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  1. #1

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    flat bars vs. riser bars

    just curious- when it comes to riser bars vs. straight/flat bars, is it all about the height of the bars or are there any other differences? for example, does one better suit getting over obstacles? are they suited to the same type of riding? it just seems that i rarely see flat bars on peoples rides. thanks!

  2. #2

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    Well part of it is the greater height...

    Quote Originally Posted by cmatcan
    just curious- when it comes to riser bars vs. straight/flat bars, is it all about the height of the bars or are there any other differences? for example, does one better suit getting over obstacles? are they suited to the same type of riding? it just seems that i rarely see flat bars on peoples rides. thanks!
    as that makes it a bit easier to get back off the saddle during steepish decents. Then they are wider which makes the handling a bit less twitchy on the downhills, but you need to put more weight forward on the uphills because your center of gravity is more upright and further back. I find the risers more comfortable on longer rides because my back gets less stress because I'm more upright and with my back that's good. I feel the flats might have an edge going over things because of better leverage, but that just might be lousy technique on my part.

  3. #3
    No good in rock gardens..
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    Risers Vs flat

    1. Fashion. All the downhillers started using riser bars years ago so it filtered down to most other bikes. And it was a way for makers to make their bikes look different. (Until they all did it) Some people might find they look better.

    2. Width and sweep. Risers are wider and it's claimed they add more control in the rough stuff. They also sweep back towards your body a little more and the angle of sweep is said to be more comfortable for your wrist.


    3. Bike fit. Really tall people can either run a high rise stem, lots of spacers or a riser bar to get the bar at a comfortable height. The riser bar option probably looks better.

    4. Strength. Risers are all heavier than the equivalent flat bar which may make them stronger for those that need it.


    I myself dislike the look of risers on an XC bike, and being shorter I don't need the height they offer, don't like the weight and hate the width. In the end it comes down to personal preference. The stupidest looking thing is when you see a negative rise stem with a riser bar in it. Weird!
    Less isn't MOAR

  4. #4
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    risers generally give you a more upright riding position which takes some of the weight off of your arms and fork , both a plus. Being upright also makes it easier to lift the front over obsticles. the only slight negative I can see is going uphill
    these observations are from my personel experience, after tryimg my friends new bike (with a more upright position) I changed my sugar to a riser AND a steeper rise , shorter stem. Now I have a much more comfortable ride

  5. #5

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    thanks fo the replies guys. dan, that comment about riser bars taking more weight off the fork made me think. i have a rigid bike, so risers might make things more comfortable. plus, i have pretty big hands so the extra width makes sense. i am a roadie turning more attention to the dark side-i know that on the road carbon=comfort, would i notice the comfort of carbon bars/seatpost on a mountain bike (rigid s/s)?? any recommendations of models??

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by cmatcan
    thanks fo the replies guys. dan, that comment about riser bars taking more weight off the fork made me think. i have a rigid bike, so risers might make things more comfortable. plus, i have pretty big hands so the extra width makes sense. i am a roadie turning more attention to the dark side-i know that on the road carbon=comfort, would i notice the comfort of carbon bars/seatpost on a mountain bike (rigid s/s)?? any recommendations of models??
    be carefull about carbon bars and seatposts if you are a heavy rider(200+lbs) mtn biking is alot more stressfull on componets and you don't want your bars breaking while bombing down a baby head covered hill. Also carbon has to be carefully torqued if you over tighten it it cracks. pluses... its lighter, it flexes, it looks cool

  7. #7
    Old man on a bike
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    Given the same stem and spacer combo, a riser bar will put your hands in a higher position than a straight bar, but you can achieve that same position with a different stem or spacer combo, too. It's easier to get a wider bar with a riser, but not impossible to get a wide flat bar. An aluminum riser bar is inherently weaker as the tube has been bent, but generally they use a greater thickness (thus heavier bar generally) to compensate. Flat and riser bars are available in a wide variety of sweep angles, both upward and backward, you have to find one that works for your hands for the most part. I crashed today where a carbon bar would have been toast, I'll stick with aluminum or ti.
    "...the people get the government they deserve..."
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  8. #8

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    hmmm yeah some more really good points, thanks guys. maybe i'd be better off investing in some thicker grips/gloves for the extra comfort, rather than carbon. i had looked this up: http://store.airbomb.com/ItemDesc.asp?IC=HB4711 looks like a rad set, but now that you mention it, the idea of carbon flexing seems a little sketchy to me, especially on a fully rigid steel s/s. any other ways to up the comfort just a bit? (still wanna stay true to the rigid design, just don't wanna feel like i got rocks thrown at my elbows and kidneys). i'm thinkin lock-on grips, maybe oury, and some thicker all-mountain gloves. carbon seat-post for sure.

  9. #9
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    i found having a flatbar made riding up hill easier, but going down hill scarier.

    Risers made me feel a hell of a lot more comfortable going down hill.

    I think it all depends on your bike geometry etc.

    steve

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by cmatcan
    i had looked this up: http://store.airbomb.com/ItemDesc.asp?IC=HB4711 looks like a rad set, but now that you mention it, the idea of carbon flexing seems a little sketchy to me, especially on a fully rigid steel s/s. any other ways to up the comfort just a bit?
    The thing about carbon is that it doesn't flex,it just snaps.No warning, just *snap*,then ya pray that ya aren't using your stem as a pacifier the next moment.Don't get me wrong,I'm still considering putting an LP Composites XC bar on my full-susser,and they would eat up some shock on a rigid,but they're also made super-thick,hence,they don't give you much (if any) weight savings over steel or aluminum bars.
    I just put a Ritchey aluminum xc bar on my full-rigid Rockhopper,and so far,so good.MUCH more comfy on the wrists (thanks mostly IMO to the increased backsweep,which is very important for comfort,especially if the "outsides" of your wrists get sore like mine did) than the stock straight bar,the height increase takes the weight off of my arms and reduces neck pain from "looking up",and I'm finding it much easier to pop the nose up for climbing ledges and stairs.If you REALLY want to add some comfort but keep the rigid fork,don't forget to look into some beefier tires.I personally put the fattest tire I had clearance for (2.4") and it made a world of difference with much less added weight than a suspension fork and more affordability than a carbon bar.
    Comparison (on Rockhopper full-rigid):
    Before:1.5" slicks rated for 110psi(run at 60-80psi)=ouch on a 1 foot drop
    Now:2.4" semi-slicks run at 50psi=3-4 foot drops to flat feel smoooooth
    ...and my "fun rides" have gone from 1-2 hours to practically indefinite (usually 4-6 hours at least)due to lack of wrist fatigue.
    R.I.P.-George Carlin

  11. #11
    I throw poo
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    only slightly OT

    Do any of you guys know if someone makes a flat bar with riser bar width/sweep?
    Dang it, now I'm running a coolness deficit for sure.

  12. #12
    HIKE!
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    One example...

    .... Salsa Pro Moto, 660mm wide and 11 degree bend. I've been riding with one of these on a bike with an uncut fork and a few spacers (easier to sell the fork used later on if it is uncut), and have the same high hand position as I've had with risers. Works fine. Sure doesn't look as cool or "moto" though!

    I think Titec has a wide, long sweep flat bar (Flat Tracker?) as well.

  13. #13

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    What you really want is a Brahma Bar

    Quote Originally Posted by sparrow
    .... Salsa Pro Moto, 660mm wide and 11 degree bend. I've been riding with one of these on a bike with an uncut fork and a few spacers (easier to sell the fork used later on if it is uncut), and have the same high hand position as I've had with risers. Works fine. Sure doesn't look as cool or "moto" though!

    I think Titec has a wide, long sweep flat bar (Flat Tracker?) as well.

    If you get a Brahma Bar you don't need to worry about finding Answer Hyperlite Bar Ends.

  14. #14
    HIKE!
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    aaah, but then you can't use...

    purple anodized bar ends! Then there's always the AT2 LF from Scott.... oldie, but not so goodie. All too narrow.

  15. #15

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    Well it was rather obvious from your first two points you didn't like them, but you forget that the riser style has been around for a long, long time and were on the first mtn. bikes used in California. I prefer mine for none of your shallow reasons and don't care for the flat ones for the discomfort they cause me(although my wife likes hers). Seems to me you're way to fashion conscious.

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by ArroyoBomber
    The thing about carbon is that it doesn't flex,it just snaps.No warning, just *snap*,then ya pray that ya aren't using your stem as a pacifier the next moment.Don't get me wrong,I'm still considering putting an LP Composites XC bar on my full-susser,and they would eat up some shock on a rigid,but they're also made super-thick,hence,they don't give you much (if any) weight savings over steel or aluminum bars.
    I just put a Ritchey aluminum xc bar on my full-rigid Rockhopper,and so far,so good.MUCH more comfy on the wrists (thanks mostly IMO to the increased backsweep,which is very important for comfort,especially if the "outsides" of your wrists get sore like mine did) than the stock straight bar,the height increase takes the weight off of my arms and reduces neck pain from "looking up",and I'm finding it much easier to pop the nose up for climbing ledges and stairs.If you REALLY want to add some comfort but keep the rigid fork,don't forget to look into some beefier tires.I personally put the fattest tire I had clearance for (2.4") and it made a world of difference with much less added weight than a suspension fork and more affordability than a carbon bar.
    Comparison (on Rockhopper full-rigid):
    Before:1.5" slicks rated for 110psi(run at 60-80psi)=ouch on a 1 foot drop
    Now:2.4" semi-slicks run at 50psi=3-4 foot drops to flat feel smoooooth
    ...and my "fun rides" have gone from 1-2 hours to practically indefinite (usually 4-6 hours at least)due to lack of wrist fatigue.
    I was just wondering, how do you know that carbon bars just "snap"?

  17. #17

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    who are you responding to?

    Quote Originally Posted by fred3
    Well it was rather obvious from your first two points you didn't like them, but you forget that the riser style has been around for a long, long time and were on the first mtn. bikes used in California. I prefer mine for none of your shallow reasons and don't care for the flat ones for the discomfort they cause me(although my wife likes hers). Seems to me you're way to fashion conscious.
    Who are you responding to?

  18. #18

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    Where are you from?

    Quote Originally Posted by sparrow
    purple anodized bar ends! Then there's always the AT2 LF from Scott.... oldie, but not so goodie. All too narrow.
    From your bar preferences it sounds like you are from France?

  19. #19
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    I've got an AT2 LF that started life on a tandem. Then went to my main mtb and is now sitting in the parts bin. I may ressurect it for my new SS. Grips are a btich to put on. They are a little noodly. That's why they're in the bin I guess.

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by lovemonkey
    Do any of you guys know if someone makes a flat bar with riser bar width/sweep?
    Titec Hellbent fits the bill, but I believe they're out of production. You can maybe still find them, and I think they sold off their inventory for cheap, my LBS had them for $20 a couple months ago. I have one, and I love it. Light, strong, and comfortable.

    I think Moots makes a similar bar in titanium....goes for a bit more than $20!

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by singletracksnob
    I was just wondering, how do you know that carbon bars just "snap"?
    Well,to cover the inevitable "you probably put em on wrong" comment preemptively,it seems to be almost common knowledge now that you have to be VERY careful about how hard you torque the stem bolts onto a carbon bar,otherwise you not only compromise the bar's integrity,but you usually void the warranty as well.I wasn't trying to imply that I think carbon fails more easily,only that rather than bending before they break,they just break.Carbon,while having a certain threshold for "flexing" in respect to absorbing vibration,seems to not bend as far as steel before breaking.Think of a PVC pipe versus a wire coat hanger (rough analogy,I know).Sure,the PVC will hold more weight,but it will snap long before you can bend it to a 90 degree angle,whereas,you can bend the coat hanger much more easily and not break it.Hope that helps clear things up.
    R.I.P.-George Carlin

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    hahaha wow, some carbon-bar owners are gettin defensive here! I agree with what arroyo says about carbon, though. I ride a full-carbon roadie and it's well known that carbon, although it might not even be any weaker than comparable materials, REALLY breaks when it breaks. No cracks, no bends, just SNAP. Carbon bars on my roadie are great but I'm thinkin alloy or ti for the mtb. if it was a superlight racing rig, i might reconsider, but this is a kona unit, and my fav. thing about this bike is how thrashable it is. why not keep that theme going with all the components instead of getting sketchy?

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by lovemonkey
    Do any of you guys know if someone makes a flat bar with riser bar width/sweep?
    saw this weird bar at pricepoint, check it out

    http://www.pricepoint.com/detail/145...Hanlde-Bar.htm
    "He can make even a global summit meeting seem like a kegger." M. Dowd, NY Times, 19 July 2006

  24. #24
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    Overcaffeinated?

    Quote Originally Posted by fred3
    Well it was rather obvious from your first two points you didn't like them, but you forget that the riser style has been around for a long, long time and were on the first mtn. bikes used in California. I prefer mine for none of your shallow reasons and don't care for the flat ones for the discomfort they cause me(although my wife likes hers). Seems to me you're way to fashion conscious.
    Ok dude,slow down...deeeep breaths....Ok killer,now,tell us who got your panties all in a bunch.For the life of me,I can't figure out what anyone said which could have ticked you off,except for maybe "Some people MIGHT find they look better" by Sideknob.So some people prefer the look of risers and want their bike to reflect their tastes.Let's put 'em in a pit and stone them for their banality.I swear,random and unsolicited hostility like that is why I don't have any kids.Get a grip (pun TOTALLY intended ).
    R.I.P.-George Carlin

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    Follow the line.............................................. ............

  26. #26
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    Risers vs flats

    Quote Originally Posted by ArroyoBomber
    I swear,random and unsolicited hostility like that is why I don't have any kids.Get a grip (pun TOTALLY intended ).
    RAOTFLMFAO

    It's a free world. Folks can put bars off a Chopper on their bikes for all I care, with 6 inches of spacers just to be sure. Not for me tho. Tried risers and HATED them.
    Less isn't MOAR

  27. #27

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    Nope. Responding to b.s. No animosity or anger. I'm sure you're an expert at deciphering emotions when you can see someone, but words alone do not a ranter make. Seems to me you're over reacting to a presumed over reaction. You'd be wrong of course.

  28. #28
    It's about showing up.
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    It's all about hand position,

    how you get there is up to you. Lots of riders go with a higher hand position to avoid that "fear of going over the bars." As skills increase riders learn to keep their weight down by committing their upper body weight lower and back by scooting their butts further back on the seat when needed. The greatest expression of this is the full attack committed position of racers with flat bars. RACERS. Not five races a years but full-on racers. How man of us really fit into that category.
    Some riders use the riser bar for it's sweep, as flat bars are very limited in that. I've heard the "width arguement" for greater control and real-time torque measurements just don't support it.
    The rest of us make accomodations to age, conditioning, skill, style, comfort, and nerve. Hence, spacers, stems that rise, and riser bars.
    I use a 1/2 inch carbon riser bar on my Stumpy Pro and cut them down to 23 inches. A few years ago I used a carbon flat bar on my Race-lite. I'm 54 and 6 ft tall.

  29. #29
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    Flattrackers are sweet bars, with all the width and sweep you get from a riser.

    One thing I havent heard mentioned is the steering advantage one gets from a (relatively) lower bar position. Ive noticed the lighter front end I get from the riser makes the bike a tad more difficult to steer in tight, twisty singletrack.

  30. #30
    Keep The Rubber Side Down
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    For me, it's about comfort. I haven't used flat bars in at least 8 years. Ever since I made the switch to risers, I've never looked back. I recently rented a bike that came with flats and remember how odd it felt.
    Some of my happiest memories in life took place on my bicycles. - Me

  31. #31
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    I think a person should use whatever bar gives them the position and comfort they need. I had riser bars on my XTC NRS and switched to a flat bar because they put me in a more balanced position. It was more difficult to get over the front when climbing with a riser and my front end tended to lift at times. A flat bar cured this problem and didn't create downhill problems because I have no trouble getting off the back of the seat, even with a flat bar. I found a sweep and width that was at least as comfortable and didn't sacrifice anything in that department. Flat bars work for me on this particular setup.

    I have a SS with a riser bar. Because the geometry of this bike is different the riser bar works best at putting me in a neutral position on the bike and comfort is good. I will continue to use a riser bar on this bike.

    Form follows function.

  32. #32
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    All three of my mountain bikes have riser bars, but that is mostly because I like the added sweep. I realize that there are flat bars with similar sweep, but the selection is limited. Both cross country bikes have 6° stems flipped so they angle down to keep the bar height where a flat bar would be. The third bike is more free ride-y, so a little more upright position is nice there.

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by fred3
    Nope. Responding to b.s. No animosity or anger. I'm sure you're an expert at deciphering emotions when you can see someone, but words alone do not a ranter make. Seems to me you're over reacting to a presumed over reaction. You'd be wrong of course.
    Sorry for overreacting to a perceived overreaction to a non-existant overreaction.Reason #6 why not to do a 14 hour shift-My ham sandwich can outsmart me afterwards.My bad.
    R.I.P.-George Carlin

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