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Old 10-08-10, 07:54 AM   #1
mack_turtle
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handlebar dillema: wide v barends

i own two bars for my Monocog: the wide, heavy Syncros bars that came with it, and some FSA xc190's. the Syncros bars are about 26.5" wide (670mm) but very heavy. the FSA's are about 25" wide (635mm) and a lot lighter than the Syncros bars, but the narrower width seems to necessitate some bar ends, so i added some stubby ones. i think the bar ends probably negate the weight difference.

your thoughts on wide bars v. narrower bars with bar ends? i am going to experiment with each but wanted to hear some outside experience.
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Old 10-08-10, 07:59 AM   #2
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I used to be a bar end rider, but that was when I had narrow bars. WAY more comfort and control with wider bars IMO. To each their own though...

Got a buddy running 24" bars with bar ends on his '09 Stumpy FS Carbon. It's what he prefers, whereas I love my 27" bars on my FS, and 26" bars on my SS and would never go back to using bar ends...
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Old 10-08-10, 09:25 AM   #3
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I prefer wide. I have 30s on the trail bike and anything less feels really narrow.
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Old 10-13-10, 10:41 AM   #4
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Go wide as possible. Wide bars offer descending control and confidence like no other. Also, wider gives you better breathing on climbs, due to expansion of the chest.
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Old 10-16-10, 03:10 AM   #5
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I'm actually going to cut my bars down a little and and small bar ends. Reason, the trails in my area are so damn tight I'm always banging my grips off trees.
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Old 10-16-10, 07:05 AM   #6
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...... Also, wider gives you better breathing on climbs, due to expansion of the chest.
Really? I did not know this.
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Old 10-17-10, 07:23 AM   #7
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Also, wider gives you better breathing on climbs, due to expansion of the chest.
I'd like to see a reliable source for that info. I just tried an experiment (getting into a push-up stance) with my arms close together, and far apart, and notice no difference in how much air I can suck in.
You guys would hate the bars on my bikes. They are all cut down to about 22". Anything wider feels awkward. I don't recall ever crashing because I didn't have enough control with narrow bars, but I have caught a few trees with wide bars. I agree that it is basically personal preference though.

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Old 10-17-10, 07:59 AM   #8
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I'd like to see a reliable source for that info. I just tried an experiment (getting into a push-up stance) with my arms close together, and far apart, and notice no difference in how much air I can suck in.
You guys would hate the bars on my bikes. They are all cut down to about 22". Anything wider feels awkward. I don't recall ever crashing because I didn't have enough control with narrow bars, but I have caught a few trees with wide bars. I agree that it is basically personal preference though.

andy b.

A lot of the control issues have to do with the terrain you ride,and the type of riding you do on it.
The main thing is that we all agree and we all get along so don't be calling folks out on things you might see as sillyness and nonsense.
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Old 10-17-10, 09:32 AM   #9
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I'd like to see a reliable source for that info. I just tried an experiment (getting into a push-up stance) with my arms close together, and far apart, and notice no difference in how much air I can suck in.
You guys would hate the bars on my bikes. They are all cut down to about 22". Anything wider feels awkward. I don't recall ever crashing because I didn't have enough control with narrow bars, but I have caught a few trees with wide bars. I agree that it is basically personal preference though.

andy b.
Take this as you will, but that's been common knowledge amongst roadies for decades, and I can tell you that the nurses at the hospital instructed me to put my baby's arms in front of him and out to the sides to open his air ways before burping him. It's not like you're going to suffocate with your arms closer together, but you will have an easier time getting a large volume of air with your chest open. In order for you to feel any difference, put your elbows together against your chest and take a quick deep breath. Then spread your arms to your sides like wings and breathe again. You should notice a slight restriction in the first that you don't feel in the second.
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Old 10-17-10, 09:44 AM   #10
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Oh.....it's a roadie thing. That clears it up.



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Old 10-17-10, 10:56 AM   #11
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The adage of getting more air with wider bars is common sense, but we're talking pretty much shoulder width being the point of gain. Think about it though: on a road bike you're pretty much in one position whereas on a mtn. bike you're moving so much anyway.

If I understand trends at all, the new "wider is better" is coming from the 29er movement where more leverage is supposedly needed to get the big front wheel to move for turning purposes. True of not, I like 'em wide which comes from my old motorcycle dirt bikes from the 70's and we always had wide bars. (Yeah, and I have a 9er...) It is all a personal preference and that's why there are so many options available..
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Old 10-17-10, 07:54 PM   #12
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...on a road bike you're pretty much in one position...
The hands are in different positions. Riders switch from the tops to the hoods to the drops frequently - sometimes to the aero bars, flat part of the drops, and curve of the tops as well. But you're right if you meant that most of the ride is done seated.

I was actually afraid to switch to just a riser bar on the mtb because I didn't see how you could ride with your hands in the same position for a whole ride. Turns out I was worrying for no reason. I guess all the standing, sitting, and shifting position for technical stuff and cruising helps to vary things enough.
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Old 10-17-10, 08:40 PM   #13
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If having wide bars helps with climbing, why are road bike bars so narrow? And aerobars on tribikes are super narrow...if this were such an issue, wouldn't breathing trump aerodynamics? And why don't people run with their elbows out?

Along with leverage, wide bars also help with power. Next time you're at a gym, see how much you can bench with your hands close together, and then see how much you can bench with a wider grip. Same principle applies to pumping terrain.
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Old 10-17-10, 10:05 PM   #14
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I hope no one thought I was calling anyone out, I was just looking for a source for the easier breathing issue. Besides, when I ride uphill my arms are bent, because I am leaning forward towards the handlebars. If my arms were straight to have the same spread angle my bars would need to be about 5 feet wide.
I wouldn't pay any mind to most of my ramblings though. My mind is going and I'm too old to go very fast anyway. Heck, my newest bike is from 1997.

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Old 10-18-10, 08:43 AM   #15
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If having wide bars helps with climbing, why are road bike bars so narrow? And aerobars on tribikes are super narrow...if this were such an issue, wouldn't breathing trump aerodynamics? And why don't people run with their elbows out?
Aerodynamics are often more important on a road bike. Remember that a roadie thinks 10 percent is a steep climb while a mountain biker won't even be in his granny gear for that. Aerobars are an even more extreme example, and they are used on very short rides where oxygen debt isn't as big of an issue. If you look at ironmans or ultra endurance events, you'll see they don't spend the whole time in the aero position, and they often have a wider stance than aerobars for shorter events.

Also, people seem to be of the opinion that as long as your hands are as far apart as your shoulders, breathing is as free as it gets. I can't verify that, but sure, why not?
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Old 10-18-10, 09:59 AM   #16
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I ride a lot on pavement and I like the bar ends for a different hand position. Just a change of pace for me. I have not been on the single track yet with them.
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