What does the rise on a handlebar translate to on the trail?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    New question here. What does the rise on a handlebar translate to on the trail?

    Guys, I just got a Sunline V1 OS Handlebar 31.8/38mm/711mm for what I think was a great deal on Chainlove ($34.99). Anyways, that got me thinking, because I have been looking at alot of bars and was wondering, how does the rise on the bars affect your ride? I am new to MB'ing and was seriously wondering about this. Any incite would be nice. Just trying to understand all aspects of MB'ing one part at a time.

    Thanks.

    Don't know if it matters but I have a Scott Aspect 55. Localy trails consist of XC and AM here in El Paso, TX.

  2. #2
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    Sorry guys for posting thread twice.

  3. #3
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    A simplified view, as there are many factors that go into getting the most from your bike:

    There are three main points of contact between the rider and the bike. The pedals, the grips (on the handlebar), and the saddle. The first part of the fit that should be worked out is the relationship between the pedals and the saddle for both height and fore/aft adjustments. Then, the level of the saddle. Once that is worked out, then the relationship to the grips is next.

    The rise is one of the ways you can get the position of the grips to end up where you want them with regards to height.

    Many different factors can come into play with regard to making the fit work for you and sometimes small changes can make a signicant difference, both good and bad. I generally recommend making one change at a time so that if changes have negative results, you'll know which change it is that needs refinement.

  4. #4
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    Good advice jeff.
    The grip position is a combination of bar rise and width, and stem length and rise. Your hands or body position really doesn't care what combo you use, as long as it's comfy, and the same grip position can be had whether you have a riser bar or straight bar, it just depends on the stem you pair it with.
    As far as handling, the wider the bars, or longer the stem, the slower the steering.
    Stems don't offer any adjustment, except if it has rise you can flip it, but riser bars offer some because you can rotate them. The more rise the bars have, the more adjustment you can make. Sweep in the bars may interfere with rotating the bars if it's not comfy to do so, so the more sweep, the more it may interfere.
    The longer or lower the stem, or the more the bars are wider than your shoulders, or bars with less rise will increase your reach, and make you lower on the bike. The combo you end up with really depends on you and the terrain and way you like to ride.
    It may seem confusing, especially the way I tried to explained it, but I will add that when your new to riding, you'll prolly wanna be more upright to see down the trail more and to feel more balanced, ready and comfy, but as you get into better bike shape, and travel faster, you'll wanna slow down steering and be lower.
    The new bars you describe are pretty wide, wider than alot would like, but move the controls inboard and try it for a while before you decide on where and if you wanna cut 'em.
    Last edited by theMeat; 10-25-2011 at 05:36 AM.
    Round and round we go

  5. #5
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    To your point on the effect of riser bars vs flat bars: Riser bars are one way to raise your grips, thus raising your upper body to a more upright position. The other way to raise the grips is to use a stem with a greater angle of rise.

    For most mtb, a good place to start when fitting your cockpit is to have the grips about level with your seat. As jeffj said, you start your cockpit fitting by getting the seat positioned.

    If you're not aware, a good rule of thumb for determining seat height is to set it so your leg is straight when your heel is on the pedal and the pedal is at the 6 o'clock position. When your move the ball of your foot to the pedal, your knee will be slightly bent. This is optimal for power and knee friendliness. Tweak to suit. For technical terrain and downhill, lowering your saddle will lower your center of gravity and get the saddle out of your way as you move around for balance.

    As with most things bike, individual needs and preferences are what matters. If you experiment and try new things you will discover what works best for you. That being said, I believe there is general agreement that setting your grips to be level with your seat is a good place to start.
    Use it, use it, use it while you still have it.

  6. #6
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    Spot on advice Gasp4air, and a much better job of explaing than I did, except that a longer stem with the same amount of rise, althou not lower, will effectively lower riding position also.
    Maybe it's better to keep it simple but your body position for up/down hill, amount of weight over the front wheel for turning traction, and speed of steering will also determine what combo works other than just comfort.
    Round and round we go

  7. #7
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    Thanks. Simple is as simple does - or some such Forest Gumpism. I left out a lot that you and jeffj covered -all good stuff
    Use it, use it, use it while you still have it.

  8. #8
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    Nice info in here. Didn't know so much of these stuff in here being a newbie too.
    Thanks to OP for asking and to you guys who answered

    Keep it going!

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffj View Post
    A simplified view, as there are many factors that go into getting the most from your bike:

    There are three main points of contact between the rider and the bike. The pedals, the grips (on the handlebar), and the saddle. The first part of the fit that should be worked out is the relationship between the pedals and the saddle for both height and fore/aft adjustments. Then, the level of the saddle. Once that is worked out, then the relationship to the grips is next.

    The rise is one of the ways you can get the position of the grips to end up where you want them with regards to height.

    Many different factors can come into play with regard to making the fit work for you and sometimes small changes can make a signicant difference, both good and bad. I generally recommend making one change at a time so that if changes have negative results, you'll know which change it is that needs refinement.
    Tried to +rep you, but I guess I have too recently. Oh well.

    I'd add that on a mountain bike that's already set up well for its rider, unless the handlebars are at the bottom of their spacer stack, with a -17 degree stem, it's possible to switch to riser bars and adjust the spacers and stem to keep the grips in the same place. This may require replacing the stem.

    Personally, I don't think that handlebars are much of an upgrade for a rider who already likes his. More expensive ones can be lighter. So can most mountain bikers, so BFD.

    For a rider with a stem +17 stem on top of 30mm of spacers, riser bars can sometimes be a really big deal. Getting the right fit is huge. Fans of risers sometimes point out that they usually have a greater sweep angle than flat bars too. I don't know why this should be true of riser bars, but it seems to be a general trend, if you look at a bunch of product specs. Some people are more comfortable on bars with more sweep. (Others aren't. So this isn't something to blindly try, at least unless you consider the experiment worth whatever loss you'll take buying and selling different handlebars.)
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  10. #10
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    Great post from everyone. I'm just used to the look and like the comfort of the riser bar.

  11. #11
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    Hope

    Quote Originally Posted by theMeat View Post
    Good advice jeff.
    The grip position is a combination of bar rise and width, and stem length and rise. Your hands or body position really doesn't care what combo you use, as long as it's comfy, and the same grip position can be had whether you have a riser bar or straight bar, it just depends on the stem you pair it with.
    As far as handling, the wider the bars, or longer the stem, the slower the steering.
    Stems don't offer any adjustment, except if it has rise you can flip it, but riser bars offer some because you can rotate them. The more rise the bars have, the more adjustment you can make. Sweep in the bars may interfere with rotating the bars if it's not comfy to do so, so the more sweep, the more it may interfere.
    The longer or lower the stem, or the more the bars are wider than your shoulders, or bars with less rise will increase your reach, and make you lower on the bike. The combo you end up with really depends on you and the terrain and way you like to ride.
    It may seem confusing, especially the way I tried to explained it, but I will add that when your new to riding, you'll prolly wanna be more upright to see down the trail more and to feel more balanced, ready and comfy, but as you get into better bike shape, and travel faster, you'll wanna slow down steering and be lower.
    The new bars you describe are pretty wide, wider than alot would like, but move the controls inboard and try it for a while before you decide on where and if you wanna cut 'em.
    Thanks for the advice "jeffj" and "theMeat". I appreciate the feedback.
    The bars I purchased are going to be wider than the stock ones on my Aspect 55 but is it not possible to cut them down a little narrower? Another reason why I decided to upgrade my bars, other than the fact that i got a better bar at a great price, was that when I would stop riding my hands would feel numb and also I do feel like I am too forward on my bike.
    "theMeat", as to your advice on not cutting the bars just yet, great advice. I also bought a Sunline V1 AM stem 31.8/50mm at a great price on Chainlove. This si about half the length of my old stem, so we'll see how it goes.
    My bars are still being shipped, so I will keep you guys posted as soon as I put them all together and ride a while.
    Once again thanks for all the advice and suggestions.

    - ArtVar

  12. #12
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    Thanx for the thanx, nice is nice.
    Don't know what you have now, but you might wanna try grips that're a little thicker, dual density, lock-on like ODI Rogue for hand comfort also. Not only are they bigger so they spread out the contact point a bit, but soft enough, and grippy enough that holding on to them is easier and you'll get less arm pump and more comfort all around. Like Jeff said, 3 points of contact, pedals, saddle and grips, and those are the best place to spend on upgrades IMO.
    Round and round we go

  13. #13
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    Almost all handlebars can be cut narrower. Some carbon bars are butted in a way that doesn't allow it, but I think that's rare.

    I recommend sliding your grips and controls in and out on the bars and really settling on a position before you cut. There's not much negative consequence to having a little bar handlebar hanging out the sides of the grips for a while.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

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