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  1. #1
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    Caution;  Merge;  Workers Ahead! Handlebars.. integrating sweep, low rise & degrees with stem configuration

    Hey fellow pro riders,

    Couldnt find a post regarding what I'm looking for so thought I'd try asking here first since I'm new.
    I started another thread about shortening stems and found it quite useful but now I'd like to know how to integrate that with the selection of a new handlebar.

    atm on my bike i have a low rise bar, 720mm wide, 8 degree back sweep, 6 degree up.

    I noticed when i was looking around for new bars there are a large variety of different lengths, degrees up and back. How and what does each degree mean and do? and how do i pick the right size? very confusing but would appreciate the help.

    Cheers!

  2. #2
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    Is there a fit issue you're trying to resolve or are you just looking to upgrade over stock parts? If you're fine with your current fit and just wanting to upgrade try to duplicate the specs of your current bar, a couple of degrees in up/back sweep can make quite a bit of difference in fit. Also, if you're swapping the stem out in the process the rise/length of the stem will play a part in what you need.

    Depending on how well you can really visualize the different specs there's really not much to it. Imagine having a flat bar (like a broom stick) mounted in the stem. That would be 0 rise, 0 back sweep and 0 up sweep. Based on that your current bar is a low rise, so let's say 10mm. So then raise the straight bar 10mm above where it mounts in the stem. Then "bend" that straight bar 8 degrees back and 6 degrees up. With that in mind you end up with your current bar. Too much sweep will put pressure on the outside of your hands whenever you're gripping the bar. Too little sweep will put pressue on the inside of your hands.

    If you're changing clamp size and have to get a new stem that's another area with some trial and error involved. If you match the bar specs but go with a flatter stem you'll be lowering the bar by up to maybe 10 degrees. The length of your stem will determine how far it will move down. Same goes for a higher rise stem but the other direction. Similiar effects if you go with the same rise stem but shorter/longer and you'll be changing the cockpit length when you do that. A shorter stem may call for less sweep on the handlebar since you'll be changing distance to the bars and also changing riding position a bit.

    If you're looking to change something in your setup, like have bars with less/more sweep, have the bars lower/higher or closer/further away we could give some suggestions on what you may want to be looking for. I have some friends that went through 2-3 stems and maybe 3-5 different handlebar combos before they found their perfect match, so a stop by a local bike shop would be a good idea. They may have a take off bin where they sell stems & bars for a cheap price. That would be a good way to see what really works well for you. Once you find a good setup you could then move up to a sweet carbon bar, etc...

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Larry_K View Post
    Is there a fit issue you're trying to resolve or are you just looking to upgrade over stock parts? If you're fine with your current fit and just wanting to upgrade try to duplicate the specs of your current bar, a couple of degrees in up/back sweep can make quite a bit of difference in fit. Also, if you're swapping the stem out in the process the rise/length of the stem will play a part in what you need.

    Depending on how well you can really visualize the different specs there's really not much to it. Imagine having a flat bar (like a broom stick) mounted in the stem. That would be 0 rise, 0 back sweep and 0 up sweep. Based on that your current bar is a low rise, so let's say 10mm. So then raise the straight bar 10mm above where it mounts in the stem. Then "bend" that straight bar 8 degrees back and 6 degrees up. With that in mind you end up with your current bar. Too much sweep will put pressure on the outside of your hands whenever you're gripping the bar. Too little sweep will put pressue on the inside of your hands.

    If you're changing clamp size and have to get a new stem that's another area with some trial and error involved. If you match the bar specs but go with a flatter stem you'll be lowering the bar by up to maybe 10 degrees. The length of your stem will determine how far it will move down. Same goes for a higher rise stem but the other direction. Similiar effects if you go with the same rise stem but shorter/longer and you'll be changing the cockpit length when you do that. A shorter stem may call for less sweep on the handlebar since you'll be changing distance to the bars and also changing riding position a bit.

    If you're looking to change something in your setup, like have bars with less/more sweep, have the bars lower/higher or closer/further away we could give some suggestions on what you may want to be looking for. I have some friends that went through 2-3 stems and maybe 3-5 different handlebar combos before they found their perfect match, so a stop by a local bike shop would be a good idea. They may have a take off bin where they sell stems & bars for a cheap price. That would be a good way to see what really works well for you. Once you find a good setup you could then move up to a sweet carbon bar, etc...
    very helpful, thanks mate

    I am looking at shortening my stem from a 60mm to a 40mm and depending on how that suits me, in the future I might change bars to compensate for the change of the stem alignment.

    So let me get this straight, if i shorten my stem and want the same feel as i did originally in the 60mm then i would either get a bar with less back sweep so my COG is pushed back forward? or get a low bar but rotate the sweet so its facing forward?

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by timng85 View Post
    very helpful, thanks mate

    I am looking at shortening my stem from a 60mm to a 40mm and depending on how that suits me, in the future I might change bars to compensate for the change of the stem alignment.

    So let me get this straight, if i shorten my stem and want the same feel as i did originally in the 60mm then i would either get a bar with less back sweep so my COG is pushed back forward? or get a low bar but rotate the sweet so its facing forward?
    Back, and upsweep are there to help fit the geometry of your hands/arms, If what you are currently running fits your hands comfortably, do not change the dimensions of the bar to compensate for a shorter stem, you may not like it.

    Shortening a stem yet trying to maintain the same position doesn't make any sense. You change stem lengths because you want to change your position on the bike.

  5. #5
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    Hi, not sure if I can ask my own specific question here? I'm in a similar position to OP.

    Found out last week that seat front to half-way along stem should be your elbow to fingertips so I've moved my seat forward.

    Bars are 38mm rise, 620mm, 9 degree sweep (don't know what is up or back to make up that 9 degrees). Stem is around 80mm centre to centre, 15 degree rise.

    Right now my riding position is almost looking straight down the forks so I can't see the axle but the bars are out in front.

    Yes I know it's a MTB but I do a lot of road riding, no choice, and I'm trying to lighten the bike and get correct fit.

    I've got another stem which is 50mm with 10 degree rise. Will that move me forwrds or backwards with relations to the axle, and what kind of relative position should I be looking for?

    I've measured how far apart the joints of thumb and forefinger are when out in front and it seems that a 740mm bar would be a better fit for me but my LBS said that a shorter stem and longer bars "would make it handle like a tank" and wouldn't give me any further advice because my using a MTB on the road offended his religion...but it's the real world and I can't afford a road bike. Also, to get to the road from my place I need to do over 1600m on rough track so I don't think a road bike would handle that well.

    Could you please offer some advice on all this? (5'8" on a 19" frame. 17.5" frame gave lower back and palm pain)

    Many thanks.
    We're not all elitists but I'm doing my best within my means...

  6. #6
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    Hi guys, sorry to appear again before any replies to last post, just thought of something else...

    It seems that 38mm rise is really unusual (9 degree sweep, Specialized stock alloy). Are there longer bars out there which are more or less the same shape as those I'm running?

    From what I can find, longer bars only have 15mm rise which I think would put me too low at the front for comfort.

    No DH, only road and mainly flat XC.

    Thanks again...
    We're not all elitists but I'm doing my best within my means...

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