Advantages / disadvantages to different bar widths?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Advantages / disadvantages to different bar widths?

    So are there any inherent advantages (or disadvantages) to the different bar widths? I just bough my first real bike (Diamondback Sync'r) and the bars on it feel pretty wide (they're Race Face Respond at 785mm). I'm considering cutting them down a little bit, but wanted to hear some opinions before doing anything irreversible! Besides the obvious answer of it being a personal preference (or going so wide you can't fit through narrow sections) what are some pros / cons of different widths - if there even are any?

  2. #2
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    If you can, move the grips in and ride it with a narrower grip and see how you like it. Wide bars allow you a little more torque which is useful when climbing, especially when on a single speed which wide bars are popular. Disadvantage is catching trees. That sucks...I know from experience...lol
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  3. #3
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    Wider bars tend to lend more stability, at least it feels that way. They can stretch you out a bit further forward too, depending on stem length, so you could use them to fine-tune reach. I find that on climbs, wider bars open my chest up a bit and prevent me from slumping and messing up my breathing. The only negative is watching for trees .
    *Not a real mountain biker

  4. #4
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    I clip trees all the time, so continue to run a super-short bar. I suppose a shorter bar reduces a bit of weight too, but that's marginal.

  5. #5
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    Moving the grips in before cutting is great advise. Can't go back once you cut.

    Also goes with size. If you're tall or broad chested, wide bars work. Hitting stuff is the big disadvantage of wide bars.

    It seems that about 10-15 years ago, it was all about long stems and narrow bars. They worked, just a different bike setup. the bike companies have to sell something new. Just glad they're not pushing the bar-ends like they used to.

  6. #6
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    Like everyone is saying..re-position every slightly in and ride it and see how it feels and continue to do this until you feel it comfortable. Then you can consider cutting the bar. Once you cut it, there is no going back so this should be your last step.

    I was having issues with my bar being slightly a bit too wide. I felt like my arms were being spread apart and I just couldn't find a good way go through tree gates without coming too close for comfort. I ended up cutting about 1/2 inch on each side and it works very well for me.
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  7. #7
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    Easy enough, thanks guys!! Figured it was mostly going to just be a preference type of thing, but figured the smart move was asking before making some dumb rookie mistake!

  8. #8
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    Cool-blue Rhythm

    Wider bars can help you breathe, hands farther apart opens up your chest.

    Mine are 710 mm wide because that's what fits me,, and I ride between tree's with lots of grip gouges on them..

    Wider bars can help you overcome the gyroscopic effect of wagon wheels.
    I had 740's on my 29er,,
    no need with my lighter wheels on my 27.5
    “I seek only the Flow”,
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  9. #9
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    Try them full width for 2 or 3 rides too, you might be surprised. Wider bars give more control in the rough stuff IME.

  10. #10
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    Cool-blue Rhythm

    IMO ,,more control in the rough stuff,,, on my 29er yeah they did and I needed them.

    On my 27.5 all they did was slow me down, slow my steering down,, slow me down through the tree's,,alot...
    I put my wide bars on this bike three different times, switching back and forth,,
    they made my bike (27.5) handle like a pig,, It was me I'm sure... but still..
    “I seek only the Flow”,
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  11. #11
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    785 is wide...DH wide.

    Like everyone else mentioned...move them in...then ride a bit. Measure how much you move them in. This way you'll have a point of reference.

    I like the wide bar and short stem for "shredding". I use a 710mm bar on my 29 and 750mm on my 26.

  12. #12
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    DH, and now Enduro, are pretty cutting edge when it comes to bike setup. There is a reason why wider bars (750-800mm) bars and shorter stems are becoming more and more popular - better handling, better stability, better breathing, better climbing, better fun.
    We don't ride to add days to our life, we ride to add life to the days we have left here.

  13. #13
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    I'm not sure I buy the "better breathing" piece. That suggests that my narrower bars are impeding my breathing, and they are not.

    I suppose there's a lower limit, where your bars are so narrow that your arms are literally pressed against either side of your ribs, but I can't imagine anyone riding like that - would be something like 100mm wide.

  14. #14
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    Other downsides not yet mentioned (besides tree clipping):

    Elbow strain. Opens chest but adds load to joints. Can show up on climbs and jumps/drops esp off camber landings. Not fatal, more like tweak, but would rather avoid it (under extended riding it cd be a prob).

    Hand/finger/thumb numbness. Placing hands further out on bars puts pressure in new places. I find numbness when I switch to 760 from 720. It does seem to dissipate with a few rides however.

    Weight is approx 6g per 20mm. So from 800 to 720 it can add up. Yes I'm active on the Weight Weenies forum too

    I love wide for DH and features but for sketchy tech, epic all day and straight XC ime they're less useful. The flip side of stable is slower less precise steering.

    Oh one other thing: they bump and scrape against the rear window of my van on the Kuat...and that's at 760. 800s wdnt fit at all, had to move bike to outer rail.
    Last edited by BikeIntelligencer; 06-05-2015 at 09:30 AM. Reason: Typo
    All bike, all the time

  15. #15
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    I prefer a wider bar shorter stem setup... but I ride a SS fulltime and am exploding out of the saddle a lot. That extra width is very helpful when climbing. I will say though that 785 is a very wide bar and I'm not sure even I would like that. My current bar is around 710 and I find that perfect.

    Do you have a local co-op? Head on down and join them because they will probably have a shorter bar in there used box. You could borrow it for a week to see how you like the change before settling on a length. Always cut your bar shorter than you think you want. You can always cut more off, but can never add once it's gone.

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