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Thread: Handlebar width

  1. #1
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    Handlebar width

    So what width y'all running? I've decided it's time to replace the stock 24.5" on my stumpy FSR with something wider. Me, 5'4", techhy XC rider, not that any of that makes a difference. I know I can always cut them down.

    I need new grips while I'm at it, what do y'all like?

    Cheer
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  2. #2
    Dudette
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    I'm also 5'4" and am running 725mm Atlas bars on my Trance 29er. I often find myself placing my hands way out to the ends of my grips, too, so it doesn't feel too wide to me. Riding with narrower bars feels weird now and twitchy. For grips I like Odi Ruffians and Lizard Skins Peatey.
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by formica View Post
    I need new grips while I'm at it, what do y'all like?
    I like the ODI Rogues. I had the the Ruffians but always felt like I needed padded gloves with them, the Rogues are a little thicker and I don't have problems riding barehanded or non-padded gloves.
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  4. #4
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    I currently have 680 bars on my dual suspension 29er and 710 mm on my hardtail 29er. The 710 are too long, but I've been too lazy to cut them down. I like the 680, which is the longest bars I've run to date. That being said I ride in the desert so don't have to worry about hitting trees.

  5. #5
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    I've got a few ranges all 680mm+
    All my bikes have ESI Chunky grips very good grips

  6. #6
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    I'm 5'2" and running 660 on both FS and HT 29ers.

    The FS came with 680 bars but I cut them to 660. 660 feels good now that I am used to it but had some soreness in the neck coming from the narrow bars I had on my 26er.

    I use the specialized grips that came on the bikes.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by formica View Post
    So what width y'all running? I've decided it's time to replace the stock 24.5" on my stumpy FSR with something wider. Me, 5'4", techhy XC rider, not that any of that makes a difference. I know I can always cut them down.

    I need new grips while I'm at it, what do y'all like?

    Cheer
    Formica
    Hi formica-
    I've been running easton ea70 low riser bars for a very long time, 27" (685mm) for my XC bike, I find them comfortable for my regular XC biking. I prefer a tad longer but, I'll wait til my husband upgrades and I'll take his old stuff. I run 725mm (~28.5") risers for my 6" bike and that's as long as I need for our trails. I tried the superwide ones my husband's bike, it was waaayyy to wide. I went OTB when I used his DH bike this summer (bars got stuck in some tree branches, going high speed.) But they were ridiculous, 800mm. Grips, i use ODI yeti. Altho my fav still yeti hardcore, but too much hassle to remove rubber grips with all of our tinkering.

  8. #8
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    Handlebars are related to stem length as far as fit. If you're gonna go with a wider bar, go with a shorter stem.

    I'm also 5'4"/5'5"ish and I run 750mm bars (29") but I also run a 55mm/50mm stem. I tried running 28" bars with a 70mm stem, but the bike felt very weird with it. Too long of a stem and too narrow handlebars.

    I used to run 25" bars with bar ends and 90mm stem back in the day.
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  9. #9
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    I also was running 24.5 on my old bike and I liked the nimbleness and handling through the tight trails we have here in the north east. My new bike came with very wide bars, too wide for me, so I cut them down to 26.5"/670 mm. It took a few rides, but I've gotten use to them and quite like them now.
    The downside is that I can't go through some spots that I use to go through! My old bike could fit - now I have to take the sally line.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Handlebar width-005-765x1024-.jpg  


  10. #10
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    I am 5'7" with long arms and large hands (size 7/small men's gloves).
    Bars: 680mm on my 26er and 700 on my 29er. Started at 725 and trimmed down after six months riding. I clipped trees twice at 725, but I blame lack of coordination over my bars.
    Grips: Currently Holy Shift Da' Bombs and Giant's lock-on squishy grips.
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  11. #11
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    I must run very narrow bars - I had mine cut down to 600mm on my 26" hardtail. I too ride technical xc and come across a lot of tight sections with trees close together like the photo above. (I'm 5'2).

  12. #12
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    My wife is 5'3" with fairly broad shoulders....she went from a 660mm bar to a 700mm bar and loves it. I shortened the stem from 90mm to 50mm. She has way more confidence/control on the tech-y stuff now.

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    First, thank you, Formica, for starting this thread, since it has been on my mind to do this handlebar update, but had not quite gotten around to it.

    I've been strongly encouraged to go to wider bars, but I had a wreck from clipping the bar end on a demo bike in the past so I don't want to go crazy wide. BUT, having gone to a shorter stem, this seems like a good idea.

    I also need a slightly backswept bar to keep me wrists happy. I've decided to get a new bar (probably an ENVE Carbon), and set it up with the grips at the width of my hands in a normal pushup position, which (I just checked) is the width of my yoga mat (610mm/24").
    Alternately, I just raised my arms shoulder height and bent my elbows at a 90 degree angle. From the outsides of my palms, that is about 730; quite a difference.

    I'll mount the bar without cutting anything down and then try progressively wider grip positions to find the ergonomic sweet spot for bike handling and keeping my lower back happy.
    I'm 5'9", pretty skinny shoulders.

    Also, I just googled around to see what is out there on the Interwebs regarding this topic.
    I came up with a few things from James Wilson (bikejames dot com). I've ordered a few training programs from him and really like the way he approaches training and mtn biking in general.

    Because bar width/stem length and "bike fit" are all part of the same thing, this article seems relevant for general context:
    Value of a Bike Fit for Mountain Biking
    This includes more info on handle-bar width:
    3 common bike set up mistakes that will sabotage your standing climbing


    I'm getting ready to read/listen to the three links at the bottom of the first article.
    We are having a drought-ending (yeah!) rainy day here in Central Texas, I'm starting my 3rd week of retirement, and it is a great day to contemplate bike things, since riding is out for the day.

    Cheers, happy riding and (hopefully) see you on the trail.

  14. #14
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    Im 5ft7/8 and have been running 760mm for ages. Just purchased some carbon bars and am now running at 785mm.... they're perfect. Whenever I ride anything narrower the first thing I comment on is the fact they're too narrow!

  15. #15
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    I did a ride clinic today with pro-racer and mtb instructor Christine Ellicott Hirst. She stressed the importance of wide bars for women, then demonstrated exactly *why* in a series of drills. After that I got to ride along with the great Leigh Donovan. Wide bars (at least 700mm) are where it's at. Now I regret trimming mine.
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  16. #16
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    I'm running an Easton EA90 70mm/90degree stem with an Easton EC70 XC Carbon Riser Bar, Lo Rise, 685mm. It's pretty comfortable - I couldn't imagine going narrower. I'm not sure how much wider I'd go. I clipped my bars between two trees this summer (rider error) and went "ass over teakettle" over the bars. For the record, I'm 5'1" with probably slightly narrower than average shoulder width.

    -laine

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by laine View Post
    I'm running an Easton EA90 70mm/90degree stem with an Easton EC70 XC Carbon Riser Bar, Lo Rise, 685mm. It's pretty comfortable - I couldn't imagine going narrower. I'm not sure how much wider I'd go. I clipped my bars between two trees this summer (rider error) and went "ass over teakettle" over the bars. For the record, I'm 5'1" with probably slightly narrower than average shoulder width.

    -laine
    Laine, I am no expert, but from what I learned today having narrow shoulders or being petite does not preclude wide bars. I wish I had asked about tree clearance- I also trimmed my bars after clipping a tree.
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  18. #18
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    Yeah, I'm not so sure size of person has much to do with it. The gal who really nudged me hard to switch is a little tiny thing.
    Got it all changed out this weekend: I have a loaner 28" bar, 75 MM (vs 90) stem, and the new lockon grips I just happened to win last weekend.
    I'll get to try it some place other than my driveway a little later this week.

  19. #19
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    ride report, 28" ftw! I had one minor oversteering wipeout on some gravel, and the rest was just getting used to it.
    I wish I'd done this a long time ago. It feels better with standing pedaling, switchbacks, and situations that require unwieighting the front of the bike. I've been working on body/bike separation and it seems to be much easier to lean the bike. I have a 20 mile trail ride this weekend, looking forward to it.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by oldbroad View Post
    I also was running 24.5 on my old bike and I liked the nimbleness and handling through the tight trails we have here in the north east. My new bike came with very wide bars, too wide for me, so I cut them down to 26.5"/670 mm. It took a few rides, but I've gotten use to them and quite like them now.
    The downside is that I can't go through some spots that I use to go through! My old bike could fit - now I have to take the sally line.
    You need to try what I call the bar wiggle. Approach as a slight angle and get one grip through, then turn the bar the same direction and quickly straighten after the other grip is past. May not work if the trees are too close together but when done correctly will make you laugh out loud.
    I got some bad ideas in my head.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Travis Bickle View Post
    You need to try what I call the bar wiggle. Approach as a slight angle and get one grip through, then turn the bar the same direction and quickly straighten after the other grip is past. May not work if the trees are too close together but when done correctly will make you laugh out loud.
    That technique does work quite well, especially on the trails where that picture was taken! All the trails start with a set of trees to keep the ATVs out. But those two particular trees are just too tight. They make a V and are growing out of an old rock wall, so you have to ride up a couple of low rocks, squeak through, and down the rocks on the other side. I always got a kick when I made it through clean - swoosh!

  22. #22
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    Handlebar width

    I was just thinking my 710 mm bars were actually too narrow because I keep inching my hands towards the outside edge. Funny how my bars keep getting wider. Better than my butt.
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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by shredchic View Post
    I was just thinking my 710 mm bars were actually too narrow because I keep inching my hands towards the outside edge. Funny how my bars keep getting wider. Better than my butt.
    710mm has felt short for me for a while now. I love my wide bars (750mm) and short stem. Lemme know if you want to check it out on the Mojo HD to see how that feel
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  24. #24
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    My new bike came with 700. I guess I like it.

    I really like Ergon grips.

  25. #25
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    Just don't cut your new wide bars before riding some familiar trails at least a couple of times. I had 700mm and got some 750mm with the intention of cutting them to 720 or 730. At their full span I thought they looked huge on the bike but after going for a do-it-all 2 and a half hour ride I was certain I'd leave them at their full width.

    As far as tree clearance goes, the added control from the extra leverage actually makes clearing tight spots easier - unless you physically can't fit through of course.

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