How wide do you ride mountain bike handle bars?

Forums Mountain Bike Forum How wide do you ride mountain bike handle bars?

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This topic contains 28 replies, has 24 voices, and was last updated by  G.W. 1 year, 1 month ago.

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  • #205281

    How wide are your handle bars? It seems to be another fad but But I do see merit in it too. I do like them but up to a point.

    I built a bike large frame Pivot Mach (most of my bikes are medium old school long top tube – new school short and squat hence wide) and put as short a stem on it as possible. Ride nice imho.

    The widest bars I have are 780mm. Stopped there for several reasons:

    1. Trouble getting through trees
    2. Fitting the bikes in the car
    3. Fitting bike in a bike rack (good thing we have dropper seats posts!)

    I remember a review years back on a specilized fsr “bars are a bit wide”

    The Canyon Dude came with 800mm. A bit ????. Swapped to 720mm for my wife to ride.

  • #205306

    For me, anything between 760 and 780mm feels perfect. Currently running 780mm with a 50mm stem. I’m 5’8″ and ride medium bikes. My current bike has a 423mm reach and feels great. Would like to experiment with a longer reach on next bike. I have a hard time believing wider bars in mountain biking is a fad, however. I mean, after riding wide, can you imagine going sub-700mm?! As you mentioned, wider is not always better and much of if depends on factors you mention like transport, terrain, but also body habitus, and riding style (XC vs DH). That’s funny you read someone say “bars are a bit wide”. Seems these days we hear reviews complain about the opposite problem, and fortunately, that is changing. Cheers!

  • #205314

    I¬†was just complaining about wide bars just last night. ūüôā

    Currently testing a Niner Jet 9 with 780mm bars. Like irudkin said, it’s a hassle getting the bike into my shed and riding narrow trails at night (which is a big part of what I do) is not easy. The Jet 9 is really a light-duty trail bike,¬†and for its intended use, I personally¬†don’t understand why the bars need to be so wide (bar width inflation?).¬†I actually enjoy climbing on my mountain bike and wide bars don’t¬†really seem to help me in this area.

    For me, 740mm is probably¬†wide enough. But I guess you’re right Chris,¬†just a few years¬†I would have been running sub-700mm and now, I can’t imagine going so narrow.

  • #205330

    I like to run my bars as wide as possible. Like Jeff, the biggest limitation for me here is fitting through tight trails. My hard tail has 777mm bars and I have to do some creative shimmying to get through some areas. My full suspension has 760mm on it cause I don’t want to clip a tree at high speeds.

  • #205331

    I find anything wider than 760mm to be too wide f0r my shoulders with today’s long top tubes. I’m not a tall guy, so my arms are only so long. I think shoulder width and arm length as they relate to top tube length and bar width needs to be the primary consideration.

    If your concern is squeezing¬†between trees, there’s always a narrower tree gap to be found ūüôā

  • #205337

    I ride singletrack exclusively and wide bars are a liability in tight trails. I see no benefit to using them. Seems like a fad to me.

  • #205338

    I had a pair of 780mm on my bike when I was riding in AZ and UT, but I ended up cutting them down to about 740mm when I came out to texas because the trails are a little more crowded out here with the dense vegetation.

  • #205385

    A simple test is to see what hand position feels best for you is to do a Push Up or Push Up Plank (basically a plank with your arms locked out and driving your palms into the ground). Try moving your hands in and out until you find the ‚Äúsweet spot”. ¬†Measure from the outside of one hand to the outside of the other hand to get your ideal handlebar width.

  • #205399

    800’s. Love them. I’m 5’9″ and ride a medium bike¬†590mm top tube and a 50mm stem. I ride tons of tight trails and no problem getting around trees. The 800’s are the most comfortable bars I’ve ever ridden and provide me with tons of control as well as perfect hand, arm and body position. My riding has improved immensely as I am cornering, manualing, riding wheelies and jumping far better and with more control than ever before. I suppose I could run down to 780’s, but any smaller feels weird, dare I say twitchy to me now.

  • #205517

    My bike came stock with 60mm stem and 760 bars. But i think i can go even wider so may get 780 and cut it down a bit if necessary…

  • #206356

    Bought a bike with 730 mm flat bar. I saw all the rage about wider bars and wanted to test them myself. ¬† Ended buying 785 mm low rider bar, and cut it down to 760 mm, and my comfort level ¬†and bike control has gone up. ¬†I’m 5’8″. ¬† For me it was about comfort. ¬† Nothing else.

  • #206365

    I’m about 6′ and am riding a large 2012 Ibis Mojo HD with 780mm bars. The Mojo has pretty short reach and virtual TT measurements . ¬†The wider bars really help compensate for the shorter horizontal fit. ¬†Plus, riding mostly in Mongolia and Colorado, most of trails have big, long descents. ¬†The wide bars really help stabilize the high speed descents. ¬†Every once in a while, I will swap bikes with friends on rides. ¬†Inevitable, their bars are narrower, and I from those experiences narrower in not better. ¬†In fact it can be downright scary at truly high speeds.

  • #206515

    I’m 6′ and have 800mm on my bike. ¬†Its slightly big and 780 or 785 would probably be better, but I’m lazy and haven’t cut it down.

  • #206584

    Spank Spike Bearclaw 777 mm it’s perfect for me. ¬†I had an 800 before it was too wide, always hitting trees lol

  • #230780

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/nok73ttatyu1i7v/Adjustable_Bar_Width.jpg?dl=0

    Would y’all try something like this for better control downhill?

    • #230782

      Interesting concept @Dennis J Chatham. This could be a solution for people who like to change up their grips (say ergo grips for long rides, round grips for other rides.)

      Moving the controls around could be a bit of a hassle. Would they go on the outer sliding piece, or on the main bar? I guess to ensure you have the right outer diameter for brake and shifter clamps, it would need to be the sliding piece since that’s where the grips go.

  • #230781

    I ride 760 max and I am tall with long arms, I have never liked longer bars for some reason.¬† Maybe it’s the broken fingers and bloody knuckles!¬† Plus I am on the¬†wrong side of 55 and like having the shorter bars for climbing.

  • #230793

    I used to not get the whole “wider is better” thing, but I recently moved from a Trek Superfly with 690mm bars to an Orange Crush with 760mm bars and I get it now. For the trails in my area I don’t think I would want to go wider than around 770 though, unless it was for a dh bike.

    I’m somewhat tall with very broad shoulders so having my arms spread apart feels more comfortable. I also used to have some weird chest pain when I rode and it stopped when I got a bike with wider bars. I don’t know if it helped open up my chest or if it was just that I’m riding more, but I feel much better when I ride.

  • #230816

    My current trail bike has 680mm riser bars, I switched from 720mm flat bars. I really don’t care for real wide bars, but I did ride a Salsa with 760mm bars I liked. I think it was because it had more of a back sweep than most bars. The new enduro bike I just ordered is coming with 780mm riser bars, not sure yet if I will cut them down or not. When I rode motocross most bars were 800mm and they usually seemed a little wide to me, but with the extra weight on a motorcycle the leverage extremely useful.

  • #230860

    I ride anywhere from 760 to 800 on my bikes (the downhill bike with the 800). It opens up the cockpit and gives you more leverage which equals more control. Especially on a longer travel slack angle bike, you don’t get the flopping. Even my bmx bars are around 780 these days.

  • #230880

    I feel good on 750mm bars. That said, I haven’t had much experience with anything bigger than that. Here in Milwaukee, tight trees are obstacles used to spice up the trails. There are a lot¬†of tight spaces and most of my crashes can be attributed to them. Since I’ve already broken a little finger and a ring finger, for the foreseeable future I don’t think I’ll be going much past 750mm.

  • #230881

    I got used to the 760mm on my fat bike and added the same width to my scalpel.

    Yes ,there were¬† bruised pinky knuckles from hitting trees , i’ve since started approaching passing between 2 close trees from a slight angle and hook one side through first .

    Now if only the space between posts at trail entrances were just a bit wider ……..

  • #230896

    On my dirtbikes for woods riding, I always had these on. http://www.gasgas.co.za/raceparts/ee_handguards_large.jpg    I wonder if anyone has considered a lighter weight version of these for mountain bikes?

    • #231389

      @AlvinMullen: “On my dirtbikes for woods riding, I always had these on.¬†http://www.gasgas.co.za/raceparts/ee_handguards_large.jpg¬†¬†¬† I wonder if anyone has considered a lighter weight version of these for mountain bikes?”

      Sam Hill and a few other EWS riders had them all season…

    • #231424

      I’ve seen those kind, I meant the braced protectors (and I don’t really care about the plastic part, just the braced bar end), like this, but I only find them in sizes that fit motorcycle bars.¬†

  • #230932

    Bike started with 780’s, cut down to 760 before leaving bike shop, cut another cm off each side after a week, so down to around 740.¬† I’m 5’10” w medium bike.¬† I get the wider bars on a 29er for more leverage over the gyroscopic effect of the larger wheels, but hey–whatever is comfortable for you works…just remember, measure twice, cut once.¬† Enjoy!

  • #231146

    Ran 735mm bars on hardtail and previous trail bike, but have 800mm bars on my new bike and surprisingly love the extra width. A little better control, but also more comfort in the position in my case. 5’11” 40mm stem . Not really a problem for New Mexico trails, but I remember riding Bend Oregon years ago and several trails had lots of narrow spots through trees.

  • #231450

    @AlvinMullen: I think that would be a great idea. I have my doubts that they would see wide acceptance though due to added weight and maybe more importantly vanity.

  • #232988

    My bars are 690.¬† They seem to work fine, they came with the bike and I haven’t seen any reason to go wider.

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