Handlebar width? New 29er- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Handlebar width? New 29er

    Hi guys, I'm new to the 29er I just built (2018 XL Custom Rocky Mountain Instinct). Its an incredible bike (Fox 36 grip2, DPX2, DT 240 hubs/Carbon rims and X01 build). Coming from my 2011 Jekyll this thing is FREAKY fast, noticeably more so than my buddies XX1 Pivot 429.

    So I'm dealing with all the new speed and wondering how I can help make things easier. I'm 6-4, lean and narrow shoulders. I have 800mm RF Next r 35mm riser bars. I love the bars etc but I wonder what impact dropping down to 780 or 785 would do? I'm new and crappy rider so I'm still getting used to leaning more into the bike on the berms and stuff like that. Wondering if the narrower bars would make that kind of stuff more natural or not. I hate to cut these things down, they aint cheap but I'm a bit ignorant to this part of the setup.

    FWIW I don't ride a ton of gnar on a daily basis. Trying to work on jumping the jumplines and flow trails. Some chunk but its not constant or racing style.

    Any advice or pros and cons?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by svinyard View Post
    I wonder what impact dropping down to 780 or 785 would do?
    Move your grips inward by 20mm and find out?

  3. #3
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    Good idea but my grips have molded ends on them. Maybe I just get some that dont

  4. #4
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    We're in an entirely new world.

    10 years ago, my wife was riding 22" wide bars and I was on 26" bars.

    Today, her's avg about 30" and mine 32".

    My suggestion is to start as wide as you're able and cut them down incrementally to fit your size and pleasure.

    Her new hardtail has the bars cut to 740mm. She likes this width. Her other bikes are at 750mm and 760mm.

    Handlebar width?  New 29er-vzuzwt9orh-5%25qwlrynava.jpg

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by svinyard View Post
    Hi guys, I'm new to the 29er I just built (2018 XL Custom Rocky Mountain Instinct). Its an incredible bike (Fox 36 grip2, DPX2, DT 240 hubs/Carbon rims and X01 build). Coming from my 2011 Jekyll this thing is FREAKY fast, noticeably more so than my buddies XX1 Pivot 429.

    So I'm dealing with all the new speed and wondering how I can help make things easier. I'm 6-4, lean and narrow shoulders. I have 800mm RF Next r 35mm riser bars. I love the bars etc but I wonder what impact dropping down to 780 or 785 would do? I'm new and crappy rider so I'm still getting used to leaning more into the bike on the berms and stuff like that. Wondering if the narrower bars would make that kind of stuff more natural or not. I hate to cut these things down, they aint cheap but I'm a bit ignorant to this part of the setup.

    FWIW I don't ride a ton of gnar on a daily basis. Trying to work on jumping the jumplines and flow trails. Some chunk but its not constant or racing style.

    Any advice or pros and cons?

    Thanks!
    from 800 down to 780...you are talking 1cm on each side...you likely have that much room on your current grips to shift your hands in-out 1cm. Try it. What difference does it make?
    Riding: '91 Carbon Epic Stumpjumper w/1" Slicks and a Rack on the Back

  6. #6
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    I recently went from 720 to 780 bars. I'm 6-8, quite broad shouldered. I did it after riding a demo bike with wider bars and found it easier to control on loose rocks, gravel, etc. Unless you're getting shoulder pains and/or arm pains, I don't know why you'd want to go narrower? Keep them as they are.

  7. #7
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    I'd say that's a good plan, will definitely make life easier. I'm 6'2" with much longer arms that I should and I love how 800mm feels, but they don't work for me in our tight trees, I much prefer 780mm, they just give that bit more clearance, manage to ride 770mm on my rigid and have gone as narrow as 760mm, but wouldn't go any narrower. For guys our height, I'd say 760-800mm is about right, but you can go too wide, I look at Isabeau Coudorier in the EWS and wonder WTF she runs such wide bars, they have her "reaching" to hold them, think if she cut them down 20-30mm she'd get better control, FYI, she's only like 5'2".

    Quote Originally Posted by svinyard View Post
    Good idea but my grips have molded ends on them. Maybe I just get some that dont
    One day your life will flash before your eyes, will it be worth watching??

  8. #8
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    6'-2.5" with average width shoulders here. Over the past four years I have gone from 740mm bars up to 800mm bars and back down to 760mm as my "just right" width. There is no exact formula for selecting bar width. You just need to try it till you like it. get a cheap pair of grips you can cut the ends off and adjust the cockpit width until you find the perfect size.

  9. #9
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    Yeah, there's no right or proper length. It depends on the type of riding and your preferences for that type of riding. It seems to me that over the years there's been greater emphasis on descending and gnarlier descending. Riders have been happy to make minor compromises in flat speed, climbing, and tight maneuvering for better descending bikes. Bikes have evolved to be longer, lower, slacker, have more travel, and also have longer bars as a result. If you're doing XC or trail riding on tight trails, shorter bars may be more optimum.
    Do the math.

  10. #10
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    What bar length was previous bike and how long have you ridden with these bars? With any new bike, there's lots of things going on that are different from previous. Unless you're seeing an obvious need to shorten them I would keep riding and let yourself get used to the new bars and new bike geo. As stated above, you can experiment with different hand positions by moving grips, controls and hands inward before cutting anything.

    For those of us who have been at this awhile...it's comical how narrow bars used to be! Every time I get a new bike I allow myself a few rides to get used to them. Latest bike came with 800's which I really liked but were a problem in the tight stuff I ride. Being 6'4" I needed to find bars with more rise anyway and ended up with 760 mm Renthal Fatbars (40mm rise). Even those are 50mm+ wider than my last bike but I love them.
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  11. #11
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    For me it's more leverage on chunkier stuff, more so at slower speeds than fast and on my rigid to keep control without suspension. As you said, it's all a compromise, so pick what you like riding most and use what suits that, just know that most likely in another area it won't be "optimal".

    Quote Originally Posted by Lone Rager View Post
    Yeah, there's no right or proper length. It depends on the type of riding and your preferences for that type of riding. It seems to me that over the years there's been greater emphasis on descending and gnarlier descending. Riders have been happy to make minor compromises in flat speed, climbing, and tight maneuvering for better descending bikes. Bikes have evolved to be longer, lower, slacker, have more travel, and also have longer bars as a result. If you're doing XC or trail riding on tight trails, shorter bars may be more optimum.
    One day your life will flash before your eyes, will it be worth watching??

  12. #12
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    I ride 680's and people look at me like I have an 8 track player in my car. I've ridden wider bars but didn't feel any advantage if not a little sluggish. It's all personal feel and preference.
    Small ring in front makes it easier. Small ring in back makes it harder. That blows my mind.

  13. #13
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    First....nice bike! Lock-on grips are not that expensive and make experimenting with bar width a whole lot easier. IMHO, before cutting something that can not be put back, you want to ride more than just a short time and distance with what you think might be the ideal length. Also try a couple different trails. Fast, flowy trails will have you postured on the bike in an entirely different manner than steep and technical trails. After nearly 30 years of mountain biking, still amazed by how just moving grips in 10mm each side, can have such a noticeable change in overall feel of the bike. Sometimes with a new bike, after experimenting with shorter lengths, you end up finding out that the original length is what actually feels best and was more a matter of just getting used to something different. Have been down that road.
    Last edited by BrianU; 08-20-2018 at 01:35 PM. Reason: typo

  14. #14
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    If you're not clipping them in tight spots, there's little to be gained by going narrower.

  15. #15
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    One of my favorite local trials has some narrow parts were 760 slide through but I need to zigzag wider bars. I prefer 780.

  16. #16
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    Wow thanks everyone. I'm coming off some narrow bars but after riding these 800's some more, they feel good and I don't think my arms are in goofy positions (more so than normal for me). No clipping anything yet so I think I'll rock them for a while longer. Cheers!

  17. #17
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    I'm 6'5" and 800mm works really well for me. Personally, I'm not cutting my bars for a few narrow spots on the trails. I honestly think intentional tree gates are a dumb trail feature.

  18. #18
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    For those that don't like the handling of the wider bars, isn't stem length a factor. Going wider may require shorter stem?

  19. #19
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    Shorter stem steers quicker and wider bars add leverage and stability. They go together like fish and chips.
    Formerly Travis Bickle

    Team Robot. "modulation is code for “I suck at brake control.” Here’s a free tip: get better."

  20. #20
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    There is no need to cut any bar.
    Just do your testing, place your levers a bit more inside every 10 days
    when you feel you went too short
    you found your proper size
    now you can cut.
    Mine is 620 and a bunch of idiots think i am the idiot.
    Let them talk.
    If it is comfortable and the trails are wide enough
    Bingo !

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