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  1. #1
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    Help with handlebar and/or stem suggestions for improved stability

    I've been riding some XC and some more AM type trails, and I'm finding that I am having a hard time not being a bit twitchy sometimes in my steering, and somewhat unstable over rough parts of the trails. I'm sure a good part of it is me, but if possible I'd like to improve my stem/handlebar combo to help me with stability.

    I have an older set up, I had starting riding years ago then abruptly stopped shortly after getting into it. Just picked up the bike and started again a few weeks ago after many years of not riding.

    The stem is a truvativ wavo, I guess it's either the 120mm or 130mm, I'm not sure where you measure from? The handlebars are raceface next low riser xc, 635mm. The bike originally came with 680mm truvativ handlebars, which felt very wide to me, so I had replaced them way back when. The new length wasn't an educated choice, I just bought something smaller. Now I'm wondering if I went too small. I definitely want to be able to fit in some tight spots, but stability is very important.

    I'm not too educated on how the stem length/handlebar width/angle of the handlebars and whatever other factors affect the steering feel. Could you guys please help out with some suggestions for changes that might help me with stability for pretty technical xc/am trails? Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
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    If you are truly hitting more AM style trails, then wide bars & short stem are the way to go. Your 120mm stem is old-style long and puts you too far out over the bars. Think in terms of 50-70mm in combination with some riser bars -- 680mm is a good width -- because you should raise your bars when moving them closer to you.

    Possibly examine the style of your bike. If you are changing up your style of riding, it might not hurt to consider whether you should also change your bike to suit where you're going.

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    Two links that you might find helpful:

    Lee Likes Bikes

    Lee Likes Bikes

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    You may get a little cramped as you reduce reach with the shorter stem you need. I dropped to 80mm and put on a 20mm setback seatpost and dropped my seat a little so it feels a bit low on flat areas. I can still get behind the seat on downhills.

  5. #5
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    However moving the seat back and shortening the stem can impact climbing performance. Moving the seat back will remove weight off the front wheel and this can cause front end lift/wandering on climbs.

    I run a 130 mm stem and 585 mm wide bars. This is old school from 2003 time frame and works for me. However I also have 3 more stems from 100, 110, 120 to try out and some 660 mm bars as well. I plan on giving these a try to see how they work out.

    Wider bars give you more leverage on the front wheel.
    Longer Stem means more turning on the front wheel as well.
    Shorter stems are often combined with wider bars, but I don't know how they are matched.
    Wide bars are supposed to be more stable, but I don't know. Going too wide can slow the steering feel.
    Joe
    '12 Santa Cruz Highball 29", '13 Santa Cruz Solo 27.5", '06 Rocky Mtn Switch 26" XC, AM, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

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    Most shops have cheap take-off stems around...I would go down to a 90mm to start and see if that helps. I would also only change one thing at a time while you are figuring this out...stem first. Try different bar heights as well with more or less spacers underneath the stem.

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    Thanks, you guys have provided a lot of great info. Jonathan, what affect does moving the bars closer to you without raising them have?

    I remember my old 680mm bars feeling weirdly wide to me, but maybe I could get used to that. Or maybe I could do something like 660ish and not shorten the stem too much?

    Examining the style of my bike does make sense. It is an XC bike (2004 Jamis Dakar XC Comp), and I am getting more interested in AM. When I last rode, I lived somewhere else, and was riding less technical trails. I happen to live 10 mins from a really nice spot now, which is more AM style, and more technical than where I used to ride. I am really enjoying it, but finding my set up isn't ideal for some of it. Unfortunately, I don't have money to spend on a new bike, so I am hoping some minor tweaks can help me out while I work on improving my skills. If I continue to get more into it, then longer term I'll hopefully be in a better position to consider a new bike.

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    Quick update, I decided to order this stem and handlebar combo (had to cut out the URL since I can't post links yet):

    Race-Face-Evolve-Stem-2013-Black-90mm
    Race-Face-Evolve-Low-Rise-Handlebar-2013-Black-660mm

    The handlebars are on backorder, so I won't get this set up until next week. I decided to not go too extreme, just increased the handlebar width from 630 to 660 and shorten the stem from 120 to 90. Not sure if that was the right decision or not, guess I'll find out. Hopefully I don't find myself wanting more of a change.

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    Quote Originally Posted by scope56 View Post
    Quick update, I decided to order this stem and handlebar combo (had to cut out the URL since I can't post links yet):

    Race-Face-Evolve-Stem-2013-Black-90mm
    Race-Face-Evolve-Low-Rise-Handlebar-2013-Black-660mm

    The handlebars are on backorder, so I won't get this set up until next week. I decided to not go too extreme, just increased the handlebar width from 630 to 660 and shorten the stem from 120 to 90. Not sure if that was the right decision or not, guess I'll find out. Hopefully I don't find myself wanting more of a change.
    Well short stems make the steering faster (more twitchy). Paired with wide bars (780mm) you get more leverage over the wheel and bike as a whole and you get the steering slowed back down. Your stem choice seems reasonable but I would have gone over 700 on the bars, you can always cut bars but you can't make them longer (reasonably). It's time to move into the modern age! Get some wide bars and big tires!
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    Quote Originally Posted by zebrahum View Post
    Well short stems make the steering faster (more twitchy). Paired with wide bars (780mm) you get more leverage over the wheel and bike as a whole and you get the steering slowed back down. Your stem choice seems reasonable but I would have gone over 700 on the bars, you can always cut bars but you can't make them longer (reasonably). It's time to move into the modern age! Get some wide bars and big tires!
    You have a good point about the bars. I could always cut them down. The bars also come in 725mm. They aren't supposed to ship until next Wednesday. Now you got me thinking that maybe I should swap them, and cut the larger bars if they are too much for me.

    Regarding the tires, 2.1 is the widest my wheels are rated for. Not sure if that is something people typically follow strictly.

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    I just called Jenson and switched the bars from 660 to 725. I think 725 is going to seem way too wide for me, but I'll cut them down. I'm thinking maybe I could get used to something like 695, and if that feels too wide, then 680. Given all the info you guys have provided, it does seem like 660mm was a bit narrow to start off with.

    As a bonus, the 725mm size was in stock, and will ship today. I was originally going to have to wait until the week after next. Now I should be set up by next week. I'll post back on how it feels.

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    My bars are 711mm and they're fantastic. It's something you have to get used to but once you do you might find you quite like it. You have to resign yourself from the beginning that it won't feel like what you are accustomed to so in the beginning you will probably think that you made the wrong choice. After a few rides you could put your old bars on and compare and contrast to see how much (if any) you would like to take off of your bars.
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by zebrahum View Post
    Well short stems make the steering faster (more twitchy). Paired with wide bars (780mm) you get more leverage over the wheel and bike as a whole and you get the steering slowed back down. Your stem choice seems reasonable but I would have gone over 700 on the bars, you can always cut bars but you can't make them longer (reasonably).
    Good stuff, I'll add that I don't know what bike you have, but older bikes had more active/faster/more twitchy steering head tube angles.
    Just fyi, going with a shorter stem will quicken steering making it more twitchy, althou the wider bars can compensate some, it's still headed in the wrong direction from what you explained.
    Moving the saddle to help with fit or handling is also backward. The saddle to pedal fitting is the most important and should be done first. Everything else is built upon and around that or that bike/size isn't for you. Whether you can or want to make adjustment to compensate for that is your call, but don't expect perfection.
    Maybe check your LBS to see what stem take offs they have that you could try on the cheap to dial in. They can also help big time with bike fitting.
    Another thing, if your bars are riser, you can rotate them to adjust reach some. Don't forget to adjust brake levers so wrists are pretty straight with your fingers on them when done.
    Last edited by theMeat; 08-31-2012 at 12:33 PM.
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by theMeat View Post
    Good stuff, I'll add that I don't know what bike you have, but older bikes had more active/faster/more twitchy steering head tube angles.
    Just fyi, going with a shorter stem will quicken steering making it more twitchy, althou the wider bars can compensate some, it's still headed in the wrong direction from what you explained.
    Moving the saddle to help with fit or handling is also backward. The saddle, pedal, leg, butt fitting is the most important and should be done first. Everything else is built upon and around that or that bike/size isn't for you.
    Maybe check your LBS to see what stem take offs they have that you could try on the cheap to dial in. They can also help big time with bike fitting.
    Another thing, if your bars are riser, you can rotate them to adjust reach some. Don't forget to adjust brake levers so wrists are pretty straight with your fingers on them.
    Thanks for the additional advice. My bike is an old 2004 jamis dakar xc comp. It's very much an xc bike, and unfortunately I am finding that I enjoy AM style riding more. Don't let the age of the bike fool you, I am still not an experienced rider. I bought it back in 2005, rode for like a season or so, then stopped until maybe 6 weeks ago. In between that I moved, and now live close to a park with some good AM type riding.

    When I bought the bike, I didn't know much about fit or xc or am or whatever. I just knew the few times I went on trails with a friend were fun, and my cheap bike wasn't going to cut it for very long. So I ended up with this bike.

    Anyhow, I am hoping I didn't go wrong with the shorter stem. Twitchier is the complete opposite of what I was going for. Not sure how much wider the bars need to be to counteract that, but I am definitely widening the bars more than I am shortening the stem. I realize it's probably not a 1-1 ratio, but hopefully the bar size increase more than counteracts it. As far as fit, I actually have short arms for my height, so the shortening of the stem is likely a good thing for me in that department. The bars also have a 25mm rise, so that gives me some room to play.

    I guess I should read up on fit, it is unlikely I have myself set up properly, I've never even researched the subject.

  15. #15
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    Yup, you're welcome.
    I also enjoy, especially on my older bikes, a fatter, rounder, more aggressive tire up front. Not only does it make the front a bit higher than the back, but find the balance of traction much better. Can make the back slide out for speed control and more point and shoot type steering, while the front stays more planted, and let's not forget to mention, it's fun.
    Round and round we go

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by theMeat View Post
    Yup, you're welcome.
    I also enjoy, especially on my older bikes, a fatter, rounder, more aggressive tire up front. Not only does it make the front a bit higher than the back, but find the balance of traction much better. Can make the back slide out for speed control and more point and shoot type steering, while the front stays more planted, and let's not forget to mention, it's fun.
    i had velociraptors that i changed from the stock tires just before i stopped riding years ago. they are 2.1's. i just replaced the front with a nevegal 2.1 (by just, i mean last night), just to try something hopefully better, not because of wear. i'd like to have tried going a little bigger, but my wheels are supposedly spec'd for 2.1 max.

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    Quote Originally Posted by scope56 View Post
    i had velociraptors that i changed from the stock tires just before i stopped riding years ago. they are 2.1's. i just replaced the front with a nevegal 2.1 (by just, i mean last night), just to try something hopefully better, not because of wear. i'd like to have tried going a little bigger, but my wheels are supposedly spec'd for 2.1 max.
    Not that I've looked for one, but I've never seen a tire width rating on any rim. There is certainly a practical limit, but I've never seen it spelled out. As long as your tire pressure is reasonable, 2.1 should be a fine width for most people's riding. I just happen to be in the minority when I refuse to ride a tire under 2.3 unless it's on my cross bike.
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    My .02 and I know it goes against the beliefs of many but I do believe that it is possible to go to short and wide. I once followed everyone's advice and had a 70mm stem with 720mm wide 1.5" rise bars and I was getting bounce off lines in the tech stuff like crazy. I noticed an instant change for the better once I through a stem and bars on my bike that fit me. I currently ride 110mm 6 degree stem with 660 3/4" bars.

    I also ride with some old school racers that have given me coaching on body positioning and form. This has excelled my riding in all areas significantly more than any frame or component has. The old school guys say that 95% of he ride comes from the engine, the chassis is only 5% of the equation. After training with them I am on board...

    Summary work with your LBS on fit and focus on your form.

  19. #19
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    Lots of good feedback. I'll second the suggestion to find a bar that fits you.

    IME, the handlebar width will have a greater effect on stability than stem length. I have two bikes with the same size bar but different stem lengths: 60mm and 110mm. They're the same size bikes but the one with the shorter stem has a longer top tube. The one with the 110mm actually came with a 580mm handlebar which was incredibly twitchy. So I switched it out for a 660mm and the handling feels pretty much the same as the other bike ... even with the different stem lengths.

    As mentioned, stem length should actually be changed to fine tune your reach, not to change handling characteristics. If you go too short on the stem, you may need to move your saddle all the way back to get comfortable which will, in turn, lighten the front end of your bike. While it's no big deal on descents, seated climbs will definitely be a bit less precise as the rearward weight shift will cause you to wash out more often.

    I think the handlebar-over-front axle guideline is a good way to determine stem length. With your saddle at the right height and fore/aft set at KOPS, get on your bike, head up (as if you were riding) and peek down at the handlebar. If your stem is the right length, the handlebar will block the front axle from your line of sight. If the axle is visible ahead of the handlebars, you could probably use a longer stem; if the axle is visible behind the handlebars, a shorter stem might work. The goal is comfort and not feeling too cramped or stretched out while in the saddle.

    I'd also second the suggestion to change one thing at a time. If you change both the bar and stem, it won't be clear which component produced what handling change. It's a somewhat tedious process and involves a lot of trial and error but, once you've got your fit dialed in, you'll love riding even more.
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    Quote Originally Posted by joeinchi View Post
    Lots of good feedback. I'll second the suggestion to find a bar that fits you.

    IME, the handlebar width will have a greater effect on stability than stem length. I have two bikes with the same size bar but different stem lengths: 60mm and 110mm. They're the same size bikes but the one with the shorter stem has a longer top tube. The one with the 110mm actually came with a 580mm handlebar which was incredibly twitchy. So I switched it out for a 660mm and the handling feels pretty much the same as the other bike ... even with the different stem lengths.

    As mentioned, stem length should actually be changed to fine tune your reach, not to change handling characteristics. If you go too short on the stem, you may need to move your saddle all the way back to get comfortable which will, in turn, lighten the front end of your bike. While it's no big deal on descents, seated climbs will definitely be a bit less precise as the rearward weight shift will cause you to wash out more often.

    I think the handlebar-over-front axle guideline is a good way to determine stem length. With your saddle at the right height and fore/aft set at KOPS, get on your bike, head up (as if you were riding) and peek down at the handlebar. If your stem is the right length, the handlebar will block the front axle from your line of sight. If the axle is visible ahead of the handlebars, you could probably use a longer stem; if the axle is visible behind the handlebars, a shorter stem might work. The goal is comfort and not feeling too cramped or stretched out while in the saddle.

    I'd also second the suggestion to change one thing at a time. If you change both the bar and stem, it won't be clear which component produced what handling change. It's a somewhat tedious process and involves a lot of trial and error but, once you've got your fit dialed in, you'll love riding even more.
    Interesting. I tried looking at axle position like you said, and my axle looks very far behind the handlebars. Taking that into consideration, and your observation that handlebar width affects handling more than stem length, one would probably conclude that I should have gone shorter on the stem than 90mm. I am thinking at 90mm, I won't be able to go wider than maybe 680mm on the bars without having to reach too far (even 680mm might be cutting it close). My arms are short for my height. I'm also thinking the axle will still be behind the bars if I repeat that test with the 90mm stem. I guess I'll find out tomorrow, when the bars arrive.

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    Quote Originally Posted by scope56 View Post
    Interesting. I tried looking at axle position like you said, and my axle looks very far behind the handlebars. Taking that into consideration, and your observation that handlebar width affects handling more than stem length, one would probably conclude that I should have gone shorter on the stem than 90mm. I am thinking at 90mm, I won't be able to go wider than maybe 680mm on the bars without having to reach too far (even 680mm might be cutting it close). My arms are short for my height. I'm also thinking the axle will still be behind the bars if I repeat that test with the 90mm stem. I guess I'll find out tomorrow, when the bars arrive.
    It should be noted that the KOPS method of bicycle fit has fallen out of favor and as such, the visual fitment of bar to axle is only one suggestion. Actually, if you have a 90mm stem and your axle is far behind the bar then I would suggest that your frame fit is probably off. 90mm is more or less a standard length and you shouldn't be far off.

    Nearly every fit system or nifty trick (like the bars over the axle or heel on the pedal for saddle height) are simply convenient ways to get you to fit the bike more quickly. Think of it as a best guess starting point; feel free to make changes as you need to or want to. It's your bike, set it up how you want. Modern styles of riding the bike tend to fit shorter stems but don't stress out too much about stem length, you can always change it.
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    Good stuff again, and will again add....when I've been off the bike for a while like in the middle of winter, when I get back on my bike that fit perfect, I feel like my saddle should be more forward, and bars closer also. It just feels safer to be more upright and looking down the trail better. After a short time I wanna be lower and more stretched out to feel perfect again. That also goes for your condition. The better shape you're in, the lower you can be for longer.
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    Quote Originally Posted by zebrahum View Post
    Nearly every fit system or nifty trick (like the bars over the axle or heel on the pedal for saddle height) are simply convenient ways to get you to fit the bike more quickly. Think of it as a best guess starting point; feel free to make changes as you need to or want to. It's your bike, set it up how you want.
    Jeez, I was just about to write something similar. Yes, good starting point--not etched in stone.

    After figuring out your saddle height, getting knees over pedal spindle (KOPS) will give you some idea of where to set your saddle's fore/aft position. But there are so many differences in body dimensions (relatively long femur, short tibia, etc) that it's not quite black & white and should be adjusted accodingly.

    As for handlebar width, IME, it has a surprisingly small impact on reach. If your arms extend perpendicular from your torso (more or less), the width will affect the bend in your elbow and waist but not so much how far forward you need to reach. So a difference of 25mm--a half inch on each end--is negligible when it comes to reach.

    Stem length, though, has a bigger impact on reach. And you can fine tune reach by adding/removing steerer spacers and/or flipping the stem (if it has the typical 83/97 rise).

    And, of course, you could simply move the saddle forward a little in case you feel a little too stretched out. Comfort is really the primary goal when you start tweaking your setup. The guidelines are just a starting point.
    Last edited by joeinchi; 09-04-2012 at 12:58 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by BostonBoy View Post
    My .02 and I know it goes against the beliefs of many but I do believe that it is possible to go to short and wide. I once followed everyone's advice and had a 70mm stem with 720mm wide 1.5" rise bars and I was getting bounce off lines in the tech stuff like crazy. I noticed an instant change for the better once I through a stem and bars on my bike that fit me. I currently ride 110mm 6 degree stem with 660 3/4" bars.
    What did the change to stem/bars do? Where did it help? Up / Down / Turns? Are the bars now lower than before?
    Joe
    '12 Santa Cruz Highball 29", '13 Santa Cruz Solo 27.5", '06 Rocky Mtn Switch 26" XC, AM, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

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    The bars I currently use are 720mm. This width of bar is good for long, extended climbs which keeps the chest more open to suck air a bit better. With that said, I do feel in technical sections, the bars give too much input to the front end and cause twitchy reactions. I have used 680mm the previous 5 years and will try that width again to compare.

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    I haven't been able to get my new stem/handlebar combo set up yet. I finally got the bars the other day, but found that the spacers didn't work out properly when I went to install the stem. I needed just 2-3mm difference, so I had to order new spacers, which come today. I cut the handlebars down to 689, picking existing cut lines on the bars that came closest to what I thought was a good starting point. Anything longer seemed like a bit much to me, even 689 feels overly wide when holding the bars. I was riding 630mm bars before. I did have one ride last weekend with 660mm bars, they were some old bars I had in the basement. I actually felt good at that width, but that was with the original 120mm stem (I feel too extended at that length stem). Based on some feedback in this thread, I figure I should try a little wider with the new 90mm stem. Looking forward to trying out the new combo tomorrow.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by fill the void View Post
    The bars I currently use are 720mm. I do feel in technical sections, the bars give too much input to the front end and cause twitchy reactions. I have used 680mm the previous 5 years and will try that width again to compare.
    Wider bars will slow down steering/make less twitchy.
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    To better explain, maybe due to the wide width I am adjusting riding style to get the front end to react=twitchy feeling? Regardless, before I cut these bars, will install a 680mm bar to compare.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fill the void View Post
    get the front end to react=twitchy feeling?
    I think "twitchy" usually refers to the relatively large reaction produced by small inputs with a narrow handlebar. The same input with a wider bar would result in a smaller steering angle change, i.e. it's less twitchy.

    It sounds like you want more steering feedback. If your current handling seems numb, then going to a narrower bar might be the way to go. A narrow bar gives you a shorter lever arm (or less leverage) and will transmit trail imperfections more forcefully to your hands.
    Joe
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    Quote Originally Posted by fill the void View Post
    To better explain, maybe due to the wide width I am adjusting riding style to get the front end to react=twitchy feeling? Regardless, before I cut these bars, will install a 680mm bar to compare.
    yup, or you could just move the controls and grips inward to dial in before deciding if/how much to cut to eliminate possible rise or sweep differences between bars.
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    Quote Originally Posted by joeinchi View Post
    I think "twitchy" usually refers to the relatively large reaction produced by small inputs with a narrow handlebar. The same input with a wider bar would result in a smaller steering angle change, i.e. it's less twitchy.

    It sounds like you want more steering feedback. If your current handling seems numb, then going to a narrower bar might be the way to go. A narrow bar gives you a shorter lever arm (or less leverage) and will transmit trail imperfections more forcefully to your hands.
    This has definitely been my experience, my really short bars had me feeling super twitchy. This is why I am trying to go as wide as I feel I can get comfortable with. I'm throwing in the shorter stem because of my short arms and because I'd like to have an easier time pulling up and getting my weight back over obstacles.

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    Thanks for all of the good information. I am getting ready to order a new stem tonight.

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    Why did you cut the bars before you even tried them with the stem?

    You may have liked them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by _Alberto_ View Post
    Why did you cut the bars before you even tried them with the stem?

    You may have liked them.
    They were just way bigger than I felt like like I could get comfortable with. Even cut, they are 60mm longer than my previous bars, and feel very wide.

    Unfortunately, it was pouring this morning, so I never got out to ride. It's looking sketchy for tomorrow too, hoping I get to try it out though.

    By the way, anybody have any tips for getting the handlebars straight when installing the stem? Everytime I think it's straight and tighten it, it looks a tiny bit off when I walk away and come back.

  35. #35
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    Get the bars centered in the stem with tape measure. Then make a mark on the center or tire and measure to the handlebar ends.
    Round and round we go

  36. #36
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    I went from a 105mm, flat bar setup to a 70mm stem (same rise) and a 30mm riser bar.

    I tried the stem on a whim off a friends bike, I have long arms so I didn't think I'd like it but on the trail it felt awesome. Climbing and pulling up while seated was easier without making it wheelie crazy.

    I then tried a slightly wider (10mm) riser bar and I found it to feel and handle perfect, especially downhill. Pulling up over obstructions when seated is even easier now, still wouldn't consider it wheelie prone. The position is more trail oriented and more comfortable so its a win win given what I ride. Good luck with your new setup. Be sure to play with the angle of the bars as the reach and rise can be adjusted by rotating the bar.

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by _Alberto_ View Post
    I went from a 105mm, flat bar setup to a 70mm stem (same rise) and a 30mm riser bar.

    I tried the stem on a whim off a friends bike, I have long arms so I didn't think I'd like it but on the trail it felt awesome. Climbing and pulling up while seated was easier without making it wheelie crazy.

    I then tried a slightly wider (10mm) riser bar and I found it to feel and handle perfect, especially downhill. Pulling up over obstructions when seated is even easier now, still wouldn't consider it wheelie prone. The position is more trail oriented and more comfortable so its a win win given what I ride. Good luck with your new setup. Be sure to play with the angle of the bars as the reach and rise can be adjusted by rotating the bar.
    One thing that is disappointing is that the new bars have a slightly lower rise than the ones I had. I had originally ordered the shorter bars before switching to the wider ones. I didn't realize that the wider bars actually had less rise, I thought they were spec'd exactly the same. It's only 5mm less of a rise, but I also had to lose a few mm in headset spacer to make the compression gap work out. It's still only like 8mm total shorter than my old set up, but it's the total wrong direction I'd like to go in. I probably should have thought more about a higher rise in the bars when I was ordering, but at the time I was thinking about width, not so much height. I came to start thinking more about height too after reading some of the info people posted in this thread.

    In any case, I am hoping that bringing the bars a little closer with the shorter stem will make me more comfortable and ease pulling up etc., and that the extra width in the bars will help me with stability.

    I may never find out though, it won't stop pouring so far this weekend. It's torture.

  38. #38
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    Bars are cheap, in the week I researched them I found several to suit my needs in varying rises, up/back sweeps all for $60 or less. If it doesn't work out sell em for a slight loss and get another set. Or save em for a rainy day after a crash as backups.

    Love my Truvativ bars. Put a set on my fiancées bike that helped her with pulling up too. And made the positioning more comfortable for her as well.

  39. #39
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    It was a little wet but I made it out today. I'm happy to report that I feel a nice improvement with the new set up. The shorter stem is more comfortable, I don't feel like I am reaching too much like I did before. And I seem to be doing better at pulling up off of drops now.

    The wider bars definitely make me feel more stable, that twitchy feeling is gone. The 689mm I cut them down to feels perfect I think. I probably could get used to a little wider still, but there are some tight areas that I think would be less comfortable if I went any wider.

    Thanks to zebrahum for making me think twice and change my order (good thing they were on backorder). It was definitely better to have gone wider than the 660mm version I originally ordered.

    I still do wish I was a bit more upright, but I could swap for higher rise bars a bit later if that feeling persists (as suggested by alberto). For now, I'm trying to avoid putting any more money into the bike, because ultimately if I stick with it and progress more, I'll probably want to buy a bike better suited for all mountain type riding. Luckily I am not too heavy, and don't have much balls now, so I am not bottoming out my suspension yet. There are some components I would definitely love improved versions of, but my bike still seems well enough equipped to learn more on.

    Thanks a lot to all who provided advice, I learned a bunch by listening to that advice and reading more on it.

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by scope56 View Post
    It was a little wet but I made it out today. I'm happy to report that I feel a nice improvement with the new set up. The shorter stem is more comfortable, I don't feel like I am reaching too much like I did before. And I seem to be doing better at pulling up off of drops now.

    The wider bars definitely make me feel more stable, that twitchy feeling is gone. The 689mm I cut them down to feels perfect I think. I probably could get used to a little wider still, but there are some tight areas that I think would be less comfortable if I went any wider.

    Thanks to zebrahum for making me think twice and change my order (good thing they were on backorder). It was definitely better to have gone wider than the 660mm version I originally ordered.

    I still do wish I was a bit more upright, but I could swap for higher rise bars a bit later if that feeling persists (as suggested by alberto). For now, I'm trying to avoid putting any more money into the bike, because ultimately if I stick with it and progress more, I'll probably want to buy a bike better suited for all mountain type riding. Luckily I am not too heavy, and don't have much balls now, so I am not bottoming out my suspension yet. There are some components I would definitely love improved versions of, but my bike still seems well enough equipped to learn more on.

    Thanks a lot to all who provided advice, I learned a bunch by listening to that advice and reading more on it.
    Just trying to keep you from making the same mistake that many people make, glad you like them.

    Just keep in mind that more upright typically means less weight on the front tire and as such it means the wheel wanders more on climbs. There's always a tradeoff when moving your body position around so it's good to play with the different variables and expect that sometimes it's not going to work out. Have fun out there!
    Don't you hate it when a sentence doesn't end the way you think it octopus?

  41. #41
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    Cool.

    Yes, it's all about tradeoff's. On the plus side, being lower puts you in position to climb stronger, corner faster and reduce wind drag. No need to lean forward--you're already there! It'll just take a little while to get used to (and maybe a little fore/aft saddle adjustment) but I think you'll find yourself moving a lot faster once the trails dry up.
    Joe
    Chicago, IL

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