Bars Higher, Bars Lower ???? Pros & Cons……….

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  • Bars Higher, Bars Lower ???? Pros & Cons……….
  • bigdonx

    I'm at the moment debating what to do with my bar height/shape. What are the pros and cons of low riser, minimal steerer spacers v higher rise, more spacers, v etc etc ???

    At the moment the front of my bike feels not heavy, but not easy to keep up over drops/jumps. Probably technique involved, but wondering if higher rise bars and/or raising stem would help.

    Any wisdom on the matter…………?


    I've just taken the spacers out from under my stem and put a wide high rise bar on.

    As this brings the connection point closer to the wheel I feel I have more control than a low riser with spacers underneath

    This of course may be complete boolarks…………….. 🙂


    wide n high = fast down

    narrow n low = fast up


    querty = clueless


    ??? i though it was all about comfort 🙂


    always have stem ontop of headset with no spacers do find the higher the stem the more i cannot control a climb each to their own though.


    Getting the bars reasonably level with the seat works for me. Which means lots of spacers and a humongous steep stem in my case.

    If you can't keep the front of the bike up when you want to surely you need a shorter stem to get you weight further back? IMO, not much to do with bar height


    Currently running a 70mm stem, don't want to go any shorter. As I said, technique probably the biggest problem, but what I'm curious about is whether "higher" bars will create more leverage around the effective point of rotation when lifting the front end – if that makes sense??

    The bike does climb quite well, so don't want to sacrifice too much of that, however I'd rather give up a bit of climbing prowess if it means avoiding a face plant situation………..

    Incidently my hardtail is far more fun/confidence inspiring on the downs than my FS and it has a slightly longer stem and higher rise bars, of course there are a plethora of other geometric differences which together make it hard to directly compare.


    Higher bars for comfort. Front wheel wanders on climbs – lean forward more.

    b r

    Depends on your build and the geo/sizing of your bike.

    I run a pair of V2's (over 700mm wide and 50mm rise), and about 50mm of spaces under the stem. Climbs ok, but gives great control everywhere.

    I'm tall though.

    If you go low, make sure they can't catch the top-tube if your bars 'spin'.


    I fitted one of these adjustable stems and ran it for a while using different setting. From what I learnt a ordered a 'normal' stem.

    Premier Icon chakaping

    Have you tried moving your bars up and down with spacers anyway? That should give you an idea what you like and whether your problem is getting better or worse each way.

    Personally, I've found lowering the bars has made it a bit easier to manual and jump. Possibly because having the bars lower gives me more range of movement to move my weight back through.

    But the main benefit has been increased front wheel traction.

    Premier Icon Northwind

    Put it where you like it, bike handling is personal taste, there's no best or worst and there's no wrong answers. Sorry that it's not simpler 🙂


    GW – Member
    querty = clueless

    If you're going to mock someone at least spell their name right.


    On my hard tail with 50mm 10deg rise stem and 50mm rise Easton EA70 bars: I went from 40mm of spacers under the stem down to 20mm. Sometimes my back ached before the change and sometimes after, so comfort hasn't made much difference. I do feel more control of the front end though on slippery downhill. That and I've got used to keeping the arms bent, elbows down and loose.

    I've just bought a 25mm riser to swap over with the 50mm riser on the bigger bike. No spacers under the stem but it does have a tall 170mm fork. Hoping for a similar improvement in control.

    bigdonx – Member
    Currently running a 70mm stem, don't want to go any shorter

    Why not? Looks like most people above (and me) are running a 50mm stem if they are doing drops etc. Both me and a mate got much more confidence going down when we reduced stem lenghts

    As I said, technique probably the biggest problem

    Then why are you asking about bar height? Front end dropping means too much weight forward. To get your weight back go for a shorter stem. Should be relatively easy to blag a borrow of one from your LBS to at least try it.


    I would strongly advise not to loft the front wheel by pulling the bars up. Make the front light by transferring weight to the rear of the bike and using your feet to lever. A neutral handlebar is the best way for normal trail riding – so you are not leaning on it. I like a small drop from saddle to bars myself – an inch or two lower than the saddle.

    Personally I would also not recommend a super short stem. As you have already identified, a little bit of best technique practice will go a long way – you should easily be able to get your hips well behind your feet and always always carry your head high, rather than ever rolling on to the top of the front of your bike.

    Premier Icon wwaswas

    "To get your weight back go for a shorter stem."

    or a higher one or higher bars (or the same bars 'rolled back') or more spacers on the fork steerer.

    there's so many variables.

    In the end it's a combination of things that creates the ride position – focusing on one and excludign others isn't necessarily going to give the right answer.

    shorter stem will do more than shift weight it will 'speed up' steering too.


    I like my bars and saddle about the same height, regardless of type of bar, if I was racing more often I rekon I would lower them a little and if I was going up & down proper mountains a lot I might lift em a bit.

    Premier Icon steveh

    I try and get my bars as low as possible on all my bikes. So flat stems and low rise risers.

    For me as low as possible without causing back pain is the aim. This gives more weight on the front wheel which improves handling up and down hill.


    glenp – Member
    I would strongly advise not to loft the front wheel by pulling the bars up. Make the front light by transferring weight to the rear of the bike and using your feet to lever.

    You are still effectively pulling on the bars when pushing with your feet – otherwise the front would not lift. IE there is a centre of rotation somewhere between feet, bars & arse. So altering the position of the bars will have an affect on this C of R – I think……..?? Making it more or less natural/easy?

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