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  1. #1
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    Idea! another handlebar thread: 710 vs 750 vs 780+mm. more than just a preference?

    ok now i'm new to these forums and this is my first thread. i used the advanced search options to look for threads regarding handlebars, to cover myself from being flammed. i couldn't seem to find what i was looking for.

    i seem to be at a crossroads for deciding what handlebar length is better. so far i have been told from very good riding friends of mine, that all the good DH riders use wide bars for stability during high speeds.

    i asked a friend for his opinion and although he is quite an amateur in terms of riding, he builds bikes for a job. this is what he said:

    Handlebars that are too wide automatically increase the frontal surface area and lead to loss of aerodynamics. However far greater control. You also sag between the shoulder blades giving you a sore neck and shoulders. Narrow handlebars lead to more nervous steering than wide handlebars and loss of comfort. But superior aerodynamically. Since downhill isn't too much about efficiency and endurance,
    long bars are preferred for control over tricky terrain.

    with this in mind i've had a friend of mine who has won gold in expert class, for my state in australia, telling me to go for at least a 750mm riser bar. he recommended FUNN full on risers. and another mate has said to go with boobars. i like the Answer Pro Taper 780 DH riser bar but this thread isn't to discuss brands, as i'm sure everyone will agree that it is a preference thing.

    i'd like to come to a reasonable agreement on the pro's and con's of different width handlebars so i can make an informed decision if i plan to go ahead with purchasing some wider bars. currently i'm using 680mm Truvativ bars that were stock on my bike. i do like the merits for having longer bars initially and to just cut them down to size but i'd rather just get a good size first time round eg 750 or 780 etc.

    any advice so as to clarify my knowledge on riser bars, would be much appreciated. how does the size of the rise affect the ride? what is better, 15mm 30mm or 1" etc.

    Discuss. thanks.

  2. #2
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    IMO the "correct" amount of rise has more to do with your individual body structure (height, inseam, wingspan) and the reach/stack measurement of the bike than anything.

    Width is personal preference too but there's no denying the feel of greater control that a wider bar gives you. My suggestion would be to get the widest, lowest bar that you can find and vary the spacing of your grips and spacers under the stem/upper crown until you find the perfect balance of width/height for you. Maybe not a zero rise/flat bar, 15mm-19mm would be a good place to start unless you are tall with a long inseam and your bike has a highish BB then maybe something higher would work better.

  3. #3
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    Personally I think anything over 670mm is fine, especially matched up to around a 70mm stem. My 710mm I love with my 50mm stem, but things getting up to 800mm that seems to be getting wider than a motocross bike, seems like a fad. Most motorcycles are around 750mm! There is also a thingy for lower rise bars at the moment, about 20mm or less.

  4. #4
    local trails rider
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    Rise:
    A riser bar makes me feel I am perched too high above the bike. But formulating a rule would be hard: it depends on bike geometry and the rider's proportions. And preferences.

    Width:
    It is usually possible to shorten a bar that is a bit too long. You cannot add to a bar that is too short.

    "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"

  5. #5
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    its one of those things you won't know until you try it out

    fortunately, handlebars are not super expensive, and if you are careful installing them, and only have a few rides (which is all you'd need to find out..) you could easily sell them off to a friend without taking a huge loss, if you did not like them

    I'd recommend looking at a wide bar (perhaps 750mm) with a reasonable amount of cutting space (the Truvativ Boobar can be limiting in this respect because the bulge prevents you moving the controls far in if you want to cut them down alot) so you can trim them as you like

    a good tip is to put the wide bar on, with lock-on grips and controls set for full width, and then you can go for another ride with the lock-on grips and control slid in (as if the bar is 720mm width) but make sure to put bar end plugs in the bar ends in case you crash!

    I run 750mm Renthal on my all-mountain bike, and 720mm Sunline V-1 on my 4X bike, I am 5'10" with athletic build and relatively wide shoulders

    so it all really comes down to personal choice; your sizing and build, and even factors like bike sizing which can mean top tube length, frame angles, head tube length and stem length / rise all affecting the handlebar width / height and geometry

  6. #6
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    Pinkbike or Dirt had an article or video with what handlebar widths the pros are using, but I can't find it. Seems like a majority of the fast guys were around 760 mm, with some of the new school riders at 780-800.

    It does depend on your build, if you are tall and lanky, then I'd say 760-780, but if you're shorter, I'd say 745-760 mm. As another said, 3/4" rise is a good place to start.

    Your friend in the bike shop sounds a bit naive but is mostly correct. He did leave out that wider handlbars effectively lower your body position and move you slightly more over the front wheel, which is a positive in most situations unless you are riding a load of very steep terrain.

    Other responses are right though, you need to find the optimum height for you based on your bike and body style.

  7. #7
    Ride, Jump, Pray, Land
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    I went from a 2" rise on a 680 bar to a 740(sunline) with a 1" rise to a Kore 800mm bar with a 1" rise.
    The 2" rise was just too high for me, it felt odd to ride with the bars so high. Going wider with the bars gives you more control as the turning circle feels smoother. The problem with going wider is trees. when I went to a 800mm bar I kept catching my bars on trees. Especially in wharncliffe where I ride. I also noticed that the Kore (800mm) flexed so much It felt like they might snap. Since then I went back to a Sunline 740 bar,It only has a 1" rise and a 25.4 centre but it feels much stiffer than the Kore bars. I did feel lower(because the width of the bars forced my elbows wider and so lower) with the wider bars which was better for riding.

  8. #8
    PMP,TAN,LAUNDRY
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    I recently just switched from Sunline Bars to Answer Protaper on both my xc/am bike and my dh. The sweep was a huge difference in comfort for me although only one degree difference. 9*5 degree on the sunline to 8*4 on the protaper. Definitely made a better ride on my hands too. I like to keep a higher rise on my xc 1" and lower on my dh.
    Bender to AZDog: I'm not the best person to give advice on not riding!

  9. #9
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    I think your height is the first thing to consider. I also noticed the weight of the bike makes a difference too. For example, my buddy has 685mm bars on a 27lb bike and the control feels good. The 685mm bars that came stock on my 45lb bike feel shaky at speed. I now have 745mm bars on there and it feels much more balanced, like they were meant for the bike.

  10. #10
    Perpetual Hack
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    One thing to consider with bar width is stem length.
    When going wider, normally the stem gets shorter, or you end up way over the front end.

    For example with me, I'm 6'2". To maintain proper position, when I go from a 711mm bar with a 70mm stem to a 760mm bar, I shorten the stem to 50mm.

    fuel to the fire.

    michael

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by audiologies
    I think your height is the first thing to consider. I also noticed the weight of the bike makes a difference too. For example, my buddy has 685mm bars on a 27lb bike and the control feels good. The 685mm bars that came stock on my 45lb bike feel shaky at speed. I now have 745mm bars on there and it feels much more balanced, like they were meant for the bike.
    it sounds like the difference between the two bikes that you felt was probably geometry rather than the weight.

  12. #12
    brownpow! (?)
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    I think it's all about how well you can control your bike and how you fit your frame (I'm 6'2" on a "large" frame). I run a 600mm bar with no rise and a 5 sweep on a 90-100mm stem and it has worked very well for me on some pretty rough sheeit (have no prob keepin up with my homies with 180mm travel bikes, short stems, and wide bars). I like the balanced and quick turning feel of the longer stem and shorter bar, plus the improved tree clearance for the tightest of singletrack stuff.

  13. #13
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    Somebody on these forums gave this suggestion and I used it to confirm a comfortable width for me. I went to my garage, got my hands wet and did a few pushups on the concrete with the moisture making an easy visual mark to measure. The natural width my hands went to to give me the best/most efficient leverage for a pushup naturally makes sense as the best on the bike. I like around a 29 inch bar and my pushup width was 29.5 inches.
    I would recommend using that measurement as a starting point and be cautious if buying wider bars with the intention of being able to cut them. Like mentioned above, Truvativ Boobar's have a significant bulge in them that keeps you from being able to move shifter/brakes in very far if you decide to cut.

    My personal opinion, wide bars are a bit of a fad. Gee Atherton is very similar build to myself (6'2" and 185 lbs with fairly long arms/torso) and he runs a 29.5 wide bar. I remember that vid on pinkbike that measured all the pro's bars. Barring the really big guys like Peat, must were in the 29 inch range. Gwin is the odd man though with over 30 for his 5'10" frame.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by monkei
    I think it's all about how well you can control your bike and how you fit your frame (I'm 6'2" on a "large" frame). I run a 600mm bar with no rise and a 5 sweep on a 90-100mm stem and it has worked very well for me on some pretty rough sheeit (have no prob keepin up with my homies with 180mm travel bikes, short stems, and wide bars). I like the balanced and quick turning feel of the longer stem and shorter bar, plus the improved tree clearance for the tightest of singletrack stuff.
    I'm not sure a longer stem equates to quick turning feel.

  15. #15
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    A wider bar also allows you to use more of your chest and shoulder muscles to support your body weight which leads less fatigue of your triceps. If you don't believe me do 50 pushups with your hands shoulder width then do 50 pushups with your hands about 4 inches apart and tell me which one is easier.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by brent878
    it sounds like the difference between the two bikes that you felt was probably geometry rather than the weight.
    Well the geometry on the two is certainly different, but I attributed it to the weight because my heavy front end is harder to steer/control with a short bar, especially in rough stuff. Essentially you have more torque with a longer bar, so the weight is more manageable.

    But yeah there is certainly more to it, as some others are pointing out.

  17. #17
    brownpow! (?)
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    It doesn't, the short bar does that for me.

    I'm doing just about opposite of most DH'ers; short handlebar for quick turn-in, long-ish stem for stability.

  18. #18
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    Some guys seriously swimming against the tide with long stems and narrow bars!

    Quote Originally Posted by aenema
    My personal opinion, wide bars are a bit of a fad. Gee Atherton is very similar build to myself (6'2" and 185 lbs with fairly long arms/torso) and he runs a 29.5 wide bar. I remember that vid on pinkbike that measured all the pro's bars. Barring the really big guys like Peat, must were in the 29 inch range. Gwin is the odd man though with over 30 for his 5'10" frame.
    +1

    I have 2 motorcycles, both equivalent bar widths are around 700-740. Most motocross bars around the same. So this is just natural width, added to a stem length around 30-50mm.

    I would suggest for most riders 710-750mm bars with 30-50mm stems for Aggressive AM right through to DH.

  19. #19
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    5' 7" running .5" rise 760mm. Originally they were 780 but it started to feel sluggish in more technical stuff. 760 is a good medium between stability and maneuverability for me.

  20. #20
    brownpow! (?)
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    Quote Originally Posted by GearTech
    A wider bar also allows you to use more of your chest and shoulder muscles to support your body weight which leads less fatigue of your triceps. If you don't believe me do 50 pushups with your hands shoulder width then do 50 pushups with your hands about 4 inches apart and tell me which one is easier.
    Went out to the garage to check and my 600 bars are wider than my shoulders by about 1-2". I'm not a big burly dude, and I try not to support my weight on my arms when going down. Never had any issues with sore triceps. I might if I did 50 pushups though...

    Some guys seriously swimming against the tide with long stems and narrow bars!
    Ayyyup. Plenty happy to swim against the tide when it works for me. I'm just trying to add my experience for the OP to consider.

  21. #21
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    i asked a friend for his opinion and although he is quite an amateur in terms of riding, he builds bikes for a job. this is what he said:

    Handlebars that are too wide automatically increase the frontal surface area and lead to loss of aerodynamics. However far greater control. You also sag between the shoulder blades giving you a sore neck and shoulders. Narrow handlebars lead to more nervous steering than wide handlebars and loss of comfort. But superior aerodynamically.

    Ahh, your friend is getting his information about aerodynamics from the last decade (the aughties? the thousands? the Age of Entitlement?) when DHers still wore skin suits.
    It used to be that racers would try to mimic roadies and make themselves 'slipperier'.
    But nobody went that much faster, and some people got really hurt because lycra doesn't offer a lot of protection, and everybody looked totally ga y, so aerodynamics were forgotten about.

    Until some riders figured out that wide bars do have an aerodynamic advantage- with wide bars, a no/negative rise stem, and an 'elbows out' attack riding position, the rider's back acts like the wing on an F1 race car creating down force.
    Keeping the wheels engaged with the trail is critical for cornering at speed, and aerodynamic downforce really helps the tires hook up, especially at speeds above 200 kph.
    Also, with wide bars, if you change your body position, your chest can become an air brake, like on the Bugatti Veyron.

    You can't argue with physics

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by 06NorcoAline
    Handlebars that are too wide automatically increase the frontal surface area and lead to loss of aerodynamics.
    Thanks for the laugh. I needed it.

    Take the internet jockeys' collective advice with a grain of salt. Nobody knows what fits best for you except you. People love spewing regurgitated bull.... especially garbage about aerodynamics in DH. When someone can ride a track at the speed of a Veyron I'll listen. I'd rather feel comfortable on a track than shave .0001 seconds off my time running narrow bars.

    Also, most of the WC guys change bars/widths (and many other components on their rigs) as they change tracks. They don't use the same set-up at every single race. Generally speaking though, the average WC rider will have wider bars than your average weekend warrior at a resort.

    Watch this video if you're really interested in what the WC guys are running in terms of handlebar width: http://www.vitalmtb.com/videos/membe...07/bturman,109

    Whoever mentioned the "push-up" test had the right idea.

    I didn't read most of the responses, but comfortable handlebar width is very subjective and varies with bike set-up. Your best option is to buy the widest bar possible and then cut it down in small increments until you're comfortable with the width.
    Last edited by Dougie; 03-02-2011 at 08:17 PM.

  23. #23
    NWS
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    Quote Originally Posted by lew242
    Some guys seriously ignoring the current fad with long stems and narrow bars!
    Fixed that for you.

    If the top-tier DHers and FRers are still running the same stem lengths and bar widths ten years from now as they are today, I guess I'll owe you an apology.

    (There's a 780mm bar in a UPS truck headed my way as I type this, because I'm curious about this trend. I'm going to experiment with a few widths and cut it down to whatever feels best.)

  24. #24
    brownpow! (?)
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    downforce, aerodynamics??? 200kph= 124mph Haaaaahahahaha.

    If you're pickin' your bar length based on an "aerodynamic" downhill position, I think you're doin' it wrong.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by NWS
    Originally Posted by lew242
    Some guys seriously ignoring the current fad with long stems and narrow bars!

    Fixed that for you.


    I think you've got to read my posts.....I'm saying that a 680mm-750mm bar with stems 30-70mm and around 15-20mm bar rise is natural and will work well with most riders. The majority of riders seem to be really happy with the change. Although I agree in most cases 750mm plus bars is faddish overkill.

    I also have about a 580 bar and 100mm stem on my commuter. It works, but wide bars and short stems are better IMO.

    You've just got try it. Kinda like one fingered braking. If you try it for a month or so, and you still can't dig it, fair enough, but it seems silly not to give it a go.

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