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Handlebar width

gumpsgumps Posts: 8
edited June 2009 in MTB beginners
Is there a formula for the correct width?

I've ridden road bikes for years and my bars are 42cm. Having just got a MTB, the bars are 68cam and seem really wide - is there a reason why they are so different?

I've been holding the brake hood and not the bars a lot as it seems so wide.


  • .blitz.blitz Posts: 6,197
    There are still some XC/marathon bikes that have 580-620 mm flat bars but the majority of MTB trail bikes have riser bars of 680 mm and wider. Leverage and versatility are the main requirements and although a wide bar can feel clumsy at first, it gives a lot of control on technical terrain.

    Obv the width of a bar is all down to personal preference but my own bike came with a 680 mm bar and I found myself riding with my hands right at the ends a lot of the time. A 710 mm bar feels much better.
  • joshtpjoshtp Posts: 3,966
    extra width ads better control, and once you get used to it, better comfort, the extra levarage really does add control and stability in technical stuff!
    I like bikes and stuff
  • Daz555Daz555 Posts: 3,976
    gumps wrote:
    is there a reason why they are so different?.
    Stability. You would never be able to hold your line with the minimal leverage you would get with narrow road bars. Narrow bars are ok on smooth roads but off-road there is so much terrain trying to flick your front wheel about, you need the leverage of longer bars.

    Too long of course can feel clumsy and is also a pain through some tree sections.
    You only need two tools: WD40 and Duck Tape.
    If it doesn't move and should, use the WD40.
    If it shouldn't move and does, use the tape.
  • llamafarmerllamafarmer Posts: 1,893
    It took me a ride or two to get used to the wider bars on my Anthem, but they're definitely better. Not so great through trees, but so much more control!
  • Daz555Daz555 Posts: 3,976
    It is of course easy to start out wide and then get the hacksaw out to trim a bit at a time until you are happy.
    You only need two tools: WD40 and Duck Tape.
    If it doesn't move and should, use the WD40.
    If it shouldn't move and does, use the tape.
  • ride_wheneverride_whenever Posts: 13,279
    Persevere (sp) with the wider bars, much much nicer for climbing and rough terrain.
  • gumpsgumps Posts: 8
    Thanks for the feedback. I'll leave it as it is for a bit and see how I get one. I may chop a couple of cm in the future....
  • dave_hilldave_hill Posts: 3,877
    Best uprgade I ever made to my Giant was to go from 660mm wide to 710mm wide in one jump. Absolutely transformed the ride, way more control and more comfortable.
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  • supersonicsupersonic Posts: 82,708 Lives Here
    It is all personal preference. We all have different width shoulders and priorites. I can't stand any above about 670mm and prefer about 640mm.
  • robertpbrobertpb Posts: 1,866
    For twenty odd years I rode with a bar width of around 650mm, when I bought my first full susser a year ago I cut the bars to 670mm.

    A few months ago I put some NS proof bars on and cut them to 690mm and feel pretty happy with them.
    Now where's that "Get Out of Crash Free Card"
  • I can't remember how wide mine are off hand, but I know they are way wider than my last ones and as soon as I put them on, they felt so much better!
  • supersonicsupersonic Posts: 82,708 Lives Here
    I just measured the ones on my zaskar - 700mm! Thought it felt a bit weird! Hacksaw out tomorrow, inch of either end.
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