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  1. #1
    AKA Pat McGroin
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    RIGID riders: What bars, grips for comfort? Hands are getting beat up!

    So, I did a longish 35 mi. ride on my rigid ss yesterday and the heel of my hand is pretty tender! Been happy with Ergon marathon grips with short bar ends, forget their model number, but they have minimal padding just hard rubber and rely on the shape to dissipate the shock. The area trails have some decent root sections which are a blast to attack and carry speed through, and there are some small stream beds that you slam down into and immediately hit the bank on the other side. These also have a high rock content, so the hard hits are getting to my hands.
    What's a really compliant bar and or grip? I already have a carbon fork on the front, just want to avoid putting a lock out fork on the bike and add weight. Also prefer the sharp steering I get with the rigid.
    Help!

  2. #2
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    Oury for life.

  3. #3
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    I like Ourys too. Have them on my FS, but I'm running Renthal Kevlar grips on a Atomlab Pimplite high rise bar on the El Mar SS. I do switch back and forth between rigid and suspension. I put way more miles on the ss, too. The Renthals take a little time to break in, but after are softer and grippier.

  4. #4
    Birdman aka JMJ
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    Oury grips all around, with 26" low rise carbon bars (Easton or Forte, 25.4mm clamp diameter). I have a ti fork on my rigid SS, so that helps too.

    JMJ
    Last edited by Birdman; 08-30-2017 at 07:10 AM.

  5. #5
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    Specialized Contour Locking grips. They have a two part rubber. The area where the heel of your hand is is very soft. I also like that they are wider and you can rest your hands wide open.

    I tried the Ergon grips and these are much softer. You can't lose for $20 set either.
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  6. #6
    WillWorkForTrail
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    I run the large Ergon grips on a Giant carbon bar I picked up on closeout. Ultimately, even that with a decent steel fork wasn't enough to keep the age and milage on my elbows from pushing me into a suspension fork, but the Ergon grip/carbon bar combination worked really well for me in terms of my hands. Their large grips fit my hands well, I can relax when I'm hold on them without them rattling around in my hand and beating my hands up for no good reason.

  7. #7
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    ODI Rogue grips on everything.

    Bars vary but all still aluminum. I've found that it isn't the type of bar, but rather the width of the bar and length of the stem to get my wrists in the right angle/position. That said, a good carbon bar should hopefully give some vibration dampening and larger grips should help to relieve any death grip. I found that my problem was hand/wrist position and a vice grip when using smaller grips. I have not liked Ergons, just couldn't get used to the size of the grip.

    Also, Togs could help to relieve some hand issues as another alternative.
    I don't know why,... it's just MUSS easier to pedal than the other ones.

  8. #8
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    Bigger tyres, lower psi solves a lot of those issues.
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  9. #9
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    28" Ti Luv Handle bar, ESI Chunky Grips and a 2.5" WTB Breakout tire up front at ~19 psi do the trick.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken C View Post
    28" Ti Luv Handle bar, ESI Chunky Grips and a 2.5" WTB Breakout tire up front at ~19 psi do the trick.
    What he said.

    I have been riding rigid ss for 10 years and nothing beats a quality titanium bar with ESI chunky grips. Black sheep and Seven cycles handlebars have been the most flexy and best for me at absorbing the hits for my 45 year old wrists and palms. But, I also would recommend Jones or the Groovy cycles Ti luv handles.

    Thomson and Salsa Ti bars are stiff and don't provide enough sweep for my liking for single speed duty. Try riding a friend's bike who has one of the above bars and or grips or after a group ride and get a feel for what you may like.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mariop View Post
    What he said.

    Try riding a friend's bike who has one of the above bars and or grips or after a group ride and get a feel for what you may like.
    Yeah, because that's an easy one to find. Everyone is riding Ti bars, much less Jones or Groovy.

    Btw, round grips will never offer the support of a contoured grip. If the OP has hand discomfort/pain, he needs something other than round grips that tend to be narrow in diameter.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zerort View Post
    ...he needs something other than round grips that tend to be narrow in diameter.
    Ourys are anything but narrow.

  13. #13
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    IMHOMO, it's a lot more than just grips and bars.

    Rigid (most of the time) since 2004. Long rides (think 24 hour solo racing, multi-day stage races, hundies, etc).

    My thought out opinion on the things that make riding rigid tolerable or at least less painful.

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    Also a fan of TOGS now.

    Bad Idea Racing: I'll do my best, but I'm not known for that

    And for what it's worth, I recently sold the sweet Step Cast 100mm fork I bought last year. I had intended to use it when I felt like speed mattered or I wanted a break from the rigid (and when not wanting to ride my 120mm travel SS which is built up for Pisgah). I just prefer the rigid too much for pretty much the same reason you stated.
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  14. #14
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    I'll second ourys.....i have tendanitus and arthritis in both my hands. I have tried every one of ergons models over the past 2 years and the ourys are by far the softest and most comfortable grip.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by teamdicky View Post
    IMHOMO, it's a lot more than just grips and bars...
    As an erstwhile 24 hour racer I agree with teamdicky. It's well worth reading his links there.

    As teamdicky says, the important thing is riding position, and mine is set up for taking impacts primarily through my feet. That's a more vertical position than the ideal mtb xc racer - but those guys are athletes, as fit as any olympian so their bodies and reactions are way better for the job than the average mtb rider.

    But it's also a good idea to reduce the impact at source, hence my earlier recommendation for bigger tyres and lower pressures.

    For my hands I've found that a substantial sweep back on the bars is a big help, but what suits one may not another. For me it's a nearly parallel hand position so I can ride with "loose" hands. That can be achieved with either a big sweepback, drop bars, or bar ends. It's worth a try but bear in mind the handlebar to stem relationship so you may need a longer/shorter stem depending on your handlebar.

    I'm not really convinced by gel on the bars. It certainly is more comfortable initially, but I am suspicious of it after using a gel saddle - initial comfort, but it seems to spread the pain universally over all surfaces, whereas with a hard saddle you can always shift slightly and get relief. For example I can ride my 1960s road bike long distances without discomfort despite its bars being taped with thin cotton tape and there's no padding whatsover.

    If you have everything right and still getting pain in your hands/wrists, then maybe it isn't the actual impacts, but high frequency vibration of the bars.

    Back when I used to ride vibrating British motorbikes, the oldtimer recommendation of a small bit of lead weight at the end of the bars did a lot to reduce or damp high frequency vibrations. It won't appeal to weight weenies, but it may be worth a try as a last resort.
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  16. #16
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    a plus sized tire will make more difference than anything and you get the bonus of way more cornering confidence; it is not light but neither is a suspension fork.

  17. #17
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    Ginger or Mary Ann?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Blue Sky View Post
    [...] the heel of my hand is pretty tender! Been happy with Ergon marathon grips with short bar ends, forget their model number, but they have minimal padding just hard rubber and rely on the shape to dissipate the shock.
    So is the basic dilemma this:

    Choice 1: Go with an ergo grip design for more palm support (spreads load), but it requires a lock-on design, which means less diameter being utilized for "give" plus grips must be made of a firmer material to maintain its shape.

    Choice 2: A cushy slip-on like Oury or ESI with max diameter (but w/o causing muscle fatigue on longer rides). Downside: they're still round (although some/all ESIs are actually oval...).

    Two ideas: PadLoc grips would seem to address your tender heels. How about Ergo grips + gloves with more palm padding? A cushy ergo doesn't seem possible, but you *can* get more padded gloves.

    Me? I always come back to ESI on a rigid SS. Sooo comfy, plus the roundish bolt-free shape has benefits: my hand grip is not constricted when standing up over the bars (hands rotate freely with body), and better when moving my hands slightly inboard (whether thumb under or over bar). I won't even use TOGS b/c I find them constrictive (and don't find they help much, anyway).

    Bar? Carbon, uncut, non-DH, dialed sweep.
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  18. #18
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  19. #19
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    Ti bars and ESI grips.
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  20. #20
    One Gear
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    I've always rode on Oury grips. 2 years ago my hands were sore after a ride. Traded out my soft leather palm gloves for a pair with padding. Made a big difference. Almost put a shock on before the gloves.

    Good luck

  21. #21
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    Race Face Next Carbon bar and ESI Chunkys.

  22. #22
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    Jones Bend bars with Ergon BioCorks keep my wrists and hands happy, seated or standing.

  23. #23
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    I recently switched to an Answer 20-20 bar and it feels very nice. I developed elbow problems with my previous bar, and I'm hopeful the Answer 20-20 will let me continue with rigid. I've always been satisfied with ESI Chunky grips, and I'm continuing to use those.

  24. #24
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    Full time full rigid all this year. Long time user of Esi Chunkies. Switched to Monkey grips on a whim. They're already starting to wear. Esi's back soon.

    I tend to ride light on the bike, if that makes sense. Float or jump stuff to alleviate some impacts. ymmv lol

  25. #25
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    The best comfort setup I've had so far is the current one. 2.6" Nobby Nic on a 30mm IW rim, carbon fork, carbon Enve bars, ODI Rogue grips.

    I've previously run a cheap steel fork (hands down the worst for ride quality), ESI extra chunky foam grips (meh), aluminum handlebars seemed ok but carbon is better, and narrower rims.

    The combination of all the component upgrades makes for a comfy and super fun setup.
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    Stop asking how much it weighs and just go ride it.

  26. #26
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    Running Yeti grips on the Race Face carbon bar now.
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  27. #27
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    Picture please.

  28. #28
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    I was getting a lot of hand and wrist numbness on my new SS so I made the following changes:

    Shortened stem from 60mm to 35MM, as I felt I was too stretched out

    added Spank Trail Vibrocore bar. I kept it as 760 to give a little more leverage when pulling on the bars going up hill. Bar has some anti vibration technology in it. Seems to make the ride a bit smoother
    Spank Bikes - OOZY Trail 760 Vibrocoreâ„¢ Bar

    Added Red Monkey Karve Grips 6.5 (was using ESI chunky's)
    These are nice foam grips and they seem to be less slippery when wet with sweat or moisture

    I also run TOGS and like those a lot

  29. #29
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    I just ordered a pair of TOGS. I'm interested in trying them.
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  30. #30
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    That Vibrocore bar looks interesting. It seems expensive for an alloy bar, but if it works it might be worth it. I just wish they offered more sweep.

  31. #31
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    yeah there are not too many configurations I actually got 800 bar and kept it at that length but might cut it down. 800 takes some getting used to.....I came from a niner carbon bar and that was super stiff no real flex or give


    Quote Originally Posted by Wish I Were Riding View Post
    That Vibrocore bar looks interesting. It seems expensive for an alloy bar, but if it works it might be worth it. I just wish they offered more sweep.

  32. #32
    AKA Pat McGroin
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    Lot of good input. Thanks everyone! Switched away from Oury grips to Oury Lock ons, then to Ergons over the last 5 or 6 years. As someone pointed out, the old slip on style would be more compliant, since they forego the underlying hard plastic base. Going to go back to thatand see how it works. I recently installed a Renthal carbon bar, and that was an improvement too! I also built a WTB I 29 wheel and tried a 2.6 Nobby Nic; comfort and grip was great, but it just robbed me of too much momentum....maybe I was just having an off day?
    Currently pretty happy with Vittoria Mezcal Graphine. Yeah, surprised me, but it's nice! Large volume for a 2.25, consistant grip, decent speed. Run it at around 20 psi.
    The hands and wrists are just wearing out, I reckon, just turned 61. Ialso was fortunate to get a great deal on a used Redline Monocog, so I put a Reba with remote lockout on her. My other SS is rigid, so thinking about that Nobby Nic again for it! Man did that tire hook up!

  33. #33
    jct
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    ESI extra chunky on RF alum bars, Ti Fork and 3" chupa @ 11psi. sustained DHs can still make me tingle but overall very happy with this setup.
    i will not yield to DH traffic.

  34. #34
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    Plus one on the ESI extra chunky. Noticeably cushier than the standard chunky grips. To me anyways.

  35. #35
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    Years of ridged riding (and never going back to suspension) I use second generation jones TI H-Bars, ESI chunky grips, always padded gloves and need to ride with a loose grip on those bars. It's mostly about your grip - well I'm my opinion.

  36. #36
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    Recently tried Fabric Ergos and really like them Ergo - Fabric
    They're made out of silicon vs rubber, feel similar to Red Monkeys. The palm pad section is smaller than Ergon GS1 and about 10mm more usable round section than the GS1. Pretty squishy and working great on my 9 degree flat bars. I preferred round silicon grips on my Answer 20/20 bars, but those bars make it so difficult to mount computers and lights I went back to straight.

  37. #37
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    Grab-on mtn-1, been using these since the early 90s. I do want a bar with more sweep though, the titec hellbents I've used since the late 90s could use a bit more. Otherwise they're great too.

  38. #38
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    ESI extra chunky grips on Niner RDO 780 carbon bars, on my SS and my Fat bike too.

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woodpuppy View Post
    Grab-on mtn-1, been using these since the early 90s. I do want a bar with more sweep though, the titec hellbents I've used since the late 90s could use a bit more. Otherwise they're great too.
    Speaking about bars with more sweep, the new SQ Labs handlebars sound interesting. https://www.sq-lab.com/shop/en/Handlebars/MTB/ I really liked my old Salsa Bend II bars but at 710mm they're a little narrow. The Answer Pro Taper 20/20 was similar but only 720mm. I've been waiting for a wider version of either and I think it's finally here. Plus different rise options.
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    Stop asking how much it weighs and just go ride it.

  40. #40
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    Silly question (and probably asked somewhere before), but how many of you remember/have used ODI Mushroom grips? I used to love them on my BMX bikes.
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  41. #41
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    I got a pair of Rev Grips from my son in law who is sponsored by them. It’s probably voodoo science, or the placebo effect, and they are expensive as hell, but I have them on my hard tail and while I can’t feel much difference while riding I swear my hands are a bit less fatigued at the bottom of a bumpy descent and after the ride in general. They have little rubber shocks in the clamps and the grip doesn’t actually touch the handlebar. Not sure I’d pop for them if they weren’t free but...https://revgrips.com
    I know what it's like to be dead. "To Die & Live In LA."

  42. #42
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    Interesting product.
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  43. #43
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    I use road bar tape. Just one wrap works well for me. I have a friend who has pain in his hands on long rides. I cut a dr scholls shoe liner and taped (electrical) it to the palm area of the bar. I then wrapped it with two very tight layers of road bar tape. He claims it helped. If you try it, make sure you wrap it tightly and use the type that has adhesive strip on the back. I use small wrapped leftover pieces as bar ends too. RIGID riders: What bars, grips for comfort? Hands are getting beat up!-img_20171014_130249.jpgRIGID riders: What bars, grips for comfort? Hands are getting beat up!-img_20171014_130526.jpg

  44. #44
    AKA Pat McGroin
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    Those Rev grips look interesting! Gonna try a pair.
    Last edited by Mr. Blue Sky; 10-14-2017 at 08:10 PM. Reason: spelling

  45. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by bad mechanic View Post
    oury for life.
    x2^^^^^^^

  46. #46
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    I'm running low rise carbon bars with ODI and Oury grips on my rigid SS's.

    I too like Oury's the best..
    【ツ】 eDub 【ツ】

  47. #47
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    Jones Bends with Ergon Bio-Corks works for me.

  48. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Blue Sky View Post
    Those Rev grips look interesting! Gonna try a pair.
    Interested too. I'd like to hear if this is a gimmick, or does it actually work?

  49. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by Geralt View Post
    I recently switched to an Answer 20-20 bar and it feels very nice. I developed elbow problems with my previous bar, and I'm hopeful the Answer 20-20 will let me continue with rigid. I've always been satisfied with ESI Chunky grips, and I'm continuing to use those.
    I concur.

    I've now got two SS bikes equipped with Answer's 20/20 bars. Additionally, I use ESI's Extra Chunky grips and have TOGS installed too. Works well for me - and I was having difficulties with the typical hand numbness, etc.

  50. #50
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    Ritchey carbon low rise bars, niner carbon fork, 2.6 nobby nic @ 15.5 psi, extra chunky grips wrapped with silicon bar tape with short bar ends. Above all else - knees and elbows bent, loose grip and body English.

  51. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by *OneSpeed* View Post
    Speaking about bars with more sweep, the new SQ Labs handlebars sound interesting. https://www.sq-lab.com/shop/en/Handlebars/MTB/ I really liked my old Salsa Bend II bars but at 710mm they're a little narrow. The Answer Pro Taper 20/20 was similar but only 720mm. I've been waiting for a wider version of either and I think it's finally here. Plus different rise options.
    Did you try one of these?

  52. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by slowpoker View Post
    Did you try one of these?
    Not yet, but I have it in my possession. I don't have a bike to try it on yet, but I plan on trying it on my upcoming Krampus build. (actually I guess I could try it on the SS, but haven't yet.)

    New development: ProTaper (formerly Answer) is finally coming out with a 810mm version of their 20/20 bar. I'm definitely buying that sucker. The thing I like about this handlebar over the SQ labs, at least on paper, is that is goes forward before angling back which won't shorten the reach.

    Obviously I need to ride them both before I draw any firm conclusions and post about it.
    Rigid SS 29er
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    Stop asking how much it weighs and just go ride it.

  53. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by slowpoker View Post
    Did you try one of these?
    I did my first ride (2h50min, Fromme on the North Shore) on the SQ carbon 16 degree sweep, 15mm rise yesterday after having Answer 20/20's on my mountain bike exclusively since 2014 and single speeding since 2015.

    Without overstating the obvious.. The SQ's are noticeably wider which felt weird at first but once I did a few fast descents it felt good and stable which was the thing I most wanted out of the 20/20's. I had to pull the bike around a little harder in faster tight turns but I think it's just getting used to the width, 60mm is a lot. The bar being closer to me based on the shape was my biggest concern and it's too early to tell if it'll be annoying or not but it was very noticeable. Some longer standing climbs and some technical climbing is needed to tell. I'm not wanting to get a longer stem to compensate and mess with handling too much as well so we'll see. When I laid the 20/20's on top of the SQ's from a rough look the hand position at the ends of the 20/20's looked to be very similar to the SQ. Not very scientific but it looked close. The 4 degree difference in sweep was noticeable in feel for me as well. Maybe because I have a 23 degree Salsa bend 2 on my commuter bike which I ride a lot as well and has a more similar feel to the 20/20. Same bars for 4 years and one ride on the new ones isn't the best data point but it's a start.

    I'd been wanting a wider 20/20 for years and to hear they're finally putting one out after I dropped the coin on the SQ... who knows, I may get one as I've grown so used to the shape of that bar. In the meantime the SQ will be fun to play around with. At least we have another option in a wider, carbon, swept bar.
    @adamalphabet

  54. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by Addy Marx View Post
    I did my first ride (2h50min, Fromme on the North Shore) on the SQ carbon 16 degree sweep, 15mm rise yesterday after having Answer 20/20's on my mountain bike exclusively since 2014 and single speeding since 2015.

    Without overstating the obvious.. The SQ's are noticeably wider which felt weird at first but once I did a few fast descents it felt good and stable which was the thing I most wanted out of the 20/20's. I had to pull the bike around a little harder in faster tight turns but I think it's just getting used to the width, 60mm is a lot. The bar being closer to me based on the shape was my biggest concern and it's too early to tell if it'll be annoying or not but it was very noticeable. Some longer standing climbs and some technical climbing is needed to tell. I'm not wanting to get a longer stem to compensate and mess with handling too much as well so we'll see. When I laid the 20/20's on top of the SQ's from a rough look the hand position at the ends of the 20/20's looked to be very similar to the SQ. Not very scientific but it looked close. The 4 degree difference in sweep was noticeable in feel for me as well. Maybe because I have a 23 degree Salsa bend 2 on my commuter bike which I ride a lot as well and has a more similar feel to the 20/20. Same bars for 4 years and one ride on the new ones isn't the best data point but it's a start.

    I'd been wanting a wider 20/20 for years and to hear they're finally putting one out after I dropped the coin on the SQ... who knows, I may get one as I've grown so used to the shape of that bar. In the meantime the SQ will be fun to play around with. At least we have another option in a wider, carbon, swept bar.
    Quote Originally Posted by *OneSpeed* View Post
    Not yet, but I have it in my possession. I don't have a bike to try it on yet, but I plan on trying it on my upcoming Krampus build. (actually I guess I could try it on the SS, but haven't yet.)

    New development: ProTaper (formerly Answer) is finally coming out with a 810mm version of their 20/20 bar. I'm definitely buying that sucker. The thing I like about this handlebar over the SQ labs, at least on paper, is that is goes forward before angling back which won't shorten the reach.

    Obviously I need to ride them both before I draw any firm conclusions and post about it.
    Thanks, fellas

  55. #55
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    Woah, wider 20/20 bars?!

    I recently put together a new SS with 20/20 bars and I really like them. Have some good rides on them eblnough to know they are keepers. But wider ones will be better most of the time.

    But sometimes I ride in tight narrow trails between trees...hmmm. 810 is going to be scary especially on those fast downhills in certain redwood forests.

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  56. #56
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    In regards to OP, I concur about Oury grips.

    I put a pair of Oury grips on my newest SS with the 20/20 bars. The grips were given to me by a friend who was going to throw them away.

    So I put them on. I like the thickness for SS.

    Yesterday I did a hilly 45 mile SS ride and I was grateful for the grips the whole time. My fork is crap, and I want to make it rigid. The grips were awesome.

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  57. #57
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    I am thinking about getting some Carver Pry bars- flat titanium bar with 5, 9, 11, etc degrees of sweep. these would replace the Kore risers I have- 20mm rise, 8.5/5 sweep, 720mm wide aluminum. since I have found the most comfort from the position of a 9 back/ 5 up riser bar, but I want to get my hands lower and go ti while I am at it. tilting a flat bar up is not the same thing as the up/back of a riser, so I am not sure if 9 or 11 degrees would be best. I just don't want so much bend that is shortens my reach and I don't want to go back to a long stem.
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  58. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by mack_turtle View Post
    I am thinking about getting some Carver Pry bars- flat titanium bar with 5, 9, 11, etc degrees of sweep. these would replace the Kore risers I have- 20mm rise, 8.5/5 sweep, 720mm wide aluminum. since I have found the most comfort from the position of a 9 back/ 5 up riser bar, but I want to get my hands lower and go ti while I am at it. tilting a flat bar up is not the same thing as the up/back of a riser, so I am not sure if 9 or 11 degrees would be best. I just don't want so much bend that is shortens my reach and I don't want to go back to a long stem.
    My Ti SS has a Carver 9° handlebar. I like it enough to keep, since it cost so much and looks great. However the sensation is not remarkable.

    That's a good thing, in that it inspires confidence and doesn't budge, and probably won't break ever.

    It feels as though it never flexes at all or absorb any vibration whatsoever.

    I'm of the opinion that carbon bars offer more potential for personality. However, it is difficult to nail down what the ultimate experience is going to be.

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  59. #59
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    Interesting. The Carver bar is not cheap at $100, but it won't totally break the bank. Curious to see if it is any more forgiving than my aluminum riser.

    If nothing else, it will be a latteral move that looks cooler and drops my hands a little lower. Cheaper than most titanium and carbon options. Call me a Luddite, but I just can't bring myself to put carbon fiber on my bike.
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  60. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Burns View Post
    Woah, wider 20/20 bars?!
    So a little update about this handlebar. It's not a thing. There was a mistake on the website, two websites actually, and the 810 version doesn't exist.

    The standard 20/20 is still available, but no plans to make it wider at this point. Bummer.

    As for other bars my favorite so far is hands down the Enve 760mm 31.8 bar currently on my SS. It honestly rides so nice. There's a good amount of flex every time I want it (drops, roots, choppy stuff), but never feels noodly or non confidence inspiring. It's absolutely awesome on a rigid bike. Very noticeable ride quality improvement over any aluminum bars I've used. It's also the only Enve product that's not painfully expensive. I think it was $160 retail, vs others like the Niner RDO handlebar that's $200. It's not cheap, but worth every penny IMO.

    I could handle a little more sweep, I still haven't tried the SQ labs bar, but will soon I swear.
    Rigid SS 29er
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    Stop asking how much it weighs and just go ride it.

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