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  1. #1
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    Low bar = better handling?

    I've always felt that having a "lower" bar handled better. My tires feel like they bite harder into the dirt when turning. Like I can put more weight on the front end.

    I just swapped out my 0 deg 50mm Atlas for a 45mm -6 Wren. I know the drop isn't that big...but just rolling on the street and turning hard and planting my foot feels much more stable. I tired flipping the stem to +6 and it didn't feel as good.

    The Wren is only 5mm shorter than the Atlas, but it feels so minimalist. Like a little baby stem. My bar is a 25mm rise Azonic Flow.

    On my 29r, I'm running a Flatforce all the way down on the bearing cover.

    Low bar = better handling?-img_20160426_195226.jpg

    Is this the case...or is it all in my head?

  2. #2
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    It's really all about fit and comfort. My Mach 429 has the stem on the bearing cap, too. The bike has a stretched out feel and positioning, an XC feel. I want the front end low because I have some many prolonged steep climbs in my area.

    My Remedy has a few spacers between the stem and bearing cap. It has a more upright, tighter cockpit feeling, yet it goes downhill much faster and with far more stability than the Pivot does. Geo plays a big roll in that, too.

  3. #3
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    I don't really use the Mach 5 for any kind of XC riding. It originally came with a 90mm stem and a riser 670 bar. I rode really strange that way. It felt mad high and long...like I was going to OTB. Bike always felt big. It sat for a couple years. Then started experimenting with shorter stems and wider bars. That's when it started to feel more stable.

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  4. #4
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    curious, why use a riser bar instead of a flat bar?
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  5. #5
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    with a riser bar, perhaps you can get a little more rise without putting a silly stack of spacers under your stem, or use a super high-rise stem? it is probably at least half aesthetics.

    bar rise cannot be considered in isolation. there are to many other factors in bike fit to think of it that way. start with seat height, then reach. adjust the reach/height to whatever works for the rider. in my case, I always start with the grips level with the saddle once Iget my reach dialed in, then end up dropping them just a little lower than that.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by RS VR6 View Post
    I've always felt that having a "lower" bar handled better. My tires feel like they bite harder into the dirt when turning. Like I can put more weight on the front end.

    I just swapped out my 0 deg 50mm Atlas for a 45mm -6 Wren. I know the drop isn't that big...but just rolling on the street and turning hard and planting my foot feels much more stable. I tired flipping the stem to +6 and it didn't feel as good.

    The Wren is only 5mm shorter than the Atlas, but it feels so minimalist. Like a little baby stem. My bar is a 25mm rise Azonic Flow.

    On my 29r, I'm running a Flatforce all the way down on the bearing cover.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Is this the case...or is it all in my head?
    Reminds me of a quote from Carla Hukee of Niner Bikes...

    Typically, 29ers are better set up with flat bars than with risers. Because of the higher front end, usually only the very tallest riders need the extra height provided by a riser bar. For a small rider, risers can be detrimental to keeping the front end on the ground when climbing.

  7. #7
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  8. #8
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    "low" relative to what? without a base to compare, that does not mean anything at all.

    of course, the best answer to make your bike handle better is to flip your stem.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by *OneSpeed* View Post
    curious, why use a riser bar instead of a flat bar?
    Riser bars offer a bit more fine tuning in angles than flat bars do. I used to have only flat bars on my bikes until I saw the light. I don't really need any rise, so I use low rider bars but they do indeed (at least for me) feel more comfortable.

    I also always flip the stem on all my bikes.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by mack_turtle View Post
    ...
    bar rise cannot be considered in isolation. there are to many other factors in bike fit to think of it that way. ....
    Quote Originally Posted by Hawg View Post
    Riser bars offer a bit more fine tuning in angles than flat bars do. ...

    I also always flip the stem on all my bikes.
    I did a ride on my 29er where I fiddled my flat bar+stem/spacer combination from slammed on the bearing retainer to max rise+max spacers. Lower was def. better for everything. I still keep a 2mm spacer on top of the bearing retainer, though.

    The fatbike has a slightly different purpose, so it does have a rise bar, but a less aggressive position. The angles are very comfortable. It doesn't feel like it suffers from any lack of performance, though. It's taller and I sit taller on it, but then it's set up for ground clearance and low speed crawling, not so much cornering.

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  11. #11
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    I think if you are going to say lower you need to reference it to saddle height. Otherwise, lower than what? Two different bikes can have the same relative saddle - grip position, one with a 0 degree stem, flat bar, and the other with a 10 degree stem and 30mm rise bar. Riser or flat doesn't matter as long as the grips are where you want them.

    I like my grips level to slightly higher than my saddle depending on the bike. Too low and I feel restricted in my movements and too high makes for poor pedalling, climbing, and cornering.
    I got some bad ideas in my head.

  12. #12
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    I'm more referring to the "attack position". Out of the saddle.

    I did try a flat bar (Easton EA70). I felt more difficult to pull up on the front end. The riser bar has a better feel when trying to get the front end off the ground.

    Of course there is a point where the bar can be too low. I guess that would depend on the individual's max low for bar position.

    Lower the center of gravity...the better. Right?

  13. #13
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    You get more 'pull' on a bar if you align your wrists in a straight line. This means more angle of bend at the grip. A riser will give a bit more bend than straight in that sense. The Mary bar comes to mind when addressing mechanical pull. More bend at the wrist reduces your strength at the point of contact.

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  14. #14
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    I think it also depends on how and where you ride your bike. for me, I don't do a lot of pulling up on the bars except to lift the front wheel over a ledge. I have to do this quite a bit on my trails, but I am sure there are other places where this is much more important. also, if you're riding down a lot of crazy-steep, technical trails, getting weight off the front end is important for obvious reasons. my bike is set up more for stability on climbs and fast on flats.

    if you look at BMX and trials bikes, bars keep getting higher to help with bunnyhopping. when I started riding BMX, street riders were bunnyhopping over handrails with 7" high bars. now everyone is running 9" or even taller bars, but little else on the those bikes has changed fundamentally.

  15. #15
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    I always find it rather comical when I see someone with a 150mm+ dropper and then several inches of rise from the headtube to their grips.

    Apparently lowering their center of gravity doesn't include contact points.
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  16. #16
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    I always try to find somewhat of a balance when setting up my bikes. I like find the lowest possible position that will allow me to lift the front end without an extreme amount of effort.

    Lower bars and/or longer stem

    Front end is naturally more weighted.

    Turning doesn't require nearly as much body movement to shift weight in order to get enough traction with the front tire. (Less energy used and better for xc racing, especially when tired)

    More difficult to lift the front end

    Not as stable on downhills and more prone to endo

    Easier to keep the front end down on climbs

    Higher bars and/or shorter stem

    Front end is less weighted

    Have to make a conscious effort to move body forward in order to weight the front tire in corners. (Better for AM/Enduro/DH style riding)

    Easier to lift the front wheel

    More stable on downhills and less prone to endo

    More difficult to keep the front end down on climbs

    The more upright position can make jumping easier

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke View Post
    I always find it rather comical when I see someone with a 150mm+ dropper and then several inches of rise from the headtube to their grips. Apparently lowering their center of gravity doesn't include contact points.
    We must have different senses of humor as I don't see the humor in this. IMO, the rise between the top of the head tube and grips is in itself not indicative of much. The BB, saddle and bars should be in the optimal/preferred relative positions. Where the top of the head tube winds up in relation to the grips is a byproduct of the frame size and geometry.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lone Rager View Post
    We must have different senses of humor as I don't see the humor in this. IMO, the rise between the top of the head tube and grips is in itself not indicative of much. The BB, saddle and bars should be in the optimal/preferred relative positions. Where the top of the head tube winds up in relation to the grips is a byproduct of the frame size and geometry.
    That's just it. I see quite a few bikes that are literally just thrown together, with no deference to "fit".

    I.e., some people want/use a riser bar for reasons they can't put their finger on (because it's "moto", because that's what they used on their old bike, only bar in color X at price Y, etc), not because it actually contributes to the overall bike fit in any meaningful way.



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  19. #19
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    Before half a dozen people whine due to their own sensitivity to over-done editing/cinema effects, consider the value in research that they've done in the concept.
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke View Post
    I always find it rather comical when I see someone with a 150mm+ dropper and then several inches of rise from the headtube to their grips.

    Apparently lowering their center of gravity doesn't include contact points.
    I'd say it was more of a problem with thinking about how your bike feels when you have the time to think about how it feels. When their saddle is up, they think "this feels right." Turns out you have to take some time and think about how the bike setup ends up when it really matters. Plus, it feels a little more safer to have higher bars, even though it really isn't more stable.

    Quote Originally Posted by coke View Post
    I always try to find somewhat of a balance when setting up my bikes. I like find the lowest possible position that will allow me to lift the front end without an extreme amount of effort.

    Lower bars and/or longer stem

    Front end is naturally more weighted.

    Turning doesn't require nearly as much body movement to shift weight in order to get enough traction with the front tire. (Less energy used and better for xc racing, especially when tired)

    More difficult to lift the front end

    Not as stable on downhills and more prone to endo

    Easier to keep the front end down on climbs

    Higher bars and/or shorter stem

    Front end is less weighted

    Have to make a conscious effort to move body forward in order to weight the front tire in corners. (Better for AM/Enduro/DH style riding)

    Easier to lift the front wheel

    More stable on downhills and less prone to endo

    More difficult to keep the front end down on climbs

    The more upright position can make jumping easier
    Assuming someone is using a dropper post:

    The feeling of being more or less prone to endo is just that, a feeling...really more of an assumption than anything else.

    When your bars are lower, your center of gravity is lower which lessens the tendency to be pitched forward.

    That said, just have a lower grip height and not making any other body position changes can cause you to overload the front tire. I know when I transition from my Stache (which has high-ish bars due to being a 29+), to my 27.5 bike with lower bars, I'll start out washing out the front more often. The Stache will give pretty clear warnings by sliding the rear tire first, and is very forgiving once it does slide, but the same technique doesn't work with a bike with slightly different contact point positions and requires more dramatic body weight shifts.

  21. #21
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    I feel like I have more control on trails with a lower stem. I think because it makes me bend over, lowering my center of gravity.
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  22. #22
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    Cause of my lower back, I can't bend over and ride comfortably. I like a higher stem, but short, 30mm on my 07 stumpy.

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