1. The most important thing about buying a new bike is to make sure it fits. The only way you'll know if the bike is right for you is to size up the bike and make sure that the bike's geometry matches your body's geometry. Ask questions and do some research.
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2. If possible, try to find a shop that will let you demo the bike on real dirt. Five minutes in a parking lot won't cut it. You wouldn't buy a car without a real world test drive, and a bike should be no different.
3. Don't belive the hype. Just because your favorite rider or best friend rides a certain bike, that doesn't mean that's the best one for you. Have an open mind and be realistic about your needs and ability.
Results 1 to 13 of 13
  1. #1
    mtbr member
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    Jul 2007

    Handle Bar width?

    Hello All,
    Just bought a 29er Hard Tail and bars are 28in......is this a standard width for this type of bike?

    They seem awful wide to me but I have been told wider is usually better.

    Are 28in bars pretty standard or are they on the wide side?

    Thanks in advance

  2. #2
    Reputation: evasive's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005

    Handle Bar width?

    They aren't especially wide by today's standards. 28" is about 711mm. That's probably pretty middle of the road these days. 760-780mm feels good to me.

    Wheel size doesn't have much to do with bar width. Bar width is more about control and fit. Wider bars and shorter stems allow a more athletic attack position instead of the old Tron light cycle body position of the 80s and (especially the) 90s.
    "Back off, man. I'm a scientist." - Dr. Peter Venkman

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  3. #3
    mtbr member
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    Jul 2007
    Thanks evasive - I appreciate the info

  4. #4
    mtbr member
    Reputation: tigris99's Avatar
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    Aug 2012
    As said, close to avg depending in the bike. I went from 640 to 720 on my 29er ht for better fit. But mine us xc geo. For a trail bike I like wider while having the stem around 60-70 (my ht is 90mm stem but im a big guy so need wider bars for comfort)
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  5. #5
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    A longer lever supposedly gives you finer steering control. But it also depends on your size and what type of trials you ride and the type of riding you do.

    The dealer wanted to cut an inch off each end of my stock 700mm bar. Our trails have a lot of narrow sections and lots of trees. But I said, no, I wanted to try it stock first. I ended up going for the operation, and liked the fit better actually. I'm not a real wide-shouldered guy.

    I wanted carbon bars, and ended up selecting an Easton SL 90, in part because it was narrow -- 635mm.

    Before cutting yours (or buying wider ones) try holding your hands at different positions on the grips to get a feel for how narrower or wider bars will feel. If you have lock-on grips, you can move them out an inch or so to simulate wider bars. You can move your controls inboard or outboard a bit too.

    If your bars feel too wide, you may just need a shorter stem. Your LBS likely has a box of stems to lend, and you can buy adjustable ones for not a whole lot of money (recommend as a fitting tool only). I ended up going from a 90mm stem to 75mm.

  6. #6
    mtbr member
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    Jun 2014
    Lot's of different opinions on bar width. Wider bars give more leverage, simple physics and therefore more control of front tire position. It may not be needed, and bar width needs to fit your body size. If you put your hands in a riding position and/or like your going to do a push up, and then measure, that is your ideal bar width. I am big, and my measurement is 32", which is about a 800mm bar. I went from a 660mm to a 750mm and it was a huge improvement. I could go wider, and it would probably feel better. And cost me the price of another bar change, so 750 is good enough for me.

    Lot's of people have a built in preference for narrower bars, but I don't agree it makes sense for a trail or AM bike.

  7. #7
    local trails rider
    Reputation: perttime's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Whatever works for YOU...
    I like a pretty wide bar for trails. It isn't all steering leverage, though. If your "cockpit" is a little long for you, a wide bar can make it feel even longer: more distance to reach over, to get your hands on the grips.

    I have two bikes with similar frame dimensions, but one has wide bar and short stem (for trails) and the other has shorter bar and longer stem (other riding). I'm very comfortable on both. The combination of stem and bar dimensions does it for me.

    If a little more riding doesn't make your bar feel right, one thing you could also try is a shorter stem. If you have locking grips, you can move the grips, brakes and shifters "in" a little to try how a shorter bar would feel.

    "it IS possible that you are faster or slower than anybody else who is having at least as much if not more or less fun"

  8. #8
    Super Dad
    Reputation: obs08's Avatar
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    Oct 2007
    i think the easiest way to figure this out is to go buy an 800mm bar, even if its a cheap ebay bar for $10. mount it up, now install your lock on grips at full width, 780, 760, 740 etc. . just keep sliding the grips around and ride the bike up and down the street/driveway to get a feel of where you like it. than you can buy whatever size bar fits you best.
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  9. #9
    mtbr member
    Reputation: MPX309's Avatar
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    Nov 2014
    On decent bars there are markings for you to cut them down, quick 5 minute job with a tube cutter and you can set them how you like. . . . 740mm is my sweet spot atm.

  10. #10
    mtbr member
    Reputation: time229er's Avatar
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    Oct 2013
    Quote Originally Posted by MPX309 View Post
    On decent bars there are markings for you to cut them down, quick 5 minute job with a tube cutter and you can set them how you like. . . . 740mm is my sweet spot atm.
    well maybe sorta...but as the not so wise old man would say "I cut an inch off and it's still too short..."
    Last edited by time229er; 1 Week Ago at 04:33 PM.
    2014 Nail Trail 29er

  11. #11
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    Nov 2011
    Give it a try and see how it feels. My Krampus came with a 780mm bar. After crashing for the 3rd time hooking the bar on a tree, I changed it to one of my other narrower bars.

  12. #12
    Anytime. Anywhere.
    Reputation: Travis Bickle's Avatar
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    Jan 2004
    28" bars are now considered narrow. I moved to 760mm or 30" quite a few years ago and would never go back to anything narrower. I still graze the odd tree but nothing serious. You are going to hear a lot of old fashioned too wide hooey, but it's all just BS. Try them for a few months, maybe with a shorter stem as well. If you really don't like it after 3 months move the grips in a little and try that for a while. I experimented a lot, including testing on the same piece of trail with different set ups and found that short and wide has many advantages and only one drawback. More control, leverage, comfort, and safety.
    I got some bad ideas in my head.

  13. #13
    Rep Power: Infinity
    Reputation: NateHawk's Avatar
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    Dec 2003
    It's very regional. I'm on 720mm bars/60mm stem on my new bike, and that's pretty wide where I live. I have 680/90's on my older mtb, and that's closer to "average" around here. A lot of the trails where I ride are fairly tight and densely forested. Experienced, skilled riders with wide bars do fine on them, but new riders have a hard time with clearance on wide bars. On a personal level, I just don't like super wide bars. I have ridden some bikes with 780's and felt like I was pretending to be an airplane on the trails.

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