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Thread: Handlebar Width

  1. #1
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    Handlebar Width

    I've done some searching, but couldn't really find a good answer- so hopefully someone here can help me out. My bars are quite a bit wider than my shoulders, and I've been thinking that maybe if I cut them down a little I might be more comfortable.

    When riding as usual, should my arms be straight or slightly-outward? If they should be out, could you give me an idea of how many inches from straight this should be?

    Thanks!
    Mike
    EarSpy.com

  2. #2
    Senior Member bikerider's Avatar
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    It should be dictated by personal comfort. The default setup is to have the grips roughly shoulder width apart. If you are sensing a problem then you should by all means do some experimentation.

    The good news is that you don't need to break out the hacksaw just yet. Simply move the shifters, brake levers and grips (and bar ends if applicable) inwards about a half inch at a time and ride it a little while in each position. If you move the bar ends inwards, make sure that there is a plug inside the end of the handlebar or you risk being impaled in a crash. When you are satisfied with the position you can then confidently cut the bars down.

  3. #3
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    Hey, good idea- I never would have thought of something so simple. ;-) I'm going to go buy some new bar ends and then do some experimenting with the setup until I find what works best.

    Thanks,
    Mike

  4. #4
    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    I am glad I am not the only one who considers most MTB bars too wide. I am primarily a roadie and thought my the 52 cm bars on my 1988 Schwinn mountain bike were wide, until I discovered that most new mountain bike bars are 58-59 cm wide. I concur with the recommendation to move the grips, extensions, shifters, and brakes toward the handlebar stem, but if you ride in traffic or in tight spaces, you still may want to cut a couple of cm off of each end of the bars.
    "Early to bed, early to rise. Work like hell, and advertise." -- George Stahlman
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  5. #5
    Jubalayo Unogwaja! Bokkie's Avatar
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    It's a personal thing. I used to own a BMW R90S tourer some years back. I had the pleasure of meeting the man from Munich who was responsible for its ergonomic design. He explained to me all the details about maintaining body angles, and especially the handlebars where the weight of the body leaning forward into the ride position should not be compromised by the stress placed on the arms to support it, and that the hands should ideally be at angle of 15-20 degrees at the wrist, and so and so on. Point I'm making is what he said afterwards, "and if you don't find that comfortable, then change it!". It's personal. Adopt what's best for you.

  6. #6
    cycle-powered nathank's Avatar
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    yeah, i think it's a personal preference thing.

    my new '02 Specialized FSR XC came with extra-wide bars (most people complain) but i love them - don't know the width, but they're wider than most. i also have wide shoulders, but i don't know exactly how much wider the bar is, but i would guess the ends are a few inches wider than my shoulders.

    i still have 'normal' bars on my other MTB which is my commuter and haven't changed b/c the current ones are OK and i don't want any wider for tight spaces in the city.

    then when i ride my road bike i find the bars so narrow and unfomfortable - but they are more aerodynamic...
    why drive when you can ride?
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