In the past years the Mountain bike industries have been growing in high speed and seeking for new products while developing the existent ones to an extreme.
In the earlier days of the Allmountain/enduro, the commonly used handlebars started at 660 mm (right from the cross country world) but quickly evolved to the dimensions of Freeride and Downhill 700/720 mm. Right now there’s not really any limit. There are rumors of 1 meter wide handlebar, it’s insane.
The Handlebars are growing like Flowers, just put some water and grows 1 cm per day. The handlebars are evolving as the riders demand for technical and high speed trails.
Riding these specific trails that combine technique and speed there is a need for comfort, stability and maneuverability. The cockpit is now more direct with short stem and wide bars but there is a limit and the riders have to get more or less the correct setup to ride with pleasure and take the maximum fun on the trail.
Normal ride / Roll and normal climb / Sharp climb
Setting the tilt angle of the bar: If you pay some attention, you can see that the bar has some degrees marked. If you tilt forward you gain more of an aggressive position, be careful to not set it to much forward because it will result shifting your weight center of gravity to the front. If you set it the other way, you’ll have a more relaxed and stable ride. Once again do not tilt it too much, you are not “The Easy Rider”.
Bar positioning depends how the rider likes to ride and the type of terrain that normally rides in. Try out for a few rides/runs to get a comfortable position.
So, how does a wider handlebar affect your skills?
- Control and precision
- High speed stability
- Less arms and hands fatigue
- Narrow passages
- Uncomfortable on uphill and rolling
- Slower steering
- Always buy a brand with lab tests proven hardware, because it’s one of the most important components on the bike, regarding your safety.
- The perfect size doesn’t exist, just common sense and trial and error. You have to get the correct and comfortable position. Do not align your hands with your shoulders and don’t set the handlebars to far from them either. You should be in the position that you can apply the most strength, like in push-ups.
- To get, more or less the correct size of your handlebar, there is one home made formula: First: Measure shoulder to shoulder; Second: add to the value 15 cm on each side, for example: I have 54/55 cm between shoulders, plus the 15 cm each side. The result is 74/75 cm bar. Once again, it´s not a correct formula.
- If you are coming from a short handlebar (cross country) and usually put the hands on the edge or a bit off, don´t make the same with a wider handlebar. It´s normal to make this mistake. The hands have to be 100% center on the grips. In this position you have more strength. Set the brake levers and shift triggers more inside to force you to put your hands into the correct position.
- Final Tip (most important): Buy a wider Handlebar and then try for a few rides/runs. Be patient and don´t rush and cut. Try out for a few days. If you are not comfortable, cut the first mark each side (All the news handlebars have correct marks to cut) . Then proceed with the same test to get the perfect size.