I have a 2000 Specialized Expedition Elite (mtb frame, setup like a hybrid) which I am planning to upgrade to make it more trail ready. I used to use it for mostly road riding, but now that I have a road bike I'm going to make it mtb only.
It came with riser bars, which I like, but I'm wondering if I should put flat bars on it for XC mountain biking. I understand riser bars are more of a downhill thing, but
will flat bars really gain me any advantages on the trail?
I think riser bars are more comfortable than flats. The wrists like to be angled a bit rather than facing up. That's one reason why flat bar riders use bar ends.
Some have said that riser bars are no good for climbing because they are too high. Most flat bar riders use their bar ends in climbs anyhow, which elevates their hand position anyhow.
Its probably a wash.
NOT a weight weenie
You can get what is called a "low rise" riser bar. Race Face makes one I use it. Riser bars make your handling more precise and a little quicker. They also give you a much wider position unless you cut them down. I use the riser for days when my back is really getting to me or when I do some of the rocky downhill around here. I also use a flat bar with bar ends that I like better for singletrack. If do alot of climbing on a trail I would go with flat and bar ends. The advantage is the position yuo get to for climbing.