This RC article about handlebars- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    This RC article about handlebars

    https://www.pinkbike.com/news/handle...-too-wide.html


    It's a call to reign in handlebar width. I've been under the impression that handlebar width and trail were interrelated- you need X width for Y trail, +/- from other factors. There's no mention of trail anywhere in the article. What are your thoughts?
    "Things that are complex are not useful, Things that are useful are simple."
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  2. #2
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    I think there's a useful correlation between the two, though more than trail it really should be to wheel flop, and even that number isn't quite right - the real measurement should be a wheel flop force that takes the weight distribution also into account.

  3. #3
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    I don't think you need to get too fancy - if you are in a comfortable position to control the bike, you're good. That can be 900mm or it can be 600mm. In *general* wider bars will give you more leverage to handle sudden/unexpected movement of the front wheel so they tend to play well with bigger trail number/more aggro bikes - but you can use narrow bars on a DH bike if that's what's comfortable for you.

    I mean, he's right that bikes have gotten longer and stems shorter and it requires a different body position to weight the front wheel - but you can also just accomplish moving your weight forward with *wait for it*... a longer stem.

    Really, if you wanted to rant about something, it would be everyone wanting 40mm stems on every bike no matter what. That's just silly.

    -Walt

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Walt View Post

    Really, if you wanted to rant about something, it would be everyone wanting 40mm stems on every bike no matter what. That's just silly.
    If you mean me, i'm not much of a ranter. Don't know enough.

    If you mean RC, i think the rant has merit, given the audience. Seems like handlebars are bumping up against the limitations of 'generic human' anatomy and trails designed for that anatomy. If you don't know that frame design and component design are some sort of dialog... for 15 years every increase in bar width has been part of an advancement in handling, so it makes intuitive sense that wider handlebars will be part of the next advance.


    You guys' responses make sense to me. When nowhere in the article or in the comments anyone mentioned trail or wheel flop... i was just confused and thought my grasp on the topic was totally off, and pinkbike is pretty worthless for exploring ideas.

    Thanks for the sanity check.
    "Things that are complex are not useful, Things that are useful are simple."
    Mikhail Kalashnikov

  5. #5
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    I try to keep things simple since I function on low brain power. In that sense, I think bar width, first and foremost, should be based on the rider’s anatomy. IE, width of shoulder girdle and arm length.
    Just like a raindrop, I was born to fall.

  6. #6
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    Only way to know how big is too big is to go beyond what is comfortable. Same things for reach and the new long frames. Eventually we will get to the point that bikes are to low long and slack. The industry will back up and things will settle on the best compromise.

    I see this only as a good thing. I'm 6'4" and have tried bars up to 820mm. Settled on 780mm as 760mm felt a little too small. My push-up width is exactly 780mm too.

    I for one can't wait until all XL bikes are over 500mm reach.
    Making shit harder than it needs to be isn't awesome, it's just...harder.

  7. #7
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    I was referring to RC with the rant comment.

    Really, since you can always cut bars down (and his own survey of pros shows that people are regularly doing this) there's no harm in having super wide bars available. People make all sorts of suboptimal choices on bikes (weight weenie parts, more suspension travel than they need, cranks generally too long, etc), but it's all about having fun for 99% of us, not necessarily optimizing to go fast.

    Some of us remember when 6 degree sweep 620mm bars were as wide as you could get. Things have improved since then, I'd say, even if people are running 850mm bars just to be cool. Let them, it's really not hurting anything.

    -Walt

  8. #8
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    Well, if the reach numbers were a little less astronomical, I would run a 50mm stem, but I need a 35 just to make a medium Rocky Mountain fit at 5'8".

  9. #9
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    Nobody really cares about how a bike fits. Basically, go with parts that are the lightest and come in the most colors.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by rideit View Post
    Well, if the reach numbers were a little less astronomical, I would run a 50mm stem, but I need a 35 just to make a medium Rocky Mountain fit at 5'8".
    I'm waiting for Pole to release a bike with a rearward facing stem and 83 degree seat/55 degree head tube angles. It's the next logical step.

    -Walt

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Walt View Post
    I'm waiting for Pole to release a bike with a rearward facing stem and 83 degree seat/55 degree head tube angles. It's the next logical step.

    -Walt
    I mean, why not? That HA may not be defensible for many, but the SA could be. Every extra degree over ~72D just optimizes for that much of an incline. 83D would imply you expect your riders to regularly ascend 11D slopes while seated. The saddle ends up higher relative to the ground which could hurt on downhills, but we have droppers so no one cares. Flat-ground riding is more compromised (downward saddle tilt, feet angled down), though no one seems to complain about that.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Walt View Post
    I'm waiting for Pole to release a bike with a rearward facing stem and 83 degree seat/55 degree head tube angles. It's the next logical step.

    -Walt
    You joke, but it's not outside the realm of possibilities... Take a look at the grip position relative to the head tube on this modern motocross bike, that's gotta be another 20mm+ behind what we have with current short stems:



    The grips are well behind the head tube axis. There are obviously a ton of differences between motorbike and mountain bike handling, but I would bet $ that we'll see a ton of experiments that end up with effectively "backwards" handlebar positions.

    Also:
    saw a dude riding a pretty aggressive line up in my neck of the woods (BC gnar) on a set of these this summer:
    https://www.jonesbikes.com/h-bar-jon...-aluminum-710/
    and it definitely didn't slow him down any.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Walt View Post
    I'm waiting for Pole to release a bike with a rearward facing stem..
    We can't do rearward facing stems. What we have to do is change how we look at the problem. Also, solved.

    I don't make bicycles. I make weapons systems. | Peter Verdone Designs


  14. #14
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    [QUOTE=pvd;13919331]We can't do rearward facing stems. What we have to do is change how we look at the problem. Also, solved.

    Why not?

    Your bar/stem combo can by made the reverse way around.

    Eric
    If I don't make an attempt, how will I know if it will work?

  15. #15
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    I'll repeat what i wrote at PB...:

    The opening paragraph is rather confusing. The difference with the dirt motorbikes is that the bicycle has a mass, no more than the /10nth of the rider… When ridding a motorbike the bike’s weight lowers the center of mass and the rider learns to use the momentum that is created by the mass of the machine and not just handle all that weight. On a bicycle, the main mass is… us! So we have to deal with this and move around a lot more, actually pulling our bike along. That’s why ridding a mountain bike will always be more demanding than ridding a motorbike. As for the steering bar’s width, there are more factors to be considered before deciding the right width. The terrain we’re ridding (do we have to pass through trees?), how we ride (our personal style) and more. It is good to start the measuring from somewhere, but there are more on this than meet the eye.

    Also.
    Given the opportunity I can only agree with Mr. PVD’s thesis. It seems that bike handling / fitting and choice of parts follow the current fashion those “journalists” are dictating, than been the result of some open minded research…
    I feel it follows the “light bike / part” fashion that most of the riders are following. Choosing a part by its weight, as its no1 variable, than function, reliability and common sense.
    Curious enough the same people, who favor every new season’s fashion, will reject all new (really new) designs, like new suspension systems, parts and more. If the looks differ from the fashion norm the new arrival is damned.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by uncajohn View Post
    That’s why ridding a mountain bike will always be more demanding than ridding a motorbike.
    Superb - I read this in the voice of Officer Crabtree

  17. #17
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    Firstly, the rider of the mountain bike will have to cover the motor's part also.... The alternative (motorbike) is to... twist your wrist!

  18. #18
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    the reverse stem has been done (on a pole, no less):

    This RC article about handlebars-s1200_fw18_22v8419.jpg

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by uncajohn View Post
    Given the opportunity I can only agree with Mr. PVD’s thesis. It seems that bike handling / fitting and choice of parts follow the current fashion those “journalists” are dictating, than been the result of some open minded research…
    I feel it follows the “light bike / part” fashion that most of the riders are following. Choosing a part by its weight, as its no1 variable, than function, reliability and common sense.
    You're going to love this:

    The McNamara Fallacy and bikes | Peter Verdone Designs

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by xy9ine View Post
    the reverse stem has been done.
    It was done in that case but it should not be done. It's not viable. We've already looked into this. My stem construction gives a designer all the room they need without doing something horrible like using a reversed stem. Draw a bike with a reversed stem and you'll see. It's a lazy bullshit choice that makes for a bad bike.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Malcolm View Post
    Why not?Your bar/stem combo can by made the reverse way around.
    There's no reason for that. The Warbird is at peak front center. It really can't be made any longer without performance suffering. At 5'10" and a 850mm front center, I wouldn't go any longer, probably even back down to 840mm. There's plenty of range in this stem to shorten it another 10mm for very tiny performance bikes.

    I guess it's just that I'm looking at this situation from the other side, already solved the construction issues and geometry choices to the point where other parameters will be getting the attention in the future. Front center has been sorted. Most builders and consumers haven't even started this journey so they think there's some kind of debate at hand. There's no more debate, Sam and I already went through these discussions a couple of years ago.

  22. #22
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    no way man. this is the future:This RC article about handlebars-p5pb12073696.jpg

  23. #23
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    According to the new PB article I should be on 850mm bars. Funny that 2 years ago I upgraded my XC bike from 680 to 720 bars.
    PVD I agree that function is much more important than weight, but I still like a light bike and will costomize it to be the lightest possible. Then put on 203mm rotors and dhf tires.
    Making shit harder than it needs to be isn't awesome, it's just...harder.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by pvd View Post
    My thesis exactly! (there are trails, here at our local mountains sewn with "lightweight" parts pieces...)
    Safety and function first. Then looks and weight.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Haggis View Post
    Superb - I read this in the voice of Officer Crabtree
    irstly, the rider of the mountain bike will have to cover the motor's part also.... The alternative (motorbike) is to... twist your wrist!

  26. #26
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    The more we learn the less we know? Unknown unknowns become known unknowns and down the rabbit hole we go, again.

    I'm a little confused on the idea that "front center has been sorted" as if it is a parameter that is independent of anything else.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by eMcK View Post
    I'm a little confused on the idea that "front center has been sorted" as if it is a parameter that is independent of anything else.
    It has been in the sense that we are now within the proper bracket and don't have to ruin other parameters (ie, head angle) to place the front wheel well. Finally being liberated from the old fashioned stem concept has done much of that. I can now tune a design for XC or Enduro by adjusting more of the driving parameters independently of others.

    Thus it's no longer a question of the impossibility of moving the front center 200mm in a design but real choice of moving it 10-20mm. That's a major change.

    The questions are now moving into other areas of design.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by pvd View Post
    Draw a bike with a reversed stem and you'll see. It's a lazy bullshit choice that makes for a bad bike.
    I don't really have a dog in this fight, other than being prompted recently to make half-handlebars that would bond into a center sleeve as you have otherwise demonstrated. It appears to me that a backward stem just takes your solution and moves it rearward yet further. I barely care about customer motivation on this one in particular, just that (1) some folks want it and (2) it would not be harmful to their safety, so (3) why not produce it. Humans adapt to different inputs - what's the problem here, other than "you'll see"?

    Supposing I draw it, and still won't see. Explain. Or don't, whatever.
    Disclaimer: I run Regular Cycles (officialy in 2016, functionally in 2020).

  29. #29
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    Lots of people are already riding with their hands behind the steering axis (H-bars plus maybe an 80mm or shorter stem will get you there) and have been for years. We could totally turn the stem backwards.

    As a matter of fact (as a bit of a joke) I once rode a 7' tall customer's bike configured that way so that I could reach the bars. It worked and steered just fine, though I had to basically vault on and off.

    -Walt

  30. #30
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    I'm a short guy and I think if long frame trends continue I may need to resort to installing the stem backwards
    Quote Originally Posted by Walt View Post
    I'm waiting for Pole to release a bike with a rearward facing stem and 83 degree seat/55 degree head tube angles. It's the next logical step.

    -Walt

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Diller View Post
    Supposing I draw it, and still won't see.
    It's pretty obvious that it doesn't work.

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