Wider Bars: What difference does it make to bike geometry?

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  • Wider Bars: What difference does it make to bike geometry?
  • They slow the steering at your hands and give you more leverage, which means you don’t need as much self-centring from the stem length, so can go for a shorter stem which conveniently sorts out the reach issue.

    Premier Icon iain1775
    Subscriber

    They don’t alter the bike geometry, they alter your geometry

    mjdcc
    Member

    cheers chiefgrooveguru.

    makes me think is there some kind of rule of thumb, say 80mm extra on the bars would equate to 10-20mm shorter stem?

    mjdcc
    Member

    your right, i thought that just after pressing send; should’ve been clearer in specifying rider geometry on the bike?

    Actually I think they do alter the geometry, as the handling of the bike is felt through its interactions with the contact points.

    mjdcc
    Member

    I am in the process of replacing my narrow flat-bars (600mm) with low riser bars (680mm), which got me thinking what difference will this make to my bike’s geometry?

    My guess is I will be more stretched out so am worried about my lower back, or does everyone compensate with shorter stem?

    Anyone got any experience of this or advice beyond mtfu?

    dannyh
    Member

    Every time I’ve widened bars, it has improved the handling of the bike. I’m quite broad shouldered, so a 680 bar still felt a bit narrow. I’m now running 747mm bars, and these are perfect. If you’ve been riding long enough, you should have some feel for where your hands are, so I don’t find them awkward in trees.

    It also opens your stance out a bit, and makes you ‘feel’ attacking IMO. Apart from this, it lengthens the reach a little bit, but not noticeably.

    I’ve found that since running the wider bars, I am pulling the bike up harder out of corners and generally just chucking it around a bit more. It’s probably more of an attitude shift than a geometry change.

    If you do end up with bars that are too wide, you can always break out the hacksaw.

    mjdcc
    Member

    thanks Dannyh, will report back on handling impact but anything that gives greater confidence to throw the bike around has to be a good thing!

    Premier Icon mattjg
    Subscriber

    makes me think is there some kind of rule of thumb, say 80mm extra on the bars would equate to 10-20mm shorter stem?

    no rule that I know of but I would think 80mm wider would be comfy with 20mm less stem

    “it all depends”

    go wide, proper wide, cut down if not happy but you probably won’t.

    Premier Icon JoeG
    Subscriber

    680 mm is not wide, at least not by today’s standards.

    About 5 years ago, I ordered a 27.5 inch (700 mm) wide bar through a LBS. When it arrived and I went to pick it up, they were darn near pissing themselves laughing at how ridiculously wide it was. Oh how things change…

    Now I’m at 760 mm with a 60 mm stem, and really like it. I was using 670 mm bars and a 90 mm stem.

    Premier Icon mikewsmith
    Subscriber

    Simple advice, only change 1 thing at once.
    Fit new bars.
    Ride bike.
    Evaluate where you are and decide if you want to change anything, your current set up might not be optimal.
    If you do want to play with stems then use old ones/borrow some. It would be good if LBS’s had a loner stem box for trying stuff out with.

    toys19
    Member

    Mike, whilst the sentiment is good I would be worried in this case that if someone had a 90mm stem and 680 bars and went to 740mm bars without changing the stem for something shorter, then they would likely conclude that wide bars are rubbish.

    Premier Icon mikewsmith
    Subscriber

    toys19 – Member
    Mike, whilst the sentiment is good I would be worried in this case that if someone had a 90mm stem and 680 bars and went to 740mm bars without changing the stem for something shorter, then they would likely conclude that wide bars are rubbish.

    You could but the key part was to evaluate, I went from 685 to 760 on the same stem, the difference was great – 70mm stem on that bike for reach reasons, any shorter and my knees used to take out the shifters 🙂

    hora
    Member

    How broad is broad? Is there…an equation? 🙂

    Premier Icon paladin
    Subscriber

    Broadness is proportional to closeness to norfolk

    joshvegas
    Member

    I always go with

    Different landmass + different language = ‘broad

    mjdcc
    Member

    Thanks for all the advice. Think I might stick with change one thing for now, ride it then see if stem needs changing bearing in mind people’s thoughts. cheers!

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