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.
mtn. biking 101
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.
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  1. #1
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    Tell me about handlebar angles

    Aside from strength, I'd like to know what makes an XC handlebar different from a downhill bar. I ride IMBA trails all the time, so pretty tame, and I swapped out my flat bar for a low riser bar. I cut down the ends so they weren't so wide. I also hear that I should actually have my hands wide for better control. So far I can't tell the difference, but maybe if I had wider bars I'd be able to ride a little better.

    Anyway what's the purpose of a sweep? Some have a 6 degree sweep. I'd like to know why. Why are all downhill bars riser bars?

  2. #2
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    Wider bars will slow down the steering but offer more leverage on the front wheel. Just because it takes a further movement of you hands to change the angle of the front wheel.DH bars have rise because when you're goin down the bike is angled down so the rise puts you, the rider, more upright. Good for downhill, but bad for up.
    Sweep is just for a more natural, comfortable hand position.
    There's many combo's of bar width, hieght - stem lenght, rise to find your sweet spot so what are you trying to accomplish?
    Round and round we go

  3. #3
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    What I want to accomplish? I'd like to ride the downhills nice and smooth and not have to brake so much. I realize it's mostly skill, but maybe handlebars will help. I really can't visualize why a flat bar would be better for climbing though.

  4. #4
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    It's not that a flat bar is better for climbing. But a flat bar as compared to a riser bar on the same stem will put you more forward and down over the front wheel. Uphill you and bike are angled up so the lower position is better, and vise vs. Get it?
    As far as braking when going downhill. Learn to slide the rear tire out to control speed. Sorta like snowboarders do. I'm sure you've seen it, or you can watch a youtube vid to get the idea. It's alota fun and saves the brakes from gettin too hot.
    Round and round we go

  5. #5
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    Effects of wider bars are described well by theMeat - I would add that moving your arms further out also enhances stability and balance. Riser bars simply move your grips up (and thus your arms and torso). Riser bars rise anywhere from 1/2" to several inches. Sweep causes your wrists to angle out a bit and this can be nice especially when the bars are wide. Typical sweep is 5 to 10 degrees, but there are 15 (Soma Odin), 25 (Ragley Carnegie) even 40 (Soma Clarence) degree sweeps available. I've recently switched from narrow risers to the Ragleys and really like them, although it took a couple of rides to get used to the width. The sweep has eliminated hand pain I was developing.

    It mostly comes down to personal preference and riding style.
    Use it, use it, use it while you still have it.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by theMeat View Post
    As far as braking when going downhill. Learn to slide the rear tire out to control speed. Sorta like snowboarders do. I'm sure you've seen it, or you can watch a youtube vid to get the idea. It's alota fun and saves the brakes from gettin too hot.
    Please don't do this or advise others to do it unless you know a lot more about their home trails. Some trails might be able to handle it, but it will do damage to most trails

  7. #7
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    Opps, double post
    Round and round we go

  8. #8
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    I hear ya and I spend plenty of time fixing maintaining the trails I ride and know when and where it's cool to do it. You have a point but mtbing is about having fun on the trails. I'm all about using what I got. I wouldn't buy a nice white or leather couch if it was too delicate to sit on. I bought my Jeep to go off road so I won't keep it on the road to keep it new and prestine. You make a good point but really. If the trails are there to have fun, have fun. It bothers me more when people dump garbage on the trail. I fill up my backpack with other people's trash they left on the trail every time I go out. If the trail gets a liitle torn up because you're having fun,.. great, That's what it's for. I'm not sayin' go out and tear it up after a rain. I'm sayin' don't not have fun because you don't wanna displace some dirt.

    Sorry Kuan, you can have your thread back now.
    Last edited by theMeat; 08-01-2011 at 05:44 PM.
    Round and round we go

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by theMeat View Post
    I hear ya and I spend plenty of time fixing maintaining the trails I ride and know when and where it's cool to do it. You have a point but mtbing is about having fun on the trails. I'm all about using what I got. I wouldn't buy a nice white or leather couch if it was too delicate to sit on. I bought my Jeep to go off road so I won't keep it on the road to keep it new and prestine. You make a good point but really. If the trails are there to have fun, have fun. It bothers me more when people dump garbage on the trail. I end up with a backpack full of it every time I go out. If the trail gets a liitle torn up because you're having fun,.. great, That's what it's for. I'm not sayin' go out and tear it up after a rain. I'm sayin' don't not have fun because you don't wanna displace some dirt.
    Lots of trails aren't just for mountain bikers, so it can be inconsiderate to rip up the trail surface for others. Also, lots of areas have hikers, equestrian riders, conservationists, etc who are just looking for things to use against mountain bikers, often in order to close the trails to bikes. Besides all that, "fun" is a double-edge sword because that kind of temporary fun can make the trail itself less fun for future runs and for other riders as you blow it out. Sorry for the rant, I'm a little sensitive to this because my home trails are mostly dry, hard-packed clay and there is almost nothing you can do to fix skid damage until it starts raining again after the whole riding season is over. Every year there are a spots that get blown out and become very sketchy

  10. #10
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    Well thanx for caring and sharing. Wish there were more like you. + rep given.
    Round and round we go

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by theMeat View Post

    Sorry Kuan, you can have your thread back now.
    Hah no it's all good. Our trails aren't the kind where you can "drift" around a corner. They're mostly barely wide enough for two bicycles. My rear wheels sometimes skid but mainly because I feel I'm going way too fast into a corner. In this case I brake and try to straighten out the bike and run into the trees.

    I'd like to do better on these twisty downhills. Thanks for the primer on riser bars.

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