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  1. #1
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    Anybody abandon "alt" bars?

    For 5 years I've used/loved various "alt" bars, but I think I'm at trail's end. Yesterday's ride left me thinking my rigid 29er was sometimes fighting itself in the twisties, so today I replaced my Origin8 Space Bar OR2 with a Monkeylite 710mm (28"). Well...it fukkin' ROCKED! I'm not sure if it was the extra 1+" of width, the carbon, or the standard backsweep, but handling (esp. hard leans) and tech/descending were both WAY better, and the front end was more compliant. My margin of error definitely increased, allowing me to get cocky and throw the bike around more, like a suspended HT. Fun! 100g lighter, too. Climbing wasn't improved, but it didn't seem to suffer either.

    Anybody else love and leave "alt" bars? Why?


    Alt bars owned: 1) On-One Mary, 2) Mary-like custom ti (broke), 3) Titec h-bar, 4) Carnegie carbon (sold), and 5) Origin8 Space OR2 (current until yesterday).
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  2. #2
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    My commuting bike is setup with the Surly Open Bar. I love it, and have dabbled with it off-road a number of times. That said, there's a reason world cup DH'ers and XC racers use flat/riser bars, at least in my experience they offer soooo much more control on the descents, and as you said little to no penalty on the miserable climbing half of the loop.

  3. #3
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    I am experimenting right now:


    Ragley Carnegies 685mm
    Salsa Pro Moto 6x10 degrees, 685mm
    Bontrager Race Lites 17 degrees, 710mm wide

    the Salsa bars are the oldest for me, then I got the Bontragers. they were on my bike for one ride,then I tried the Carnegies and they have been on my bike for the last few weeks. I want to try to Bontragers again and then the Salsas. so far, I am really liking the Carnegies though.

  4. #4
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    Imo

    Quote Originally Posted by DanD View Post
    there's a reason world cup DH'ers and XC racers use flat/riser bars, at least in my experience they offer soooo much more control on the descents, and as you said little to no penalty on the miserable climbing half of the loop.
    Getting my hands wider and moving my elbows out gave me WAY more control/stability during descents, rough fast turns, high speeds, and small jumps. It felt like cheating, as if I had discovered a secret weapon. Surprisingly, the bike felt just as nimble (not sure why - Monkeylite was even 1/4" taller). I had previously used the Monkeylite on a couple suspended HTs, so I knew its benefits already, but when installed on a rigid bike, the improvements felt much more pronounced (and that's with a Niner carbon fork).

    The alt bar does give a more natural/comfortable hand position while cruising, which is nice. And they may allow for greater pulling power on the steepest climbs because the elbows are pulled in and arms are straighter, allowing greater use of the lower back and lats (instead of the much weaker biceps being the weak link).

    I'm in very rocky terrain and have just the rigid bike, so I'll take the control/compliance of the Monkeylite DH rather than the benefites of an alter bar.

  5. #5
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    +1. I used Mary Bars and Groovy Ti Luv Handles. Mary's had a little too much sweep and not enough width for the rocky descending I do in Southern California.

    The Ti Luv's were certainly better but I still felt like I was lacking the kind of control I was used to on DH stuff.

    I finally went bak to the MonkeyLite DH riser and all was good in my little corner of the universe.
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  6. #6
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    I have owned and used (and in some cases should also sell):
    1) Jones H-bar
    2) Mary
    3) Groovy Luv
    4) Midge
    5) Ragley Carnegie carbon

    I currently have the Carnegie on my SS and recently added an Answer Pro Taper 720mm bar on my Jones. I use Ergon grips with bar ends on the Answer, so I feel just as powerful on the climbs.

    I think the sweet spot for me would probably be 12-17 degrees of sweep, but I've never tried that.

  7. #7
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    I tried Mary Bars and hated them before I even got to the trail. They did not feel good at all. Every physique is different, and for me too much sweep is uncomfortable. My sweet spot seems to be around 9-12 degrees. I run Salsa 11 degree bars and Cane Creek bar ends on my single speed and that 's what works for me.

  8. #8
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    Alt bars n' old girlfriends

    I tried Mary, but she was narrow and sweepy.
    I hooked up with the Jones Twins, H & J, but they didn't have enough room for my lever(s).
    I tried to get my Groovy on, but she was narrow.
    After a spell with a custom bar, my wrists hurt......
    I even tried the large and in charge salsa 710, 17 degree, but she too was a wrist bender....

    Now I'm rockin' to the sweet tunes of a 711mm Haven and her short sister Thomson.
    More girth for more leverage.
    No more of that hippie 9+ degree bends.

    Cheers

    -B
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  9. #9
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    Been riding the J-bars on my Sawyer (and Raleigh XXIX before that) for a total of about 3-1/2 years now. The "extreme" sweep of a 45d bar works well for me - they are fairly wide and I like that - but agree that fitting levers and shifters would be work - my bikes are SS. Civia has a bar that looks kinda like the Carnegie with a 50d sweep, and plenty of room for a brake/shifter that I'd try if I go back to gears on a bike. I do have a commuter set-up with H-bars and an XT rapidfire shifter on the right side, and the brake lever, etc... all seems to fit - but it's a little bit of a reach to the release lever... Love the feel of the bars tho - have a hard time riding "regular" flat or riser bars when demoing bikes. I had a demo Horsethief for a few weeks and was bummed the hoses weren't long enough to put the J-bars on - and wasn't willing to replacing the hoses on a demo bike that others would want to ride also!
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  10. #10
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    I ran a J-Bar on a rigid SS. When I put a shock on it, it felt wonky and went to a flat bar with bar ends.

  11. #11
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    I'm pretty much done with them too I think. Can't find any that are wide enough.

  12. #12
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    I ran a fubar on my chameleon and really liked it, but when I switched everything over to a p7 I couldn't make it work. I found a home for it on my townie/knock around bike, works great there.

  13. #13
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    What about the others who did not switch? Anybody? Do I have to switch from my Mary? Waaa!


    Ali

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by pisiket View Post
    What about the others who did not switch? Anybody? Do I have to switch from my Mary? Waaa!


    Ali
    Keeping my Marys. I like 'em on the super steep stuff. Rigid 29er SS.
    Not much for the bombing downhill stuff and prefer climbing and swoopy singletrack, so they are perfect...for me. YMMV of course.

  15. #15
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    Traded off my J-bar, too much sweep for me, the multiple hand positions were nice though. Back to drop bars.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by AZ.MTNS View Post
    Traded off my J-bar, too much sweep for me, the multiple hand positions were nice though. Back to drop bars.
    Swapped out my Space Bars with Carnegies on my Stumpjumper FSR 29...but then traded the Space Bars with this guy ^^^ for his J-Bars on my Single Speed

  17. #17
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    Rolling on Salsa Bend2 right now. Nice and big at 28 inches wide. Still not sure on the 22 degree bend......still kinda prefer my old 17 degree bars.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Onetrack View Post
    Rolling on Salsa Bend2 right now. Nice and big at 28 inches wide. Still not sure on the 22 degree bend......still kinda prefer my old 17 degree bars.
    Where did you find the Salsa's? Every place I checked is out of stock.

  19. #19
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    Shop ordered em up about two months ago from QBP/Salsa. Cheap wide and definitely a unique alternative to traditional bars. Checked inventory at Salsa/QBP....they have plenty in stock

  20. #20
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    I have been using the Mary bar for the last 3 months. On Tuesday I went for a ride with a buddy and we switched back and forth leading. On the most difficult trail I came around a tree at the apex of an uphill then downhill corner and I went straight down in to the ravine. Buddy had to come back and pick me up out of the thorns since I couldn't free myself as I was hanging upside-down. Every movement made the thorns dig deeper in to my skin. Ouch! I'm scratched and bruised up but no broken bones. Whew. He thought we should bail out but we only had 2 miles left of a 10 mile loop and I was determined to finish the lap. Adrenaline kept me going strong but I was thinking pretty hard about what led to the crash.

    This trail system flows very well for the most part and you can really get moving. I was feeling good but I noticed the bike was fighting me a bit in the hard corners. I just couldn't get it to lean at the proper angle to rail the corner and if I pushed it harder it would go farther than I wanted it to and I would have to counter and lose a little bit of speed and control. It was a little frustrating knowing that I could have been going a lot faster if I wasn't fighting the bike.

    I swapped out my Mary bar for a Salsa Pro Moto Flat bar with 11 degree back sweep. I took it out for a ride and the difference in control at speed was astounding, especially when flying downhill. The bike is much more compliant in the corners.

    I love the Mary bar but I seem to have outgrown it. I think the Mary bar was compensating for my lack of confidence. It's a great bar if you're just putting around the trails at a leisurely pace, but when you're racing and things start to get serious a flat or riser bar seems to be the way to go. Like it was said before, there's a reason racers use what they use.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by dgw2jr View Post
    I have been using the Mary bar for the last 3 months. On Tuesday I went for a ride with a buddy and we switched back and forth leading. On the most difficult trail I came around a tree at the apex of an uphill then downhill corner and I went straight down in to the ravine. Buddy had to come back and pick me up out of the thorns since I couldn't free myself as I was hanging upside-down. Every movement made the thorns dig deeper in to my skin. Ouch! I'm scratched and bruised up but no broken bones. Whew. He thought we should bail out but we only had 2 miles left of a 10 mile loop and I was determined to finish the lap. Adrenaline kept me going strong but I was thinking pretty hard about what led to the crash.

    This trail system flows very well for the most part and you can really get moving. I was feeling good but I noticed the bike was fighting me a bit in the hard corners. I just couldn't get it to lean at the proper angle to rail the corner and if I pushed it harder it would go farther than I wanted it to and I would have to counter and lose a little bit of speed and control. It was a little frustrating knowing that I could have been going a lot faster if I wasn't fighting the bike.

    I swapped out my Mary bar for a Salsa Pro Moto Flat bar with 11 degree back sweep. I took it out for a ride and the difference in control at speed was astounding, especially when flying downhill. The bike is much more compliant in the corners.

    I love the Mary bar but I seem to have outgrown it. I think the Mary bar was compensating for my lack of confidence. It's a great bar if you're just putting around the trails at a leisurely pace, but when you're racing and things start to get serious a flat or riser bar seems to be the way to go. Like it was said before, there's a reason racers use what they use.
    Your experience sounds so much like what I described in the original post (except it took you only 3 months to discovery what it took me 5 years for me to learn). I still kinda miss the natural/organic bike fit of wide sweep bars, but for my nasty trails, I've left them behind.

    I'm brainstorming a playful urban assault/paths/short distance commuter go-anywhere flat pedal 29er (SS or 1X9) and I think a high-sweep bar might fit that application nicely.

  22. #22
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    My take on 'alt' bars is that nothing has ever done a better job of fixing a problem that didn't exist in the first place. I'm all about hand positions for touring, but on the trail when I've tried them it's basically been a quest to find one that feels as close to a flat or riser bar as possible.
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  23. #23
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    Funny story. Things aren't always so black and white, and I see that more and more as I get older. The flat bar is great for barreling downhill and railing corners, as I noticed today on my 25 mile training ride around the island.

    On the other hand, slow speed control through rough roots, rocks, bricks and other weird crap and long distance rides are definitely not good with the flat or riser bar (for me!). The 25 miles today was grueling and my forearms/wrists are more sore than they've been in awhile. Had I been on the Mary bar I would have done the same 25 miles, maybe half-mile an hour average slower, but I would be able to do another 25 miles tomorrow and the next day and so on. Not the case with the flat bar. It's gonna be a few days before I can get back out there.

    I'm gonna hafta stick with the Marys for now. I see Carnegies in my future though (if they ever get state-side)

  24. #24
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    Rolling haven carbon 710's on my (summer) single speed. As for my fatback, Ragley Carnegie carbons, love them, tried Carver's version, but what too narrow for my tastes, and too much flex as well...ergon's and my Haven's are perfect for me. (Stability and control)

  25. #25
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    "I'm gonna hafta stick with the Marys for now. I see Carnegies in my future though (if they ever get state-side)"

    I looked all over, the only site I was able to find the Carnegie carbons was chain reaction in the UK, they have a few Al's, but as of a month ago, I got their last set of carbons...(in that bile color, which has grown on me a lot)

  26. #26
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    Long story short:
    Yes I've run alt bars, no I haven't "come back"


    I've run the 25.4mm Mary, Origin 8 OR, Misfit FUBar, the 31.8mm Mary, and just installed a Salsa Bend 2 Bar 23 degree. If I use bars with less sweep than "alt" bars, my wrists are completely unhappy. The bend 2 bars are nice and wide, but seem to stretch me out a bit, so I'm thinking of a shorter stem.

  27. #27
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    tried jones H bars once on a buddies bike. Thought they worked like crap. screwed up all the weighting of the front end. Totally terrible. Look at motocross and DH bars. All the same. Wide-ass riser bars. For a reason. Best for shredding trail!

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by mack_turtle View Post
    I am experimenting right now:


    Ragley Carnegies 685mm
    Salsa Pro Moto 6x10 degrees, 685mm
    Bontrager Race Lites 17 degrees, 710mm wide
    I have tried all of these except the Ragley and I went with the Bonty in the end. I like the width and the sweep. Now I do plan on a Salsa carbon bar in the same specs for the future.

    I did have a Mary bar for the longest time but it was just not that comfortable in technical sections or really on the uphills and I sat too far back most of the time, the Mary's went to a loaner/commuter bike. To each his own though.
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  29. #29
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    I loved the Titec H-bar. Rode it almost exclusively on my MC Flight before it got stolen. Tried an Origin-8 space bar OR2 on my XXIX and Karate Monkey but it never felt as good as the H-Bar, so I'm back on Easton Risers that I already had.

  30. #30
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    I have the salsas picture above and love them. Thought I'd probably love them more if they were wider

  31. #31
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    Last season I was using the FuBars and I loved them for most of the riding I did..... Then I switched to a rigid fork.

    I found with the rigid fork the technical demands on me as a rider were significantly higher. While the FuBars were still.comfy for me, I found my crash rate dropped like a rock with a set of wide riser bars. It took a couple stem swaps, but now that I have my Easton monkeylites in the right spot, they are just as comfy as the FuBars. Oh, and signified significantly lighter too to satisfy my inner weight weenie.

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  32. #32
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    i love alt bars. I threw some titec j bar on my deadeye. They are a dream going up and downhill!!
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  33. #33
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    I've been riding Origin8 Space Bars for a few years now and there is no going back!
    That being said, I'm not trying to race anyone, I just want comfort for the long epics.

    I would like a carbon version but haven't found one yet; anyone?

    The Carnegie's are hard to find in the US, and I don't know if they're even producing the carbon version anymore, plus they're only 25d and I like the 40d

  34. #34
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    Anyone try these: Ti Cycles :: Hand Made in Portland, Oregon USA

    Right now I have the Mary but wish she were a little wider. 675mm on the thinwall version gives me another 15mm each side over the Mary.

    Their slightly narrower than the Ragley Carnegie, which is another option I am considering.

  35. #35
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    I replaced a 6 yr old RaceFace riser carbon bar with a Ti Groovy LuvHandle last fall. I had them made 680mm wide for SS rowing. Probably would go even wider next time. Made just for you, so it will take a few months. Made in Wooster, OH (30 minutes from Mohican) by Rody with Luv.
    http://groovycycleworks.com/extras.aspx

  36. #36
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    Having talked to Dave at Ti-Cycles I'm going to order the 680mm thick walled double S bar tomorrow, once I get paid !!

    Looking forward to trying it out.

  37. #37
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    Never! I'll never leave alt bars
    I wish there were wider versions but I'll suffer (or go custom) to keep that glorious sweep

    I even use 17* risers on the DH bike
    what would rainbow unicorn do?

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by psablo View Post
    I've been riding Origin8 Space Bars for a few years now and there is no going back!
    That being said, I'm not trying to race anyone, I just want comfort for the long epics.

    I would like a carbon version but haven't found one yet; anyone?

    The Carnegie's are hard to find in the US, and I don't know if they're even producing the carbon version anymore, plus they're only 25d and I like the 40d

    I emailed ragley and they aren't making the carbon Carnegie anymore unfortunately

  39. #39
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    For me "alt" bars have too much sweep to work well in descents, especially rough, fast descents on a rigid bike. I switched back to a flat bar with a bit of sweep and never looked back. I do use bar ends for some climbing, but they are not essential.
    My rides:
    Lynskey Ti Pro29 SS
    RM Suzi Q 90 RSL
    KHS Team 29
    S-Works Roubaix
    KHS CX 550 cyclocross

  40. #40
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    I keep going back and forth with alt vs. riser bars. Last summer I tried the Bontrager Krivitz for a bit, but felt lack of control on technical descents so went to an Easton mid-rise bar. Rode that all winter, but now I'm thinking (based on inputs from riding buddies) that a shorter stem would feel better on the tech, tight twisty, and steeps. I'm currently running a 110 on a Large 24.3" ETT and I cannot get behind my saddle. Will be trying a 100 stem but might even want to go to a 90.

    Why do I bring up stem length? Because I've been noting that the further forward I place my hands, the LESS sweep I want.

    Try this little experiment: place two pencils in your hands as if you were grasping a virtual handlebar, and sit down in a chair. First, sit with your back straight and let your elbows fall down at your side, bent at a 90 deg with your hands in front of you. Relax your hands and see where they end up. For me, the end of the virtual handlebar is pointed slightly down, like towards the rear wheel axle, and there is quite a bit of sweep in the natural position (guessing 25deg). In fact, it feels really awkward to turn my wrists into a flatter position unless I bring my elbows out from my body.

    Now, reach your hands forward as you lean forward in your chair, moving into a "riding" position. Note where the pencils point and where your elbows go. For me, as I reach forward, the pencils sweep out a smaller and smaller arc, and they no longer point downward but eventually move into a +5deg position (typical rise on a bar). Simultaneously, my elbows move out.

    I'm curious what others note in trying this out. Also curious what other details you can provide on your setups..... there's a big difference between a 5'2" rider and a 6'8" rider and what bar will work for them.

    The thing that always stuck in my mind is the pushup analogy - it's much more difficult to do a pushup with your elbows IN than OUT, and when you push your elbows out you straighten that sweep.

  41. #41
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    Tldr

    I'm 6' tall, riding a medium Mukluk with a 110mm 6 degree stem and a 31.8 On-One Mary handlebar.

    I think the push-up analogy may not be a good analogy for riding a bike. During a push-up you have a lot of weight on your hands and you use the large pectoral muscles to push yourself up off the ground. When riding a bike you have considerably less weight on your hands (light hands, heavy feet!), basically just enough weight to keep the front wheel planted in the corners and climbs.

    The only time I find a standard bar comfortable is when I'm flying downhill in a straight line. If I have to corner slowly through tight trees over bumpy terrain, I will fall over due to a lack of stability. With the standard bar I have to work it left and right to stay upright at slow speeds. This does not inspire confidence. With my alt-bar I can pretty much track stand in a rock garden and take a nap. The stability is unmatched IMO. I can dart in and out of trees much more confidently, I just point and go. Plus I don't have to worry about busting my elbows or knuckles on said trees.

    Comfort factor is important as well. I just can't ride a standard bar for very long without getting handlebar palsy. Believe me I have tried everything. Handlebar height, stem length, different bar widths and sweeps, different gloves. I have a whole box of experimental crap I bought to remedy wrist and forearm issues that is now going to swap meet. The only solution for me is the Mary bar.

    I keep track of my rides with Google My Tracks and I notice a big difference in speed and distance when riding with different bars.

    Example:

    Date: April 12th 2012
    Place: Scott County Park w/ Mary bar
    Duration: 50:48
    Mileage: 7.21
    Average Speed: 8.51

    Date: April 7th 2012
    Place: Scott County Park w/ 685mm riser bar
    Duration: 57:08
    Mileage: 6.83
    Average Speed: 7.18

    I'm faster with the Mary bar obviously. What's not obvious is that during the ride I FEEL slower, which to me means that there is room for improvement. I could go faster or I could ride farther if I wanted to. I could ride all day on the Mary bar and never experience any pain.

    ANYWAYS, everyone is built differently and because of that everyone has different needs. Now go ride your bike!

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by dgw2jr View Post
    What's not obvious is that during the ride I FEEL slower, which to me means that there is room for improvement. I could go faster or I could ride farther if I wanted to. I could ride all day on the Mary bar and never experience any pain.
    I have exactly the same experience. I always felt slower with the Mary fitted until I put a computer on the bike. My speeds are the same but I am way more comfortable with the alt-bar.

    For me it is a lot to do with easing the strain on my right shoulder, attached pics should be self explanatory !! It was my Chiropracter that suggested running a bar with more sweep to put the arm in a more natural position and keep the elbows tucked in. For me it works, the only downside to the Mary is the width, however I have a new alt-bar arriving on Sunday that should fix that...pics to follow
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  43. #43
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    I got a taste for alt bars with a cheapo 25-degree take off from a shop bike. The angle felt awesome but it was just too narrow for the SS at 580mm.
    I then got a Titec H-Bar, used it for a little over a year, but never got to terms with the sweep; just too much.
    I finally replaced it with an aluminum Ragley Carnegie's, which brought me back to that first alt bar experience since it was the same 25d sweep. But this time it was a nice and wide 685mm and it was significantly more compliant than the Titec. Sweet.
    I miss the H-bar's forward extensions, but only on lazy, road rides where the alternative hand positions were more useful (pretty much useless on trail rides).

    I got to try a Haven aluminum bar (711mm wide) on a friend's bike and it just didn't feel right. Not at all.

    I'm never going back to "normal" sweep bars. Ever.

    Love the Carnegie's

    PS
    I don't think I've ever read it mentioned anywhere, but take note that going to a significantly wider bar than what you're used to significantly increases your overall reach as well. Moving your hands farther apart brings your upper body closer to your stem. Just something to consider.
    Better to have and not need it, than to need it and not have it.

  44. #44
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    I just swapped my Titec Hellbent on my Monocog for a Surly Open Bar. First ride impression is that it doesn't feel as responsive turning but my wrists were really comfortable with this compared to my Titec bar. Now to see how I feel about it in a few months of riding with it.

  45. #45
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    i'm the decider

    Quote Originally Posted by AnonymouseTech View Post
    I just swapped my Titec Hellbent on my Monocog for a Surly Open Bar. First ride impression is that it doesn't feel as responsive turning but my wrists were really comfortable with this compared to my Titec bar. Now to see how I feel about it in a few months of riding with it.
    Having read gobs of reviews of alt bars, and ridden many alt bars, the average opinion seems to be: if your priority is wrist comfort and/or climbing, alt bars get the nod. If handling and/or downhill is your priority, alt bars don't make the cut.

  46. #46
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    A buddy of mine just gave me a set of bars he took off of his Sawyer. I put them on took them out this morning. Route was about 8 or so mile of single track. Narrow and sandy with some short steep climbs and descents incl some stairs.
    I noticed that with my bike, a 19" Origin8 scout . The bars ended up too far rearward, so when I stood up to mash they were too close to my body to get a good pull. Just felt kinda dead and created more work on my legs. Downhill I I saw no problems at all. Actually I think I might of had a little more control, but the time was so short and the difference subtle enough I cant be sure.
    I really wanted to like these bars and would eventually have gone to the Jones bar. This is the smallest frame I own, and maybe I would like them better on a longer cockpit.
    Seeking MB-2 Fork (19.3), Ritchey FD post silver 26.8

  47. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by trodaq View Post
    A buddy of mine just gave me a set of bars he took off of his Sawyer. I put them on took them out this morning. Route was about 8 or so mile of single track. Narrow and sandy with some short steep climbs and descents incl some stairs.
    I noticed that with my bike, a 19" Origin8 scout . The bars ended up too far rearward, so when I stood up to mash they were too close to my body to get a good pull. Just felt kinda dead and created more work on my legs. Downhill I I saw no problems at all. Actually I think I might of had a little more control, but the time was so short and the difference subtle enough I cant be sure.
    I really wanted to like these bars and would eventually have gone to the Jones bar. This is the smallest frame I own, and maybe I would like them better on a longer cockpit.
    A longer stem might help too.

  48. #48
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    Unfortunately its not only my smallest frame but also the longest stem. Somewhere around 120 to 130mm
    Seeking MB-2 Fork (19.3), Ritchey FD post silver 26.8

  49. #49
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    Participated in my first race on April 15th. It was suggested that I ride in the novice class (2 laps, 7 miles) but I decided to ride with my peers in the fat bike class (3 laps, 12 miles) in an effort to make the class more popular. There were only 6 fat bikes including myself. I finished in 5th place. I learned a heckuva a lot from that race. To stay on topic I'll only mention what I learned about my cockpit setup.

    My handlebars (On-One Mary 31.8) were way too low and too far out in front of the bike (110mm stem). I developed some mild sciatica late into the second lap and it killed me in third lap. I began to compensate by putting more weight on my hands. The result was some mild discomfort in my wrists. The sciatica stayed with me for a good week and I've been to the chiro twice since.

    I swapped out the Mary bar for a 700mm Truvativ Stylo T30 handlebar and a Salsa 90mm stem mounted at the very top of the steer tube. The difference is phenomenal. More power while climbing, better bike control overall, greater confidence, and significantly less pain overall. I'm thinking I could have shaved 10 minutes off my race time with this setup.

    The Mary bar may be up for sale at the swap meet this weekend.

  50. #50
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    Yes, bike fit is very important.

    I had the reverse experience: Ordered a Luv handle bar after riding Mary for some years and developed severe pain around the collar bone. I switched back to Mary and my shoulder healed after a while. It was determined at the time that I should have replaced the stem as well to compansate for the different reach that Luv put me in.

    Ali

  51. #51
    nothing to see here
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    Any bar has to be matched with the correct height and stem length in order to get the most from it. Alt or straight, doesn't matter.
    I see hills.

    I want to climb them.

  52. #52
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    Me. I'm so glad somebody brought this up - because I would feel weird coming out of the closet about it. I've tried The Mary, The Midge, and the Ragley Luxy - and I abandoned all three. I think I was more in love with the notion of being, "Hey... look how interesting and alternative my bike is..." than actually having a use for them. I also really like the look of alternative handlebars - but from a function standpoint, they just don't work for me.

    On the descents with the drops, I felt out of whack. I didn't feel I could keep the front end light, even when set-up properly. For climbing, they had their advantages - but efficient descending is equally as important as efficient climbing, and to me, it wasn't worth the trade off.

    The Mary handlebar, in particular, was too narrow for that sweep. the hand position made my elbows move inward, and that was just uncomfortable. I feel like, in order for that sweep to work, it would need to be 725mm and wider, to mimic a dirt bike handlebar (which average 30" in width).

    Now I sport a Kore Torsion flatbar - 30" wide (On-One Inbred). I really dig this set-up, and after owning this bike for 3 years, I think I found the "sweet spot".




  53. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ryder1 View Post
    Having read gobs of reviews of alt bars, and ridden many alt bars, the average opinion seems to be: if your priority is wrist comfort and/or climbing, alt bars get the nod. If handling and/or downhill is your priority, alt bars don't make the cut.
    Well the Open Bar was nice but I didn't feel as in control of the bike so I went back to my XLC Lowriser on my Monocog. It felt like driving a big Cadillac instead of my agile Monocog.

  54. #54
    um... yeah
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    Gave up on the J-bars. Felt like there was too much mass swinging around up there and didn't get as direct feedback in techy terrain.

  55. #55
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    No worries, do both.

    Quote Originally Posted by pisiket View Post
    What about the others who did not switch? Anybody? Do I have to switch from my Mary? Waaa!


    Ali
    Really like a shorter stem / wider bar.
    Flat Salsa's on F/S, and on rigid SS,
    ... there's still something about Mary.

  56. #56
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    for sale?

    If anyone reading this has abandoned their "Alt Bars", I would like to buy a Bontrager , Origin 8 or Soma 12 degree , 15 degree or 17 degree.

    I need 31.8 and if you already cut the ends thats fine, because I haven't read the latest Issue of Mountain Bike Action telling me how stupid I am for using old 2011 bars that begin with a number lower than "7".

    PM if you have something

  57. #57
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    I have Carnegies and I love them I would kind of like to try some "regular" bars some time.

    Dion- i think my Carnegies do the same "elbows in" position to me if I have them angled up. but if you take bars with a lot of sweep and angle them down, they feel like you're holding an enormous steering wheel, which I like.

  58. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by mack_turtle View Post
    I have Carnegies and I love them I would kind of like to try some "regular" bars some time.

    Dion- i think my Carnegies do the same "elbows in" position to me if I have them angled up. but if you take bars with a lot of sweep and angle them down, they feel like you're holding an enormous steering wheel, which I like.
    Yeah, I pointed them downward as you say and did play with the angle... still not my cup of tea. I think if they had they that sweep but WIDER they'd be awesome.

  59. #59
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    I was having issues with my arms getting knackered after a decent (read: 45+ min) time on the trail. I wanted to keep my rigid fork so I tried the Simple Pleasures Gnar Bar because its supposed to spread the weight more evenly/fit better in your palm. I couldnt even go 15 min with the bars before my forearms started burning. So I ditched the gnar bar and now I am forked and back to straight bars and comfortable again.

  60. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dion View Post
    Now I sport a Kore Torsion flatbar - 30" wide (On-One Inbred). I really dig this set-up, and after owning this bike for 3 years, I think I found the "sweet spot".
    The aluminum bar doesn't beat you up with your rigid fork? Do you ever use bar ends?

  61. #61
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    My main "issue" with alt bars is getting a stem long enough to replicate the posture of a flat bar. IMHO, part of what the OP describes can be attributed to the fact that generally, alt bars give you a more upright riding position, which takes weight off the front wheel. I love my FUBARS because flat bars give me wrist pain, and I like the extra leverage. But I have to remember to lean into turns more than I usually would.

    Also love my Midge bars on my Jabber....totally makes me feel "in" the bike, and is very stable.
    Veni Vidi Biki

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  62. #62
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    I've been having teniss elbow issues that I believe are related to riding a riser bar and just picked up a new Jones Loop bar. 667 mm wide. Maiden voyage through technical east coast singletrack felt so natural, so intuitive. Very balanced feeling. Plenty wide enough for me, a relatively big guy at 6'2" 200#. Only time will tell if she's a keeper.

    Running a 90mmx15 deg stem with bars pointed at a spot between the top of the rear tire and the rear axle. I was running a 90mmx10deg stem with a 30 mm riser bar. At first I tried a 100mm stem but 90mm is better - can get behind the saddle, and with the loop bar can scooch my hands forward if I want to stretch out.

    This is my first 45 deg bar. I had tried bars in the 15-25 range and objected to the way they push my elbows in to my torso. The bars put me in a great position, where my wrist is rotated rather than canted. So at least for now I'm back to an alt bar.

  63. #63
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    I ran Jones bars for two years without any pain and loved the handling. For years previous to that, I had been trying various other mega sweep bars and hating them.

    Last Dec, I switched back to low sweep bars flat and riser bars. Why? Going on a bike tour was annoying with those bars. The rig to shuttle bikes had real problems with my jones bars.

    The switch was OK, but, my elbow pain returned. I have now switched back to my old Jones bars (Titec H-bars) and plan to get a new AL Loop bar for my geared 29er. Hopefuly I will not switch away again.

  64. #64
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    saved for future ref
    roccowt.
    rocnbikemeld

  65. #65
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    I threw out the Carnegie's, and I don't like the shape of flat bars much. Risers and dirt drops are heaven for me.

  66. #66
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    Quote Originally Posted by SHREDINATOR5000 View Post
    I threw out the Carnegie's, and I don't like the shape of flat bars much. Risers and dirt drops are heaven for me.
    throw it up here, i would like to try it.
    everything sucks but my vacuum cleaner.

  67. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by fishcreek View Post
    throw it up here, i would like to try it.
    A friend of mine is demoing them now, but I'll keep you in mind if he doesn't like them.

  68. #68
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    i'm happy with my on-one mary and origin 8 space bar, i still have to try one of those carnegie's.

    chainreaction doesn't sell them anymore, i don't think anyone sells them anymore..
    everything sucks but my vacuum cleaner.

  69. #69
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    The Soma Clarence bar is almost the same as the Mary, but at a 680 width that works quite nicely, I think.

    I just got my hands on a pristine Gnar Bar for next to nothing. We'll see if it suits my single speed lifestyle. The width is right. I'm not sold on idea of the palm bend yet.

  70. #70
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    rode Carnegies for a while, but I think that with my 16" Karate Monkey, which is already a little small for me, and a 100mm stem, it makes the cockpit really cramped. I ride a Niner flat bar at 710mm for now because of that. I am going to try to get a 18" Karate Monkey and the Carnegies should work a little better.

  71. #71
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    Answer Pro-taper DH is my personal favorite.I may add bar ends this season for a bit of extra climbing. I love how wide they are and they are pretty cheap

  72. #72
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    I ditched the Jones bars when I put a shock up front. They made the bike handle like crap. I would still use them in a rigid set-up though, I ended up putting them on my pugsley and they are a perfect match.

  73. #73
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    I never thought I would, but I was a huge Mary advocate, but I've been running a set of Syntace Vector Carbon bars, and love them. Enough sweep for my wrists, and I really like the extra width, especially combined with a shorter stem.

  74. #74
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    I bailed on them too.

    In the past I've ran Surly Torsion Bar, the Bonty 17 degree bar, Salsa Bend 17 degree bar, Titec H-bar, Ragley Carnegie, and a couple Jones Loop bars. The Jones Loop bars were my favorite on the climbs.

    HOWEVER, after attempting to destroy my shoulder and having some reconstructive surgery, alt bars are no longer my friend. A wide flat bar (760-780mm) with 8-10 degree sweep is way easier on my shoulder socket. I also switched to a Susp Fork and as Joshua_B stated, the Loop bar sucked with the Suspension fork IMHO.

    After a round of rigid/fat front on my SS, still loving the wide flat bar. Although my shoulder has nudged me to put a squishy fork back on.
    "I ride to clear my head, my head is clearer when I'm riding SS. Therefore, I choose to ride SS."~ Fullrange Drew

  75. #75
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    I've given up on flat bars and only run drops now.

  76. #76
    Baby Bear is in the house
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joshua_B View Post
    I ditched the Jones bars when I put a shock up front. They made the bike handle like crap. I would still use them in a rigid set-up though, I ended up putting them on my pugsley and they are a perfect match.
    Interesting. Would you please elaborate on what you mean by "crap?" I ask because I'm thinking of getting a sus fork for my rigid SS and am running Carnegie's on it (ditched the Titec H-bars for this).
    Better to have and not need it, than to need it and not have it.

  77. #77
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    Re: Anybody abandon "alt" bars?

    Tried Mary bars, much prefer Fleegles with bar ends, wider and less sweepy

  78. #78
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    Quote Originally Posted by r1Gel View Post
    Interesting. Would you please elaborate on what you mean by "crap?" I ask because I'm thinking of getting a sus fork for my rigid SS and am running Carnegie's on it (ditched the Titec H-bars for this).
    I'll answer about my experience and see if his was similar. My custom 29er frame has SHORT CSs with a 12.4 BB height and a 69 degree HTA at sag. With the Loop bar and the 100mm combo, I simply could not weight the inside edge of the front tire enough in fast turns when on an off camber trail section. Therefore forced me to hold back on the carvy DH trails. Now being an SSer I love to climb, but I love to descend too!!! Therefore the bar was swapped out to something that would allow me to roll as fast as I wanted.

    Now if I were on a frame with a lower BB height and a 71-72 degree HTA, the Loop Bar probably would be fine with a squishy fork.
    "I ride to clear my head, my head is clearer when I'm riding SS. Therefore, I choose to ride SS."~ Fullrange Drew

  79. #79
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    ^^^As stated above I feel kinda the same, when I was on a fast decent, I just seemed to feel out of control. It seemed worse when it was a techy downhill. Honestly it was ok when climbing, but I just didn't like the feel. Give it a try though, everyone is different. I know when I build up another rigid rig I will put my Jones's back on it though!

  80. #80
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    After dislocating both shoulders (at different times) and going through two seperate shoulder surgeries on both my right and left shoulder, I started having shoulder "issues" when riding bars without much sweep to them. I recently switch over to the Origin 8 Pro-Torq Space Off Road bar and the hand placement for me is perfect. These are on my fully rigid SS 29er and I've got to say it has really made the difference for me being able to ride again. Just having my hands at a slight angle brings my elbows in a little more and I don't get so "chicken winged" over the bike.


    Anybody abandon "alt" bars?-pro-torq.jpg

    Anybody abandon "alt" bars?-ss29er.jpg
    Last edited by MissoulaGriz; 04-18-2013 at 02:20 PM.

  81. #81
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    I've tried WTB Dirt Drops and the Soma Clarence on my Karate Monkey. I couldn't get over the angle the dirt drops but my hands at, never really got comfortable on it. Might go back to the clarence when I re-cable the bike though. But for now, a salsa moto-ace bar with 17 degrees of sweep seems just right.

  82. #82
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    I dont use alt bars anymore but that's because my bike that had my Groovy Luv Handles on was stolen. Plan on getting some Ti Luv handles in the future.

  83. #83
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    I have abandoned alt (Jones) bars a few times and gone back a few times. on my newest dual squish MTB with a very plush fork I went back to flats with Ergons I do not foresee moving back to Jones on this bike.

  84. #84
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    I myself need to try a new set of bars, When I picked up my last bike it felt as though the bars were too wide. So, I cut them down, now after reading all I have on bar width I should have left them and given them a little longer to see how they were. Lesson learned I guess, now I'm looking for a bar like the o.p. and leave them on the long side until I really test them out

  85. #85
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    Anybody abandon "alt" bars?

    Tried Ragley Carnegie, Jones Loop and Answer 20/20 over the past few years. At some point or other I loved each of them. Currently running 750 wide DH bars (20mm rise, 9 deg sweep) & can't see myself going 'alt' again.
    I mostly ride endurance MTB, geared Ripley & SS hardtails.

  86. #86
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    I used a Titec J-bar (Jones clone) for over a year on my rigid SS Surly Ogre.
    My wrists loved the 45 deg backsweep, but I didn't really like the handling.
    The backsweep angle put my elbows quite far back/inwards, and I kept experiening some sense of understeer in the corners.

    Replaced them by a tradional riser bar (68cm and something like 20m rise, 9 deg sweep) which put my elbows much more forward/outward, feeling a lot more agressive. Made it much easier to lean the bike and gave me a sense of being 'in' the front wheel. Much quicker on twisty sections.

    However, it killed my left wrist in less than 10 rides.

    So currently looking for a compromise between control and ergonomics.

    Just ordered an On-One Fleegle, dirt cheap as always!
    We'll see what it brings.
    Last edited by asphaltdude; 01-25-2016 at 05:23 PM.
    Ride more!

  87. #87
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    I found the Answer 20/20 to be closest to flat bar control with alt bar comfort. Looks like the fleegle would be close to that too. If there was a 760ish wide version I'd try alt again if/when the endurance racing bug bites.

  88. #88
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    I would buy some Fleegles, considering they are so darn cheap, but they only seem to have them in a 25.4mm clamp. anyone have experience using shims to fit a smaller bar in a 31.8 stem? any reason why that is sub-optimal, other than appearance?

  89. #89
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    I've been riding Alt bars since '07. Started with the original Jones Ti bar then went to custom bars from Black Sheep. About 6 months ago I built up a Pivot Les for a backup bike and used some 7 degree, 29" wide bars. Ouch!! I felt so out of position and had that ' chicken wing ' feel. In tech sections the steering was so unnatural that i felt out of sync with the bike. Plus, at 56, my wrists prefer the higher back sweep.

    Had James bend me another custom Ti bar and all is good again

    My bars are 31" wide at outside of grips. 29" raw width.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Anybody abandon "alt" bars?-img_2360.jpg  

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  90. #90
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    Quote Originally Posted by alixta View Post
    I found the Answer 20/20 to be closest to flat bar control with alt bar comfort. Looks like the fleegle would be close to that too. If there was a 760ish wide version I'd try alt again if/when the endurance racing bug bites.
    Do you point the grips of the Answer 20/20 slightly downward?

    I like narrow alt bars (640mm-680mm) with 35-45 degree backsweep, grips pointed toward rear hub, elbows in. Comfy, climbs great (esp. standing), but at the expense of downhill/technical performance (IME). Ideal for a rigid SS on less technical trails. I did this for years.

    I also like a standard mtb bar (~730mm with 8/4 back/up sweep). Elbows more upward and away from body in more of an "attack" position. Ideal for suspended trail bikes but can also work nicely on a SS if you want to extract maximum technical prowess (IME). I've done this for years.

    What I haven't been able to get along with is anything in between. Not sure why. If a bar has more than 10d backsweep, I want to point it down. But bars over 700mm make my elbows rise, and I no longer want the bars pointed downward. I thought I'd love the Ragley Carnegie, but hated it; I wanted it to have more backsweep, yet if felt too narrow at the same time. Weird.

  91. #91
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ryder1 View Post
    I thought I'd love the Ragley Carnegie, but hated it; I wanted it to have more backsweep, yet if felt too narrow at the same time. Weird.
    I had a carnegie on my 29er for a few years, and I pretty much liked it, but it always felt a little off - like it was either too sweepy or not sweepy enough or I dunno.

    But last year I moved it over to my 26er (replacing a Mary), and I totally loved it. It really blew me away. I think the reach was just different enough to hit some sweet spot.

    But as the thread asks, I have actually totally abandoned alt-bars...for dirtdrops. My 3 bikes are currently running a Gary Sweep OS, a Midge, and a Woodchipper. If I was doing gnarly AM stuff I'd probably want something more conventional, but for my rooty xc the dirtdrops are so much fun (and seem to be better for my tendinitis than even the alt-bars were)

  92. #92
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ryder1 View Post
    Do you point the grips of the Answer 20/20 slightly downward?
    I tried all sorts of positions with all the bars but found the 20/20 was best setup for me with the grips fairly neutral. I guess as it was the most 'normal' bar it felt best when emulating normal.

  93. #93
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    I've been on 20/20's with Ergons for a few years almost out of necessity. I really want to get on some wider bars but when I try friends bikes with thin grips and less sweep my hands and wrists rebel very quickly. So I've stuck with the 'narrow' 720mm for the sweep...

    Does anyone know of any bars in the 20 to 25 degree sweep range that are 760 to 800mm wide in carbon preferably? I've searched around, I'm not sure anything exists.

    Ti custom is pricey but that may be the next step. I've been thinking of giving James at Blacksheep a call as I know they can do just about anything. azjonboy, those are some beauties, how long did you have to wait on those?

  94. #94
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    Without looking I seem to remember Groovey Luv Handles are available in those widths & sweep. Wait time & price might be an issue though.
    I've heard Waltly Ti (China) do custom Ti bars in any sweep/width you choose.

  95. #95
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    Quote Originally Posted by mack_turtle View Post
    I would buy some Fleegles, considering they are so darn cheap, but they only seem to have them in a 25.4mm clamp. anyone have experience using shims to fit a smaller bar in a 31.8 stem? any reason why that is sub-optimal, other than appearance?
    I have a pair in 31.8. I got them from Planet-X several years ago. You should be able to track them down.

  96. #96
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    I've just asked Waltly Ti if they are able to make a wider version of the 20/20 or Fleegle. Will see what they say.

  97. #97
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    OP here. Well, four years after abandoning alt bars, last night I went back! I recently got a full-suspension rig and, along with the resurgence of this thread, it made me think to revert back. Origin8 Space Bar OR II + 80X30 stem on a '11 Unit. I'll install ESI chunky grips tonight.

    Anybody abandon "alt" bars?-alt3.jpg

    My only concern is that I'm coming off a really sweet 740mm Syntace carbon bar.

  98. #98
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    Since the topic seems to be relevant, anyone interested in swapping alt bars around the forum? I am looking for something with a moderate sweep like Fleegles.

  99. #99
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    Some of these have gotten really hard to find. I'd love to find a set of titec h or j bars for my 29er SS commuter.

  100. #100
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    685mm/40d on rigid SS; 720mm/20d on dualie

    Quote Originally Posted by Ryder1 View Post
    Origin8 Space Bar OR II (31.8 version with ~685mm width and 40d sweep, I think) on a '11 Unit.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    I liked the Origin8 bar so much on my SS (side benefit: my hand's ganglion cyst of 2-3 years cleared right up) that I bought the Answer 720 20/20 bar, not knowing exactly what I'd do with it (it's unique, has great specs, and I feared it would become unavailable). After I received it, it looked like it didn't have quite enough rise for my SS. So it sat for a month.

    Then I installed the 20/20 on my newish 5" FS geared bike in place of a traditional 740mm carbon bar which felt a bit "off." The 20/20 felt great right away. I like straight bars in the 720-740mm range, so the 20/20's 720mm width wasn't a compromise at all, and the 20d of sweep, pointed slightly downward, feels super comfy and performs great in all aspects. I don't think I'd change anything about it (except the ultra-slippery finish which caused my bolt-on grips to slip a couple times).

    I may be through with "straight" bars altogether.

    Anybody abandon "alt" bars?-fsa-answer-720-20-20.jpg

  101. #101
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    I just built this up from the garage spares bin, including the 20/20 bar.



    So far it is feeling great. I've also got a Following with 780 bar which suits that bike well. Horses for courses I guess.

  102. #102
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ryder1 View Post
    For 5 years I've used/loved various "alt" bars, but I think I'm at trail's end. Yesterday's ride left me thinking my rigid 29er was sometimes fighting itself in the twisties, so today I replaced my Origin8 Space Bar OR2 with a Monkeylite 710mm (28"). Well...it fukkin' ROCKED! I'm not sure if it was the extra 1+" of width, the carbon, or the standard backsweep, but handling (esp. hard leans) and tech/descending were both WAY better, and the front end was more compliant. My margin of error definitely increased, allowing me to get cocky and throw the bike around more, like a suspended HT. Fun! 100g lighter, too. Climbing wasn't improved, but it didn't seem to suffer either.

    Anybody else love and leave "alt" bars? Why?


    Alt bars owned: 1) On-One Mary...
    Ditched mine after couple trail rides, when the going gets fast, twisty and/or knarly I don't feel in control and can't quickly whip my bike around. They are fine for cruising slower on mellow trails and pavement, but lack fine control required on narrow twisty single track. My favorite bars are Easton EA70 Low or mid rise cut down to approximately my shoulder width. Maybe someday I'll try the EC version, but don't think they're worth the price difference (the weight difference is not that much) and as a 6'2" guy weighing about 200lbs, I've seen a few broken carbon bars, titanium pedal spindles etc....and I like my front teeth. That said I'm sure plenty of people my size rock them without trouble.
    Get off the couch and ride! :)

  103. #103
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    Quote Originally Posted by Natedogz View Post
    Ditched mine after couple trail rides, when the going gets fast, twisty and/or knarly I don't feel in control and can't quickly whip my bike around. They are fine for cruising slower on mellow trails and pavement, but lack fine control required on narrow twisty single tracků.
    I had a similar experience. Been trying some FSA Metropolis bars on my ss Cross Check for a while (my "adventure bike"--my Unit is my dedicated trail bike). I liked them on the road quite a bit, and climbing felt good. Looked cool too. But off-road, even just on fire roads and the like, they just didn't breed confidence. Granted, they're advertised as more of an "urban" bar, with a pretty extreme 45 degree sweep). I went back to some regular Ritchey risers and feel way better and safer off road, and no real loss of comfort or performance on the road either. If I ever use that bike as a more dedicated commuter/urban beast where it won't see any dirt, then maybe I'll put the FSA's back on, or perhaps I'll try some alt bars with less sweep at some point, but until then I like the versatility and control of regular flat or riser bars.
    Last edited by jbass; 07-12-2016 at 08:46 AM.

  104. #104
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    Quote Originally Posted by jbass View Post
    FSA Metropolis bars on my ss Cross Check for a while. [...] I went back to some regular Ritchey risers and feel way better and safer off road, and no real loss of comfort or performance on the road either.
    Are the Ritchey bars much wider than the Metropolis bars? I wonder if alt bars' reputation for inferior MTB performance is primarily (entirely?) due to most being pretty dang narrow (especially by today's standards).

    I've been swapping bars/stems/grips constantly this year on both my rigid SS and FS bikes. I just replaced a standard 740mm bar on my FS bike with a FSA 720 20/20 (pointed slightly downward). Being 20mm narrower, the 20/20 is slightly less confidence inspiring at high speeds, but it's supremely comfortably, and routine handling is awesome: super agile, precise, and fun. In sweeping turns, I feel like I can practically lean the bike over sideways. I've ruled out bars over 740mm, so I figure I might as well keep the 20/20 on there.

    The 20/20 mostly gets rid of what many find undesirable about alt bars: heavy, extreme sweep, way too narrow. If the average rider (on whatever bike) wanted a 720mm width bar, how often would they prefer a 20/20 over a standard bar (given the chance to ride both)?

  105. #105
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ryder1 View Post
    Are the Ritchey bars much wider than the Metropolis bars? I wonder if alt bars' reputation for inferior MTB performance is primarily (entirely?) due to most being pretty dang narrow (especially by today's standards)
    Actually these Ritchey's aren't so wide--if I lay 'em on top of the Metropolis, from end to end they're almost exactly the same width (the bars on my Kona Unit however are much wider which I like for dedicated trail riding). I think they just put me in a more "chilled out" position, sitting just a tad more upright/back, elbows in more of course. Funny though, when descending in my attack position with the Metropolis's I actually felt more like I could go over the bars than with the risers that have me in a more aggressive/forward position. Maybe because I was getting low, but my elbows were back/inward more. As I say though, the Metropolis has what I would say is a pretty extreme sweep.
    I will say though, I liked the sweep for standing and climbing on the road--pulling up on them felt natural--that's what I liked best about 'em.

  106. #106
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    I have a carbon Answer 20/20 bar and an Origin8 Trail Sweeper. I can't seem to get used to either of them. No matter what I do, I feel like I am piloting a beach cruiser.

    In anyone has an interesting bar they wanna trade...

  107. #107
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    When considering "alt" bars, first decide what you're wanting.

    A change in riding position, or a change in hand angle on the bar for wrist comfort?

    Most "alt" bars have quite a sweep back which moves your hands closer to your body and thus affects your weight distribution unless you also change your stem length to match.

    ie, if you are happy with your bike's handling but you want a better angle for your wrists, then make sure you get a new stem as well as the "alt" bars.
    As little bike as possible, as silent as possible.
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  108. #108
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    I like the 20/20, but good grief is the outer surface slippery (yet ESI grips are murder to get on/off), there's minimal space for accessories near the stem (my light clamp is too wide), it feels unnecessarily stiff, and it's offensively expensive. Yet I just installed one. It feels like what a SS racer would design. Oh, wait...

  109. #109
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    I really liked my old Salsa Bend 2 bars, but at 710mm they were a little narrow. I've been riding normal bars for a while now, but I just received my new 780mm SQ Labs 16 degree carbon handlebars. https://www.sq-lab.com/shop/en/Handl...Carbon-16.html

    Look pretty cool. Now I just need a bike to put them on. Which reminds me, I miss my Krampus...
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    Stop asking how much it weighs and just go ride it.

  110. #110
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    Anybody abandon "alt" bars?-img_2671.jpgAnybody abandon "alt" bars?-img_2360.jpg

    One is 760mm wide and about 40 degrees
    other is 780mm wide and about 45 degrees

    I have a set of carbon riser with sweep. They are about 740 wide and 15 degrees. For the life of me I can''t get used to them. I prefer the wider, bigger sweep bars.
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  111. #111
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    Quote Originally Posted by *OneSpeed* View Post
    I really liked my old Salsa Bend 2 bars, but at 710mm they were a little narrow. I've been riding normal bars for a while now, but I just received my new 780mm SQ Labs 16 degree carbon handlebars. https://www.sq-lab.com/shop/en/Handl...Carbon-16.html

    Look pretty cool. Now I just need a bike to put them on. Which reminds me, I miss my Krampus...
    Thanks for the heads up on the carbon bar! Looking at this and other similar bars for a gravel hardtail build. Fits the bill and would probably cut it down a 10-20mm for fit.
    17 Stache 29+
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  112. #112
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    Built a new single speed and have a hundred miles now on an Answer Pro taper 20/20 handlebar.

    The 20░ sweep is very comfortable and effective for climbing for me.

    At extreme steering, such as switchbacks, there is an awkward aspect which requires me elbows to do something slightly unnatural. However, I seem able to compensate.

    At downhill speed, the position feels exciting and confident.

    Overall, very pleased with the functionality of these bars. Aesthetically, they look great. I will keep them.

    However, is there is any significant advantage to a 20░ sweep over a more traditional handlebar? I doubt it.



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  113. #113
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    For me, the best of both worlds has been to run a standard riser bar with ergon grips in size L. The extended palm area on the grip enables more comfort than the lizard skins I had, and I still get the technical control and maneuverability I need from the riser bar. Most of the trails in my area are through sagebrush and lava rock, so even the easy single track gets technical at times. The risers also allow me to thrust the bike forward better on descents and stay over the back tire. Makes a big difference when you are screaming through a rock garden on a rigid bike...
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  114. #114
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sage of the Sage View Post
    For me, the best of both worlds has been to run a standard riser bar with ergon grips in size L. The extended palm area on the grip enables more comfort than the lizard skins I had, and I still get the technical control and maneuverability I need from the riser bar.
    This makes sense to me.

    I had a Fat Bike which I used to ride fast down technical trails and I switched to ergonomic grips and found that the wide outer palm platform provides angular grip options, and most importantly, a wider area on the palm to absorb the rigid fork hard hits (and fat bike rebound) which seemed necessary.

    That fat bike, a Mukluk 1, had 23░ backsweep Salsa Bend 2 bars. I enjoyed those bars, and the pleasant experience encouraged the search and purchase of the Answer 20/20 bar.

    I still think, and I'm not alone in this I'm certain, that ergo grips are a bit sketchy to to hold onto tightly when things get extremely busy.

    You can say I've abandoned 23░ sweep Salsa Bend 2 handlebars. But it's only because I gave the bike to my brother.

    The next bar I'm going to try out on a new 29'er build are the steel Soma Eagle H-style handlebars. These are set at a whopping 53░ backsweep.

    These could possibly be horrible to ride on. I don't know yet. I'm open minded.

    I used to have some wide unknown provenance alloy sort of North Road looking handlebars on a single speed that I felt very comfortable seriously mountain biking on. The back sweep was almost parrallel to the direction of travel. I used a 120mm stem to compensate. I gave this bike to another brother to use at the beach. I thought it was probably risky to keep riding these handlebars.

    To end this, the bike I ride the most is a cross bike with On One Midge flared shallow dirt drop bars. I don't think I'll ever switch to something else on that bike. In





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  115. #115
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    Got the Soma Eagle Handlebars on a new 29er single speed and gave them a hundred miles of riding last weekend.

    Pretty nice.

    I will put thicker grips on one day.

    Multiple hand positions were welcome on the distance.

    I found out that the prongs are great to hang plastic shipping bags from for a short trip. The bags hang far away enough from the front wheel. An unexpected utility.

    Obviously these are heavy chrome steel bars and not for the racing scene.

    They offer no damping or compliance benefits as far as I could tell.

    The brake levers sort of get in the way of one kind of grip, but on the other hand in that spot you can grab over the brakes loosely and that's temporarily relaxing.

    They climb really fine out of the saddle. I think, well at least for my set up, I have a 20mm longer stem than I would have had with a flat bar.

    As far as rise, I don't know. I just put the bike together and went with it. It feels good, have about an inch and a half of spacers under the the 7░ rise stem.

    Downhilling is okay. It's not going to be super confidence inspiring in difficult rock gardens I imagine. I only rode through one rock Garden so far.

    Those protruding knobs are okay on easy climbing for a place to rest the hands, but aren't great for yanking on when really making hard efforts. They are kind of unnecessary, except for looks. However, I think they have a lot of uses, such as last points for one thing, which remain to be discovered.

    I like the look. They turn heads. Chrome really blings it out and says "steel" with a smile.

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  116. #116
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Burns View Post
    Got the Soma Eagle Handlebars on a new 29er single speed and gave them a hundred miles of riding last weekend.

    Pretty nice.

    I will put thicker grips on one day.

    Multiple hand positions were welcome on the distance.

    I found out that the prongs are great to hang plastic shipping bags from for a short trip. The bags hang far away enough from the front wheel. An unexpected utility.

    Obviously these are heavy chrome steel bars and not for the racing scene.

    They offer no damping or compliance benefits as far as I could tell.

    The brake levers sort of get in the way of one kind of grip, but on the other hand in that spot you can grab over the brakes loosely and that's temporarily relaxing.

    They climb really fine out of the saddle. I think, well at least for my set up, I have a 20mm longer stem than I would have had with a flat bar.

    As far as rise, I don't know. I just put the bike together and went with it. It feels good, have about an inch and a half of spacers under the the 7░ rise stem.

    Downhilling is okay. It's not going to be super confidence inspiring in difficult rock gardens I imagine. I only rode through one rock Garden so far.

    Those protruding knobs are okay on easy climbing for a place to rest the hands, but aren't great for yanking on when really making hard efforts. They are kind of unnecessary, except for looks. However, I think they have a lot of uses, such as last points for one thing, which remain to be discovered.

    I like the look. They turn heads. Chrome really blings it out and says "steel" with a smile.

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    Just the other day I passed 500 miles of riding on the Soma Eagle handlebars, (it's one bike of a fleet) , and I'm certain I will keep them on the Jamis Dragon SS as long as I ride it.

    As many here must, I also ride a variety of handlebars. The Eagle's aren't the panacea to any problems. The inner prongs are fairly useless. They serve a decorative purpose. They add weight to an already hefty chrome steel construction.

    What I've come to appreciate is the sweep. It's particularly a great feel when leaning the bike into a corner while keeping the body more vertical with the shoulders squaring for the exit, and the mind interpreting sections ahead.

    I had to put a very long stem on the bike to make it work from me. All of this extra material is not an ideal solution, I know.

    I just write this because on the last ride I descended a big drop which was hitherto uncleanable for me, on any bike. As I rode up, the bike just told me, we can do this.

    It's great when that happens, right?

    You really have to trust your bike when it speaks to you. But if you don't trust the bike, don't listen!

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  117. #117
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    I think 20* is right around the ideal sweep for a moderate width bar. I have run several alt bars on my SS (groovy Luv Handles, Fleegle, Jones knock off), and mostly stuck with traditional 9* sweep bars on my geared bike. As the handlebars have gotten wider on my geared bikes I find these traditional bars less and less comfortable. At 780 mm I am spending a lot of the uphill and flat portions of the ride with my thumb over the grip, effectively increasing the sweep. Mini bar ends helped here too, until I broke my last set. I just put an Answer 20/20 on my geared bike and it feels great in the street. I just need the snow to melt a bit to give it a real ride!

    The Jones style bars were just too much sweep for me at 660 mm wide. Maybe 45* would feel better on the newer wider versions... holding my hands comfortably in front of me it seems like as I move them apart the need for sweep increases.

    I have also been drooling over some Surly sunrise bars. I'm worried they won't have quite enough sweep for me. And I'm no weight weenie but damn 778 g is a LOT for a bar!!

    Also, I just noticed the Surly Terminal bar- is this new? 35* sweep and 40 mm rise, 735 mm wide. I may have to try that one too! My SS has been begging for something a little wider of late.
    Stache 7 --- Rigid Surly 1x1 B+ --- Dirt Drop CrossCheck

  118. #118
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    For reference, here is an image of the new Surly Terminal handlebar. This looks awesome. 735mm wide with a 34░ sweep, and 40mm rise.

    It does look to me, like it might require some stem size experimentation, to get it to fit just right on a bike. But this is a very good width.

    I'm glad that this is available. I'm sure it will be well received by single speeders.

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    Last edited by Jack Burns; 03-05-2019 at 05:44 PM.

  119. #119
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Burns View Post
    For reference, here is an image of the new Surly Terminal handlebar. This looks awesome. 780mm wide with a 34░ sweep, and 40mm rise.
    You stretched the width a bit there, it's 735mm not 780.
    "I ride to clear my head, my head is clearer when I'm riding SS. Therefore, I choose to ride SS."~ Fullrange Drew

  120. #120
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    Quote Originally Posted by nitrousjunky View Post
    You stretched the width a bit there, it's 735mm not 780.
    Thanks NitrousJunky for the correction. You are right!

    Seems like a decent width to me. If anything, depending on the width of trails through your forest and scrub, it could be even too wide. Nah.

    It lists at $75.00.

    Here's a quote of specifications from Surly:

    "Material:*Aluminum
    Clamp Diameter:*31.8mm
    Width:*735mm
    Rise:*40mm
    Sweep Angle:*34 degrees
    Weight:*400g
    Color:*Polished Anodized Black or Polished Anodized Silver
    Brake Lever Compatibility:*Mountain 22.2mm"

    https://surlybikes.com/parts/terminal_bar



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