Can bar width offer better descending?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Can bar width offer better descending?

    Wondering if I should cut my 690mm carbon bars on a small FS frame. I came from 610mm flat bar on a hardtail...and that setup was quite twitchy. Thoughts?
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  2. #2
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    This a decision that can be made thinking of the bar and stem as parts of a right triangle. The invisible hypotenuse is the important measurement in the system.

    Let's say your bar is perfectly flat. No sweep. You have a 100mm stem. 100sq + 310sq= 325.7sq. So The important measurement for you here is 326mm. If that feels twitchy but you want to keep the stem for reach purposes, then a bar width increase is in order.

    If your top tube is longer on your new bike, the changes will be different. Shorter stem, even longer bar. You obviously have to account for bar sweep when you are making these measurements, too. Point is this; if you look at that system with even the slightest eye on the numbers, you can make an informed decision about the fit and not have to guess about it.
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  3. #3
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    To answer the question in the subject line of your OP...it depends.
    "Bikes aren't fast--people are fast. Bikes are overpriced. It's an important distinction."---BikeSnob NYC

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by GrantB
    This a decision that can be made thinking of the bar and stem as parts of a right triangle. The invisible hypotenuse is the important measurement in the system.

    Let's say your bar is perfectly flat. No sweep. You have a 100mm stem. 100sq + 310sq= 325.7sq. So The important measurement for you here is 326mm. If that feels twitchy but you want to keep the stem for reach purposes, then a bar width increase is in order.

    If your top tube is longer on your new bike, the changes will be different. Shorter stem, even longer bar. You obviously have to account for bar sweep when you are making these measurements, too. Point is this; if you look at that system with even the slightest eye on the numbers, you can make an informed decision about the fit and not have to guess about it.
    Can you break that down more simpler terms? I hate math....
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  5. #5
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    Besides slowing down the feel of the steering, the big advantage or bar width is a question of leverage. Wider bars give you more leverage, and this leverage makes it easier to counter the rocks, ruts, etc that are trying to deflect your wheel in some other direction and makes it easier for you to point the wheel where you want it to go.

    The chunkier the trail the more this helps. Descending on smooth trails its hard to notice any significant difference. But the first time I rode a heavily rutted, rocky, fast downhill section after switching from 680mm to 760mm bars I was amazed how I was able to stay pointed exactly where I wanted not matter if I was riding halfway in a rut or bouncing off big rocks.

  6. #6
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    You could try moving your controls and grips inward to test out the feel before you cut things. I personally love wide bars, they will help rid a bike of the twitchy feeling. For all that math stuff, it comes down to when your hands are wider, they need to move more to turn the wheel the same amount. You can try it by just picking up the front wheel and gripping the bar in different places while you turn the bars. Wide bars rock.
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  7. #7
    C__Corax
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    wide bars save lives!

  8. #8
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    Thanks all for your "real world" replies. I'm gonna try it first, then decide whether to cut or not. And GrantB.......
    "This is a male-dominated forum... there will be lots of Testosterone sword-shaming here" ~ Kenfucius

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