Handlebar width and rider height

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  • Handlebar width and rider height
  • alexh
    Member

    Hi,

    I’ve recently moved from a 710mm bar to a 760mm. I’m 5’8″ish and I don’t think I’m getting on with the new bars ( it’s been 3 months now so I’ve given it a good try)

    I’m feeling that I’m too far forward on the bike, and feeling uncertain on turn in.

    I dont think it’s helped that the bike has a pretty short top tube (bronson), the bars are a slightly lower rise too (I’ve put in a spacer which got my bar height back to where it was).

    Anyone else found wider bars being too big for them? It’s a shame as I’ve found the vibrocore within these new bars has really helped with arm pump on longer dh runs (i didn’t expect it would..)

    My gorilla index is pretty average.

    I think I’m going to try running the grips inboard at 710mm and see how I feel.

    mikewsmith
    Member

    I found it has a lot more to do with shoulder width than height.

    Premier Icon cp
    Subscriber

    Bar width is a tricky combo of shoulder width, arm length, bar sweep, bike geometry and what you’re trying to achieve. You could always try a cheap short stem to see if that brings you back a bit.

    trial and error unfortunately is the only way IME. Once you’ve done a fair bit of that you begin to understand what works for you from a comfort/fit and handling point of view… it’s all a compromise.

    qwerty
    Member

    shorten the stem?

    Premier Icon kayak23
    Subscriber

    I’m the same height.
    750mm Eastons on my Mega and 780mm RSP bars on my hardtail.
    Love the width, loads of control.
    I’d suggest some other factor may be causing issues.
    I’ve got 50mm or below stems on both bikes.
    Having said that, some folks just don’t get on with a wider bar.

    Premier Icon bowglie
    Subscriber

    Yes, I’d agree with what has been said by Mike & CP re: shoulder width etc. Unfortunately for the wallet, I think bar width/stem length is a case of trial & error…..or just get some open ended lock on grips and slide them inboard on wide bars until you find your preferred width.

    FWIW, I have a SC Blur TR and Tallboy LT and am at the upper end of the height range for large – so can appreciate what you’re saying about short top tube lengths. I’ve experimented a lot with stems varying from 70,60, 50 down to 35mm and bars from 720mm to 800mm. I’m a fairly slim build and have found that a 70mm zero rise stem and 750mm width bars offer the best combination of handling and comfort for me. Apart from some specific fast downhill sections of trail, I haven’t been able to really get along with 780-800mm width bars, as I felt that they compromised front end grip on more flowy trail centre type trails.

    I recently bought a cheapish Specialized bike that has a longer top tube and low slack geometry, and the first thing I did was whack some 785mm bars and a 50mm stem (‘cos I’m a sucker for fads & fashion!!) but after a few rides, I wasn’t really feeling much front tyre bite and felt a bit too far back when stood on the pedals – so have dropped a 60mm stem on and shoved the lock on grips in to 750mm – and hey presto, more front end grip, comfortable shoulders and still able to get back for very steep tech descents.

    😀 guy i used to ride with jumped on the wide bar band wagon very early maybe ~10 years ago. Unfortunately, being about 5’5″ and somewhat petite, low speed manoeuvres meant he had to all but let go of the outer most grip.

    Much hilarity ensued, for months, until he gave up.

    FWIW, I’ve tried all the way up to 850 ish and settled on about 780 (i think, I’d need a tape measure) i found any wider/shorter stem just upsets the balance of the bike and makes it climb like crap. Doesn’t help that 90% of my riding is footpaths and goat tracks.

    kerley
    Member

    You don’t have to use 760mm bars if you find them not right for you. If 710mm feels good then use 710mm.

    I am still using 600mm as they feel right for me. Any wider and I feel splayed out.

    Jeffus
    Member

    750mm wide for me on both bikes, 55mm stem on the xc bike and 35mm on the 160mm bike.

    alexh
    Member

    I’d not really considered shoulder width. This does make some sense as I do feel like my elbows are hyper extended when I’m just pedalling along on the flat.

    I am running a short stem, or at least I thought I was (pops off to measure Easton haven stem).

    More trial and error then, I’ll go to my local dh trails and run the grips set inboard and see if I find a sweet spot for me. I’m kicking myself really as I was comfy at 710mm and got sucked in.

    Premier Icon panzerjager
    Subscriber

    You could also try rotating the bars back towards you in the stem, then reposition your controls.

    This will give you give you a slightly shorter reach & a little more sweep, which should have the combined effect of making you less stretched out & bring your elbows in a bit. Combine that with bowglie said about the grips & you’ve got quite a bit of adjustment to play with before you settle on more suitable bars.

    Worth trying first, as it’s free!

    alexh
    Member

    Sounds like a plan. Feeling slightly more positive about swinging a leg over the bike again

    zero cool
    Member

    The GF rides 750mm (might be 760mm) bars with a 50mm stem. She’s about 5’6″. I run 780 and am 5’11” but would happily go wider.

    Tom Kp

    Premier Icon bowglie
    Subscriber

    Alex, if you feel the need to go back to 710/720 ish bars and don’t want to cut down your existing, let me know, as I’ve got about 4 or 5 pairs of 710ish bars from my experimenting – very good condition, various rises, mostly Alu but also some RF SixC that are about 715mm, oh, and some Specialized low rise 720’s somewhere. Not looking for mega bucks for any of them – more interested in freeing up some shelf space!

    andyrm
    Member

    5’8″ and 780s on a 35mm stem having stepped up from 750 on a 50. Feels loads more stable, much better control when muscling the bike.

    I’d suggest worth looking at stem length if it feels wrong.

    belugabob
    Member

    As with general bike fit questions, it’s not just about how tall you are, body height and arm length (as well as the above-mentioned shoulder width) also play a part.

    The important thing, however, is what works for YOU – so, other than pointing you in general directions of things to try, the preferences of others is fairly unlikely to coincide with yours.

    For instance, I run my shifters outboard from my brake levers and find it really comfortable – you may not.

    alexh
    Member

    Bars cut to 730mm, slightly rolled back and one spacer removed.

    Happy as a pig in poo. Dh trail times are back to to where they were (in worse conditions)

    Glad to see you’ve experimented and found a good width. Alot people just seem to blindly follow the trends and use bars too wide/low for them

    alexh
    Member

    Not helped that I had an off with broken ribs on side and back (and a couple that pealed off on the front too) in between changing bars.

    One thing strava is good for is tracking my own riding on trails I run regularly.

    I was back to where I was pre bump and bar swap, but importantly I feel comfy and a lot more fluid on the bike.

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Subscriber

    TBF it’s totally a matter of personal taste. There is “better” and “worse” but nothing as important as what you like and how you ride. So don’t look for rules, just fanny about with it.

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