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  1. #1
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    Wide bar overkill??????

    Been getting my fingers beat up on the trees in my tight eastern singletrack. After I got taken down by a tree while snaking through a rocky section, I decided to take off my 710mm bar and go to a 600 that I had lying around. It was kind of like a revelation. I no longer felt like I was steering a ship in a storm, but my whole body got back into the handling, and felt much more nimble. Didn't have quite the triangular base for the most efficient long standing climbing, but that may get better. I am running the stock steel fork on my 29er. A longer bar may help muscling the slower steering on a suspension fork. Also, I am only 5-8, but I do have a 46" chest from too many years of bench pressing. Probably a height proportional issue, but I am curious to see if anyone has come to the same realization. But is wider that much better???

  2. #2
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    I think I run 29" on my DH bike and the bars on my 29er are about 2" shorter. Feels good.. I nick my knuckles sometimes but usually only when I'm still drunk from the night before.

  3. #3
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    Personal preference, I suppose, but I continue to wander in the wider direction. Each set of handlebars that I've purchased over the last few years has been wider than the previous. I'm currently running 29.1" with 12' of sweep on my ss, and even going to the 28.5" bars on my fs I notice the difference and prefer the wider feel. That said, I'm sure I'll hit a point where they are too wide, but so far I'm happy with the wider bars, and dislike going back to narrower bars. I should add that I do ride a lot of tight, narrow singletrack. I haven't hit too many trees but tend to scrape enough brush that I prefer to ride with gloves with knuckle protection.

  4. #4
    local trails rider
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    Whatever works for you and where you ride.
    People tend to find that a significant change in bar length also needs a change in stem length.

    So far, I've been going wider bar with shorter stem for trails riding. I have some spots where a 750mm bar gets pretty tight between the trees...

    "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
    No Stranger to danger....
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    Anything under 760 is a short bar
    Dont ever let the truth get in the way of a funny story....

  6. #6
    The need for singlespeed
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    With a narrow Q-factor, more of your pedaling power is transfered to the rear wheel and less to the roll axis of the bike. You don't need as much leverage to counter that roll and you can get away with narrower bars. That's my theory anyway. I run roadie cranks and 630mm bars to good effect on my SS MTB.

  7. #7
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    I have just found the narrower bar more intuitive--the bike seems to go where I look a lot better. Don't seem to have to consciously steer as much. When I am on the rocks, it feels like the center of gravity has dropped back down to my butt and pedals and not so much pushing and twisting at the bar... or maybe that's what my body was used to for the last 15 years of MTB before I got in to the SS thing. Be interesting to hear others' experiences.

  8. #8
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    I use wide bars on my bikes (710 niner RDO) every time i use narrower bars I have shoulder/neck problems, I am 6'4" 185LB so I am not a small person. If I were smaller I would be using narrower bars because I do like the handling!

  9. #9
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    I'm out in the wide open trails of the West, so no tree problems. I used to run 800mm bars, which I thought was great after the 630's I had been on for years. Then last year, I decided to try 710's (Niner). It definitely felt better, as it was quicker steering and less like steering a bus. For me, ~700mm is the sweetspot.

    If I did go to a narrower bar, I'd definitely want some bar ends to gain some of the leverage back.

  10. #10
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    I'm sure you big guys with a broad wing span make good use of a wider bar. I have a bad shoulder and neck issues as well, so that may be a factor as a ride a little more with the narrower bar set up.

  11. #11
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    Throw some bar ends on, and that 600mm won't seem limiting at all. I like them quite a bit for the conditions in NJ.

  12. #12
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    5'6" w/46 inch chest also, weightlifting etc clyde of course, I find anything narrower than 680 or so suffocating at best and handling suffers as well. We have some tight tree tails under scrub oak canopy and the 710s handle it great, on both SS and Rip9.

  13. #13
    undercover brother
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    I went from 640, to 680, to 720 and theres no looking back. I agree, you should ride what works best for you and your trails. But the leverage and control I have gained from the wider bars far out weighs the benefits of scraping my forarms on trees.

  14. #14
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    4 years ago, I had 660's. I then upgraded to 710s on my Mojo HD and 685s on my 29er SS. This winter I bumped up to 800s on my HD and put the 710s on my 29er. The 800s are now 780s, but I liked the 800s alot. It all takes a few hours to get used to, but when I tried my wife's nomad last week with 710s I though wow these are hard to control the front end with. Unless I really had a lot of narrow spaces in my area, I'll run 740-800 on all of my bikes.

  15. #15
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    I went wide last fall (from 600 to 710) and it was the best thing i could have done for my SS addiction. I really do feel more in control of the bike and you get used to eyeing what you can fly through and what might take a little more "finesse". I could not go back. I even moved my son and wife over to wider bars this spring and they seem to really like them.

    I do still occasionally catch a tree when I am being lazy to no fault of the bars.

    EDIT to SAY: If my trails warranted narrow bars i would trim mine down a little more. no reason to make putting knuckles to trees part of your everyday riding.
    Last edited by Zippy29er; 04-26-2013 at 10:51 AM.
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  16. #16
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    Someone mentioned to me that a lot of the European xc pros seem to rock narrow bars (and high attack angles).

    I went from 620 to 680 on my old hardtail 29er and I initially liked the wider bars (good for breathing) but then found I would be making more corrections to the steering angle, not to mention it being a ***** in the narrow woods I ride. Same for the 660 bars on my rigid SS 29er.

    I am installing a pair of 610 flat bars on my new 29er, which came stock with 670mm risers, I don't particularly care for. So curious to see how the narrow bars affect leverage and whatnot.

  17. #17
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    I think "corrections" is a good word for what I was noticing. Seemed like I need a lot more conscious input with the wide bar. "Turn the bar here some... this way some... elbow up more..." I really liked the wide bar when I got bogged down on rocky terrain and had to fight the rocks and the bike, and for tough technical climbing. But when I went back to the narrower bar, the bike felt lighter turning and I seemed to carry more smooth speed in twisting terrain.

  18. #18
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    I just replaced my easton haven cArbon bar(711mm) with a wider easton havoc cArbon bat (750mm). I am loving it, because I am more stable riding my bike both downhill and uphill. However I have some problems when I'm riding narrow single track, because the easton havoc carbon hitting the tree.

    Personally I won't use narrower than 740mm.

  19. #19
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    I'm not real sure how wide my bars are. I've noticed that they fit pretty tight between some trees around here, and I've also seen a self proclaimed down hill guy (there aren't any "down hills" around here, where do you ride?) nearly cut himself in half on his bars as they caught those trees and the bike stopped. However wide my bars are, they feel fine to me, and they fit between the trees on some of the local trails, so I'm good with them. I don't think I've ever found myself wishing they were wider. But then I've been accused of being old school too.

  20. #20
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    OK, thought I would write and update. I had a Niner Carbon Fork installed on my rigid Solo-One SE along with a Synchros 700mm (27.5") low riser bar. I also shortened the stem from 90-80mm. Even though I only rode 2 hours last evening, I was sold. The shorter stem made all the difference. We have had a lot of rain here in the past several days, and I really enjoyed the extra wide triangle created between the saddle and the handle bars--it made for effortless balance while sliding around and off of rocks. The wide carbon bar also helped dampen the ride, and the fork was spectacular. The new balance and control was amazing--so much so that the accuracy of going through tight, rocky, singletrack with close trees will actually be better. Think I am sold on the wide bar for SS--but I still don't think I'll feel the need for that on the geared, suspension forked bike.

  21. #21
    Eli Broccoli
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    I'm about 6 feet tall and I have found my sweet spot between 680 and 700. Nice balance of leverage and stupid wide bar. I had a 750 and it was a hassle to get through doors with the 29" wheels!

  22. #22
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    I find 750mm great in climbing and downhill climbs.

  23. #23
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    SS Rigid Surly Karate Monkey = No Rise Stem and 585mm Flat Bars

    2x10 Full Giant Trance = Riser Stem and 710mm Riser Bars

    Different feels for different thrills. Though I do enjoy hauling through tight and twisty's with no fear of involving myself in High Speed Tree Punching (not a fun sport) with the 585's

  24. #24
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    Forgot to mention I've also got a Jones Loop bar, which is 660mm. It is adequate and the sweep makes for a different feel when standing and hammering (but that is a different topic for another thread). I still like the 710mm better.

  25. #25
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    780 on one of my bikes, 680 on the other. Is the 780 too wide? Yep. Is it awesome being that wide? Yep. With wide bars you jut have to learn to wheelie between tight trees. I think wide bars are fun.
    Mountain bikers who don't road ride have no legs...
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