Wide bars – do they have to be flat ? Talk to me.

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  • Wide bars – do they have to be flat ? Talk to me.
  • stumpy01

    I thought it was all about getting more leverage – there’s plenty of wide bars out there with a decent amount of rise.
    It will bring you slightly more over the front as well, as your arms are spread further apart.

    5cm lower, as you mention above would make a massive difference I would have thought. What riser bar were you comparing the flats against?

    I’ve recently swapped the Specialized bar that came with my bike for a wider one (the original was 660mm & a bit too narrow). I’ve swapped it to a 710mm KCNC, but I can’t decide whether this is too wide or not. Will give it a while, but might cut 10mm off each end to bring it in a bit.

    Premier Icon MSP

    Just by moving your arms apart it lowers you down to the bars, a lot are going for flat bars because a lot of suspension raises the front end, but if you are putting wider bars on a bike you already have set up as you like for body position you will either need a bit more rise, or a shorter stem(or a bit of both).

    Premier Icon mboy

    Wide and low are two very separate things.

    Can still buy ridiculously wide bars with 40mm of rise (or more), and can still buy sub 600mm wide flat bars too.

    Mostly it has been spawned by DH riders realising that with ever increasing fork travel, and fatter and fatter tyres, their bar height was going up and up too. Though some/a lot of it is fashion too.

    If you want wider bars, buy wider bars, if you want lower rise bars, buy lower rise bars. The two are still mutually exclusive in my mind, they can happily go together but there is no need to if you don’t want them to.

    What riser bar were you comparing the flats against?

    easton monkey high rise


    They are all out there in all shapes and sizes, mine are 700 wide with a decent backsweep (9 degree) and about 40mm rise. Rode with them for the first time last night and they feel great!


    Wide, flat bars can be useful for lowering the front end of a long travel bike, 29ers or people who think they’re Gee Atherton.

    Take care not to go so wide that your elbows aren’t bent.

    Premier Icon ahwiles

    i haven’t got a clue, but with my lanky long arms, 685mm bars feel bloody awful.

    my 760’s are flat or flat-ish.


    I’ve gone from 685 to 710 and tbh I really aren’t getting used to them. I thought I would by now. I know its not much of an increase but it doesn’t feel ‘right’ to me.

    I tend to ride technical trails slowly. So balls to the wind wide bars prob aren’t me


    i’ve been using a set of 777mm bars with a 50mm rise for the last 6 months or so. they’re great. i was suffering a bit on really steep DH courses though as i was only using a 150mm fork.

    as stated up there, flat bars came about when fork travel grew longer, but before that risers were all the rage because they gave you an advantage when things got steep.

    really depends on your set-up too, don’t forget that you achieve the same thing as a flat/riser bar by removing/adding headset spacers.


    Tried 720mm with a small rise and a 40mm stem…they felt great but could’nt get em out of the cellar door 😕
    Gone back to 685mm now, still fairly wide and I can get out of the cellar to ride 🙂

    Height of the steerer clamp can change between different brands / styles of stems and different placing of spacers (above or below) will change the “height” of the grips. This height will also alter if there is any change in the angle of the stem.

    Wider bars will effectively spread your arms, pulling forward (for the same length of stem at the same angle) your torso and head. So often wider bars are paired with a shorter stem to offset this effect. Whether or not it makes a difference to you will depend on, err, you 😉

    I wouldn’t say you have to go for flat bars if you’re going wider. The general height of your grips, if already comfy, probably wants to be maintained, just further out horizontally. Personally I prefer low rise bars because they’re more easily versatile for changing grip height with spacers and stems (you can go ultimately lower with them than a “high” rise bar). And someone who ought to know once said everyone should ride lower bars, which seemed to make sense and is a position I prefer.

    Lee McCormack (leelikesbikes.com) has some good articles and diagrams about bar height / stem length / bar width relationships.

    Dur, too slow posting what everyone else already said 😎

    Ok, this whole wide bar thing that people are subscribing to. In order to get the most out of the idea, should they be wide and flat so that you’re lowering your nose over the front or is the advantage purely about them being wider for more leverage ?
    I tried some wide flats and hated them, felt like my nose was under the front wheel. When I measured the set up, the flats were 5cm lower at the bar ends than my previous 685 risers. Obviously the different stem rises was also a factor.
    Would I be gaining anything by going for wide risers like the renthal 20mm flatbars or does this just go against the whole principle of wide bars for gnarrcore, mincelite, xc shredding ?


    easton monkey high rise

    A quick look online & I reckon these are 40mm rise – so a swap to a flat bar would feel quite a lot different.

    The KCNC I just changed to are low rise (15mm), whereas the original Spesh bar is what I would call a ‘normal’ rise of about 25mm. This change was quite significant and I ended up adding a spacer below the stem to compensate as it felt a bit ‘over the front’ at first.

    hora – Member
    I’ve gone from 685 to 710 and tbh I really aren’t getting used to them. I thought I would by now. I know its not much of an increase but it doesn’t feel ‘right’ to me

    This is kinda where I am at the moment, although I’ve only had about 4 rides on the wider bars. I felt that I was a lot more comfortable with them after my last ride, but I can see myself taking a small amount off each end – they just seem a teeny bit too wide – I reckon 10mm off each end and they will be just about right. Should have bought 685 to start with, but I wanted matching bar/stem/seat post.

    Premier Icon Lifer

    Wide, flat bars can be useful for lowering the front end of a long travel bike, 29ers or people who think they’re Gee Atherton.

    Gee don’t use no flat bar!

    I fitted the narrow Easton’s (Havocs?) and instantly felt more comfortable on them. I always hung my hands over the ends of the grips, and never really thought about it, on 685mm bars.

    710 has been a nice improvement just purely by getting a better “fit”. Got some 750’s for the next build / swap out so will be interested to see whether they are “too” wide.

    Moons ago I tried wide OS bars on an old Enduro SX and it felt shocking. Moving weight backwards meant my arms straightened / elbows locked and I felt all over the place (more so than my cackhanded usualyy riding 😉 ) Put me off wide bars for ages. Tried them again and just illustrated there’s a fe things that only need subtle tweaks to get the fit just right. Change one thing at a time in small increments if possible to find what works best for you.

    Premier Icon molgrips

    After 6 months of riding nothing other than my road bike, I went out on Sunday on the Patriot. Felt like hugging a spacehopper – very bizarre.


    A 710mm Funn Fatboy combined with an 80mm stem has transformed my old Specialized Enduro. Gone are the front wheel tucking under moments and occasional clumsy wobbliness, the whole bike feels better connected and controlled. I didn’t get the wide bar, short stem thing before now, but I’m an unashamed convert.

    There is such a thing as too wide though. 760mm bars and tight woodland tracks do not mix.


    The problem with wide bars is that they are so good you will need them on all your bikes. After riding my dh bike with 800’s, getting on my BFe with 680’s felt like riding with a bloody toothpick.

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