Going wider bars and shorter stem, but how much?

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  • Going wider bars and shorter stem, but how much?
  • pete68

    My current setup is a 80mm stem and 685 low rise bars which are probably viewed as a bit old school but my riding has in the past been your stereotypical xc and was fine for that. However since moving my local riding is a lot steeper and rockier with plenty of tricky trails in the woods as well. So I’m thinking of improving the handling by going to a shorter stem and wider bars. Would I notice the difference if I went to say a 60mm stem and 720 bars or should I go even shorter and wider than that. The bikes a 100mm travel 29er with 120 forks if it makes any difference. Cheers.

    Premier Icon richmtb

    Would I notice the difference if I went to say a 60mm stem and 720

    Seems like a sensible starting point.

    No harm in getting slightly wider bars – say 740mm that you can trim down if you find them too wide though

    Premier Icon Wally

    Decathlon sell some carbon 720mm risers (£30) and 60mm stems (£15ish).
    It’s what I am having a go at from 90mm and 670mm bars.

    Premier Icon mcnultycop

    Pete – where are you based, got stems from 55mm to 70mm and bars at (I think) 720 or 750 you could try if you are near Oldham? Once you know the size it’s easier to commit to a purchase.

    Premier Icon aidanoggy

    Ive a 740 wide Kore bar and 50mm stem for sale , I’ve just taken off a new bike happy to take £20 plus postage.

    t-p 26

    There`s a video on another website that reckons 10mm off the stem is worth 20mm on the bar width.


    @mcnultycop. Thanks for the offer. but I’m right down in Exmoor, Somerset. Think I’ll try 60 stem and 740 bar to start then cut down if I find that too wide.

    Premier Icon Beagleboy

    I’ve moved from a 90mm stem and 640mm bar on my old Orange Five to a 30mm stem and 770-80mm? Renthal setup on my new Orange Four and I’m absolutely loving the confidence this setup is giving me.

    Still getting used to it mind you. Most rides I’m clipping trees and last weekend I did get a fair old clang out of a metal bollard as I rode across old Stirling bridge….that woke me up!

    Go for it, what’s the worst that can happen?


    p.s. If you’re wondering, my hand’s feeling a whole lot better from that time in August when I completely misjudged the distance between the rocks on one side and the tree on the other as we wheeched down the Lairig Ghru. Hardly hurts at all now! You’ll be fine, trust me! 😈

    I’m pretty happy with my move to 35mm zero rise stem with 747mm bars with 25mm rise (from 80mm 35 degree stem with 720mm(?) bars with zero rise)


    Wide bars are great once you get used to them.
    I’d go 740mm as a minimum with maybe a 50mm stem dependant upon what reach you need to feel comfy.


    My theory is that it depends on the age/geometry of the bike….. my full susser is a 2007 Stumpjumper 120 which I have had from new (of course 26″ flavour). I was on 665mm/90mm for a few years, then I put a 140mm fork on it and a longer shock upping the rear to 136mm travel and went to 680/70mm and all was good. Then I read a forum and decided I ought to try to get on this shorter and wider thing. So I tried 711mm/50mm but it just felt so wrong. I tried rolling the bar forwards and backwards and adjusting the position of the levers and shifters but just couldn’t get on with it. I realise these bar widths are far from wide by todays standards and I am talking about <1″on each side. I have ridden 150mm stems and 520mm bars in the past so maybe I am as wide as I can go and cannot adapt but perhaps a frame design >10 years old isn’t supposed to work like that? Modern geometry and all that….. yawn, sorry.

    It has just hit me, I am going to have to try 711mm/70mm aren’t I?

    Premier Icon mikewsmith

    the one from the Syndicate video seemed to work for most of my riding mates.
    arms out at shoulder level, let your elbows bend 90degrees and hang your hands down, thats where you want your hands on the bars. For me it’s 780/90 ish for ohers it less. Shoulder width is the key thing.

    Premier Icon edhornby

    lovemud were having a sale so I went from pretty much what you have to full 40mm stem and 740mm carbon bars, I was worried it was too much of a jolt but it feels ok (I’m not in the least bit hardcore btw)

    Premier Icon andy4d

    Pete68 I was in a similar situation in the summer. Initially I looked at 720mm bars as I didn’t want too big a jump and felt too wide would look stupid on my XC bike. I got a bargain on a set of 740mm bars and have to say they feel great with the 60mm stem.

    Premier Icon cp

    When you install the wide bars, persevere with them for a while even if they feel weird at first. Also be aware it’s not just width, rise and sweep have a huge impact on the feel/fit of a bar. If, for example, you have narrow shoulders, you might want to look for more sweep. On the other hand, if you have broad shoulders you might want less sweep. Or personal preference could take you either way. You might need to try a couple to see what you like.

    As above, it does depend a bit on the bike. If the top tube is quite short, you don’t want to ruin the handling by adding a much shorter stem. That said, wider bars pitch your weight slightly further forward anyway so to an extent that will offset a change to a shorter stem.

    I suspect that changing from 685mm/80mm to 740/60 will feel similar in terms of length. You could even try 750+/40 without affecting reach too much, if you wanted. 740/60 sounds like a good starting point though.

    Go wide, you can move grips in and out and trim when you’re happy.

    I didn’t do this and went from 685 to 750 in increments, and now have 711 and 730mm bars gathering dust…


    35mm stem and 760 bars on all my bikes. I struggle to navigate trees if I go any wider.

    Over the years I’ve gone from 140/580, 100/610, 90/640, 70/700, 60/750 to the current 40/800. I like the 800 bars but think the stem is a bit short now so planning to go back up to 50mm. There’s no right answer but I’d avoid jumping up too much at once.

    Wide bars are great but whacking a short stem on as well isn’t always the answer. I transferred everything from my slackline to a spesh pitch – including the 750mm bars and 50mm stem. Well the front end just didn’t feel right. Felt like I could go over the bars easily. Put a 75mm stem on and it feels great now.


    I too went in increments and now have spare bars and stems (711mm Easton carbon bar anyone?), so my advice would be go 50mm/740mm, spend lots of money and make yourself like it cos you’ve blown so much cash


    How tall are you / wide shoulders / arm length / where do you ride etc? I’m 6′ 1″ and would happily

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