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Mtn.bar width currently............

Old 09-23-19, 04:40 PM
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freeranger
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Mtn.bar width currently............

Bring this old mtn.biker (hardtail) up to date. I was just looking at bars. Now, back when I was riding a lot, most bars were 26" (660mm) wide. When I see the bars listed now, seems most are at least 700mm up to 800mm. Seems some trees that I go thru might not even allow an 800mm bar to go through. Just to bring me "up to speed" (didn't realize the pun until I typed it), what is the avg. width these days, and are trails being cut with more space between trees (guess they must be).
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Old 09-23-19, 05:34 PM
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Not sure what the average is nowadays but I upped the width on one of my bikes with a 720mm and I love it. Much better control,IMO.

IMG_9905 by 2cam16, on Flickr
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Old 09-23-19, 05:44 PM
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It's a whole different style of bike. They have longer top tubes, shorter stems, the steering is slacker, which gets the big 29er x 2.6 inch wheel way out in front of you. When you get back on an old style "NORBA" bike it feels really weird to have the front wheel tucked in so much under you.
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Old 09-23-19, 06:32 PM
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Always been shoulder width plus a few inches.
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Old 09-23-19, 08:32 PM
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^^^ no thanks. Not going back either
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Old 09-24-19, 08:03 AM
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720-800mm is the average these days. Way more control and better leverage. No way would I ride with 660mm bars. Tried it once and the steering was way too twitchy.
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Old 09-24-19, 08:31 AM
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Originally Posted by prj71 View Post
720-800mm is the average these days. Way more control and better leverage. No way would I ride with 660mm bars. Tried it once and the steering was way too twitchy.
I rode a bike in the 500s back in the day no way would I want to go back. Love my wider bars. I've been thinking of going from 720 to 760. "way more control and better leverage" is so true.
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Old 09-24-19, 10:11 AM
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I’m not totally sold on the new bar widths. I never found it an issue to control the 600s. But it’s the trend and given that all the new bikes have them, I have to say I don’t really find them too much of a hassle between the trees. You adapt - but I think they were designed more with the lift riders coming down open ski-runs more in mind than us old school trail riders.
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Old 09-24-19, 09:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Mountain Mitch View Post
I’m not totally sold on the new bar widths. I never found it an issue to control the 600s. But it’s the trend and given that all the new bikes have them, I have to say I don’t really find them too much of a hassle between the trees. You adapt - but I think they were designed more with the lift riders coming down open ski-runs more in mind than us old school trail riders.
Since I switched to 760s years ago, and 800s in 2012, I've done lift-served riding twice. Wide bars were designed for much more than merely coming down open ski runs (who actually does that rather than ride trail?).

Signed,

An old school trail rider.
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Old 09-25-19, 06:15 AM
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Part of going with a wider bar on any given bike is going with a shorter stem as well. The two go together. Part of it has to do with the handling, which I can’t say I fully understand intellectually, but also wider bars make the cockpit feel longer, so a shorter stem makes the fit feel better.

When I started riding in the mid-late 90s my fist bike had someing like a 560mm bar with a 135mm stem.

Little by little between then and around 2012 my bars grew to 750mm and my stems were down to 40-60mm depending on the bike. I recently bumped it up to 775mm with a 60mm stem. The bike (a 2012 model) is a little short in reach by 2019 standards... I’d probably be running a 35mm stem with those same bars on a new bike.

The benefits I’ve seen ever time I go a little wider/shorter....
1- definitely less endo-prone, yet at the same time I can weight the front wheel fine when i need to.
2- It feels more controlled and stable when on the rough or going fast.
3- I feel more planted in corners. When I lean the bike over, the longer bar being dipped down pulls my weight forward and weights the front wheel.

Downsides?
1-Not as good on long stretches of road (paved, dirt or gravel)
2- once I got to 750 and beyond, I do need to pay more attention to trees in tight situations. To be honest though, it doesn’t happen very often, and in my mind having to take it a little slower past a tree now and then it’s completely worth the benefits I get the other 99% of the time.

If you are curious, I would highly encourage you to try it. It is a great update for any older bike, IMO. It is true, 700-800mm bars were originally intended for DH and FR use... but so were slack head angles and tires over 2.3”.... all of which are now common on XC and all-purpose trail bikes.
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Old 09-25-19, 06:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Darth Lefty View Post
^^^ no thanks. Not going back either
You haven't seen my shoulders. Most of my bars are 28" . The Surly sunrise on my fatty is 30" My point is that bars are riders size dependent. I'm 6'4" with a 48 long for a jacket, a 5' woman will want something smaller.
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Old 09-25-19, 07:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Leebo View Post
My point is that bars are riders size dependent.
No.

Contrary to what a lot of folk will tell you, bar width is not much to do with height. We’d even say it’s not even related to your shoulder/press-up width. It’s not really even much to do with different terrains. The ‘correct’ bar width is a combination of your whole bike’s geometry and dynamic fit (bar width works significantly in relation to stem length, reach and BB height). Bar width is also dependant how you like to ride.https://www.mbr.co.uk/news/mountain-...r-width-373962
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Old 09-25-19, 08:08 AM
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Originally Posted by prj71 View Post
No.

Contrary to what a lot of folk will tell you, bar width is not much to do with height. We’d even say it’s not even related to your shoulder/press-up width. It’s not really even much to do with different terrains. The ‘correct’ bar width is a combination of your whole bike’s geometry and dynamic fit (bar width works significantly in relation to stem length, reach and BB height). Bar width is also dependant how you like to ride.https://www.mbr.co.uk/news/mountain-...r-width-373962
What? You going to tell me a smaller person with say narrow shoulders and shorter arms will take the same width bars as a big (like me) person? Whatev. All the ladies I mt bike with would disagree. You do you though.
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Old 09-25-19, 08:32 AM
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Originally Posted by L8APEXN View Post
Since I switched to 760s years ago, and 800s in 2012, I've done lift-served riding twice. Wide bars were designed for much more than merely coming down open ski runs (who actually does that rather than ride trail?).

Signed,

An old school trail rider.
What they were designed for and what they are now used for are two different things! Take the discussion about very small women and wide bars just above. Once something becomes a trend a lot of rationalizing goes on about why it is appropriate for everything...until the next trend sweeps us all along!
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Old 09-25-19, 09:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Mountain Mitch View Post
What they were designed for and what they are now used for are two different things! Take the discussion about very small women and wide bars just above. Once something becomes a trend a lot of rationalizing goes on about why it is appropriate for everything...until the next trend sweeps us all along!
The were designed for all types of rider, not solely "lift-served" and "open ski run"riding. No rationalizing going on here, just riding all kinds of trails (not "two kinds of things" - that's silly) with wide bars, like many folks, for many years. Based on your comments, you need to ge out more and see what is going on beyond your bars.

Signed,

An old school trail rider.
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Old 09-25-19, 10:36 AM
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I like mine at 725mm. I still have some uncut 780 and 800mm bars on a couple of bikes; I find them too wide, but those are on low-mileage bikes so don't bother cutting them.

Many bars come with marks to make cutting down to the width of your choice easy.

My olde Bridgestone came stock with 22.5" bars - insane! Ye olde Klein has 23" bars - still too skinny.
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Old 09-25-19, 07:29 PM
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Originally Posted by L8APEXN View Post
The were designed for all types of rider, not solely "lift-served" and "open ski run"riding. No rationalizing going on here, just riding all kinds of trails (not "two kinds of things" - that's silly) with wide bars, like many folks, for many years. Based on your comments, you need to ge out more and see what is going on beyond your bars.

Signed,

An old school trail rider.
Yep, I need to get out more so I know everything and become entitled to an opinion!
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Old 09-25-19, 10:22 PM
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My bike came with 760mm bar, which were fine for downhill, but long treks going up, my shoulders felt like they were going to pop out. I cut them to 700mm and that fixed the problem.

P.S. My shoulder width is 600mm

Last edited by MarcusT; 09-25-19 at 10:25 PM. Reason: PS
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Old 09-30-19, 09:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Leebo View Post
What? You going to tell me a smaller person with say narrow shoulders and shorter arms will take the same width bars as a big (like me) person? Whatev. All the ladies I mt bike with would disagree. You do you though.
What is usually happening is smaller people will be on smaller bikes, and the geometry of the smaller bike will take into account the smaller sized person. So bar width is LESS of an issue.

"Contrary to what a lot of folk will tell you, bar width is not much to do with height. We’d even say it’s not even related to your shoulder/press-up width. It’s not really even much to do with different terrains. The ‘correct’ bar width is a combination of your whole bike’s geometry and dynamic fit (bar width works significantly in relation to stem length, reach and BB height). Bar width is also dependant how you like to ride."
Read more at https://www.mbr.co.uk/news/mountain-...j5glbs4i8d1.99

So, just swapping a bar and not taking into account the rest of the geometry may not work well. Some bikes are sold with the same bar width from XS to XL. If there is a change it will be slight, like 10-20mm.
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Old 09-30-19, 06:45 PM
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To say that body proportions do not effect optimum bar width seems silly to me. Just look at the builds that come on women bikes, or the fact that some bikes come spec’ed with narrower bars on smaller sized bikes. Of course this is only one of many factors, the most important of all is simply personal preference.

This idea that bikes’ geo is designed around a certain bar width and that changing the bar width will screw up the geometry is nonsense. Ever see a bike manufacturer specify what bar widths are appropriate? They will often specify what fork lengths and tire sizes the bike was designed around, yet I have never seen one specify a target bar width.
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Old 09-30-19, 09:33 PM
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I'm typically on medium bikes and like my bars between 740 and 810. My preference are wider for trails with more tech or bike tires like fats, 29+ and SS. My XC bikes run the narrowest bars.
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Old 09-30-19, 09:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Kapusta View Post
To say that body proportions do not effect optimum bar width seems silly to me. Just look at the builds that come on women bikes, or the fact that some bikes come spec’ed with narrower bars on smaller sized bikes. Of course this is only one of many factors, the most important of all is simply personal preference.

This idea that bikes’ geo is designed around a certain bar width and that changing the bar width will screw up the geometry is nonsense. Ever see a bike manufacturer specify what bar widths are appropriate? They will often specify what fork lengths and tire sizes the bike was designed around, yet I have never seen one specify a target bar width.
Well here is Specialized's Rockhopper Expert geometry...note that from XS all the was to XXL its the same handlebar width. They are changing the geometry of the frame for the size of the rider yet not handlebar width. So they are saying doesn't matter if you are 5'1" tall or 6'6" tall the handlebar width is similar, yet other things like top tube length, wheelbase, all affect the rider reach which is calculated for that bar length. So yes changing JUST the bar length and nothing else affects the reach of the rider and fit of the bike. Thats what I meant about it changes the geometry because the geometry of the bike is designed with particular bar lengths in mind.

Now everyones body is slightly different so if someones arms are slightly longer for their height, then maybe a slightly wider bar works better for them or shorter arms for their height than a more narrow bar will work better for them.

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Old 10-01-19, 10:04 AM
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Originally Posted by jrhoneOC View Post
Well here is Specialized's Rockhopper Expert geometry...note that from XS all the was to XXL its the same handlebar width. They are changing the geometry of the frame for the size of the rider yet not handlebar width. So they are saying doesn't matter if you are 5'1" tall or 6'6" tall the handlebar width is similar, yet other things like top tube length, wheelbase, all affect the rider reach which is calculated for that bar length. So yes changing JUST the bar length and nothing else affects the reach of the rider and fit of the bike. Thats what I meant about it changes the geometry because the geometry of the bike is designed with particular bar lengths in mind.

Now everyones body is slightly different so if someones arms are slightly longer for their height, then maybe a slightly wider bar works better for them or shorter arms for their height than a more narrow bar will work better for them.
Several points here (some are agreeing with what you are saying).:

1- You are 100% correct that changing bar width DOES change the fit of the bike.... this is why it is also recommended that you go with a shorter stem. I can easily fit the same bike with a bar anywhere from 700-780 ft I change the stem as well.

2- Specialized is not "saying" anything with that chart. That is just the bar that is spec'ed. If what they spec is "saying" anything, than what does it "say" that Specialized (and pretty much any other company) specs narrower handlebars on the women's builds? Take a look at the Stumpjumper, for example. Also, what does this chart for the Surly Wednesday "say" about the matter? Smaller sizes have narrower bars. So, why do some builds have different size bars and others have the same across all sizes? See next point....

3- Stock bar width is just a starting point. Your saddle/post has adjustments for up/down, fore/aft, and tilt. Stems can be easily swapped. Bars are no different. They can not only be easily replaced, but can also be rotated and cut down (and many come with markings to assist in this). Any bike fitter knows that bikes come stock with the company's best guess on stem and bar dimensions, and not only CAN be modified, but often SHOULD be. So companiescan either spec a bunch of different "best guess" bar sizes, or just go with the biggest and cut down as needed. Same as with the steer tube on a fork: Most complete bikes come with a very long steer tube, and you cut down as needed.

4 - Changing the fit is not a bad thing.... in fact it is often a good thing. That is why saddles, seat posts, stems and bars are designed to be so easily adjustable. Bars are like any other cockpit component in that they are made to be easily modifiable.

All I am trying to say here is that if someone has an interest in trying a wider bar, there is literally zero good reasons not to try it, as long as they know they likely need to go with a shorter stem as well. There is nothing magical about the stock bar widths on complete builds. And in reality, the vast majority of people running bars under 700mm end up loving ones over 700mm for trail riding. That is why new builds come with such wide bars.

Also, I am not trying to say that body proportions dictate the best bar width.... it is just one of many factors, the biggest being what sort of riding you are doing, and simple personal tastes.
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Old 10-01-19, 10:31 AM
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Yup...we are saying the same things....you just did it better...lol...
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