Please explain Handlebars to me- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Please explain Handlebars to me

    Sweep, rise, how does it effect handling..

    Thanks from a rank beginner

  2. #2
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    it mainly affects how the bars sit in your hands. Some like more sweep, some like less. Some like them higher, some like them lower. Generally, you want them wider the longer your arms are, and higher the taller you are. But this is also affected by the geometry of the rest of the bike, so it's impossible to give a specific recommendation. Ride what feels best.

    If you don't know what feels best to you yet, because it is your first DH/FR bike, just get a medium-wide (like 28-30"), medium sweep, medium rise (1-1.5") bar. Ride it and go from there.
    wanted: Cannondale Lefty w/ V-brake studs

  3. #3
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    I used to get wicked thumb pain. I got an RF Atlas and I don't know if the width or the sweep is what got rid of the pain, but it's gone. Should have done it a while ago since the extra stability is nice too.

  4. #4
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    you guys aren't starting from the beginning. He said he was new to it.

    So: to summerize: a bicycle works by providing a stable attachment to two spinning wheels for an operator to sit on. Through trial and error, its been determined that it works better to have the main frame fixed to the rear wheel, and front wheel provide for steering. Again, through trial and error, the best system for doing that was to build a front fork that grasps the hub on either side (although there are other possibilities, such as clamping on the rim, but I digress) and have a tube that attaches to the mainframe, while retaining some stability and only turning on a certain access to assist in steering (it would be more difficult to steer if you had to maintain control of the front wheel on every axis). There are plenty of options for how to steer, from steering wheels to simply grabbing the fork and turning it by hand, but again, through trial and error mostly, we've discovered that affixing a bar (various size and shapes are abundant) to the fork seems to make steering the easiest. Thus, we have handlebars.

  5. #5
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    That's funny, Bill!

    Here's a link that talks about narrow vs. wide bars (no talk about sweep and rise):

    Tech Tuesday: Handlebars - How Wide Affects Your Ride - Pinkbike.com

  6. #6
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    To summarize the video - Can a bar be too wide? Yes, when you are overly hunched over.

    Wide bars help to keep you in the attck position by bringing your upper body forward in the cockpit.

    You can adjust the sweep by rotating the bars in the stem clamp, kind of like you used to do with your bmx bike as a kid. There were always kids that liked their bars way far forward, and there were kids that liked theirs back close to them. Based on how you liked your bmx bars, adjust your mtn bike bars in a somewhat close proximity to this and you should be comfortable.

    Rise always seemed weird to me, because there are like 3 different ways to control the hieight of your bars. Stem, steerer tube, and bars.

    Unfortunately, like lots of things in biking, it is up to you and how you like to ride it, and the only way to know is to fiddle around with it.

    Go with a wide bar...
    "I think it's rad, when Balls beats Natural talent" - Shaun Palmer

  7. #7
    NWS
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    The most significant things written so far, in my estimation:

    Quote Originally Posted by lelebebbel View Post
    ...this is also affected by the geometry of the rest of the bike, so it's impossible to give a specific recommendation. Ride what feels best.

    If you don't know what feels best to you yet, because it is your first DH/FR bike, just get a medium-wide (like 28-30"), medium sweep, medium rise (1-1.5") bar. Ride it and go from there.
    Quote Originally Posted by mtnryder56 View Post
    Unfortunately, like lots of things in biking, it is up to you and how you like to ride it, and the only way to know is to fiddle around with it.
    UNfortunately? With stuff like bars and stems, I think it's kinda cool that you can try some different options without spending much money. They can be swapped with just a few tools, and it doesn't take long.

    Buy some used bits, try them, re-sell them if you don't like them. Try some friend's bikes too. If you have friends that ride, there's a good chance that you have friends who have some spare parts you can borrow for a ride or two.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnryder56 View Post
    To summarize the video - Can a bar be too wide? Yes, when you are overly hunched over.

    Wide bars help to keep you in the attck position by bringing your upper body forward in the cockpit.

    You can adjust the sweep by rotating the bars in the stem clamp, kind of like you used to do with your bmx bike as a kid. There were always kids that liked their bars way far forward, and there were kids that liked theirs back close to them. Based on how you liked your bmx bars, adjust your mtn bike bars in a somewhat close proximity to this and you should be comfortable.

    Rise always seemed weird to me, because there are like 3 different ways to control the hieight of your bars. Stem, steerer tube, and bars.

    Unfortunately, like lots of things in biking, it is up to you and how you like to ride it, and the only way to know is to fiddle around with it.

    Go with a wide bar...
    I remember the attack position from when i used to dirtbike! lol. Im one of the people who like higher bars. not sure why but every bike with flat bars just feels odd.

  9. #9
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    Not a fan here of the flat bars, I am a tallish (6'1) rider and prefer a rise on mine. I am going to give the Renthal Fatbars a shot in the tallest rise they have, 38mm. I personally like my bars at 29, but am willing to give the 780mm width atleast a try before I decide to cut them down. Buy wide, thats all i have to say, even just a little wider than what you normally use is a big help when riding down hill aggressively. You can always cut them down, most new bars have cut marks on them for accurate cutting.

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