riser or straight handle bars??- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    riser or straight handle bars??

    Now that I have finished upgrading my drivetrain, I figure its time to spend some money elsewhere on my bike.

    Currently, I ride with 'straight' handle bars. Whether its age or technique, I find it more comfortable when I am not leaning over as much--usually sitting up enough such that I am steering with just my finger tips is a more comfortable position. Seems like getting a set of riser bars would be helpful. I have riden bikes with bar ends, but you are not able to shift or brake when hold the bar ends.

    As far as the type of riding I do, it mostly recreation XC. As I progress, I am trying more challenging terrain. Any recommendations on what riser bars to get, or the pro's & con's that I need to consider?

    Thx

  2. #2
    fsr
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    handlebars

    If you're riding on the fingertips then you definately need to change something for safety sake. Risers will raise your position to where you are more comfortable. They also usually have more of a sweepback making them easier on the wrist. The draw back is with the higher position, climbing performance is hindered. You can also keep the flats if you like them and change the stem to one with a higher rise. This can be a cheaper solution. Bar ends are purely for additional pull on steep climbs, stretching out a little, and for additional hand placements for more comfort. Hope this helps a bit with your decision. Good luck FSR

  3. #3

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    My old bike had flat bars, and my new bike has risers plus a longer travel fork both which equal higher front end. When making the switch, I didn't think my climbing performance was hindered at all, and my confidence on downhills definately improved as well as my skills on tight singletrack. Risers seem to be the latest trend.. most bikes come with them now I think, though it's all a matter of what you get use to. I know some people who use a flat bar for racing, and then use risers for casual riding.

  4. #4
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    if I go with a different stem, should the length change too?

    I usually don't ride with my finger tips. I do it occassionally on flat straight-a-ways especially if I am starting to feel the ride in my lower back (see previous comment about age and/or technique ;-). After stretching like this several times, it occurred to me that I should at least investigate whether a change to riser bars would help. I have read that bar-ends were not in vogue like they used to be. When I got a loaner bike recently, it had bar-ends, and I did not like them. Mind-you, I like grip shifters too...

    Regarding the comment about straight for racing & risers for recreation -- I thought about that some too. I only have one bike & will probably only have 1 for a while. Considering most of my riding, I was leaning toward the risers for now.

    I should consider getting a stem with a higher rise -- should it be the same length as my current stem?

  5. #5
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    I have flat bars and like them. I rode a friends bike a few years back that had risers, and although I was a little more comfortable, I just didn't feel right. It just didn't feel like a sporty/aggressive position. I liked it on downhills, but didn't care for it in the tight/twisty single track or climbing. However now that I am older, I notice that after about 1.5 hours of continuous riding, my lower back starts hurting. So I am end up going with risers just becasue of that.

  6. #6
    fsr
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    stem

    If you are tending to trying out a riser bar, try to figure out how much higher you need to be. Risers come in 1 inch 1.5 inch and 2 inch heights. Try the bar out first before switching stems. Good luck, FSR.

  7. #7
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    I have purchased neither a new stem nor a different stem. Since a higher rise stem would be likely be cheaper, I will probably look into it first. The advantage of riser bars would be the different angle for my wrists. Thx.

  8. #8
    Nouveau Retrogrouch SuperModerator
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    Quote Originally Posted by journey
    I usually don't ride with my finger tips. I do it occassionally on flat straight-a-ways especially if I am starting to feel the ride in my lower back (see previous comment about age and/or technique ;-). After stretching like this several times, it occurred to me that I should at least investigate whether a change to riser bars would help. I have read that bar-ends were not in vogue like they used to be. When I got a loaner bike recently, it had bar-ends, and I did not like them. Mind-you, I like grip shifters too...

    Regarding the comment about straight for racing & risers for recreation -- I thought about that some too. I only have one bike & will probably only have 1 for a while. Considering most of my riding, I was leaning toward the risers for now.

    I should consider getting a stem with a higher rise -- should it be the same length as my current stem?
    Your LBS can help you determine the stem size you need. It is pretty easy to swap stems.
    With the way stems are measured for the same length when the rise angle increases the effective reach is shortened (i.e. a 100mmx25 stem is taller and shorter than a 100mmx10). Also for stems with the same rise angle the one with the shorter length is lower than the long stem (i.e. a 75mmx25 stem is lower than a 100x25). This is because of the head tube angle and because stem length is measured along the extension tube.
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  9. #9
    Riding free's the mind
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    I went from straight to riser

    I recommend riser. Having used a straight bar for many years on my hardtail, I wasn't convinced myself of any advantages of going riser.... but there are.

    I took a baby step into the riser bar world by getting the Easton Monkeylite SL low rise bar. It only rises 3/4" but adds a little more width and better sweep angle. I do mostly XC/trail riding, so a full on hardcore downhill handle bar was not necessary.

    Honestly, it's really a comfortable setup, keep in mind though, I had the bike spec'd around this component, so the stem rise/length & spacers are all dialed in. So if you're in a comfortable position with your current flat bar, then you might have to consider compensating for some of the extra rise by your stem or spacers. In other words, you don't want to be so upright that your ability to climb steep grades diminshes with constant wheelies!

  10. #10
    Nouveau Retrogrouch SuperModerator
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    Quote Originally Posted by journey
    I have purchased neither a new stem nor a different stem. Since a higher rise stem would be likely be cheaper, I will probably look into it first. The advantage of riser bars would be the different angle for my wrists. Thx.
    The shorter, higher bar position can be an advantage on the descents, and for your back, on the flats. It can make climbing a bit more difficult but that is what barends are for.
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  11. #11
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    Thx for the feedback. I noted when I started the thread, I believe I would like to be a little more upright, especially when riding on none technical single track. A low rise bar may not be a bad idea.

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