What difference does backsweep make?

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  • What difference does backsweep make?
  • Premier Icon chrispo
    Subscriber

    Looking at getting some wide flat bars (750mm-ish) for my singlespeed for XC use but not sure how much backsweep I should go for. Yes I know I should try different bars and see, but my LBS hasn’t got any wide bars at all.

    What are the advantages of lots of backsweep? Doesn’t it make your wrists twist outwards? How does it affect climbing and descending? Or is the difference negligible? Any experience/views appreciated.

    Premier Icon wwaswas
    Subscriber

    If you lay your arm on your desk and look at how your hand naturally falls you’ll see that it will tend to not be at 90 degrees to your forearm. Most bars with backsweep are just trying to put your hand in that natural position when riding.

    I have one bike with 10 degree backsweep richey bars and they’re fine but I wouldn;t rush out and replace all my others with them.

    Premier Icon composite
    Subscriber

    I had always used roughly 690mm bars with a 10degree back sweep and found that OK.

    When I then moved to using 745mm bars with 10degree back sweep I started developing pain in my wrists over a 6 month period. I tried to go back but from then on I still had pain even with the old bars.

    I then tried some Mary Bars 680mm-ish, 40 degree back sweep. Although this solved my wrist problem, I felt that the back sweep was too much and I found them very twitchy off road.

    So then I tried the Salsa Bend 2 bars 710mm with 23deegree back sweep and at last found what I was looking for. Wide enough to get a good feeling of leverage but with enough back sweep for my wrists.

    brakes
    Member

    it’s not really the angle of your wrist… put a pen or something in a clenched fist and hold it out in front of you, a similar distance to the side to where your shoulder is (or further, depending on how wide your bars are). make a judgement about sweep based on the angle of the pen.

    NB: I’m not a doctor.

    deserter
    Member

    Great question, I don’t know the answer unfortunately, but I borrowed a bike with ‘H’ type bars the other day and although it felt perfect for climbing on a long descent my wrists were ruined

    Premier Icon chrispo
    Subscriber

    Thanks. I did the pen thing but it depends how straight my arms are. It strikes me that 20 degrees of backsweep would be a nightmare for the wrists with elbows out for descending???
    The bars I’m looking at seem to be between 5 and 12 degrees, which is far less extreme.

    Premier Icon JoeG
    Subscriber

    Just keep in mind that more sweep can shorten the reach. To keep the reach the same, you’d need a longer stem. That’s why some of the more swept back bars (such as the Ritchey 10 degree one mentioned above) are M-shaped, so that a longer stem is not needed.

    Premier Icon ratherbeintobago
    Subscriber

    Just keep in mind that more sweep can shorten the reach.

    Has anyone got any idea of by how much eg. the difference between a 710mm 5° bar and an 11° one?

    DanW
    Member

    Do the trig is the smart ass answer 😀

    Truthfully though it is a touch hard to calculate as different bars start their sweep at different points across the bar (i.e. different legths that are straight at the centre before the sweep starts).

    The sweep will feel the same between different bars of the same sweep as the angle is the same by the time it gets to your hands but the amount of reach that get shortened will vary between bars of the same sweep (if the sweep starts in different places)… if that makes sense???

    Premier Icon composite
    Subscriber

    Has anyone got any idea of by how much eg. the difference between a 710mm 5° bar and an 11° one?

    Many large sweep bars actually sweep forwards first to compensate so the reach isn’t effected.

    Premier Icon ratherbeintobago
    Subscriber

    Do the trig is the smart ass answer

    Thanks 😛 I thought someone might have bars they could measure and save me the effort.

    Many large sweep bars actually sweep forwards first to compensate so the reach isn’t effected

    Ok, to try a specific example, anyone know the difference in reach between the two models of Salsa Promoto flats or at least how wide the straight section is so I can have a stab at working it out?

    Van Halen
    Member

    Sunline bars at 720 and nukeproof warhead 760s.

    I can use a 90mm stem with the sunlines and a 60mm with the warheads and my hands were pretty much in the same spot in reach when I put one on top of the other. I was quite suprised. The sunlines were fairly upright but not rolled back otherwise they drop and it feels horrid. Actually I hate the sunlines in any position.

    Premier Icon ratherbeintobago
    Subscriber

    The sweep will feel the same between different bars of the same sweep as the angle is the same by the time it gets to your hands but the amount of reach that get shortened will vary between bars of the same sweep (if the sweep starts in different places)… if that makes sense???

    Yep, have done some back-of-an-envelope numbers, and a 720mm Easton 9° bar and a 710mm Thomson 12° bar have much the same reach as the Thomson has a wider straight section.

    What would be ‘interesting’ (only because I’m planning a new bike in the new year) would be what the effective reach of things like a Salsa Bend 17° are.

    thomthumb
    Member

    I run salsa 17 deg 710 bars. Great on the single speed- I find I point them down a bit- like a jones bar. The sweep adds on ~15 mm. I have used 10 & 20 mm longer stems than with straight bars. Seems about right…

    Premier Icon ratherbeintobago
    Subscriber

    The sweep adds on ~15 mm.

    I assume you mean Pro Moto flats? How wide is the straight centre section?

    The only bars I can find measurements for are the Thomson Ti flats; If the maths are anything like right, the difference between 6° and 12° is about 20mm.

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