Mountain Bike Reviews Forum banner
1 - 20 of 20 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
173 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Seems like I've been starting a lot of threads lately.. that's what noobs do :p

I've decided to try a shorter stem instead of the 100mm I'm using now, but am unsure of handlebar width to get.

Here's a picture of my current setup:


I believe the handlebar to be this model (630mm version):
https://www.fullspeedahead.com/products/214/XC-190-Riser

I'm 5'4" and ride an S size Santacruz chameleon with 140mm fork. I guess my riding style could be put under "AM".

I did some searching and have come across threads where people upgrade to a wider bar and still find themselves wanting more (*looks at mimi*, lol) and would really appreciate your thoughts. :thumbsup:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
841 Posts
It's probably very personal and depends on how, what, and where you ride.

I'm 5'7" and all of my XC and AM bikes have 25.25" handlebars and I'm happy with them. I could go a bit narrower, but not wider. I demo'd a friend's bike and it happened that his bike had wider handlebars (not sure how much wider), but I was so afraid of hitting trees with the bars, they were a major distraction.

On the other hand, I have 27.5" bars on my downhill bike and I'm fine with them. It's a totally different bike that I use only on liftserve trails that don't have handlebar-width trees that you have to thread your bike through.

Do you have any friends with wider bars you can borrow? That would be a good way to find out for sure.

By the way, how do you like your shorter stem?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
196 Posts
Just as a point of view...

I have a Trek Fuel that has 650mm bars stock which were fine but I thought I wanted bigger. I ordered a 710mm Big Earl bar from online, swapped it out, and went riding. I rode 14 miles and around the 9th mile the back pain I started to feel was horrible. Now im not sure if it was the new width or the degree at which the new bars were but it promptly made me switch them back to stock when I returned home. So in my case, bigger isn't always better...And I'm a tad under 6ft so it didn't feel unnatural to ride a little wider, but that couple of extra inches didn't work for me.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
394 Posts
I bought lock-on grips, experimented with how the bike felt and finally cut them at 26.5". Perfect for me, I have good control and can make it between the tightest trees on the single track, I'm 5' 9" and mostly ride XC.

Good luck, just play around with it till ya find that sweet spot.
 

·
DynoDon
Joined
·
1,666 Posts
I like 'em wide, I have more control, and climb better, I'm not going back to narrow bars, and I live in Michigan with very narrow trails, and trees that jump out infront of me, I could hear them laughing at me after they knocked me down with the narrow bars, now I laugh at them.. LOL!!
You can alway try wide bars (give them a chance) then cut them down a little at a time untill you get the bars that work for you. I also went to high rise bars. Good Luck
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
406 Posts
This is one of those things where there is no real answer anyone can give you other than to try them. Its a purley personal thing. Back when I road BMX I would buy wide bars, then cut down as needed. I'll probably do the same thing with my mountain bike.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,581 Posts
That's pretty much what I did, when I went from 23" XC flat bars to riser bars I started wide and hacked a bit off each end until they felt right. I think I started at around 27" or so and took off half an inch at a time off the ends until I got down to a bit over 24". I'm about 5'11", so that probably makes me a weirdo.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,194 Posts
Longer stem, narrower bars. Shorter stem, wider bars. Seems to work. Look for bars that are 1.5 to 2 inches wider. Well for your size maybe .5-one inch wider.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
173 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
miatagal96 said:
By the way, how do you like your shorter stem?
I haven't got to buying it yet, will get getting it same time as a new handlebar. Sorry for the confusion!

680mm looks nice now. If it's too long I could cut it down like dkbikes4life said.
 

·
new to this
Joined
·
17 Posts
I'm 5'6" and ride a medium Canondale f5. I upgraded to a shorter stem and wider bars. a 40mm stem and 745mm bars 19mm rise. I love the stability and leverage they give when you start to pick up speed. I do notice that my hands get more beat up if riding through tight trails with lofts of bushes, but when i see a tree, i always avoid hitting it, so it hasn't been a issue.

i wouldn't go any narrower than 27" which is 685mm like the easton monkey bars or e series bars. I have some Sunline V1 bars on my bike now, they seem a bit wide, but if i want to cut them i always have the option.

wide bars will feel very strange riding around the parking lot at first. try them on the trail, and i'm certain you'll never go back
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
173 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Wow, 745mm is really wide. Keep it coming folks, really like reading about what you guys are using. Will only go down to LBS a few days later or weekends.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
434 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
173 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
"Gene" in the commends section of Betterride says that the bars should be 1-3" lower than the seat (at optimal climbing height). Is this true?

If that is the case I will definitely have to use flat bars, and play with the headset spacers.
 

·
DynoDon
Joined
·
1,666 Posts
LoneReaction said:
"Gene" in the commends section of Betterride says that the bars should be 1-3" lower than the seat (at optimal climbing height). Is this true?

If that is the case I will definitely have to use flat bars, and play with the headset spacers.
Thats scary when going downhill for me, I was using narrow flat bars lower then the saddle, I did alot of endo's, I switched to high rise, wider bars, I haven't endo's since, and my climbing/control have improved, I have my saddle even with my bars, I don't have an adjustable seat post, nor do I want one, our trails in Michigan would wear the button out.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,293 Posts
just an observation but moving from a 100mm stem to a 50mm stem is a huge jump. Might try to find someone with a 70/80mm stem to try before buying.

I started off with 660mm bars, moved to 685 and liked it. Now I ride 710 syncros on one bike and 685's on the other. Needless to say, I'm bar shopping for 710mm now. Love the control and stability of those bars. I ride 70mm stems also.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
434 Posts
LoneReaction said:
"Gene" in the commends section of Betterride says that the bars should be 1-3" lower than the seat (at optimal climbing height). Is this true?

If that is the case I will definitely have to use flat bars, and play with the headset spacers.
Yes, if you want your bike set up to have the best handeling and control. For shorter people as yourself it's going to be on the lower end of the range, my bars are probably at least 4 inches lower than my seat when it's at climbing height.
 

·
Fat-tired Roadie
Joined
·
18,453 Posts
Experiment, experiment, experiment.

Handlebars are easy to cut, and impossible to make magically longer. Mine are fairly narrow, but I'd never suggest that to someone else - buy really wide bars, figure out how wide you wanted them to be, and buy a pipe cutter. It's cheap and makes a cleaner cut than a hack saw.

I wouldn't spend much money on a stem unless I already knew exactly what size I wanted and I was trying to cut weight... Your shop likely has a bin full of stems that came off new bikes. If you have a used shop in your area, they probably have a lot of stems too. Failing both of those, just get the Dimension or Nashbar stem in the size you're trying. If you want something more macho, you can buy it when you know what you actually want.
 

·
Master of Disaster
Joined
·
980 Posts
After reading negative comments again and again in various British bike mags about narrow bars, I took their advice and switched to a 680mm low-rise bar which I've been happy with. For myself personally, I consider 670-680mm bar width a minimum starting point now...

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
173 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
mnigro said:
just an observation but moving from a 100mm stem to a 50mm stem is a huge jump. Might try to find someone with a 70/80mm stem to try before buying.

I started off with 660mm bars, moved to 685 and liked it. Now I ride 710 syncros on one bike and 685's on the other. Needless to say, I'm bar shopping for 710mm now. Love the control and stability of those bars. I ride 70mm stems also.
A good friend of mine asked me out for lunch today and offered to stop by the lbs on the way back.

I was given the same advice (too sudden jump in stem length). LBS told me to get 70mm after telling them the local trails I go to. 710mm handlebar, so I can cut down if I wanted to.

I could only choose from shiny blue/purple/gold/silver and ended up with plain old silver. Whatever I guess! :thumbsup:


Need to get new spacers because the current ones are not enough.
 

·
steelhead
Joined
·
15 Posts
1 - 20 of 20 Posts
Top