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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I wasn't crashing on my old bike. Bought a new bike and starting clipping trees left and right on my 1st ride tonight. (5 times!)We trimmed the bars 1/2 inch each side the day I bought it. Still feels too wide. Also the geometry is much different. Much shorter stem. 27.5+ vs 29er.
Is this common to have this much trouble? Tell me I'm not the only one!?!?
 

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Would help to know what your old and new bikes are to compare geos. But yes, if the geometry on your new bike is quite different and the bars are wider, then you might have trouble judging going past stuff and steering the bike because maybe a bit different riding style is required.
I'd say give it a good few rides to try and get accustomed to the new bike (at least5-10, leave the bars as is) and if youre still having trouble after that, then start looking at trouble shooting why. Maybe you got the wrong size frame, the stem is too short, bar too wide, saddle to far for/aft....loads of things could be wrong, but most likely you just need time to adjust, especially if you had say 680mm bar on your old bike and now moved to a 760mm> bar.
 

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Hahaha. Yeah, that's going to be a big move and take some time to get accustomed to. When I first made the switch, it was from 685mm to 750mm and I swore I'd be cutting the bar down ASAP, but I decided to give it some time and what I found, was that on the type of terrain I love, slow, rocky, rooty, technical, I had much more control because of the extra leverage of the wider bar.

Give it some time before you decide to cut it down, if you want to try narrower, just move the controls and grips in a bit on each side and see how it feels, but unless you're under 5'5" in height, wouldn't still go narrower than 740mm, not for aggressive trail riding.

Holy moly that's it! I was 680 and now 780 handle bar width! No wonder everything is so tight on the course!
 

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Snow Dog
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Hahaha. Yeah, that's going to be a big move and take some time to get accustomed to. When I first made the switch, it was from 685mm to 750mm and I swore I'd be cutting the bar down ASAP, but I decided to give it some time and what I found, was that on the type of terrain I love, slow, rocky, rooty, technical, I had much more control because of the extra leverage of the wider bar.

Give it some time before you decide to cut it down, if you want to try narrower, just move the controls and grips in a bit on each side and see how it feels, but unless you're under 5'5" in height, wouldn't still go narrower than 740mm, not for aggressive trail riding.
same for me, going from my 1994 Trek to my current Krampus was huge in every way...I also wanted to cut the bars down, but didn't, and am now glad. The shorter bars would have allowed the front wheel itself to do all of the steering...which it still can do if I am not wary about "the lay of the land".

Just ride it more, and you will find the right line+speed+control factor.
 

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So I wasn't crashing on my old bike. Bought a new bike and starting clipping trees left and right on my 1st ride tonight. (5 times!)We trimmed the bars 1/2 inch each side the day I bought it. Still feels too wide. Also the geometry is much different. Much shorter stem. 27.5+ vs 29er.
Is this common to have this much trouble? Tell me I'm not the only one!?!?
Are you a skier? One tip I give for someone getting a modern bike is carve it like skis. Work your skills - pump, jump - and get that seat low for cornering and steep stuff.

Good luck and have fun.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Are you a skier? One tip I give for someone getting a modern bike is carve it like skis. Work your skills - pump, jump - and get that seat low for cornering and steep stuff.

Good luck and have fun.
Unfortunately where I ride (mostly) is a lot of tight trees and roots on the trail. Very flat. Nothing flows. And no.. I dont ski lol!
 

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Don't cut the handlebar. Get used to it. It will be awkward at first but the additional handling stability is worth it. I was a big time skeptic about a wide bar for years and slowly worked my way up to 860mm handlebar. I am 5'9" and getting the overall reach/ stack takes some time, but it's not going to handle well with a skinny bar.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
same for me, going from my 1994 Trek to my current Krampus was huge in every way...I also wanted to cut the bars down, but didn't, and am now glad. The shorter bars would have allowed the front wheel itself to do all of the steering...which it still can do if I am not wary about "the lay of the land".

Just ride it more, and you will find the right line+speed+control factor.
Hahaha. Yeah, that's going to be a big move and take some time to get accustomed to. When I first made the switch, it was from 685mm to 750mm and I swore I'd be cutting the bar down ASAP, but I decided to give it some time and what I found, was that on the type of terrain I love, slow, rocky, rooty, technical, I had much more control because of the extra leverage of the wider bar.

Give it some time before you decide to cut it down, if you want to try narrower, just move the controls and grips in a bit on each side and see how it feels, but unless you're under 5'5" in height, wouldn't still go narrower than 740mm, not for aggressive trail riding.
Think I'm going to spit the difference and take off one more inch total. I'll ride that around for a while. Also going to change to better ergonomic grips. I'll check back in later!
 

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I agree with NOT cutting your bars.
I mean there is an optimal width for ones body size, but boldly cutting off 2" of handlebar width to make the new bike feels like the old bike isn't a good compromise (in my opinion).
Unless EVERYTHING you ride is unavoidable bar clipping trees.

The new bike geometry will handle better with wider bars than narrow bars.

Give it a few rides and it will become your new normal, and you'll be amazed how fast and in control you are on the downhills.
 

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Think I'm going to spit the difference and take off one more inch total. I'll ride that around for a while. Also going to change to better ergonomic grips. I'll check back in later!
Mine started at 760mm (30") and I stopped cutting at 720mm (28.3"). I whacked a lot of trees on the way.

-F
 

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Unfortunately where I ride (mostly) is a lot of tight trees and roots on the trail. Very flat. Nothing flows. And no.. I dont ski lol!
Oh, it flows. You just haven't found it yet.

Modern bikes like being leaned into the turns. learning to do that in tight spaces takes work, but it's sure fun when you start figuring it out and start being able to carry more speed through them.

Every time you get on a significantly different bike, you've gotta take some time to learn the new bike. The more skilled you are, the less time this takes. But you've still gotta work through it all the same. Give the wider bars a legit chance. I'm not sure what my wife's older bike had for bar width, but they were NARROW. Her new bike she got a couple years ago came with 760mm bars (on an xs frame). They felt super weird to her, but I told her to give them a chance. After a couple weeks, she said they still felt like too much, so I took 10mm off each end. She's now been on 740mm bars for 2 years and feels really good about them.

I used to be on 720mm bars. For midwest riding, they felt pretty good, really. But after I moved to Western NC, I needed to change. What worked well there was now way too narrow and twitchy. I bought some 780mm bars last fall and haven't touched 'em. In fact, I now have 2 mtb's with 780mm bars. After adjusting to them, I can ride them just fine on tighter trails, too. I just need to adjust my sense of how my bike occupies space so I can accommodate that on how tightly I take corner lines, or now close I'm willing to come to trees.
 

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If one's "trails" are so tight and narrow that they have to use a handlebar narrower than 720mm to avoid smacking trees, you're probably not riding a trail at all. You have left the trail and you're just smashing through the woods now!
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Well I tried. I think it is my body geometry. The bars pushed my arms out too wide. My hands didnt want to stay on the bodygeomety grip palm rests. Controls were awkward. Nipped that extra half inch and everything feels more normal. Think this unloads a little off my shoulders and neck too.
...and...
Haven't crashed in a while. .... accept me working on my wheelies :p
 

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780 is huge. Bar width has to be in proportion to your shoulders, reach, and strength, and depends on bike type. Glad you adjusted it.

I have 42 cm shoulders and long arms, but I'm female, and need more narrow bars than a man the same overall size. I use 710 mm Salsa Bend Bars (they are also available in 740). I wouldn't mind more narrow. But they appear to have good leverage.
 

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You must be riding in the Dallas area where they consider the "tree-gates" a valid obstacle.
Lulz, no kidding. I like my 780mm bars generally speaking, but there are a number of sub-780mm gates on DFW trails and dozens at about 800-820. Every time I'm off the bike for a few weeks, I lose the ability to negotiate any of them without screeching to a near halt.
 

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A tip I got from an instructor once is to make sure that your hands go right to the edge of your bars when in the riding position. Your brain knows where the edges of your hands are so it will subconsciously try to avoid ramming them into solid objects. But if your bars stick out further than your hands then your brain no longer has that reference point and you'll be clipping your bars all day long.
 
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