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Less sweep or more width?

Old 06-06-17, 03:12 PM
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Less sweep or more width?

I ride this hardtail, the handlebar is "Ritchey COMP Rizer 20mm * 620w * 6 Alloy DIA:31.8Aluminum 6061 T6", which I assume means 20mm of rise, 620mm of width, and 6deg of backsweep.

I find that after 5 miles or so, I get numb hands a lot, and that I always have all the pressure of the bar on the outsides of my palms (not the thumb-side).

Thus I feel like I need less backsweep; if the bars were swept forward-to-flat instead of the 6deg back they are, then it would align better with the way my palms meet the bar.

OR, do I need (or would I be able to get equivalent relief) with a wider bar? If my arms rotated out to the ends of a wider bar, then maybe my palms would naturally align with the bar at a 6deg sweep.

In this old thread at mtbr, everybody seems to agree that most people 'need' more than 6deg of sweep, and indeed the OP has the opposite problem from me (pressure on the thumb-side)

I have pretty wide shoulders though, so it makes sense to me that, compared to most bikers (smaller buys with bird-skeletons) my arms are reaching the bars more straight ahead, and not as much splayed out from a central point.

Looking at cheap options to try off of eBay, it seemed that 620-700 was kind of the range that was available, but then I saw that Niner specs most of its bikes with a monstrously wide 780!

Any thoughts what I should try?

(I want to experiment with putting a broomhandle through my stem and riding around a parking lot, see how it would feel to have a truly flat bar)
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Old 06-06-17, 10:37 PM
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That spec is wrong. My bar is 710 already, and as near as I can estimate from a pic, it's got 10deg sweep. My wife's full-sus appears to have exactly the same bar, and they list that as 710 with 9deg, so that's probably right.

So I think that if I am able to get ahold of a 700/710 with 5deg, I'll be more comfortable.
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Old 06-07-17, 12:16 PM
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More sweep would be my guess, check out the Salsa rustler series bars, they have 11 degree sweep. I test road a bike with one and found it much more comfortable other bars, next time I change bars it is what I will get one.
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Old 06-07-17, 12:20 PM
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Why would I want more sweep? Seems to me that would isolate pressure onto the outsides of my palms even more
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Old 06-07-17, 12:29 PM
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Originally Posted by RubeRad View Post
I find that after 5 miles or so, I get numb hands a lot, and that I always have all the pressure of the bar on the outsides of my palms (not the thumb-side).
You need a set of ergon grips. The handlebar isn't the problem.


Products ? ERGON BIKE

Products ? ERGON BIKE

You can thank me later.
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Old 06-07-17, 12:39 PM
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Hmm, I have a pair of ergon-like grips from eBay, on another bike, that I've been thinking of trying out. I'll slap them on before my next ride, see how they do.
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Old 06-07-17, 01:05 PM
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Looking at all the models, for GP2/3/4/5, when they say GP2 has a "2-finger mini-bar-end" vs GP3 "3-finger bar-end" and GP4 "full size comfort bar end", what exactly are they talking about? How does GP3 fit 3 fingers vs GP2 fitting only 2? Do you just stick a few fingers out to rest them on the mini-bar-end, vs with the GP4 you might rotate your whole hand and hold like a bullhorn?
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Old 06-08-17, 07:49 AM
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If you are are riding single track trails with your mountain bike, you don't want bar ends. They like to grab trees and branches and cause crashes.

Sounds like you answered your own question on 2,3,4 fingers.
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Old 06-08-17, 09:17 AM
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Originally Posted by prj71 View Post
Sounds like you answered your own question on 2,3,4 fingers.
I guess so, but I don't get the appeal of sticking 2 or 3 fingers out.

I put the other grips on last night, rode around the parking lot a little, they might help. They're pretty small actually, maybe comparable to the GX1.

They're the same as these actually:
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Bike-Handleb...r/401191235181


Anyways, probably this weekend I'll have some time for ~10mi, I'll see how they do.
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Old 06-13-17, 03:20 PM
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Originally Posted by RubeRad View Post
Why would I want more sweep? Seems to me that would isolate pressure onto the outsides of my palms even more
On the average person the knuckles and the hand's grip are at approximately 15* off from the angle of the wrist bone. On a bar with 6* or less of sweep you have to turn your wrist in to accommodate the angle. With your wrist turned in, the angle of the pressure from the forearm naturally pushes more to the outside of the hand, this is so the force transmitted to you from the bar goes more down the middle of the arm not just to the thumb. If you shift your weight off the outside of the hand it puts unnatural pressure on the thumb joint.

When I ride my bike, or when I tested a number of bikes this year, I put my weight on the outside of my hands and the wider I went the more uncomfortable it became, but when I tested a Salsa with 11* sweep, it was more comfortable and I felt less pressure on my wrists. More like the sweep on motocross bikes.
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Old 06-13-17, 03:55 PM
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Originally Posted by hig4s View Post
On the average person the knuckles and the hand's grip are at approximately 15* off from the angle of the wrist bone. On a bar with 6* or less of sweep you have to turn your wrist in to accommodate the angle. With your wrist turned in, the angle of the pressure from the forearm naturally pushes more to the outside of the hand, this is so the force transmitted to you from the bar goes more down the middle of the arm not just to the thumb. If you shift your weight off the outside of the hand it puts unnatural pressure on the thumb joint.

When I ride my bike, or when I tested a number of bikes this year, I put my weight on the outside of my hands and the wider I went the more uncomfortable it became, but when I tested a Salsa with 11* sweep, it was more comfortable and I felt less pressure on my wrists. More like the sweep on motocross bikes.
Hmm, I have trouble thinking about this. I just did a simple check by holding pencils in my fists on the desk, and tracing lines along the pencils, roughly extending the lines, and eyeballing the angle where they meet (don't have a protractor handy right now), I'd buy that it is 150deg aka 30deg aka 15deg per hand.

And I can see your argument that, if my wrists are turned inwards (which I don't think they feel turned inwards), the outsides of my palms would bear the most pressure.

However, with my hands in a fixed position, and my weight borne on the palms, it seems if the bars were to magically to move to have less sweep, they would become more parallel with my through-palm line and even out the pressure. I must be missing something.

Also, if I really am rotating an unnatural amount so that the outside of my palm is uncomfortable, wouldn't I naturally make less effort to rotate less, and gain more comfort?

Anyways, after measuring instead of trusting the spec, the sweep on my bars is actually 9deg, so I don't think 9->11 would make much difference. And I haven't had the opportunity to ride with the semi-ergon grips yet to see if that helps.
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Old 06-14-17, 11:40 AM
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Originally Posted by RubeRad View Post
Hmm, I have trouble thinking about this. I just did a simple check by holding pencils in my fists on the desk, and tracing lines along the pencils, roughly extending the lines, and eyeballing the angle where they meet (don't have a protractor handy right now), I'd buy that it is 150deg aka 30deg aka 15deg per hand.

And I can see your argument that, if my wrists are turned inwards (which I don't think they feel turned inwards), the outsides of my palms would bear the most pressure.

However, with my hands in a fixed position, and my weight borne on the palms, it seems if the bars were to magically to move to have less sweep, they would become more parallel with my through-palm line and even out the pressure. I must be missing something.

Also, if I really am rotating an unnatural amount so that the outside of my palm is uncomfortable, wouldn't I naturally make less effort to rotate less, and gain more comfort?

Anyways, after measuring instead of trusting the spec, the sweep on my bars is actually 9deg, so I don't think 9->11 would make much difference. And I haven't had the opportunity to ride with the semi-ergon grips yet to see if that helps.


For everyone it will be different, I start deciding what length bar is best by doing the push up fitting. Do about 30 push ups, your hands will naturally go to the width that is most comfortable to you. That is the width I use, some people will go wider because they do fast downhill and want more leverage, others go narrower for clearance in tight trails. From there get an old piece of garden hose as long as the bars you are considering, grab it by the ends, close your eyes and hold it out in front of you at arms length. Open your eyes and check the curve and angle, that is what your body naturally wants, and that is what I find most comfortable. For me that is about 700 to 740mm and 11 degree sweep.
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Old 06-14-17, 03:03 PM
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Have you tried just rotating the bars in the stem slightly? This changes the angle of interaction with your hands.
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Old 06-14-17, 03:33 PM
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Originally Posted by hig4s View Post
For everyone it will be different, I start deciding what length bar is best by doing the push up fitting. Do about 30 push ups, your hands will naturally go to the width that is most comfortable to you. That is the width I use, some people will go wider because they do fast downhill and want more leverage, others go narrower for clearance in tight trails. From there get an old piece of garden hose as long as the bars you are considering, grab it by the ends, close your eyes and hold it out in front of you at arms length. Open your eyes and check the curve and angle, that is what your body naturally wants, and that is what I find most comfortable. For me that is about 700 to 740mm and 11 degree sweep.
Garden hose is an interesting idea as well.

I was able to take a nice hard ride today for over an hour, the ergon-like grips seemed to help. Hopefully that's a good enough solution. Garden hose is a neat idea though too, I'll keep that in my back pocket for home-fitting.
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Old 06-14-17, 03:34 PM
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Originally Posted by frankenmike View Post
Have you tried just rotating the bars in the stem slightly? This changes the angle of interaction with your hands.
Yeah, I rotated them every whichway, wasn't able to find an orientation that was any better.
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Old 01-10-22, 09:34 AM
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More sweep? More Pullback

I found a handlebar on ebay with a 14.5 inch pullback. Anyone know of one with more pullback?

Its 27.5 inches wide. I wouldnt want to go any wider.

To view on ebay search "BICYCLE BEACH CRUISER HANDLE BARS (25.4MM )VINTAGE BIKES MOUNT REGULAR OR CAFE"

THANKS!!!!
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Old 01-10-22, 01:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Snowslider View Post
I found a handlebar on ebay with a 14.5 inch pullback. Anyone know of one with more pullback?
Its 27.5 inches wide. I wouldnt want to go any wider.
To view on ebay search "BICYCLE BEACH CRUISER HANDLE BARS (25.4MM )VINTAGE BIKES MOUNT REGULAR OR CAFE"
Posting the eBay photo for you:



That's a lot of setback. The only one I know of that might be longer is a handlebar off of a Dyno Glide Roadster:



You also could just try a shorter stem.
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