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  1. #1
    Rollin 29s
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    Wide bars almost killed me at Downieville

    The 780mm wide bars on my new XL Ripmo are definitely a departure from my 600-something Answer ProTaper Carbon bars on my Jet 9. I was used to the width and what I could clear when weaving past and through trees, rocks and trail entry gates and posts.

    The wide bars feel like I have a more stable and wider base, and maybe more control, but it takes a few rides to know where the ends are.

    At Downeyville on Saturday toward the end of my ride along First Divide Trail, I nearly met an early demise.

    Portions of that section traverse a narrow section of trail along a cliff edge 30í to 40í above the river below. The approach to one outside corner involved a short rocky climb up semi-technical terrain that flattened out before the apex of the turn with a cliff drop off to the right and a cliff wall going up on the left. With my seatpost fully extended, I made the climb. I was edging toward the inside of the corner on the same line Iíve ridden before with my narrow bars, and my left grip plowed into a chunk of granite that was sticking out from the wall. That threw my weight toward the edge of the cliff as my handlebars jerked violently toward the wall, and when I corrected, steered right and got the bike back under me, I found my front tire rolling inches from the edge. I slammed on my brakes and did an involuntary nose manual as I saw the river below and my life flash before me. As my rear tire slammed back down on the trail, I put my inside foot down and walked the bike back toward the wall to collect myself.

    Probably not the best kind of trail to acclimate to the new wide bars that seem to be all the rage these days. I canít say Iím thrilled with them, especially given my experience.

    Will I go back to 720 or 740mm? Probably not, unless I find that too much clearance or maneuverability is lost on the tight forested single track trails I ride. Iíll just be much more aware of where the ends of the bars are on trails where the penalty for a mistake is great.

    What are your thoughts on bar width? Will the demand (or trend) for wider and wider bars keep going? What is wide enough?


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  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by isleblue65 View Post
    The 780mm wide bars on my new XL Ripmo are definitely a departure from my 600-something Answer ProTaper Carbon bars on my Jet 9. I was used to the width and what I could clear when weaving past and through trees, rocks and trail entry gates and posts.

    The wide bars feel like I have a more stable and wider base, and maybe more control, but it takes a few rides to know where the ends are.

    At Downeyville on Saturday toward the end of my ride along First Divide Trail, I nearly met an early demise.

    Portions of that section traverse a narrow section of trail along a cliff edge 30í to 40í above the river below. The approach to one outside corner involved a short rocky climb up semi-technical terrain that flattened out before the apex of the turn with a cliff drop off to the right and a cliff wall going up on the left. With my seatpost fully extended, I made the climb. I was edging toward the inside of the corner on the same line Iíve ridden before with my narrow bars, and my left grip plowed into a chunk of granite that was sticking out from the wall. That threw my weight toward the edge of the cliff as my handlebars jerked violently toward the wall, and when I corrected, steered right and got the bike back under me, I found my front tire rolling inches from the edge. I slammed on my brakes and did an involuntary nose manual as I saw the river below and my life flash before me. As my rear tire slammed back down on the trail, I put my inside foot down and walked the bike back toward the wall to collect myself.

    Probably not the best kind of trail to acclimate to the new wide bars that seem to be all the rage these days. I canít say Iím thrilled with them, especially given my experience.

    Will I go back to 720 or 740mm? Probably not, unless I find that too much clearance or maneuverability is lost on the tight forested single track trails I ride. Iíll just be much more aware of where the ends of the bars are on trails where the penalty for a mistake is great.

    What are your thoughts on bar width? Will the demand (or trend) for wider and wider bars keep going? What is wide enough?


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    I think shoulder width is right for me. I'm running 800mm and love them. I find it much easier to rail corners and overall more stable, on wide bars. These 800mm bars feel like my old MX bars. Rode my son's bike the other day with 720mm bars, felt like I was on a track fixie!

  3. #3
    fc
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    Very true and very dangerous at First and Second Divide of Downieville.

    You have to be very careful initially, especially since you're making such a huge jump in bar width.

    Do not cut right away. Give it three months and a lot of rides on your local trails to see how they work out.

    Proportionally, 780mm should be good for an XL bike.
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  4. #4
    ask
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    I'd give it a few more rides before you make a decision. I've been on 800mm bars for over a year... I have 780mm bars on a few other bikes as well. I like both sizes but I still clip walls, rocks, etc from time to time.

    PS - I did the same thing on Second Divide yesterday. Very tight outside right and clipped the wall... saw the river... put a foot down and took a deep breath. LOL. I cleared the same section on Saturday, so just rider error, distracted, etc.
    "...That said, we exhausted the comedy material in this thread, so we're done here." -KMax

  5. #5
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    Have to judge the trail and terrain and adjust to it. That said I have found 780 ballpark to be just right on most trails. My eight hunneds will rip bark off trees and scrape boulders if i'm not careful. Would be silly to think anyone considers bar width when building trails, this was certainly not a consideration in D'ville. Those old miners would know :-)

  6. #6
    fc
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    Clipped in or flatties? Flatties are good for these situations.

    But then again, the other danger is hitting a pedal on a rock at speed.

    Here's my buddy at Upper First Divide last week. Slip, slip, whap, yelp like a scared puppy.

    Wide bars almost killed me at Downieville-img_2855.jpg
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  8. #8
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    780s were fine for me on First Divide. Not so much for the local trails near me (China Camp, etc) I cut mine down to 760 and it's much better.

    On Toads I ran the bar ends into trees pretty hard and came super close to sending my off the bike.

    At the end of the day you are just going to have to try different widths and go with what makes you comfortable and works for your local trails.

    I ran 780 for years on my DH bike and it felt awesome and worked great. On my new trail bike it felt awkward. I slowly cut them down until I found the sweet spot / stopped running them into things.

    Currently that's 760.

  9. #9
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    7.60mm bars wouldn't have helped that dude. Kinda gotta wonder if it's a bit.

  10. #10
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    I think it just takes time to get used to where your body is. I started wearing a watch for the first time in forever and it's amazing how many things I bang it off of, considering how small of a difference it is.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by TwiceHorn View Post
    7.60mm bars wouldn't have helped that dude. Kinda gotta wonder if it's a bit.

    That broke a bone or 2 if it's real. I cut my Renthal 800s down to 770 for a specific ride/race and regret it. Just stay wide and get used to it.

  12. #12
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    I think many of us know the exact spot you describe. For some reason I havenít had an issue there with my 760 bars, but I came close to a problem once on the last cliff lower down 1st Divide, realized my line put me in danger of clipping a bar, and stopped and walked it.

    760 is almost too wide for all applications in my view (Iím 6í1Ē tall). I feel comfortable with 760 bars on the trail bike but they are at the top end of whatís OK for narrow trails. Last year I had a similarly bad accident ó clipped the bar on a thick trunk hidden in what looked like a leafy little shrub on the uphill side, but I was moving too fast to save it and was ejected off the downhill side, falling 10 feet and landing on my back and sliding down the hill (broken rib in my back). Six months ago I did the same damn thing on another trail that I know well, went OTB but wasnít hurt. That was enough for me.

    I tried the same width on the XC bike and needed to cut them down to shoulder width. There are a few trails I like to ride (one in Mendo, one in China Camp backside) where it is almost Impossible to keep wheels on the trail with 760 bars.


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  13. #13
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    I went from 740 to 800 and hated for about 30 min. Now my fatbike is going to get the 800 alloys that came off my Sentinel.
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  14. #14
    GMM
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    I think you will get used to your bar width, but I hear you on that section of trail. I was there this past weekend, and every time I ride First Divide I wonder why they don't re-route the few sections where there is ridiculous exposure and very little room to maneuver. I love all the other trails at Dville but just don't enjoy first Divide do to the skewed risk to fun ratio.

  15. #15
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    I run 780mm on a XL bike and perit's perfect. Definately so.ething you have to get use to but once you do and ride narrow bars, you will immediately feel the difference.

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  16. #16
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    Thanks for all of the comments and observations. Iím going to try the bars out for a while before doing anything. As mentioned, I think a lot of it is just getting used to them, where they end and how much I need to lean out or move away from things.

    The experience above was in my top two scary mountain biking close calls in over 20 years of riding. When I rode past the same spot on Sunday (the day after the close call), I stayed wide and was just fine.

    Every time I enter Annadel at my entry point, I also now have to do a little quick right/ left lean while snapping the handlebars left/ right to avoid being thrown face first into the ground as I pass through a pair of steel posts. My old bars passed right between those posts while riding straight through. It takes getting used to, but itís a hassle, to hopefully be outweighed by the benefits of longer bars on the rest of the ride.


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  17. #17
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    About 15 years ago I upgraded to a bike with significantly longer bars and clipped a tree on my first ride on the new setup (at Demo Forest). I was going downhill pretty fast so the impact sent me flying. Broken pinky finger, crushed between bar and tree, and a couple of broken ribs. I've since upgraded to even wider bars, but I made sure to pay attention to the wider position on the first few rides. In a few weeks of riding the new width is memorized. Like whiskers on a cat...

  18. #18
    fc
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    Bikes have changed. We basically went from road bikes with fat tires to purpose-built mountain bikes now.

    Here I am in the same spot at Mission Peak in Fremont, CA, 22 years apart.

    Bike on top had 580mm bars. Bike at the bottom has 780mm.Wide bars almost killed me at Downieville-26170281_10155858757108213_323606455908938277_o.jpg
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by fc View Post
    Bikes have changed. We basically went from road bikes with fat tires to purpose-built mountain bikes now.
    What's interesting is how long it's taken sacred cow beliefs amongst bike manufacturers and designers to change. I remember telling the shop I was racing for in 1990 (the year I started riding), 'why don't mountain bikes have a geometry similar to my MX bike? It handles far better than the Bridgestone MB-0.' I was laughed at and lots of technical terms were used as justification.

    1990 Bridgestone MB-0 state of the art in 1990

    Wide bars almost killed me at Downieville-holden_90bridgestonemb0_01.jpg


    1990 KTM 250

    Wide bars almost killed me at Downieville-13395008625_fe3853d5ce_b.jpg

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    Wide bars almost killed me at Downieville-hightower-lt-c-br_x700.jpg

  20. #20
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    I thought this thread was going to be about wide bars, but all that is being talked about is 780??😏
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  21. #21
    fc
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    Quote Originally Posted by 5k bike 50cent legs View Post
    What's interesting is how long it's taken sacred cow beliefs amongst bike manufacturers and designers to change. I remember telling the shop I was racing for in 1990 (the year I started riding), 'why don't mountain bikes have a geometry similar to my MX bike? It handles far better than the Bridgestone MB-0.' I was laughed at and lots of technical terms were used as justification.

    1990 Bridgestone MB-0 state of the art in 1990

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    1990 KTM 250

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    You are so right. Change is hard.

    Our sport had much roadie roots and not enough moto
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  22. #22
    fc
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    I thought this thread was going to be about wide bars, but all that is being talked about is 780??
    Trekís latest carbon bar is 820mm. I asked why and they said, Ēto shut everyone up about asking for wider.Ē
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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by fc View Post
    Bikes have changed.

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    Apparently the fun factor hasn't, smile looks the same in both photos!
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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by fc View Post
    Bikes have changed. We basically went from road bikes with fat tires to purpose-built mountain bikes now.

    Here I am in the same spot at Mission Peak in Fremont, CA, 22 years apart.

    Bike on top had 580mm bars. Bike at the bottom has 780mm.Click image for larger version. 

Name:	26170281_10155858757108213_323606455908938277_o.jpg 
Views:	99 
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    Mission Peak Renegade style... I once paid a $400 ticket for having my bike up on the peak
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  25. #25
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    FYI tons of people ride Moto on the downeville trails (they were originally Moto trails) and most of them run 800mm+ bars just fine. Wide bars aren't a problem on those trails.

  26. #26
    fc
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gemini2k05 View Post
    FYI tons of people ride Moto on the downeville trails (they were originally Moto trails) and most of them run 800mm+ bars just fine. Wide bars aren't a problem on those trails.
    First Divide? I've never seen them there. Not on Second Divide either.
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  27. #27
    jrm
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    Guide for Handlebar Width

    width based on bike type/body type.

    https://www.worldwidecyclery.com/blo...-handlebars-be

  28. #28
    Rollin 29s
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    Wide bars almost killed me at Downieville

    Quote Originally Posted by Gemini2k05 View Post
    FYI tons of people ride Moto on the downeville trails (they were originally Moto trails) and most of them run 800mm+ bars just fine. Wide bars aren't a problem on those trails.
    Try that on First or Second Divide. Not saying theyíve never been on those sections, but yes with the exception of First/ Second Divide, wide bars are not a problem at Downieville. They probably wonít be as much of a problem for me once I get used to them either. Although I bashed my finger hard this morning on a damned metal pole that I used to ride past fine before.




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  29. #29
    fc
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    Quote Originally Posted by jrm View Post
    width based on bike type/body type.

    https://www.worldwidecyclery.com/blo...-handlebars-be
    Thank you, that's quite good.

    The other big variable is 'local trails'. There are wide open singletrack trails and ones with a lot of trees not to far apart or cliff walls and exposure. For example, Park City and New Jersey have a lot of old trails with trees about <750mm apart. It's like gate crossing after gate crossing width.
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  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by 5k bike 50cent legs View Post
    What's interesting is how long it's taken sacred cow beliefs amongst bike manufacturers and designers to change. I remember telling the shop I was racing for in 1990 (the year I started riding), 'why don't mountain bikes have a geometry similar to my MX bike? It handles far better than the Bridgestone MB-0.' I was laughed at and lots of technical terms were used as justification.

    1990 Bridgestone MB-0 state of the art in 1990

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    1990 KTM 250

    Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	1221006

    2019 Santa Cruz Hightower LT

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    So true, and I drool on that 2-stroke MXíer.
    Quote Originally Posted by mileslong View Post
    I passionately remove rocks and corners and other stuff I find too hard to ride.

  31. #31
    jrm
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    For me..its kind of like car oversteer

    where applying more force/ torque on the bar just amplifies fork/rim/tire flex and your no longer redirecting the bike and resort to recovering or survival. Being 5.8.5 more of a carver/leaner i like my bars kind of narrow-ish ~750~

  32. #32
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    It's about fit and comfort. Likely an XL bike rider will prefer a wider bar. I'm 5'5" and ride 760mm. I feel I'll be fine with 750 or 740mm as my hands tend to migrate in anyway @760.

    That said I believe Sam Hill runs 750 and Richie Rude runs 760.

  33. #33
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    Clipped my bars on Mills Peak this summer. Low speed and flat pedals, so no biggies.

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  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by fc View Post
    First Divide? I've never seen them there. Not on Second Divide either.
    Yep, 1st and 2nd. And Big Boulder. Gotta pay attention to wheel placement, all are great trails for beating the whiskey throttle habits out of over-macho MX kids who haven't learned that throttle control is a real important skill to have up there.
    hold my beer...

  35. #35
    fc
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    Quote Originally Posted by zorg View Post
    Clipped my bars on Mills Peak this summer. Low speed and flat pedals, so no biggies.

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    Clipped my pedal at Mills. So many sniper rocks!!
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  36. #36
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    Meh... 800mm bars arenít that wide.

    "...That said, we exhausted the comedy material in this thread, so we're done here." -KMax

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by fc View Post
    Clipped my pedal at Mills. So many sniper rocks!!
    Mills ain't that fun anymore. Too many rocks to flow.

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  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by isleblue65 View Post
    Try that on First or Second Divide. Not saying theyíve never been on those sections, but yes with the exception of First/ Second Divide, wide bars are not a problem at Downieville. They probably wonít be as much of a problem for me once I get used to them either. Although I bashed my finger hard this morning on a damned metal pole that I used to ride past fine before.




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    First and second divide and not tight on a moto with 820mm bars and wrap around hand guards if you know how to ride. I honestly ride way tighter trails on my moto than my mountain bike.

    Not me, but an example:
    https://youtu.be/ctQpWG_DW4w

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by serendipitous View Post
    If wide bars are a problem on First/Second please explain why thousands of trips have been safely made down/up those trails by folks using wide bars.

    Also, if you spent some time looking at bar widths during the Downieville Classic, which runs all racers down First, you would have to realize that your "wide bars are a problem on First" belief is belied by the fact that those folks didn't have a problem.

    Signed,

    First/Second on a 800mm since 2012, 760's before that
    Wide bars were a problem for me - and apparently Iím not the only one - on First Divide, at least the first time I went down it. Iím sure it will get better with time and knowing where the bars are.

    With my finger bashing this morning, Iím impatiently trying to commit to muscle memory where my bar ends are, and somewhat struggling to see the benefits.


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  40. #40
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    ^^ When you realize you're in a tight situation, try moving your hands inboard a bit. My pinkies took some hits until I started doing that! I settled in at 760 and would never go back.
    The broken are the more evolved. Rejoice.

  41. #41
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    And if you know you'll be riding somewhere that a handlebar strike is very likely, put on a good old fashioned set of bar ends for the ride.

    Wide bars almost killed me at Downieville-02563_f_1_forged_bar_ends.jpg

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    Quote Originally Posted by 5k bike 50cent legs View Post
    And if you know you'll be riding somewhere that a handlebar strike is very likely, put on a good old fashioned set of bar ends for the ride.

    Still waiting for bar ends to make a comeback. Im ready!

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    Quote Originally Posted by dirtvert View Post
    ^^ When you realize you're in a tight situation, try moving your hands inboard a bit. My pinkies took some hits until I started doing that! I settled in at 760 and would never go back.
    Great idea! Amazingly I didnít smash my finger on the Downieville cliff, but lesson learned this morning on the metal post. Now itís black and blue and swollen. I may eventually go to 760 If the 780s donít work for me.


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    Wide bars aren't the problem...it's those darn front brakes. Entirely too powerful.

  45. #45
    fc
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    Quote Originally Posted by BraapTastic View Post
    Wide bars aren't the problem...it's those darn front brakes. Entirely too powerful.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jovian View Post
    Still waiting for bar ends to make a comeback. Im ready!
    Yes, time to stock up on long white socks!
    in this dying light

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    Quote Originally Posted by fc View Post
    First Divide? I've never seen them there. Not on Second Divide either.
    Quote Originally Posted by isleblue65 View Post
    Try that on First or Second Divide. Not saying theyíve never been on those sections, but yes with the exception of First/ Second Divide, wide bars are not a problem at Downieville.

    I rode first divide this past weekend on my Moto. It's the best way to get to third divide/boulder creek/etc. I was a little slow with a 17mph average speed up it (according to strava) since it's my first time on the Moto in basically a year. My 820mm bars were fine for me. I've done second as well, although that's a bit sketchier on a Moto with more extreme exposure.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Leopold Porkstacker View Post
    Yes, time to stock up on long white socks!
    Long white socks, fanny pack, lycra and some thermonuclear protection glasses. If you're going to do something, you have to do it all the way!

  49. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by BraapTastic View Post
    Wide bars aren't the problem...it's those darn front brakes. Entirely too powerful.
    Santa Cruz won't even return my calls. Most of the jerks there can't even draw a bike!
    The broken are the more evolved. Rejoice.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 5k bike 50cent legs View Post
    Long white socks, fanny pack, lycra and some thermonuclear protection glasses. If you're going to do something, you have to do it all the way!
    I recently switched to a fanny pack, it blows a backpack out of the water for shorter rides. So nice to not have something pulling on my shoulders.

  51. #51
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    not knowing how to ride a bike almost killed you in downieville. then you blamed your bars. and thats why youll never improve.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rox View Post
    not knowing how to ride a bike almost killed you in downieville. then you blamed your bars. and thats why youll never improve.
    Scumbags like you who turn a discussion about wide bars into an unnecessary opportunity to insult are the problem. Iím new to wide bars, but have been riding mountain bikes since the Ď90s, and will continue to ride and get used to wide bars. Was seeking opinions and sharing my experience.

    Grow up.


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  53. #53
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    Meh...you can clip your bars on nearly any trail depending on how you're riding. I ride 780 bars and to be honest, I was surprised by the title as I don't have any issues in D-Ville as a general rule. I did nail my let pinky on a huge outcropping boulder while hauling down Big Boulder though. I wasn't expecting it at all and it snapped my front wheel almost sideways but luckily I was able to keep going. Not a place I need to going OTB with all those trees lining the trail.

    Keep at it and you'll be used the the wider bars in no time and you'll be thinking "how did I ever use those narrow bars before"?
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  54. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by rox View Post
    not knowing how to ride a bike almost killed you in downieville. then you blamed your bars. and thats why youll never improve.
    Damn dude, trying to get some cred with Davey and PVD? You are better than that.
    I'm the problem....

  55. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by rox View Post
    not knowing how to ride a bike almost killed you in downieville. then you blamed your bars. and thats why youll never improve.
    That was uncalled for. Don't be such a douche nozzle.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mtbrdan View Post
    Damn dude, trying to get some cred with Davey and PVD? You are better than that.
    I mean I get where you are coming from, but damn, anyone can clip a bar on First, I smashed my pinky going through the "gate" at the bottom of upper First. No need to be a dick about it.
    I'm the problem....

  57. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtbrdan View Post
    I mean I get where you are coming from, but damn, anyone can clip a bar on First, I smashed my pinky going through the "gate" at the bottom of upper First. No need to be a dick about it.
    anyone can clip a bar. done it plenty of times including one at skeggs that sent me 20ft down the trail without my bike. the problem lies in blaming the equipment because plenty of people manage to ride first divide and skeggs with wide bars just fine. accept responsibility and learn how to handle your gear or change it so it better suits you. you cant move on until you do that.

    I was just in a mood.

  58. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by rox View Post
    anyone can clip a bar. done it plenty of times including one at skeggs that sent me 20ft down the trail without my bike. the problem lies in blaming the equipment because plenty of people manage to ride first divide and skeggs with wide bars just fine. accept responsibility and learn how to handle your gear or change it so it better suits you. you cant move on until you do that.

    I was just in a mood.
    You are like my wife, just because something may be true you are still the dick to point it out.
    I'm the problem....

  59. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtbrdan View Post
    You are like my wife, just because something may be true you are still the dick to point it out.
    Or ramp it up and shit on everybody.....and hang at the Fairfax 7-11 with PVD ( Davey must be missed ) and wonder why everyone hates you.
    I'm the problem....

  60. #60
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    Are you all drinking high alcohol stuff and posting????

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    Quote Originally Posted by fc View Post
    are you all drinking high alcohol stuff and posting????

    yep
    I'm the problem....

  62. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by rox View Post
    anyone can clip a bar. done it plenty of times including one at skeggs that sent me 20ft down the trail without my bike. the problem lies in blaming the equipment because plenty of people manage to ride first divide and skeggs with wide bars just fine. accept responsibility and learn how to handle your gear or change it so it better suits you. you cant move on until you do that.

    I was just in a mood.
    It was my 3rd ride on the new Ripmo, coming from much narrower bars on my Niner. If you had read the first post, you would have seen this. Not quite time to ďmove onĒ IMHO. Jeesh, if youíre still getting used to your new gear after the third ride, is that unreasonable? I did express frustration at the equipment, but didnít blame it, and in fact acknowledged that not being used to the wider bars caused the rock hit. I Bashed my finger this morning misjudging clearance which ticked me off again, but Iím not cutting my bars tonight.





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  63. #63
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    So I've got some handy advice. #punny

    I've broken my 5th metacarpal twice in the last 20 years, both from big yard sales and punching the ground with my left fist. So I'd be wise to use armored gloves. But they all kind of suck and call attention to themselves. And lately, I've liked the trend of of super thin gloves where you can feel the trail quite a bit better.

    Earlier this summer, GForm gave me their new Pro Trail Gloves. I've been wearing them since they are comfortable! Not the the best minimalist fit for me on the palm but pretty darn good. I've crushed my hand three times hitting aspen trees, rocks and a fence. Each time, I feel a lot of pressure but I just keep riding. The last hit, two fingers got cut in the area where there was no padding.

    I look at the gloves tonight and they are beat!!! The pads kind of get ripped when they take a big, sharp blow but not too bad.
    Wide bars almost killed me at Downieville-img_0008.jpg

    Wide bars almost killed me at Downieville-img_0010.jpg

    Wide bars almost killed me at Downieville-img_0012.jpg

    I'd recommend these.


    There's also new Leatt DBX 4.0 gloves with awesome looking protection. Worth a look.

    Wide bars almost killed me at Downieville-p9190218-001.jpg

    Both these companies use a soft material that hardens on impact. Comfy but protects well.
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  64. #64
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    I got these fox attack gloves with d3o that I really like https://www.foxracing.com/attack-gloves/18468.html

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    Quote Originally Posted by serendipitous View Post
    Let me help:

    Rather than blaming your equipment in your thread title, you could change it from "Wide bars almost killed me at Downieville" to "My lack of experience with my new wide bars almost killed me at Downieville."

    You could also change "Try that on First or Second Divide. Not saying theyíve never been on those sections, but yes with the exception of First/ Second Divide, wide bars are not a problem at Downieville." to "Hey, I have really limited experience with wide bars but since so many folks ride them without any problems on First/Second maybe I need more time to get used to them. After all, if they were the big problem that I imagine them to be, it would be criminal for Yuba to keep on renting all those bikes with wide bars. What are they trying to do, get people killed on First/Second?"
    Point taken. A bit of a snarky tone baked into your Ďhelpfulnessí, but I see how my frustration with that component of my new ride appeared to blame the equipment.


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  66. #66
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    Quote Originally Posted by fc View Post
    So I've got some handy advice. #punny

    I've broken my 5th metacarpal twice in the last 20 years, both from big yard sales and punching the ground with my left fist. So I'd be wise to use armored gloves. But they all kind of suck and call attention to themselves. And lately, I've liked the trend of of super thin gloves where you can feel the trail quite a bit better.

    Earlier this summer, GForm gave me their new Pro Trail Gloves. I've been wearing them since they are comfortable! Not the the best minimalist fit for me on the palm but pretty darn good. I've crushed my hand three times hitting aspen trees, rocks and a fence. Each time, I feel a lot of pressure but I just keep riding. The last hit, two fingers got cut in the area where there was no padding.

    I look at the gloves tonight and they are beat!!! The pads kind of get ripped when they take a big, sharp blow but not too bad.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Click image for larger version. 

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    Click image for larger version. 

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    I'd recommend these.


    There's also new Leatt DBX 4.0 gloves with awesome looking protection. Worth a look.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Both these companies use a soft material that hardens on impact. Comfy but protects well.
    Quote Originally Posted by rox View Post
    I got these fox attack gloves with d3o that I really like https://www.foxracing.com/attack-gloves/18468.html
    I'll check these gloves out. I'm 3 rides in on my Troy Lee Design (thin gloves), and they already have a bunch of holes and seams that are splitting and fraying. Not all caused by pinky strikes on objects either. I clearly need something more durable.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gemini2k05 View Post
    I rode first divide this past weekend on my Moto. It's the best way to get to third divide/boulder creek/etc. I was a little slow with a 17mph average speed up it (according to strava) since it's my first time on the Moto in basically a year. My 820mm bars were fine for me. I've done second as well, although that's a bit sketchier on a Moto with more extreme exposure.
    Why ride Moto on the weekend when Downieville is packed with mountain bikers flying down the hill? I know these are multi-use trails, but arenít there hundreds (1000s?) miles of Moto trails nearby with much less chance for conflict?

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    Quote Originally Posted by cassieno View Post
    I recently switched to a fanny pack, it blows a backpack out of the water for shorter rides. So nice to not have something pulling on my shoulders.
    I sometimes ride with the Bontrager fanny pack, it rocks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 5k bike 50cent legs View Post
    I sometimes ride with the Bontrager fanny pack, it rocks.
    Absolutely rocks! I've tried a bunch and the Bontrager definitely gets the job done well.

  70. #70
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    Quote Originally Posted by fc View Post
    Trekís latest carbon bar is 820mm. I asked why and they said, Ēto shut everyone up about asking for wider.Ē
    Yep, with modern geo bikes, 750-780 is fairly normal, wider than 780 is starting to get "wide", less than 750 is fairly narrow.

    There are several tight places in the trails we ride, especially in winter, where you have to "weave through" because the passage is narrower than your bars. It can be done, it's fun, it doesn't offset the advantages of the normal bar sizes that give you leverage for steering/line-stability and pedaling.

    I think this is similar to the "exposure" issue. Even on a trail with plenty of tread width that is non-technical, there are riders that will not ride certain sections when the "drop off" on the other side is too steep. It freaks them out. It's psychological. It's something to get over, but everyone has their own demons of course. I think this exists for handlebars too, when trees are "close", I think a subset of people get extra-concerned and feel that they can no longer ride in proximity to the trees/objects. A good rule of thumb is having the edges of your palms on the edge of the bars. If your hands are "inside" the end of the bars, you are going to tag stuff, because your brain doesn't account for 1" of bar sticking out past your hands, all it knows is where your hands are.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  71. #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikericci View Post
    Why ride Moto on the weekend when Downieville is packed with mountain bikers flying down the hill? I know these are multi-use trails, but arenít there hundreds (1000s?) miles of Moto trails nearby with much less chance for conflict?
    There were almost no MTB'ers when I was riding Friday evening (<15 maybe?). Saturday we rode Hall's Ranch area. Zero MTB'ers on that. Unfortunately I work during the week so weekends are the only time I'd ever get to ride that trail. Usually if you ride up it early enough on the weekends there are few if any MTB'ers.

  72. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikericci View Post
    Why ride Moto on the weekend when Downieville is packed with mountain bikers flying down the hill? I know these are multi-use trails, but arenít there hundreds (1000s?) miles of Moto trails nearby with much less chance for conflict?
    I am very capable of sharing the trails. Are you?

  73. #73
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    Yep, with modern geo bikes, 750-780 is fairly normal, wider than 780 is starting to get "wide", less than 750 is fairly narrow.

    There are several tight places in the trails we ride, especially in winter, where you have to "weave through" because the passage is narrower than your bars. It can be done, it's fun, it doesn't offset the advantages of the normal bar sizes that give you leverage for steering/line-stability and pedaling.

    I think this is similar to the "exposure" issue. Even on a trail with plenty of tread width that is non-technical, there are riders that will not ride certain sections when the "drop off" on the other side is too steep. It freaks them out. It's psychological. It's something to get over, but everyone has their own demons of course. I think this exists for handlebars too, when trees are "close", I think a subset of people get extra-concerned and feel that they can no longer ride in proximity to the trees/objects. A good rule of thumb is having the edges of your palms on the edge of the bars. If your hands are "inside" the end of the bars, you are going to tag stuff, because your brain doesn't account for 1" of bar sticking out past your hands, all it knows is where your hands are.
    succinctly put!
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    Quote Originally Posted by dirtvert View Post
    Santa Cruz won't even return my calls. Most of the jerks there can't even draw a bike!
    I wondered where you were. Ha!

    Seems like more issues arise from where the darn trees and rocks decide to grow, don't they realize the trails are multi-use and they are infringing on my prodigious bars? Tomcat says, COEXIST dammit!

    That said, I've been on 800mm for a few years now - because they fit my proportions. Very similar to natural position for bench press, rather than narrow or wide gripped. There are a few trees which can be problematic, depending on riding location, especially for the older trails - so that could influence what you need to use more than want is optimal for your body.

    ...also, make sure your hands are at the outer edge of the grips rather than choking in...if the latter, cut your bars down so you stop clipping the ends.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cassieno View Post
    I recently switched to a fanny pack...
    For the love of god: Hip pack or Enduroô pack!
    The broken are the more evolved. Rejoice.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dirtvert View Post
    For the love of god: Hip pack or Enduroô pack!
    You can call it whatever you want. It's still a fanny pack.

  77. #77
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    Quote Originally Posted by cassieno View Post
    You can call it whatever you want. It's still a fanny pack.
    And it's no longer called Mountain Biking, it's now called Natural Surface Cycling.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cassieno View Post
    You can call it whatever you want. It's still a fanny pack.
    Enduro Satchel. And they rule.

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    ^^ That's acceptable!

    Quote Originally Posted by cassieno View Post
    You can call it whatever you want. It's still a fanny pack.
    Merriam Webster officially retired the term "fanny pack" in 1999, as well as "schwing" and "talk to the hand".
    The broken are the more evolved. Rejoice.

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    ...as you describe what Merriam Webster sadly did (schwing will never die), one user reading this thread is: "thewebsta"

  81. #81
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    Quote Originally Posted by 5k bike 50cent legs View Post
    And if you know you'll be riding somewhere that a handlebar strike is very likely, put on a good old fashioned set of bar ends for the ride.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Hey, I resemble that remark!

    I have a 2-bike quiver. FS santa Cruz trail bike with 770mm bar. And rigid Salsa with 660mm bar and barends. The ends are also 20 years old. No clipping problems. Multi hand positions are great for climbing east bay fire roads.

    Key similarity -- both bike have big tires and droppers.
    Solo & Ala Carte ~ that's how I like my bikes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RBoardman View Post
    I am very capable of sharing the trails. Are you?
    I canít, my bars are too wide.

  83. #83
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikericci View Post
    I canít, my bars are too wide.
    rep'ed
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    Quote Originally Posted by BraapTastic View Post
    I wondered where you were. Ha!

    Seems like more issues arise from where the darn trees and rocks decide to grow, don't they realize the trails are multi-use and they are infringing on my prodigious bars? Tomcat says, COEXIST dammit!

    That said, I've been on 800mm for a few years now - because they fit my proportions. Very similar to natural position for bench press, rather than narrow or wide gripped. There are a few trees which can be problematic, depending on riding location, especially for the older trails - so that could influence what you need to use more than want is optimal for your body.

    ...also, make sure your hands are at the outer edge of the grips rather than choking in...if the latter, cut your bars down so you stop clipping the ends.
    Thought about cutting the ends so they'd fit through those trail entrances which are 2" too narrow roll through with a slight jog, so almost have to stop. But those wide bars are fun once used to them, plus, cutting off 2" of carbon, that'd be like throwing away $10 - $20 worth of carbon. No way!

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    Lack of experience with the bike nearly killed you, the bars didn't steer themselves into the cliffside.

  86. #86
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    Those are ..meh..ill stick to fox moto gloves. Just buy um a size smaller and dont chuck um in the dryer.

  87. #87
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    Quote Originally Posted by fc View Post
    rep'ed
    Double repíd fc! 👍😎
    Wait whuuut, who did he tell you that!?!?....

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    Quote Originally Posted by bayareamtnbiker View Post
    Thought about cutting the ends so they'd fit through those trail entrances which are 2" too narrow roll through with a slight jog, so almost have to stop. But those wide bars are fun once used to them, plus, cutting off 2" of carbon, that'd be like throwing away $10 - $20 worth of carbon. No way!
    There's a trick to it, you turn the bars, lean the other way, weave through, never stopping. Getting around and through stuff like that is part of the challenge of riding. If I wanted to ride and never have to turn, I'd ride on the sidewalk

    This tree is more about push and counter with your hips.
    Wide bars almost killed me at Downieville-img_4663.jpg
    This is an extremely "low bridge" that is tricky to get around in any conditions.
    Wide bars almost killed me at Downieville-img_4672.jpg

    Wide bars almost killed me at Downieville-img_4685.jpg

    Wide bars almost killed me at Downieville-img_4686.jpg

    Wide bars almost killed me at Downieville-img_4687.jpg
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  89. #89
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    I went thru a similar transition when I got my Ripmo. Previous bike was OG with much narrower bars. Clipped two trees at Tamarancho on my first ride. Crashed both times. I was like WTF is this all about. After a while I have learned to love them and never hit them anymore and my home trails in Mendo are tight and lined with trees.

    Sent from my Moto Z (2) using Tapatalk

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    Quote Originally Posted by fc View Post
    Bikes have changed. We basically went from road bikes with fat tires to purpose-built mountain bikes now.

    Here I am in the same spot at Mission Peak in Fremont, CA, 22 years apart.

    Bike on top had 580mm bars. Bike at the bottom has 780mm.Click image for larger version. 

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    Quote Originally Posted by J.B. Weld View Post
    Apparently the fun factor hasn't, smile looks the same in both photos!
    The crowds have changed.
    Quote Originally Posted by mileslong View Post
    I passionately remove rocks and corners and other stuff I find too hard to ride.

  91. #91
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    Quote Originally Posted by DIRTJUNKIE View Post
    The crowds have changed.
    Another thing to grateful to facebook for.

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  92. #92
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    Quote Originally Posted by BraapTastic View Post
    Enduro Satchel. And they rule.
    Late to the tread... are we just avoiding the word purse here?
    I like satchel though. Indiana Jones wore one afterall.

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  93. #93
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    Quote Originally Posted by c-wal View Post
    Late to the tread... are we just avoiding the word purse here?
    I like satchel though. Indiana Jones wore one afterall.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mileslong View Post
    I passionately remove rocks and corners and other stuff I find too hard to ride.

  94. #94
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    Quote Originally Posted by sbd View Post
    I went thru a similar transition when I got my Ripmo. Previous bike was OG with much narrower bars. Clipped two trees at Tamarancho on my first ride. Crashed both times. I was like WTF is this all about. After a while I have learned to love them and never hit them anymore and my home trails in Mendo are tight and lined with trees.

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    Nice!! Iím getting used to them.

    Rode some narrow trails at Montana de Oro State Park near Moro Bay yesterday, and getting the feel for the bars now.


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  95. #95
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    Good job! Downieville and Wide Bar Love

    I read this thread with a modicum of trepidation as I made plans for a D'ville long weekend (last time was 2011...), along with new 760 Renthals on my HD3. Suffice to say that I loved them. We hit pretty much everything we could manage in 3 days and the bars were just about right for me. As Francis mentioned, the bars on our old MTBs were almost comically narrow.

    As for Downieville, it remains one of my All-Time favorite places, both the riding and the town. I wish Yuba or Outfitters were still running shuttles up to A-Tree/Chimney rock. Last did that in 2007 and it remains almost mythologically amazing in my mind. I almost talked my buddy into riding up to it, but it wasn't in the cards. I did manage to drag him up Mt.Elwell.

    As for the town, there is magic in that place. Interesting and sad side note; I chatted with the woman who runs the bodega and she was singing the praises of mountain bikers saving the town, but lamenting the fact that all the out-of-town homeowners have basically screwed the town's ability to get funding grants as they're losing their ability to qualify as all the 2nd home owners have fat incomes which messes with the way the tax base is calculated. Yet another Bay Area income/housing puzzle, reaching it's way all the way up to Downieville.
    - -benja- -

  96. #96
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    Quote Originally Posted by benja55 View Post
    I read this thread with a modicum of trepidation as I made plans for a D'ville long weekend (last time was 2011...), along with new 760 Renthals on my HD3. Suffice to say that I loved them. We hit pretty much everything we could manage in 3 days and the bars were just about right for me. As Francis mentioned, the bars on our old MTBs were almost comically narrow.

    As for Downieville, it remains one of my All-Time favorite places, both the riding and the town. I wish Yuba or Outfitters were still running shuttles up to A-Tree/Chimney rock. Last did that in 2007 and it remains almost mythologically amazing in my mind. I almost talked my buddy into riding up to it, but it wasn't in the cards. I did manage to drag him up Mt.Elwell.

    As for the town, there is magic in that place. Interesting and sad side note; I chatted with the woman who runs the bodega and she was singing the praises of mountain bikers saving the town, but lamenting the fact that all the out-of-town homeowners have basically screwed the town's ability to get funding grants as they're losing their ability to qualify as all the 2nd home owners have fat incomes which messes with the way the tax base is calculated. Yet another Bay Area income/housing puzzle, reaching it's way all the way up to Downieville.
    Innnnneresting note about the funding grants.

    Kurt Gensheimer and SBTS have a program to help real locals own houses over there. Someone chime in please.
    IPA will save America

  97. #97
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    Quote Originally Posted by fc View Post
    Innnnneresting note about the funding grants.

    Kurt Gensheimer and SBTS have a program to help real locals own houses over there. Someone chime in please.
    Can't say enough about the whole SBTS org. And I heard a rumor on the shuttle up to Packer Saddle that SBTS had bought the Lure resort (up the road a mile or so,) and would be using the big house as seasonal housing, as well as turning it into a more MTB focused lodge in general. Huge news, even more so because IMO, the Lure folks did not seem so friendly to bikes back in the day. I rented from them many, many years ago and recall that when I said I was coming up to ride they almost had to fight turning me away... anyway, the Lure news is great stuff.

    On the housing/grant situation, sounds like Downieville and perhaps the whole county, is in a classic government funding Catch-22; when nobody in the town/county is making money, they *can* get enough funding grants from the gov to get by, but when the housing stock gets taken up by vacation home owners (w/enough $$$ to own a 2nd home in CA,) then the gov looks at those homeowner incomes and decides the town/county doesn't need those gov grant$$$.

    The woman I spoke with at the store said the local HS is down to 40 kids , from 160 or so when she went as a kid...
    - -benja- -

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    "Wide" can be a relative term... For a rider on an XL bike, 780 may or may not be too wide, or wide enough. What is your build? Wide shoulders? Long arms? Skinny as a rail, short limbs with long torso? I'm a solid medium at around 5'9" and have found that I don't enjoy riding a bar wider than about 740-750mm. After around 40 years of MTB'ing with my last phases of bikes having bars in the 660-680mm range, I put a set of 760mm bars on one of my bikes. Rode them for about 4 weeks and then took 15mm off each end. At 730mm, they still felt a bit wide but better. After another month, they started to feel more normal. Got a new bike about 3 months ago with 750mm bars. Decided that I was going to stick with them for some time, but still considering taking them down to a 730mm size. Before I do that, I'll pull the bars off my older bike and swap them for a couple of rides, and if the new bike feels good with 730's, I'll trim a centimeter off each end of the new bars.

    I see a number of riders my size and smaller riding huge, wide bars. IMO, they look ridiculous. Arms stretched out so wide they have to really to go to extremes to make a switchback. If they're having fun, then good for them, but if they visit Park City or Crested Butte they are going to be in a world of hurt on some of those trails. Just visited my buddy there, and with the tight aspen and birch groves, 700mm bars are considered pushing the limits.

    Trends are like fashion - sometimes it turns into something that sticks for a good reason, but other times it is something we look back on and say "WTF were we thinking?". If a bar feels too wide, think about trimming it a little at a time. If they are pricey carbon bars, maybe see if you can dredge up an alloy bar with similar bend/rise and start trimming them down. If you find a width you really like, ride them a few weeks and then cut the foo-foo-chi-chi bars to match. Don't let others or fashion decide for you what feels good.
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  99. #99
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    Wide bars almost killed me at Downieville

    Quote Originally Posted by ATBScott View Post
    "Wide" can be a relative term... For a rider on an XL bike, 780 may or may not be too wide, or wide enough. What is your build? Wide shoulders? Long arms? Skinny as a rail, short limbs with long torso? I'm a solid medium at around 5'9" and have found that I don't enjoy riding a bar wider than about 740-750mm. After around 40 years of MTB'ing with my last phases of bikes having bars in the 660-680mm range, I put a set of 760mm bars on one of my bikes. Rode them for about 4 weeks and then took 15mm off each end. At 730mm, they still felt a bit wide but better. After another month, they started to feel more normal. Got a new bike about 3 months ago with 750mm bars. Decided that I was going to stick with them for some time, but still considering taking them down to a 730mm size. Before I do that, I'll pull the bars off my older bike and swap them for a couple of rides, and if the new bike feels good with 730's, I'll trim a centimeter off each end of the new bars.

    I see a number of riders my size and smaller riding huge, wide bars. IMO, they look ridiculous. Arms stretched out so wide they have to really to go to extremes to make a switchback. If they're having fun, then good for them, but if they visit Park City or Crested Butte they are going to be in a world of hurt on some of those trails. Just visited my buddy there, and with the tight aspen and birch groves, 700mm bars are considered pushing the limits.

    Trends are like fashion - sometimes it turns into something that sticks for a good reason, but other times it is something we look back on and say "WTF were we thinking?". If a bar feels too wide, think about trimming it a little at a time. If they are pricey carbon bars, maybe see if you can dredge up an alloy bar with similar bend/rise and start trimming them down. If you find a width you really like, ride them a few weeks and then cut the foo-foo-chi-chi bars to match. Don't let others or fashion decide for you what feels good.
    Iím 6í4Ē 210 geared up. 35Ē inseam. Average shoulder width and reach for my height.

    Now I have 30-ish rides on this bike, and Iím trying to love the bar width. Iím honestly not seeing a whole lot of advantages. Slightly more stability with the wider stance, and maybe less twitchy in rock gardens.

    The downfalls are that I nearly have to stop to get through narrow sections that I used to fly through without slowing down. Iím taking about 760mm wide spaces between trees, rocks or trail entrance signs where you have no choice with 780mm bars but to twist the bike and turn the bars left grip through first then right grip.

    When I think Iím finally used to these bars and I get more confident, I smash my finger again. This happened this morning.

    Iím about to start trimming a cm at a time.




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  100. #100
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    Quote Originally Posted by isleblue65 View Post
    Iím 6í4Ē 210 geared up. 35Ē inseam. Average shoulder width and reach for my height.

    Now I have 30-ish rides on this bike, and Iím trying to love the bar width. Iím honestly not seeing a whole lot of advantages. Slightly more stability with the wider stance, and maybe less twitchy in rock gardens.

    The downfalls are that I nearly have to stop to get through narrow sections that I used to fly through without slowing down. Iím taking about 760mm wide spaces between trees, rocks or trail entrance signs where you have no choice with 780mm bars but to twist the bike and turn the bars left grip through first then right grip.

    When I think Iím finally used to these bars and I get more confident, I smash my finger again. This happened this morning.

    Iím about to start trimming a cm at a time.

    ...
    CUT IT!!!!

    If you have many trail situations where the bars barely fit, it's just not going to work.
    IPA will save America

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