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  1. #1
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    Mtn bike hand positions

    Is there anyway to have multiple hand positions on my handlebars on my mtn bike? This is the only thing I don't like about mtn bikes. Just one position for your hands and I get tired

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    I couldn't car less. jeff williams's Avatar
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    Bar ends.

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    What are bar ends

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    I couldn't car less. jeff williams's Avatar
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    As above: bar ends (repeat: bar ends!). They make an amazing difference; properly set up, you can in effect mimic the 'hoods' position of a drop-bar bike. They are a little out of favour with 'trail riders' right now; the trend is/has been to put riser bars on all mtbs, and bar ends do look a little odd on these (though, who cares if it works?). My suggestion (stolen from L. Zinn): switch your bars to flats; use stem rise to get the bar height where you want/need it; set bar reach (stem extension) so that your reach to the grips is roughly = to where you'd have the 'tops' on a road bike, thus setting the 'bar end' position where the 'hoods' would be. This will give you a nice, semi-upright 'controls/traffic' position while allowing you to stretch out/down a little on the ends (this varies your body position [good thing]; makes you a little more aero when you want [good thing]; varied hand/wrist/elbow angles [good thing]; and allows your legs to generate more power). Note: flip through mtb mags -- many (not all, but many) of the top xcountry racers still use exactly this set up -- its been around for ages, and (in my experience, anyway) works really well for those of us who use a mtb as an all around commuting/xcountry/road-going bike.

  6. #6
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    Several ideas in no particular order...

    1. Bar ends. There are are a lot of different kinds. Check them out to find ones compatible with your ergonomics and style of riding.
    2. On One Mary bars. i use these on one of my mtb's. They have more angle which helps relieve my wrist pain and also a bend that I can use for another grip position.
    3. Jones H-Bar. I haven't tried these though I would like to. They have a 45 deg angle along with multiple grip positions. Pricy though some people think they're great.
    4. Check into another type of bar with more sweep, width or rise to give you more comfort.
    5. Most importantly, maintain proper bike fit and postion if you do try changes in your cockpit.

    Good luck

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    Bar ends are a good and relatively cheap fix--they give you at least one more position, though I have them on my Cannondale and rarely use them. For more money, you might consider something like mustache bars (http://www.cyclofiend.com/cc/images/cc033-2DSC00099.jpg). I have those on my singlespeed, and they give you a couple of choices, too. For long rides, though, I missed a position equivalent to riding on the tops of drop bars. Or you could switch to drop bars. You don't see them much on MBs anymore, but there was a lively controversy several years ago over whether they were really better than flats for offroad riding. They'd probably require a new stem, levers and shifters, though.

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    I like mustache bars, but can you get any that will fit a modern mountain bike?
    Dead last finish is better than did not finish and infinitely better than did not start.

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    Humvee of bikes =Worksman Nightshade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by babysaph
    Is there anyway to have multiple hand positions on my handlebars on my mtn bike? This is the only thing I don't like about mtn bikes. Just one position for your hands and I get tired
    To me MTB bars are THE worst bars on a bike for causal riding. To much weight is
    forced onto you hands /wrist which for the older set just bites.

    So my advice is don't mess around trying to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear......
    CHANGE THE BARS TO THOSE THAT FIT YOU BEST. It ain't that much money and
    you'll be much more likely to keep riding.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tightwad
    To me MTB bars are THE worst bars on a bike for causal riding. To much weight is
    forced onto you hands /wrist which for the older set just bites.

    So my advice is don't mess around trying to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear......
    CHANGE THE BARS TO THOSE THAT FIT YOU BEST. It ain't that much money and
    you'll be much more likely to keep riding.

    Agree there but there are such a variety of bars available for MTB's that you can make any set of arms, hands and body comfortable. First of all you have width. Never believed it but a wider bar will give you more control of the steering. I have 27" riser bars on mine and that is another point- not all bars are flat, and 27" is wide. Then there is the stem. I use a 100mm stem with 5 deg rise------or fall. For control offroad I have it as rise, but for fast road rides I reverse the stem to make the bars lower and better aerodynamics on the road. Then there are the bar ends and I only use short stubbys at 3" length. one of my mates has them 6" long and with an extra hand position that is parrallel to the Bars but at that 6" extension.

    Then there is the bike that I ride all the time. Never vary the position of the bars or saddle or hands- because after 5 years- I know how I like it set up. Took a variety of bars, bar ends and stems to sort it, but these were available from my stock of discarded parts from previous bikes.
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    OM boy cyclezen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeff williams
    this things have HUGELY improved my enjoyment of riding my MTB. I gave that same endorsement in another thread here, just a day ago.

    But I have a question for riders who have tried different 'styles' of barends.
    Anyone find any of the 'shapes' shown, in the URL above, to be 'better' than some stubby straight ones?
    I'm thinkin that the ones with little 'angle' might be a further improvement, and I've got no problem tryin a few, but goin thru a dozen styles is a bit much. Help me whittle it down, pls.

    Also found that cutting some lengths of old Grab-on Foam to fit the stubbies, made them really COMFY!!!!

  12. #12
    jcm
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    Quote Originally Posted by babysaph
    Is there anyway to have multiple hand positions on my handlebars on my mtn bike? This is the only thing I don't like about mtn bikes. Just one position for your hands and I get tired
    Perhaps I'm reading into your question too much, but, are you primarily on-road? If so, I would suggest North Road bars. I've had them on my MB for months and they have virtually saved this activity for me because of arthritis and carpal tunnel. I went from straight bars to risers, then back to straight w/ ends, then to risers with some sweep back. Finally, I took another look at my 3-speed and thought how supremely comfortable it is. I ended up at my LBS and switched everything over to the NR's. From the moment I left the store I knew this was it. I now have a set on my Trek 520 with Avid 7 levers.

    Consider: Drop your hands to your sides and relax. They will be angled - not straight-out sideways or forward, right? Raise your arms to level. The angle of your wrists won't change. Why force them to do so on a bike?

    North Road bars will place your hands in the classic 10 & 2 position and are a powerful steering platform when standing into a hill (with grips within 10-15 degrees of level). And, my stall speed control is at least as good as with straight bars.

    With genuine respect to the many, many happy drop users, I hear alot of discussion about the different hand positions available with this type. My experience is that I don't get 'restless hands' with NR's and don't feel the need to move around. They are perfect for my day trips of 60-70 miles. I ride up to 150 miles/week. A couple of my clubbies are becoming believers. These are touring guys.

    Aero? Well, I give something up in a headwind, but not that much. Certainly not when compared to what I gain.

    Good ideas have a way of coming 'round again. Look how many comfort bikes are sold. They are the modern version of the once ubiquitous 3-speed. A mountain bike is basically a comfort bike on steriods. So get comfortable.

    EDIT: North Road bars are not similar to Cruiser types.
    Last edited by jcm; 03-05-06 at 12:26 AM. Reason: Addendum

  13. #13
    I couldn't car less. jeff williams's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jcm
    A mountain bike is basically a comfort bike on steriods. So get comfortable.
    Maybe Jos Breeze bikes in the 80's were modeled after cruisers.
    Ritchey went after road diamond design. Mountain bikes are comfortable bikes well set up.
    Risers ..or having your hands higher than your saddle lessens stress and makes it easir to have leverage over the front wheel.

    Mountain bikes do have factors that make them smooth offroad, but something like a rear shock is not just there to save your bum from hits -it's a design that keeps the drive wheel more engaged with the trial.
    Front suspension saves the wrists and arms from stress of severe vibration. (after a while you can't even grab a lever! if the vibration is too extreme.)
    I can set up my bike for comfort, or I can set it up for speed. Speed means losing the risers and a little comfort.

    A comfort bike would have too long a wheelbase to ever go trail riding.
    But making your trail rider comfortable so you can ride it long distance is a good idea.

    I ride my mtb 60% on the road so it's an uncomfortable speed\areo position bike. It is comfortable to me as the parts\ergonomics are specific for my body.

    I find some of this thread off as a handlebar unless wide\narrow makes little difference.
    Flats or risers -well a different stem angle and it's the same bar unless the sweeps changed?

    Drops or bull horns -as a mtb'r I'd have to say it would take a special rider to be able to provide controll and leverage over the front wheel safely. not that it cannot be done.

    The points about wrist position are valid, also -many people are not so good at matching a frame or components or the body geometry positioning on a bike to correct weight pressure issues.
    I've gone though 3 sets of bars\ 3 stems to get ot right. My bars 'float' in my hands.
    Rather than risers, I just cup the bar ends on flat road areas to give my wrists a break. Ha.

    I can't explain the 'reasons' behind risers on ATB very well, it's more than cosmetic.

    "comfort bike on steroids"..hehe. http://www.nicolai.net/ Nucleon series frames.

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    Senior Member Deanster04's Avatar
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    Bar ends are perfect solution. I have been riding a MTB since 1980 and put on bar ends when they first came out to alliviate the same problem you are having. There are some Cane Creek ergo bar ends that are fantastic. I have them on my newest MTB.
    I recently went to an experimental setup on one of my roadbikes where I am using a flat bar, Cane Creek bar ends, and a couple of Performance carbon bar ends on the inside with 10spd bar end shifters. I have set this up for my really long distance bike (> 80 miles) because at 63 I need to keep the old elbows, wrists, and hands healthy and pain free. I climb quite well with this setup on and off the saddle. I call it my Faux TT bike cause it sorta looks like one. No one yet has called me on it. Funny...

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    jcm
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeff williams
    Maybe Jos Breeze bikes in the 80's were modeled after cruisers.
    Ritchey went after road diamond design. Mountain bikes are comfortable bikes well set up.
    Risers ..or having your hands higher than your saddle lessens stress and makes it easir to have leverage over the front wheel.

    Mountain bikes do have factors that make them smooth offroad, but something like a rear shock is not just there to save your bum from hits -it's a design that keeps the drive wheel more engaged with the trial.
    Front suspension saves the wrists and arms from stress of severe vibration. (after a while you can't even grab a lever! if the vibration is too extreme.)
    I can set up my bike for comfort, or I can set it up for speed. Speed means losing the risers and a little comfort.

    A comfort bike would have too long a wheelbase to ever go trail riding.
    But making your trail rider comfortable so you can ride it long distance is a good idea.

    I ride my mtb 60% on the road so it's an uncomfortable speed\areo position bike. It is comfortable to me as the parts\ergonomics are specific for my body.

    I find some of this thread off as a handlebar unless wide\narrow makes little difference.
    Flats or risers -well a different stem angle and it's the same bar unless the sweeps changed?

    Drops or bull horns -as a mtb'r I'd have to say it would take a special rider to be able to provide controll and leverage over the front wheel safely. not that it cannot be done.

    The points about wrist position are valid, also -many people are not so good at matching a frame or components or the body geometry positioning on a bike to correct weight pressure issues.
    I've gone though 3 sets of bars\ 3 stems to get ot right. My bars 'float' in my hands.
    Rather than risers, I just cup the bar ends on flat road areas to give my wrists a break. Ha.

    I can't explain the 'reasons' behind risers on ATB very well, it's more than cosmetic.

    "comfort bike on steroids"..hehe. http://www.nicolai.net/ Nucleon series frames.
    Interesting response. While I'm not a MB'r, I do think MB's are probably the most evolved bikes there are. Apologies to Roadies, those are also very cool machines.

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    Can you get them to fit over the handle bars instead of inside the ends? My ends are covered with the grips I shift with.

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    You could use this bar.

    http://www.nashbar.com/profile_morei...ku=9756&brand=
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    jcm
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    This is what I was talking about. Trek 830 MB with North Road bars. Be assured, no wuss-factor here.

  19. #19
    Berry Pie..the Holy Grail GrannyGear's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blackberry
    I like mustache bars, but can you get any that will fit a modern mountain bike?
    Yes....sorta. I have a pair of moustache bars with diameter for mtn. bike stems from Rivendell...but they're no longer made. Riv does have 2 moustache-like bars (the "Dove" and "Albatross") that suit mtn stems and accept mtn. shifters, grips, brake levers. Good for street cruising, light trail riding and they'll allow "upright" position riding.

    Go to http://www.rivbike.com/webalog/handlebars_stems_tape/ and check out the Dove/Albatross.
    ..... "I renewed my youth, to outward appearance, by mounting a bicycle for the first time." Mark Twain, Speeches
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    rnwum54, I have the Nashbar trekking bars just like yours in the pic, on my Marin hybrid. I really like them. They offer multiple hand positions and allow me to ride much farther without the constant pain/numbness on a 20-40 mile ride with the flatbars. them.

  21. #21
    I couldn't car less. jeff williams's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jcm
    Interesting response. While I'm not a MB'r, I do think MB's are probably the most evolved bikes there are. Apologies to Roadies, those are also very cool machines.
    You quoted before I could spell check....

    Mtb design has gone specific terrain\style. Road development is a straighter line?

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    jcm
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeff williams
    You quoted before I could spell check....

    Mtb design has gone specific terrain\style. Road development is a straighter line?
    Yeah. But MB's still remain more versatile, don't you think?

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    Quote Originally Posted by babysaph
    Is there anyway to have multiple hand positions on my handlebars on my mtn bike? This is the only thing I don't like about mtn bikes. Just one position for your hands and I get tired
    I use bar ends tilted way down low, almost but not quite parallel parallel. Depending on top tube length this can be almost like riding on the drops, except not quite as streamlined.

    I have also, from time to time, put a set of aerobars on my MTB just for funsies....not much good unless you riding slicks out on the roads.

    But with the bar ends you can achieve three or four riding positions. Also, if you take your allen wrench with you and stop for a break, you can move them up or down. For example, if you've ridden out on pavement and then on dirt and are headed back home on pavement it takes but a minute at a water break to adjust the bar ends.

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    Senior Member Grand Bois's Avatar
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    This was my solution to the problem of my thumbs going numb:

    http://community.webshots.com/photo/...68014369ZmdEeX

    The bars are Scott AT-2s. They're really just flat bars with built in bar ends. I've tried bar ends and they tended to slip and I just didn't like the look. Somebody must have got stuck with a lot of the Scotts because they're being dumped cheap on eBay. I paid $6.50. There is nothing in the way, so I can put my hands anywhere on the bars. I wrapped them twice with gel tape because mountain bars are thin. I used an old adjustable stem to find a height that's comfortable for me and then bought a stem with similar height and reach. Mounting the Profile levers was complicated by the turn at the ends of the bars. I had to modify the wedges slightly. If it was a geared bike I'd mount thumb shifters next to the brake levers.

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