Flat handlebar vs riser handlebar- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1

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    Flat handlebar vs riser handlebar

    I'm a bit of a newb with a 2002 Trek 4300, all stock right now.

    Just wondering, what's the pros and cons of flat handlebars vs the "riser" style? I've got an opportunity to get some Ritchey components cheap, and am considering doing a bit of upgrading.

  2. #2
    nachos rule!
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    for some it's all about fashion, for others it's all about fit

    if you need more rise but don't want a spacer stack or a riser stem then obviously riser bars are the way to go. if you don't need more rise then go flat. form follows function.

    back in the day the only really wide bars were risers, and seein' as how wider bars give you more steering leverage in a "freeride" situation (of course, we didn't call it that back then, it was all just riding) they developed their "tough guy" image. total bs, mind you. just as an example, a titec hellbent flattracker is going to be stronger (and lighter) than the equivalent width titec riser bar. basic materials science.

    kinda funny when you look back. the original "built as such" mountain bikes had bull-moose bars, once more builders entered the fray the good bikes had bull-moose bars and the crappy bikes had risers. then flat bars supplanted bull-moose bars, so the good bikes had flat bars and the crappy bikes had risers. you'd swap out your risers as fast as you could if you wanted to be cool. then the flat bar was "dead" and most everybody had risers. then risers went back out of fashion and flat bars came back in (good thing some of us never switched). with the advent of "freeride" (hmmm, were we doing captive riding before?) flat bars went out of fashion again, and riser bars came back into fashion again...

    use whatever works. if your grips are in the correct position relative to each other, your saddle and your bottom bracket, who gives a crap what shape the tubing is that connects the grips to the stem. it just don't matter, unless you're a fashion whore hung up appearances.

    -eric
    Last edited by supercorsa; 03-03-2004 at 09:36 PM. Reason: my grammer sux sumtimes...
    plus a change, plus c'est la m'me chose - alphonse karr

  3. #3

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    So what determines what the correct position is?

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by RidgeRunner
    So what determines what the correct position is?
    lower and more forward with the bar for climbing, farther back and higher for decending ( to simplify) for better weight distribution and handling for these situations. So If you are a cross country rider with lots of climbing involved, go with the flat bar. If you want a GP bike and like trail riding, get the riser. If you like to do more freeride stuff, get a strong wide riser.

  5. #5
    nachos rule!
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    what he said...

    olak pegged it.

    about the only thing to add is that, seeing as how you're a noob (and welcome aboard, i'd like to say) just ride your bike as-is for a while and get acquainted with it. listen to what your body is telling you. do you seem too stretched out, too scrunched up, too hunched over, too upright, is it spooky on steep descents, is the front end too light climbing? take some time, ride in a variety of situations, then make one adjustment at a time and re-evaluate. fit is an ongoing process, there's nothing absolute about it.

    additionally, your riding is an ongoing process. you could get this bike perfectly dialed for you right now, get a new bike & park this one for a year or two, then haul this bike back out only to find that this "perfectly dialed" bike rides like crap given your new riding style. evolution, baby!

    -eric
    plus a change, plus c'est la m'me chose - alphonse karr

  6. #6
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    Don't mix up different questions

    Quote Originally Posted by RidgeRunner
    what's the pros and cons of flat handlebars vs the "riser" style?
    Donít mix up the following two separate and independent questions:
    1. Deciding where you what your grips.
    2. Deciding how to get the grips there.

    The first question is a whole science of its own (or can be, depending on how deep you want to dive into it), and it has nothing to do with what parts you use to get that position.

    To answer the second question for a given bike, you have the following three variables to play with:
    1. Total height of spacers under the stem.
    2. Stem length and angle.
    3. Handlebar rise and sweep.

    For example, having a 90 mm 5 deg stem and a riser bar with 50 mm (2Ē) rise places your grips in the same position as a 120 mm 25 deg stem and a flatbar with the same sweep as the riserbar.

    Among those two solutions, the one with riserbar will typically be:
    - More expensive
    - Heavier
    - Weaker, due to the bent handlebar tube

    So I agree with Supercorsa (if I understood you correctly) that the only reason to choose a riser bar is if you think it looks cool. Otherwise, choose a flatbar and play with the spacers and the stem. This is not to say that I donít think aesthetics is important Ė I understand choosing something because it looks good.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by supercorsa
    about the only thing to add is that, seeing as how you're a noob (and welcome aboard, i'd like to say) just ride your bike as-is for a while and get acquainted with it. listen to what your body is telling you. do you seem too stretched out, too scrunched up, too hunched over, too upright, is it spooky on steep descents, is the front end too light climbing? take some time, ride in a variety of situations, then make one adjustment at a time and re-evaluate. fit is an ongoing process, there's nothing absolute about it.
    I've had the bike for about 2 years, mainly just park rides, laps around the lake, etc til I moved up here to Western Carolina U. As far as how it feels, it does seem a little like I'm gonna tip over going down a hill, and i definitely have problems keeping the front tire on the ground when ascending a steep hill. I'm 6', 200lbs, so I do make the bike pretty top heavy.

    Quote Originally Posted by anden
    To answer the second question for a given bike, you have the following three variables to play with:
    1. Total height of spacers under the stem.
    2. Stem length and angle.
    3. Handlebar rise and sweep.
    So how is the stem measured? I'd guess what I've got is somewhere between 80-120mm, but I don't know from which points it is measured. Also, it's pretty steeply angled up (60deg away from the steer tube, 30deg up?), and has maybe 40mm of spacers betweeen it and the frame. The stock bar is maybe 1-2 inch rise. The MTB stem Ritchey has that I'm eyeballing is 84deg from the steer tube (6deg up) and I think anywhere from 90-130mm in length.

    On a side note, how in the hell do you get a rubber grip off the end of a handlebar? I wanted to examine my bar more closely without the grips, but they are firmly stuck.

  8. #8
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    Although this thread is nearly a decade old, I just wanted to say how incredibly helpful this was. As an MTB noob, this was the exact info I was looking for. Well done guys.

  9. #9
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    Awesome thread, exactly what I was looking for.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by RidgeRunner View Post
    I'm a bit of a newb with a 2002 Trek 4300, all stock right now.

    Just wondering, what's the pros and cons of flat handlebars vs the "riser" style? I've got an opportunity to get some Ritchey components cheap, and am considering doing a bit of upgrading.
    It is all about the location of the hands to obtain comfort and good balance for climb and descend. I run riser bars, but also have inverted my stem. One cancels the other to an extent. The reason I did this was because I had low rise carbon bars on hand and needed to get the bar to just the right height to the right riding characteristics.
    Joe
    '18 Specialized Epic 29", 19' Vassago Optimus Ti SS 29", '19 Ibis Ripmo, XC, AM, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

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