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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Thread: Handlebar Width

  1. #1
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    Handlebar Width

    Hey guys,

    How wide should handlebars be? I just bought a new bike and the grips are a little wider than my shoulder width (smallish guy). I am thinking about having them cut 1 in. from both ends, but before doing so I wanted to see if there were any benefits from having a wider handlebar? I read somewhere that it improves handling, but I tend to think the opposite.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    Wider bars make your steering less twitchy. Better for downhills. Also better for hitting trees. I like my 25 inch bars, but then again the only other size I've tried were 23.5. I couldn't imagine riding 27" bars in the trails around here. Before you cut them I would suggest borrowing a narrower set of bars from your lbs and riding the two back to see what feels better to you.

  3. #3
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    I run a super skinny bar for fast twitchy handling with Cannondales lefty, and for tree clearance. Here in PA there are trees along the trails and it would be unmanagable to have wide bars like the huge 680mm's that came stock.

  4. #4
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    You need to look at width of bar and length of stem on combination. Most DH/FR bikes run a short stem (for an upright and rearward position on the bike) and a wide bar to stabilize the handling. And that makes sense for DH/FR.

    For XC riding the rule of thump is to have the bars about as wide as your shoulders. Make them more narrow and you may contrict free breathing. Many say do a few pushups and see how far your hands are appart. That is the position you have most strength and should use for the bars.

    My personal hint: Use lock-on grips. Move the grips in and ride. Experiment. Cut only when you know what really works.
    "Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit." - And I agree.

  5. #5
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    They should be as wide as the narrowest gap between trees on your trails.

  6. #6
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    I am 6'2 with a 44 inch jacket size, I like bars around 25 inches (630mm) for XC. Anything more than that seems like too much, and yes trees are a factor on many trails I ride.

    For me:

    680mm is huge
    630mm is perfect
    580mm is a bit small

    You can also go to your LBS and sit on several bikes and see which bike's handlebars seem more natural to you, then pull out your tape measure and see how wide they are - I would do this before you cut yours.

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