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Riser bars and stem length

SloperSloper Posts: 141
edited September 2009 in MTB beginners
I'm building myself a new bike and intend to try some higher and probably wider bars with a little more back-sweep than the ones on my present bike. I've just bought a nice Thomson 90mm stem through the classifieds on here, which has yet to arrive, but now I've just been reading that shorter stems are usually better with wider/higher 'bars. Doh.

I've never ridden this frame, which is a 17" Kona, but on my 15" Merlin I use a 90mm stem with pretty straight flat bars but my hands hurt after 30 mins riding. I need more sweep-back

I know the answer is to fit some 'bars and 'suck it and see', but what do you think? What length of stems do people generally fit with riser 'bars? Is a 90mm stem possibly too long?


  • supersonicsupersonic Posts: 82,708 Lives Here
    Just have to wait and see. We all use different combos of width, rise, sweepback and stem length. Personal preference.

    But if the bars have sweepback it negates some of the stem length anyway.
  • robertpbrobertpb Posts: 1,866
    Now where is that piece of string so I can measure it.

    You need to measure, without some facts you're flailing around in the dark.

    Measure the cockpit of your Merlin and decide where you need to go, shorter stem, higher bars, wider bars or more sweep.

    Then you'll have a better idea what you need to achieve this on your Kona.

    I usually measure from the back of the saddle to the centre of the bars, some do this from the nose of the saddle.

    Measure the difference from your saddle hight and bar end hight, this gives the relationship where the bar is to the saddle in hight, 20mm above 50mm below.

    Then measure back of saddle to the ends of the bars where you put your mitts.

    Doesn't take a couple of minutes but once you have your set-up it's easy to transfer it from bike to bike.

    Changing the sweep on the bars has less effect than changing the stem.
    Now where's that "Get Out of Crash Free Card"
  • SloperSloper Posts: 141
    "Flailing around in the dark". Yeh, that's exactly how I feel at the moment! :lol:

    I think I will only know for sure that a handlebar feels right is when I've fitted and ridden with it though, and the problem is that a system of trial and error with 'bars could be expensive! Good idea to do some measuring. I will have a bash at that; it should give me some ball-park figures.

    Ta for your thoughts guys 8)
  • rhyko7rhyko7 Posts: 781
    height and width of the bars depends on your size and bike geometry

    personally i find the shorter the stem the better, i really hate long stems, feels like driving a bus, theyre probably better for xc so im led to believe, but my fun is going with gravity, so a short stem with quick responsive steering and a better weight balance is the way forward.

    p.s i doubt the sweep has anything to do with your sore hand, if its your wrist then maybe.
    Dont look at it-ride it! they are tools not f*cking ornaments

    my riding:

    Some of my Rides Data/maps:
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