Results 1 to 25 of 25
  1. #1
    Www.rvmba.org
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Posts
    323

    Wide vs Narrow bars

    What do you prefer and why ? Anybody now the science behind it ? I have heard arguments for both. Some say better leverage with wider bars. But if you are spreading your arms wider you are actually losing strength and leverage. Thoughts.

  2. #2
    There's no app for this.
    Reputation: JimC.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Posts
    5,371

    Go to your

    local library or LBS and pick up MBAction from last month? (I think), they did a whole section on this subject. Jim

  3. #3
    www.derbyrims.com
    Reputation: derby's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    6,787
    Narrow bars with longer stem can fit a rider's arm reach and body weight balance on the bike about the same as wider bars with shorter stem on the same bike. And both options can offer similar steering response stability on the same bike on smooth easier trail. But usually riders set up fit and balance differently for narrow vs. wider bars.

    Use wider bars with shorter stem for rougher trail for improved side to side balance and increased pedaling leverage for standing slow grunts up a short steeper rises or longer standing pedal efforts. Normally ride position is more upright with full arm reach than narrower bars, which helps balance weight more rearward when heading downhill and drop offs, at the sacrifice of uphill balance over the pedals and aerodynamic ease.

    Use narrower bars with longer stem for smoother trail and for headwind aerodynamics on smoother and faster flatter trail and climbing where higher spin cadence is more efficient for maintaining aerobics for endurance, but less powerful in leverage for slow cadence pedaling. Normally ride position is with a more low back and forward weighted position with full arm reach than wider bars, which helps balance weight more forward when climbing and is more aerodynamic, at the sacrifice of downhill and rough terrain stability and ease.

    Everyone has different interests and some compromise is often best without having multiple bikes set up specifically for different uses.
    Last edited by derby; 09-17-2009 at 07:14 PM.

  4. #4
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Posts
    358
    You should also consider the sweep of the bar as well. Everyone has different shoulder width/curviture.

  5. #5
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    2,190
    Quote Originally Posted by JimC.
    local library or LBS and pick up MBAction from last month? (I think), they did a whole section on this subject. Jim
    Yeah, I saw that as well and it was interesting and a good read. It's not in the Sept. issue so it must be Aug.

    Derby's explanation was also very good IMO

  6. #6
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Gman086's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Posts
    4,294
    Quote Originally Posted by Bigrocks
    You should also consider the sweep of the bar as well. Everyone has different shoulder width/curviture.
    True.

    I love my new Syntace Vector 12 deg sweep low rise 28" bars! Perfect for me w/ 70mm stem for trail/AM.

    Have FUN!

    G MAN
    Last edited by Gman086; 09-17-2009 at 11:11 PM.
    "There's two shuttles, one to the top and one to the hospital" I LOVE this place!!!

  7. #7
    mtbr member
    Reputation: boomn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Posts
    9,647
    Quote Originally Posted by sofarider1
    But if you are spreading your arms wider you are actually losing strength and leverage.
    I definitely disagree.

    First, the very definition of "leverage" is that the longer the lever the more force it can apply across a pivot.

    Second, wider bars put you in a position closer to a push up position which to me is a body position with great control and strength. As noted already, you have to adjust your bike fit based on the width of your bars. Wide bars with a long reach would be an awkward, arms-stretched position. You would want a shorter reach when using wider bars.

    Lots of other good points in this thread already

  8. #8
    ronbo613
    Guest
    I have very narrow bars on my HT, short wheelbase bike; built specifically for quick (some would say "twitchy") handling on tight, twisty trails. On my Trance X2; the bars are very wide; a big change. At first I thought they were way too wide. After riding this 5" travel bike for awhile; I found the wide bars give me more leverage to muscle this bike though stuff I would be walking on the hardtail.
    While the wide handlebars clip some trees on tight singletrack; I am hesitant to trim even a quarter inch from the bars. The handlebars are part of the total package; to me, it's mostly a handling issue. As a road biker as well as a mountain biker; unless you are going 25-30 mph, aerodynamics don't play into it. I've been told the wide bars help you breathe better; sounds reasonable, but I don't think that's a major factor either.
    Narrow bars; quick handling, but twitchy. Wide bars; not as quick but more forgiving and a little stronger; like the grip on a bench press.

  9. #9
    Neg reppers r my biatches
    Reputation: FoShizzle's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    17,250
    Quote Originally Posted by JimC.
    local library or LBS and pick up MBAction from last month? (I think), they did a whole section on this subject. Jim
    yes, you should always rely on both MTBR and MBA for your input. To save you time, we did a PRO REVIEW of the article that can be found here

    http://allthingsfo.blogspot.com/2009...tbr-alone.html

  10. #10
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    190
    If you have longer arms, wider bars also give you a better position when braking while riding moderate and steep descents. The wider grip reduces the tendency of your elbows tucking into your body and making it more difficult to hold the correct braking position on your bike (a center-to-back position.

    I was riding a 670mm bar on my 5.5 EVP and was noticing this during moderate and heavy braking on downhill sections. I switched to a 710mm (Ive got a 34/35" reach) and the problem disappeared. It just takes about 50-75 miles to get used to the wider position. And it makes turning noticeably easier.

  11. #11
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    160
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ what derby said.....what you don't want is narrow bars on a short stem

  12. #12
    mtbr member
    Reputation: flynnet's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    150
    Lots of good stuff here!

    Think about this.. the Motocross Industry has had A LOT more time and and MUCH larger resources to figure out what works best. The standard width for Motocross racers is ~800mm, heck, even the JR Motocrossers use 730mm bars.

    Its unfortunate that our sports technology "evolved" from road biking, and later, cross crounty. These old principles do not always apply anymore. I find DH, Freeride, and some All Mountain to be more simalar to Motocross than cross country or road and we could learn something from our motorized cousins, the Motocrossers.

    Personally, I run 710 on my XC bike, and 760 on my Freeride bike. I will never go back to a sub 700mm bar.
    Last edited by flynnet; 09-18-2009 at 01:38 AM.

  13. #13
    Neg reppers r my biatches
    Reputation: FoShizzle's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    17,250
    Quote Originally Posted by flynnet
    Personally, I run 710 on my XC bike, and 760 on my Freeride bike. I will never go back to a sub 700mm bar.
    certainly to each their own, but i agree 100%. I find 730-740mm to be the perfect sweet spot for all my riding XC or otherwise

  14. #14
    Professional Crastinator
    Reputation: Fleas's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    4,694
    Switching from an XC to a more AM set-up I tried 660mm bars, which aren't even that wide, and started catching a LOT of trees. Most of our trails are tight singletrack, so to go fast and lean hard you need slightly narrower bars. The thing that defined my bar width is my shoulder width. If I go into a turn and hit my bar, and my shoulder misses, then my bars are too wide. If I hit my shoulder and not my bar, then my bars are too narrow.
    Wider bars feel slow to me anyway, even with a 90mm stem (used to be 120mm).
    Yes, I actually have little bits of wood in the heads of the binder bolts that retain my bar end caps.

    -F

  15. #15
    "El Whatever"
    Reputation: Warp's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Posts
    18,844
    Quote Originally Posted by Fleas
    Switching from an XC to a more AM set-up I tried 660mm bars, which aren't even that wide, and started catching a LOT of trees.
    -F
    Same here... but even so, I went to 690 from 580... day and night. Handling is soo sweet on the Syncros Bulk!

    As said before, if you go to wider bars, compensate with a shorter stem. However, going too short may get you in fit issues and you may need a longer TT.
    Check my Site

  16. #16
    mtbr member
    Reputation: oldskoolbiker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Posts
    1,600
    Quote Originally Posted by JimC.
    local library or LBS and pick up MBAction from last month? (I think), they did a whole section on this subject. Jim
    Too bad that article was pretty bogus. They tested 4 sizes of bars 24", 25", 26" and 27". Retarded test when everybody is starting to use 29" and 30" bars these days.

  17. #17
    Neg reppers r my biatches
    Reputation: FoShizzle's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    17,250
    Quote Originally Posted by oldskoolbiker
    Too bad that article was pretty bogus. They tested 4 sizes of bars 24", 25", 26" and 27". Retarded test when everybody is starting to use 29" and 30" bars these days.
    precisely what my expert blog review of that article suggested. would you like to be a contributor to my blahg?

  18. #18
    Just roll it......
    Reputation: ebxtreme's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    7,588
    Running 29's on my xc bikes and 30's on my DH bike. Going any narrower now feels funny for me, but I don't ride super tight trails much these days. The stability at speed is the payoff.

    EB

  19. #19
    Neg reppers r my biatches
    Reputation: FoShizzle's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    17,250
    Quote Originally Posted by ebxtreme
    Running 29's on my xc bikes and 30's on my DH bike. Going any narrower now feels funny for me, but I don't ride super tight trails much these days. The stability at speed is the payoff.

    EB
    oh please...WTF do you consider a XC bike in your case? a 6" FS rig?

    why dont you get off of mtbr and go make some MTB videos, biatch!

    and by the way, which 29s do you like? I am super stoked on the Chromag OS...big time stoke

  20. #20
    mtbr member
    Reputation: 53119's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Posts
    3,287
    seems as if you have to be in tune with your own body's physical limitations first. Flexibility and how it relates to your muscles and power along with your riding style and position. The mechanicals of it make enough sense to me but since the "engine" has a fixed genetic ceiling (psychologic & physical) I went by how big my huevos are for a gap, drop or tech sect and with all info was evaluated...710mm for my body and ride style on the mountain and a little narrower for the jump bike/4x

  21. #21
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Posts
    558
    Quote Originally Posted by FoShizzle
    certainly to each their own, but i agree 100%. I find 730-740mm to be the perfect sweet spot for all my riding XC or otherwise

    Word Fo shizzle. Every aspect of my down hill riding improved when I went from a 27" to a 31" wide bar. The only possible drawback is clearance on tight trails here in BC but it has not been an issue. I do think that handlebar width needs to be rider size specific. 5'6" females (such as my wife) are maxed out width wise with a 27" bar. I'm 6'2" and 31" seems pretty good for my size. They make different frame sizes for different sized riders after all... Why not handlebars?

  22. #22
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    17
    Quote Originally Posted by Fleas
    If I go into a turn and hit my bar, and my shoulder misses, then my bars are too wide. If I hit my shoulder and not my bar, then my bars are too narrow.
    -F
    my vote for the text book procedure on figuring bar width

  23. #23
    Bicyclochondriac.
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    13,473
    Quote Originally Posted by oldskoolbiker
    Too bad that article was pretty bogus. They tested 4 sizes of bars 24", 25", 26" and 27". Retarded test when everybody is starting to use 29" and 30" bars these days.
    EVERYBODY? I could count the number of 29-30" bars I've actually seen on the trail on one hand. I hear about it, but seldom ever see it.

  24. #24
    Neg reppers r my biatches
    Reputation: FoShizzle's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    17,250
    Quote Originally Posted by kapusta
    EVERYBODY? I could count the number of 29-30" bars I've actually seen on the trail on one hand. I hear about it, but seldom ever see it.
    agreed...they are certainly not mainstream. i do have to say that i love them and i hope not too many people catch on becuz it cramps my attention whore style

  25. #25
    Legend
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Posts
    1,287
    I like having as narrow of bars as I can get without feeling unstable. On a fixie street track bike, it doesn't matter how small of bars I put (around 100mm stem). On my XC race bike, I am around 550 (100mm stem), and on my SX Trail that I use for AM/DH (more DH lately), I have 700s (Somewhere in there, I don't remember, they're Holzfeller) with a 40mm stem.

    The longer bars do SEEM to absorb vibration a bit more than shorter bars, but you REALLY notice how "slow" steering seems to feel with longer bars. You go over one gnarly section too slow, and you'll be happy you have the extra leverage for AM.

    Edit: My SX's bar are quite annoying on tight singletrack ... luckily, where I am right now, tight singletrack is pretty rare ... I hit my ends of the handlebars a lot, but have not ever been unable to fit yet. To be quite honest, I would like slightly wider bars, but I am not in a position to pay for them. Now, if I could find some white 740-780s for cheap used .....

Members who have read this thread: 10

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •