Anyone gone from 35mm handlebars back to 31.8mm?-
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  1. #1
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    Reputation: cookieMonster's Avatar
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    Feb 2004

    Anyone gone from 35mm handlebars back to 31.8mm?

    Greetings --

    My new hardtail came with 35 mm bars, which is the first time I've ever used that size. I've had the bike for 4 months now so I'm used to them.

    I've been using 31.8mm bars for a long time; never have broken a set even in my freeride/DH racing days where I did questionable jumps and drops. That is what is still on my enduro bike.

    I've been noticing I get a lot of feedback in the hands on my new hardtail. My fork isn't great, but neither was the fork on my last hardtail, and with 31.8 bars I don't remember it feeling as harsh.

    I'm thinking I might swap stems and bars with my other bike, since it has an amazing fork with 180mm of travel, and I doubt I'd feel the extra stiffness. I've thought about springing for some carbon 31.8 bars but the price is a little hard to swallow, and based on my research they only save about 100 grams/3 oz. I have wanted to lighten up the hardtail over time, so maybe this is a way to start and could actually improve the ride quality.

    It is difficult for me to objectively compare the two sizes on my two bikes, because, as I said, the enduro bike has a much plusher fork which mutes all that chatter.

    Just hoping you folks can share your experiences with 31.8 bars vs. 35mm bars.
    I only ride loam:)

  2. #2
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    Apr 2011
    I've never owned a 35mm but I've ridden others bikes that have them and decided I didn't want the extra stiffness there.

    You might check out One Up's new carbon bar (~$130ish IIRC), it's a 35mm that they designed to be extra compliant. Not that I'm a shill for them, but it looked interesting to me and the price was pretty good. There are also aluminum bars with foam cores that are supposed to dampen vibration.

  3. #3
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    Sep 2006
    I'm happy to drop big money on a fancy fork only to tear it apart cuz i'm a princess... but aside from straight gauge alloy bars and cut down wide bars(which are horrible), they all feel the same to me.

    It's further muddled by the fact that all the manufacturers are trying their damnedest to make 35mm bars that emulate 31.8. Why does this standard exist?

    35, 31.8... whatever. I prefer 31.8, but i don't think there's any magic here. Crappy bars are crappy.

    tl;dr- 31.8 is better, but not enough that it supersedes quality design/execution. And it's a small piece of the chain.
    Last edited by scottzg; 06-18-2020 at 12:58 AM.
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  4. #4
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    Dec 2013
    One of my bikes came with 35mm bars. A pain. I haven't not upgraded it to 31.8 yet as I don't ride it much. IDK when or if I will. My other bikes are happily 31.8.
    What, me worry?

  5. #5
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    Nov 2010
    I have two bikes with 35, and two with 31.8.

    31.8 is my favorite. That said, I have the OneUp bars on my Supercaliber. I definitely think they feel much more compliant than a "normal" 35mm bar.

    But, for the most part, I'm not a fan of 35. It's just ridiculously unnecessary.

  6. #6
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    Feb 2004
    For anyone still following this threadó I went ahead and swapped bars with my other bike. Wow, what a difference!

    I rode the same DH trail that Iíve done a million times and the 31.8s are extremely noticeably more compliant. Itís actually going to take a few rides to get used to the feel, as the original 35mm bars were stiffer than stiff. I doubt thatíll matter on my FS bike because it has 180mm of Fox COIL up front.

    I wouldnít run 35mm bars on a shorter travel bike ever again though.

  7. #7
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    Apr 2008
    I've seen stems and bars that come with a 'clam shell' spacer that allow a 31.8 bar to be used with a 35 stem. Don't know if the spacers are available separately but might be a way to use parts that are on hand if the smaller diameter is desired.

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