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Hi...

I have always ridden mountain bikes with flat bars and bar ends, but I keep noticing almost everyone now seems to have risers and they now come stock on the top XC bikes. I am thinking of upgrading to low risers and wanted to see what people thought about the differences. I ride mostly XC, but some trails with real nasty technical downhills. Can anyone recommend a good bar? I've been looking at the Monkey Lites, but they are a bit spendy for me. Thanks for the help!
 

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Old man on a bike
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The bar change from flat to riser will raise the level of your hands by the amount of the rise, and depending on the sweep of your current bars vs the riser bars, may put your hands at a different angle. The question is do you want that change, i.e. to be a bit more upright? And maybe have your hands at a new angle? If you still have some spacers above your stem, you could put them below the stem and raise your bars by that amount, for free. You could also change your stem to a higher rise and raise your hands as well. If you really want the riser bars, there are quite a few choices across the budget spectrum if you'll look around, try googling bicycle riser bars.
 

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yup, the question isn't really riser bars versus flat bars, but rather where you want your hands at... figure that out, and then take a look at your stem... if your ideal hand position is in line with the handlebar clamp of your stem, then get a flat bar... if it is above the clamp then get a riser
 

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TannerWilson said:
Hi...

I have always ridden mountain bikes with flat bars and bar ends, but I keep noticing almost everyone now seems to have risers and they now come stock on the top XC bikes. I am thinking of upgrading to low risers and wanted to see what people thought about the differences......
Yup curiosity got me too, just switched to xc carbon low rise oversized bars 2 weeks ago. Honestly they are more comfortable but the amount of flex out of them shocked me at first. I remember when i got my first 4 bolt Thomson stem i marveled at how much stiffer and better it made the bars feel, right now the flex in the bars don't bother me except that it made the brakes feel a bit softer at the end of the stroke.
TannerWilson said:
..... Can anyone recommend a good bar? .....
No one has posted a test comparing bar strength and flex so most recommendations will be purely subjective. In the latest MBA they complained about the up sweep of one bar, so you might want to go to your LBS and sit on some bikes and see what rise and sweep back you fine comfortable. Most the manufacturer list these first so its very easy to compare
TannerWilson said:
.....I've been looking at the Monkey Lites, but they are a bit spendy for me. Thanks for the help!
Monkey lites are the most popular carbon bars out there probably for good reason. But i also found bar to be spendy so went with the cheapest name brand one i could find. I haven't seen anyone having problems with the house brands like Performance ones they are usually going for $47. Yeti is blowing out their bars for cheap and Nashbar has a pretty good deal on these bars, Syncros used to be a pretty big brand back in the day. If you order the nashbar ones call because the picture looks like oversized bars to me.

One tip, carbon bars are tough in terms of strength but weak in crush strength. Use an inch/pound torque wrench when you install shifters and brakes and when put it on the stem, the torque is equal to gripping the allen key with just your index finger and thumb, its that low.
 
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As has been stated a riser bar does relatively the same thing as a stem with more rise. I only went with a riser bar because my back would start to hurt on longer rides. I needed a more comfortable riding position and already had a stem that I liked. I found an Easton riser bar on Ebay and installed it. I've only got a couple of rides on the new bar, but other than being more comfortable I didn't notice any negative changes in handling.
 

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A riser bar simply allows you to raise your hand position above where it would be on the same setup with a flat bar. This can be useful if you want to raise your hand position (so that you're more upright with more weight on your seat), but don't have the option of (1) adding more spacers (e.g., steerer tube is already cut and maxed out) or (2) changing to a steeper angle stem.

There are also a few other differences between flat bars and lo-risers. One is that the backsweep (the degree to which the bars curve back toward you) of low risers are generally greater than that of flat bars. To me, this makes the low-riser bar more ergonomical (fits my natural hand position better), and it also makes the steering response just a little less twitchy and sensitive to rider input.

Low risers are also generally significantly wider than flat bars. XC flat bars are generally 580 mm (22.8 in.) wide. Low risers most commonly range from 630-690 mm (24.8-27.2 in.) wide. This difference can be negated to some extent by cutting down the width of the bars (I like lo-risers cut down to 610 mm (24 in.)), but this is limited by your ability to fit your grips, shifters, brakes, and other components onto the bar. Risers have less mounting space than flat bars, so you can't cut off too much. I find that a 24 inch width is a great compromise between comfort, steering response, and tree clearance.

Lastly, riser bars typically cost a little more than comparable flat bars. This can be negated to some extent by simply using an aluminum bar. A good aluminum bar won't be too much heavier, it'll be much cheper, and more worry-free.
 

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Generally good advice, but riser bars do have the advantage of a wee more adjustability, in that you can slightly rotate them to preference.

I suppose you can do it with a flattie too, but it'll look really odd.

That said, if you go flat, check out the Titec Flattracker..
 

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I Have Gnarly Potential
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Its all about position and your body size in relation to the bike, and how your like to be positioned.

most bikes have riser bars stock now kinda mostly because it places people in a bit more versitile and comfortable position.

A flat will tend to put that same person in a more agressive position and if your not use to it you may not want it. Or if your arms arent as long, etc.

Im about to rep my 10-15 degree stock neck and riser bar with a same length or slightly longer 0 degree neck and flat bar.
 
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