace my handlebars. I currently run Answer Pro Tapers with the 2.5'' (high) rise and I think they are 28'' wide with a 50mm Thomson stem. Had them for a number of years and have loved them. Recently changed bike to a 09 5 Spot and the bars feel just like what I have been used to.

    Guess the question is what is the advantage/disadvantage of going to a bar that is has less rise and it wider. It seems to me that most everyone is rocking mid to low rise bars that are much wider than mine. Trend or advantages?

    Thanks
    Don't get too hung up on the rise of the bar. It is just one of several things that add up to how high your grips are. Fork length, head tube length, spacers under the stem, rise of the stem, all add up to give you the height of your grips.

    For example, I had a mid rise bar on my last bike (Marin Mt Vision), with several spacers under the stem. This put my grips about level with my saddle. But my new frame (2011 5 Spot) has a much longer/taller head tube, so now I run no spacers and a flat bar to achieve the same grip height (relative to my saddle).

    As far as width, that is all preference. Just keep in mind that wider has the effect of putting you a tad more forward, if all else is equal.

    My Pro Taper mid rise is 720mm wide. I assume yours would be the same? That's not exactly narrow, it's pretty common for typical "AM" bikes these days. The flat bar I replaced it with is cut to 750mm. I like it, though it gets a little dicey in the tight trees. I imagine it is just a matter of re-learning where the ends of my bars are.
    15mm is a second-best solution to a problem that was already solved.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by kapusta View Post
    Don't get too hung up on the rise of the bar. It is just one of several things that add up to how high your grips are. Fork length, head tube length, spacers under the stem, rise of the stem, all add up to give you the height of your grips.

    For example, I had a mid rise bar on my last bike (Marin Mt Vision), with several spacers under the stem. This put my grips about level with my saddle. But my new frame (2011 5 Spot) has a much longer/taller head tube, so now I run no spacers and a flat bar to achieve the same grip height (relative to my saddle).

    As far as width, that is all preference. Just keep in mind that wider has the effect of putting you a tad more forward, if all else is equal.

    My Pro Taper mid rise is 720mm wide. I assume yours would be the same? That's not exactly narrow, it's pretty common for typical "AM" bikes these days. The flat bar I replaced it with is cut to 750mm. I like it, though it gets a little dicey in the tight trees. I imagine it is just a matter of re-learning where the ends of my bars are.
    Ya, my bars are 720. I am going to swap out my fork for a 150mm one and lower it to 140 to make the geometry all jive on my Spot. I figured with lowering the fork, and running a mid rise bar (1.25"), it will put me back in a pretty similar position as I have right now with a high rise bar and running my fork at 130mm's. I picked up a mid rise raceface Atlas FR bar for a killer deal, so I will start there. With it being 785mm's wide, it will take a little getting used to for sure. Funny thing is, I also have a raceface Atlas FR low rise (.5 inch) coming in the mail thanks to a christmas gift from my wife. So I guess I'll see which one works better
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