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  1. #1
    Dirt, Sweat and Gears
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    Handlebars, help me understand

    I've put nearly 300 miles on my bike in the almost four weeks that I've had it.


    One thing that I find myself wishing is that my grips where a little higher up, so I didn't have to bend as far down to reach them. I find myself sort of holding on with my fingers, instead of in my 'grip' when I am relaxed/comfortable.

    I don't really want to mess with seat height as I feel that is comfortable for me, and where it should be in relation to my leg extended down to the pedal, or down to the ground.

    I am thinking about a riser bar like the Race Face Atlas (1 1/4" rise). Is there anything I should be aware of on how it's going to affect the handling?

    This will be on a Trek X-Caliber 29er (19.5"). Most of my riding so far is bike path, and the trails I've hit/will be hitting are flowy single track stuff. I don't see any crazy DH or really technical stuff for me at all, in my future.
    Noob on a 2014 Trek X-Caliber 7
    Dirt, Sweat and Gears - my new outdoors blog

  2. #2
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    Check to see how your spacers are stacked on the steerer/stem. You may be able to re-arrange the spacers and mount the stem up a little higher. It's free.
    DaveH
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  3. #3
    Rod
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    Also check to see if you can flip your stem over and raise the bars. If you purchase a bar, just make sure it will work with your stem. The standard is now 31.8, but double check that number on your current bar.
    There is not much choice between rotten apples.

  4. #4
    Fat Is Where It's At Moderator
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    If you're looking for a more upright riding position what davesupra recommends works plus you could play with the rise of the stem and/or rise of the handlebars.

    Also the handlebar has sweep and reach, play with that too before spending any money, if that doesn't achieve what you look for get a stem or handlebar with more raise.

  5. #5
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    Go for it. And get some lock-on grips at the same time if you don't already have them - one of the best cheap upgrades you can make, and the perfect time to do it.
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  6. #6
    Red eye Jedi
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    Last summer I was messing around with my cockpit wanting to go with wider handlebars. To get a similar riding position I bought a few cheap stems at different lengths and rise to see which feel I liked the best.

    If your happy with your handlebar width you could always try buying a different stem with more rise to see if that fits you. If you shop around online you can usually find stems on sale for $10to $20. They may not be the best, strongest, lightest, the color you want, but once you find the right rise and length that makes your ride comfortable, you can the go and get one that meets these specs that is light, strong and the color you want. I ended up trying 2 different stems for about $25 total, and then bought a much better stem once I knew what I wanted.

    As far as rising your handlebars and effecting performance, just realize the higher the handle bars the less weight you will generally be putting on the front wheel. This can have an effect on handling especially on tight, twisty singletracks and loose conditions.
    Get out of the gutter and onto the mountain top.

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  7. #7
    Dirt, Sweat and Gears
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    I have a set of lock on grips picked out, but forgive me - what are the exact benefits of that? I've not had any issue with my stock rubbers slipping or anything?


    I've played with the stem and rotation of the bars a bit and so far have not come up with anything that changes it as drastically as I would like. My stem is above all the spacers. It looks like a new bar is what I'll need. I'm OK with spending the money but I just really want to know if it's going to do something crazy to the handling characteristics of the bike??
    Noob on a 2014 Trek X-Caliber 7
    Dirt, Sweat and Gears - my new outdoors blog

  8. #8
    Dirt, Sweat and Gears
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    Quote Originally Posted by singletrackmack View Post
    Last summer I was messing around with my cockpit wanting to go with wider handlebars. To get a similar riding position I bought a few cheap stems at different lengths and rise to see which feel I liked the best.

    If your happy with your handlebar width you could always try buying a different stem with more rise to see if that fits you. If you shop around online you can usually find stems on sale for $10to $20. They may not be the best, strongest, lightest, the color you want, but once you find the right rise and length that makes your ride comfortable, you can the go and get one that meets these specs that is light, strong and the color you want. I ended up trying 2 different stems for about $25 total, and then bought a much better stem once I knew what I wanted.

    As far as rising your handlebars and effecting performance, just realize the higher the handle bars the less weight you will generally be putting on the front wheel. This can have an effect on handling especially on tight, twisty singletracks and loose conditions.
    Thanks for the ideas on the different stems. I'll look into that.

    As for the handling aspects, in what way? Front end 'washing out'?
    Noob on a 2014 Trek X-Caliber 7
    Dirt, Sweat and Gears - my new outdoors blog

  9. #9
    Red eye Jedi
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    From my experience, yes, generally washing out. That's not to say that you never want the handle bars to be higher. I will use either a stem with more rise, place the stem on my bike higher using the spacers or use a handlebar with more rise when riding more of a downhill trail to help prevent endo'ing.

    When riding more flat, tight and twisty singletracks, I like my bars lower so I can get more aggressive in the turns and really crank down on the inside side of the handlebar. I have air shocks, so increasing the fork sag as well as rear also helps with handling in these situations. Just be sure to put more air in the shocks before going on more of a downhill ride. Made that mistake once, and endoed twice that ride. Didn't realize why until I got home and checked the shock pressure and realized I forgot to adjust my set up.

    Lock on grips make life super easy when messing around with different cockpit configurations. Highly recommended.
    Get out of the gutter and onto the mountain top.

    "I only had like two winekills captain buzzcooler"

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