Handlebar Width

Shaggz

A strong 7
What is the best way to determine proper handlebar width. It's taken a while, but I am finally hitting my comfort zone on the bike. However, it still feels sluggish in the twists and turns. Can I use a standard plumbing tube cutter to trim the ends?
 

ytc100

New Member
smarencik said:
What is the best way to determine proper handlebar width. It's taken a while, but I am finally hitting my comfort zone on the bike. However, it still feels sluggish in the twists and turns. Can I use a standard plumbing tube cutter to trim the ends?

No. Use a hacksaw, the tube cutter can ovalize the bar/seatpost/steerer tube you are cutting.
 

Shaggz

A strong 7
ahhh - you're a real fart smeller, i mean a smart feller! Now, what about determining proper width....?
 

Norm

Mayor McCheese
Team MTBNJ Halter's
In theory, width should be the same as your shoulders:
http://www.bikefitting.com/English/Theory/Comfort.aspx

"The handlebar-width should correspond with the width of the shoulders. Handlebars that are too wide automatically increase the frontal surface area of the cyclist and lead to loss of aerodynamic advantage. An additional drawback is that the cyclist will also show a sagging between the shoulder blades. In the long run, this will lead to complaints of the neck and shoulders. Contrary to common belief, handlebars that are too narrow will not result in loss of oxygen intake; however, narrow handlebars often lead to more nervous steering than wide handlebars and, hence, to loss of comfort. The steering angle should be adjusted in such a manner that the lower arm and hand are positioned in one line, as much as possible. It is clear that a correct aerodynamic position and a comfortable position of the torso do not always go hand in hand. Depending on the discipline the cyclist is engaged in and the speed he develops, he will decide on his position accordingly."

But keep in mind that once you hack, you can never go back. Well, I guess you can on one side :)
 

anrothar

entirely thrilled
i've always used small pipe cutters. both while working in a shop and on my own. it will mushroom the end ever so slightly, but a file takes care of that.

i've heard that alot of pros vary their bar width from course to course. i like a little wider than shoulder width, but that probably comes from riding trials for so long.
 

jdog

Shop: Halter's Cycles
Shop Keep
It's not the length.. it's what you do with it!

smarencik said:
What is the best way to determine proper handlebar width. It's taken a while, but I am finally hitting my comfort zone on the bike. However, it still feels sluggish in the twists and turns. Can I use a standard plumbing tube cutter to trim the ends?

IMHO:

Use the widest bar that fits through the trees on the trails you ride.

I have gone as wide as 27" and as narrow as 22"

Most new (31.8) bars can't be cut less than 24" while still allowing you to run shifters,brakes and a full lenght grip.


Have you tried lowering the front end to increase the weight bias twards the front tire? This may achive the "feel" you are looking for.

If you are cutting bars.. Cut a little,ride and cut more if you have to. It is much harder to make them longer.

J
 

anrothar

entirely thrilled
jdog said:
IMHO:

..... It is much harder to make them longer.

J

though not impossible... old handlebars, the right dowl rod, some epoxy, and you can safely extend bars up to 1.5" on either side. i know a pro trials rider who used to do this because his sponsors bars weren't wide enough for him.
 

Shaggz

A strong 7
jdog said:
Have you tried lowering the front end to increase the weight bias twards the front tire? This may achive the "feel" you are looking for.
/QUOTE]

Do you mean change the stem? I have been playing around with the seat height, and the KOPS method you previously posted and that seems to impact how the front end handles.
 

ytc100

New Member
smarencik said:
jdog said:
Have you tried lowering the front end to increase the weight bias twards the front tire? This may achive the "feel" you are looking for.
/QUOTE]

Do you mean change the stem? I have been playing around with the seat height, and the KOPS method you previously posted and that seems to impact how the front end handles.

I think he means lowering the stem by moving one or more of the spacers above the clamp.
 

mergs

Spokompton's Finest
JORBA.ORG
I second the "slightly wider than the shoulders" sentiment. In fact, I'd go as wide as it comfortable, especially on

1. a SS bike bc you can gain leverage in climbs with slightly wider bars. at least i feel i do anyway.

2. an aggr AM or FR/DH bike for similar reasons to 1, but it also aids in control in sketchy sections at speed.

The downside of course is narrow trees but you can deal with that with a quick side to side move. Just time it right and make sure your pinky is not swingoing out there in the breeze :)

Anything less than shoulder width would feel totally awkward, except perhaps on a road bike... even then I'd still want it shoulder width.

p.s. I saw a couple of XC racers on Sunday with really, really narrow bars... besides looking odd, it looked as if it offered less control.
 
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