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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I currently have a 40mm stem and was thinking of going for a shorter 32mm stem, though I was wondering wouldn't adjusting the sweep back on my handlebar do the same exact thing and give me a shorter reach?

At what point does it make more sense to go with a shorter stem?
 

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Wanna ride bikes?
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I currently have a 40mm stem and was thinking of going for a shorter 32mm stem, though I was wondering wouldn't adjusting the sweep back on my handlebar do the same exact thing and give me a shorter reach?

At what point does it make more sense to go with a shorter stem?
Yes a bar with more sweep will shorten your reach slightly.

What kind of bike is this? What size frame?
 

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well mannered lout
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If you are otherwise happy with how the bar feels change the stem. If you want to play with the bar width and hand position you can change the bar.

Trying to get 30mm closer with more sweep might be kind of a lot unless your current bars pretty flat. If you have a relationship with a shop (or have friends with lots of extra parts), this is a good place to mock up a lot of variations before you spend your money.
 

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Where your hands are with respect to the fork steerer is what matters. A long stem and bar with a lot of sweep can put your hands in the same position as a short stem and straighter bar. The diff will be the angle of your hands and wrists which is a comfort/preference thing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Where your hands are with respect to the fork steerer is what matters. A long stem and bar with a lot of sweep can put your hands in the same position as a short stem and straighter bar. The diff will be the angle of your hands and wrists which is a comfort/preference thing.
I am guessing that a bar with some amount of sweep and say 20mm of rise that is angled backwards will probably need extra stem spacers to make up for that reduction in rise since it is angled backwards?

Also whether the angle of the hands would be the different if the handlebar sweep was set at 3 degrees vs 9 degrees (more back sweep)?
 

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depends how you rotate it too. Rotate the bar forward in the stem clamp and the sweep moves the grips up. Depending on how precise you want to be you need to figure where the grips will be, their rearward sweep angle, and their upward rise angle. Where they are is what primarily affects handling. Sweep and rise angles affect comfort and preference.
 

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As has already been said, all depends on if you like the current bar design sweep/backsweep/rise or if you maybe might want to try more sweep to help ease wrist soreness/pain. Also one point to note, not all bars are just swept back, some go forward first to help compensate for the bigger sweep, so you actually end up maybe only needing a 5-10mm shorter stem and sometimes can run the same stem, all depends on if you had good fit before and what you're looking for.

I made the swap to a 16 degree SQ Lab bar towards the end of last year and it really helped with an injured thumb and overall much more comfortable position while seated pedaling, doesn't feel weird on technical stuff like I thought it might, not sure how more sweep would feel on that stuff.
 

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It depends on how much sweep you're talking about.

At some point, many bars with LOTS of sweep will angle forwards before initiating the strong sweep to keep from bringing your hands too far back. In which case, those bars will NOT shorten the reach like a shorter stem would. They only change the angle of the grips.

Bar/stem should be considered together. If you like the hand position in general, but want it closer, then a shorter stem by itself should work. That's more likely to be effective for what you want than trying to achieve the same thing by adding sweep to the bar, which you may not like for other reasons.

That said, if you don't like the hand position, and want to change the sweep, you need to consider what stem you will need to pair with it. You might try what you have to begin with to minimize the number of changes at one time, but realize there's a good chance you'll need to change stem length, also.

I guess what I'm trying to say is to only change the sweep if you actually want to change the sweep.
 

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Mtbr Founder
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Subscribed as I'm playing with this at the moment!!!

The biggest difference is bar angle. You can achieve the same distance to your hands (from the saddle) with a shorter stem or with bars that have more sweep. But the bars with more sweep will put your hands at a sharper angle from horizontal.

It's actually a great idea since your hands are naturally at an angle when you hold them out in front of you. At 0 angle, it is uncomfortable. I think most bars have settled on an 8 degree angle. There are bars out there with 20+ degree angles like the Jones bars or cruiser bike bars.

I'm liking the 13 degree bars from SQ Labs at the moment. Feels very natural and comfortable after long rides.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I am wondering if we kept the 8 degree sweep back bar as a constant, would there be a difference in hand angles comparing a 40mm stem that is rolled back 5 degrees vs a 32mm stem that has the bar rolled back say 8 degrees? That is assuming in both scenarios seated reach to handlebar is the exact same.

If there is a difference in hand angles, which one would be more 'natural' in terms of positioning? I am trying to figure out if it makes more sense to go with a shorter stem and have the bar rolled back less or to keep the longer stem and roll the bars back more?
 

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I am wondering if we kept the 8 degree sweep back bar as a constant, would there be a difference in hand angles comparing a 40mm stem that is rolled back 5 degrees vs a 32mm stem that has the bar rolled back say 8 degrees? That is assuming in both scenarios seated reach to handlebar is the exact same.

If there is a difference in hand angles, which one would be more 'natural' in terms of positioning? I am trying to figure out if it makes more sense to go with a shorter stem and have the bar rolled back less or to keep the longer stem and roll the bars back more?
"Natural" varies between people. For me, it also depends on whether I'm sitting on sitting or standing. Lots of sweep is nice while sitting, but when up over the bar, I like less sweep.

Anyhow, why "figure it out" a priori when you can just try rolling the bar back and seeing how it feels? There's only so much you can roll it back. At some point it'll either have too much backsweep or too little upsweep. If rolling doesn't fix things, then pull out the wallet.
 

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You're pretty limited on "reach" when trying to rotate the bar. Too far forward and it'll make you feel like you're being pitched forward. Too far back...and the bike will feel twitchy. Bar rotation can also have an affect on the amount of pressure that you feel in your hands. Too far forward...more pressure on the outside of my hands...and too far back..too much pressure around the inside of my palm.

My bars are between 6 and 9 degrees of backsweep and ~5 degrees up.
 
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