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  1. #1
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    handlebar width for racing

    Looking for some advice on bar width for a racing set up. My bike currently has a bar that's around 26 but I also use ergon grips with the small bar ends and they are 29" at the outside of the bar ends. I have been hooking little trees a lot and today it caused a big crash complete with bent wheel and loss of lots of skin. I use the grips because of hand numbness but this current set up wont work for our race courses. Any advice?

  2. #2
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    It seems the current trend is wider bars, under the theory that it increases control. But, for what it's worth, I went back to the old "as wide as your shoulders" standard and feel more comfortable on the bike and a touch more control (probably due to - what feels to me - more natural positioning).

  3. #3
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    I switched a few months ago from 600MM bars to 660ish bars and I am liking the wider bars much better. ESI Grips did wonders for my hands.

    Many would not say 660 bars are wide, but compared to what I was running, they are.
    Thanks to www.weavercycleworks.com for my awesome bike frames!

  4. #4
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    You will probably make a habit of clipping trees until you re learn where the ends of your bars are.

    I used to ride narrow bars, and now I am racing XC on 700s and AM on 785s. I don't even hit trees with the 785s anymore. It took a few weeks to get accustomed...

    The wide bars give you a nice stable feeling on the bike when plowing the descents.

    I do understand riding skinny trail. Most races around here aren't that tight, but I can think of a couple courses off the top of my head where a 730mm bar would be a tight squeeze.

    Any way you can keep the wide bars, and just swap narrower bars for tight courses?
    Raised in a Chicken-Coop by Chickens

  5. #5
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    I cut down the bars on my race bike from about 68cm to 63cm/25"+-. The spring series around here had some really narrow trails and the passing spots were tight, I am happier with the narrower bars, mostly for passing. My old race bike from '91 has stock 56cm/22" ti kona bars and I still race it once in a while, so I'm used to narrow bars, everybody used narrow bars back then and a lot of guys were FAST with them.
    If anyone simply cannot deal with narrow bars, never consider racing cyclocross!; 47cm/18" wide bars.

  6. #6
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    Anytime your bars or bar-ends stick out past your hands you increase the odds of clipping something, just due to proprioception.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by strader View Post
    Anytime your bars or bar-ends stick out past your hands you increase the odds of clipping something, just due to proprioception.
    The trees are not part of your body so it is not really due to proprioception (which is the perception of neighboring part of your body). It is often due to the fact that people look at the tree instead of where they are going.
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  8. #8
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    Proprioception tells you where your hands are, your peripheral vision tells you where the tree is, and your brain works out the difference between the two. Eventually, after you crash into enough trees, your brain will learn to compensate for the additional width added by the bar ends. Target fixation is a different issue, i.e. riding right into a tree because you are STARING RIGHT AT IT, versus clipping a tree you notice in your peripheral vision when think you have enough clearance. I assumed from the OP that it was the later case.

  9. #9
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    The biggest problem I have is spots where there is really only 30-32" between trees. There were multiple spots like that in the last course. When your bars ends are 29" you don't have much play, especially when its rocky/rooty in between the trees. Seems lots of fellow racers are not going wider than 660mm. Maybe I will get rid of the bar ends or cut down my bars.

  10. #10
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    700mm Enve flatbar on my XC bike.

  11. #11
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    I have tried all sorts of bars. Im 6'2 and riding 23inch bar. People like to make comments about how narrow my bars are.....but when I am flying through tight trees, etc, there slowing down.

    I also run 110 stem on XL frame so I stretched out perfectly.

  12. #12
    Desert RAT
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    I run 740mm 3T Extendo and love em!

  13. #13
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    I am running a 600mm flat bar on my XC bike...old school. I prefer it for singletrack. I tried wider bars, but it was not for me (I do not have very wide shoulders, though.) I do have a 680 bar on the fat bike-very pleased with that.

  14. #14
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    I still use old Grab On grips on all my mtbs, my hands are not small and I like the size, and they're easy to hang onto in all conditions. I have the same set on my old ti bike from about '90, they hold up well. The outer ends are a bit larger, and are comfy to hold onto from the ends while climbing (like a bar end), which helps with the hand-numbness. They're easy to find nos on ebay.

  15. #15
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    I've run 2 setups. 740 mm on 75 mm stem. 730 mm on a 90 mm stem. 800 mm was too wide for both.

    The shorter the stem, the better a wide bar feels.
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  16. #16
    DLd
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    Running 630mm on the XC bike, 680mm on my AM/FR bike. I just don't feel like I lack any control from the narrower bars. I never feel like "Oh, I'm just not strong enough to make this turn, if I only had more leverage." But maybe that's because I haven't tried much wider bars.
    Last edited by DLd; 08-13-2013 at 09:50 AM.
    "Great things are not accomplished by those who yield to trends and fads and popular opinion."-Jack Kerouac

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