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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I ride a Medium 04 Blur xc w/ 26" Easton Monkey Lite riser bars. Occasionally another rider will suggest that my bars are too wide and "old school". Then someone else will disagree and insist that wide bars like mine are optimal for control on technical terrain. I'm confused-- these are the handlebars my bike came with. I've always been/am still perfectly comfortable. Why are my bars causing such controversy? Was I supposed to cut them down or something when I bought the bike? Should I now? What width bar is most versatile for general xc (non-racing) use?

I'm a gal, nearly 5'8", w/ fairly wide shoulders. I ride intermediate-level trails here in the west. Local conditions vary from hard-pack smooth to loose & rocky. I definitely like to feel in control of my front wheel. Tho I'm comfortable w/ my current (26" Monkey Lite) bars, on two occasions I've managed to clip the left grip on some obstacle and crash spectacularly. But I'm also a klutz...

Your advice will be appreciated.
 

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pronounced may-duh
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If it ain't broke don't fix it. Bars are a completly personal choice. If your comfy with your bars then those are the ones you should use.

The pal who says that wide bars are old school is uninformed. Super narrow, flat bars with long flat stems were much more popular in the 90's. Wider riser bars with short stems are a newer trend that give you a more upright position that is better for decending.

Narrow bars make your steering quicker and twitchy. Wide bars slow your steering but make things more stable at speed.
 

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If you're comfortable then don't worry about it. If you consistently find that you're gripping inboard from the end then you could think about cutting them down, if you're continually gripping off the ends then maybe you could try a wider set.
I'm running Race Face Deus bars at the moment which are 25" wide. I'm about 5ft7in and I find that they're pretty optimal & I could perhaps go a tad wider (tend to grip towards the outer edges more often). But they're light & comfy & I'm not changing them!

You can get a high rise stem & a flat bar or you can get a 0deg stem & a riser bar both are likely to achieve the same position on your bike so it's whatever look & feel you prefer I guess. Flat bar vs Riser debate is a bit like baggies vs lycra.

I read somewhere once that if you get down on the floor to do a proper push up, measure how far apart your hands are and that is usually your optimal bar width for strenght. My measurement turned out to be about 25" so maybe there's something in it.

In the end you get some big blokes who like narrow bars & small women who like wide bars, you could make a general rule but it won't always be applicable.
 

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Like others have said...if you are comfortable then don't worry about it.

When I got my blur (with MonkeyLite bar) I noticed that I was gripping the bars a good way from the end so I cut about 1.5" off the bars. This worked for me, but I don't think it would work for everyone.

As long as its comfy, leave it alone.
 

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AKA; Jimmy Tango
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bars too wide; according to who?

Hey my riding buddies and I, hassle each other about our set-ups on our bikes. We will try each others bikes from time to time for fun. Often we will get off the bikes with remarks like how do you ride this thing! It could be the height of the seat, pitch of the saddle, stem length, etc. We're all about the same height, but we are all built extremely different. Long arms/short legs, short arms/long legs, etc. You know what though, no matter who is in front for the moment, we're all trying to chase the leader down, and we are always having a good time! THat is why we ride, for fun. like you i am sure. Set your bike up the way you feel comfy. For instance, my rigid ss is a 19"frame, with a 24" flat bar and a 70mil stem w/12degree slammed to the headset, no spacers. I am 6' tall, i would not want the bike any other way. My freeride bike; 2 inch rise 28' bar with all the spacers between headset and stem. Do what you want, it is YOUR bike.
 

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if the trails you ride are not so narrow you're whacking your bar ends on everything, do what feels right. as previously stated, wide bars generally provide better leverage for climbing and open your chest for better breathing.

trails in my area tend to be quite narrow, and my originally 26" low-rise monkeylites have been trimmed to 23" (on a 140mm stem!). i still hit things occasionally. my commuter is 'vintage' (1991) and sports some 21" flat bars on a 135mm. it is decidedly more nervous feeling than the 23's.

my $0.02.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
My push-up stance pretty much matches my bars. I tried riding around w/ my hands closer in & it felt totally bad. Got a good thing, I'm not changing it, thanks everyone!
 
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