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Handlebar width. Mine feels too wide

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Handlebar width. Mine feels too wide

Old 08-17-15, 08:48 PM
  #1  
Rubble
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Handlebar width. Mine feels too wide

Specialized Sirrus. I just feel like my hands are too wide to my body. I've read posts about shortening the bar but want to hear from the older, wiser guys. Where do I start? Buy a pipe cutter and do a little bit at a time until I find what feels right?

I put Ergon Gp5 grips/bar ends on and they seemed to make the 'reach outside' problem worse.

Finding, during my move the hands around to belay numbness routine, that I like holding the bar right at the stem. Creates elbows in and it feels fast.

Last edited by Rubble; 08-18-15 at 09:12 AM.
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Old 08-17-15, 09:26 PM
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I've had a Trek 930 since '97, or thereabouts. It is a lot like the Sirrus and was sold as a 'mountain bike'. Front suspension was still fairly new and I wanted to give the technology time to shake out. The bars on the 930 are fairly narrow, by today's standards. Last year, I purchased a 'real' mountain bike, a Kona Hei Hei. Full suspension.

The first time I road the bike any distance, I said to myself, "Whoa! These bars are really wide. A lot more than the Trek." They just were not comfortable. I went the safe route and just purchased new bars that are about the same width as my Trek bars. The swap was pretty easy, and I have the original bars in case I ever sell the thing and the buyer wants the wider bars.

The original bars are Kona brand, as are the narrower replacement bars. I purchased them off the internet. Checked with my LBS first, the place I purchased the bike, but they didn't have any narrow bars. Only stocked wide ones. I have bar ends also. That makes my hands even closer, and like you, I like the flexibility of bar ends. I wrap them with old fashioned cloth tape.
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Old 08-17-15, 09:32 PM
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Hacksaw & a file work fine.

One thing often overlooked is that the brake levers should be inboard from the grips so that the first two fingers grab the ends of the levers.

If the brake lever clamps are up against the grips, you have uncomfortable and inefficient braking.
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Old 08-17-15, 09:51 PM
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The width of your bars should correspond to that of your shoulders. . .if you use bar ends, its great for standing on the pedals uphill. I got wide bars now and love the controllability on what is essentially a racer. Feels like an ole Suzuki 500 mbike i had.
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Old 08-17-15, 10:23 PM
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When I started MTB I used 22" wide bars, and I am 6'-6". When I bought a 29r after 15years away from dirt, the 32" bars felt absolutely comical.

I had the same question as OP so I read up. People claimed that the extra leverage stabilized the bike and was needed with the larger wheel, and it opens up your breathing. Breathing thing is nonsense. I like a stretched out position, so the long bars simply made it hard to reach the far grip in a turn. And stability? You have got to be kidding. Compared to a 26" this thing is outragiously stable and easy to ride. So I didn't like the wide bar thing on any theoretical level.

Still, I gave it a chance, rode it for a month. Lopped off 2", rode a month, then 2 more inches. OK, now it all feels proportional and comfortable. I can't go any further anyway because the levers are slammed right up to where the taper ends. Now I am happy. Bars are cheap, life is short.
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Old 08-18-15, 05:23 AM
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Originally Posted by peterws View Post
Feels like an ole Suzuki 500 mbike i had.
i too had a Suzuki 500. 42 yrs ago. Should have put it in a garage and kept it. The classic guys drool over them these days.

Thanks for the suggestions. New bars are inexpensive so I think I'll go the cut a little, try, cut again if necessary route.
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Old 08-18-15, 09:54 AM
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Before you cut them, you can just move the grips/levers, etc... inwards to try the position and when you like it, trim the bars to suit the new grip width.
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Old 08-18-15, 01:14 PM
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Bike shop saw-guide makes sure it is cut square . works on 1.125" steerers and 22,2mm handlebars
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Old 08-18-15, 02:31 PM
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Originally Posted by peterws View Post
The width of your bars should correspond to that of your shoulders. . .if you use bar ends, its great for standing on the pedals uphill. I got wide bars now and love the controllability on what is essentially a racer. Feels like an ole Suzuki 500 mbike i had.
As far as drop bars are concerned, I absolutely disagree with this advice. I know that it's the conventional wisdom, but I'm a big guy with 45cm shoulders and I like riding 38cm bars. Really tight, responsive, you steer with your hips not your hands.
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Old 08-18-15, 05:45 PM
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Originally Posted by redtires View Post
Before you cut them, you can just move the grips/levers, etc... inwards to try the position and when you like it, trim the bars to suit the new grip width.
This. Try it out before you cut.
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Old 08-18-15, 05:52 PM
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Originally Posted by redtires View Post
Before you cut them, you can just move the grips/levers, etc... inwards to try the position and when you like it, trim the bars to suit the new grip width.
+1 In carpentry, it's called "measure twice, cut once".

Ben
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Old 08-18-15, 07:00 PM
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I routinely shorten the handlebars on all of my straight handlebar bikes. I HATE riser bars because they are always too long to suit me and they can't be shortened as much as I'd like.

The first thing to do is to figure out how wide you want them to be. I strongly agree with the poster who suggested moving the shifters and brake levers inward to try out that position before cutting. I cut mine with a hack saw because I own a hack saw and I don't have a tubing cutter. If you are going to use a hack saw, do yourself a favor and buy a screw type hose clamp from AutoZone to use as a guide to help you get a nice, square cut. I generally re-size my cable housings afterward to keep everything tidy looking.
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Old 08-18-15, 07:33 PM
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Originally Posted by peterws View Post
The width of your bars should correspond to that of your shoulders. .
Originally Posted by chasm54 View Post
As far as drop bars are concerned, I absolutely disagree with this advice. I know that it's the conventional wisdom, but I'm a big guy with 45cm shoulders and I like riding 38cm bars. Really tight, responsive, you steer with your hips not your hands.
+1.

I ride 38cm bars too.

I always went with conventional wisdom. Then by happy accident, I ordered tapered bars that were 39cm across the hoods. Hated the taper, but loved the width. Within weeks I'd chucked every set of bars I had and replaced them all with 38s.

When I use bars the width of my shoulders, it feels like steering a bus.
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Old 08-18-15, 08:34 PM
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Originally Posted by catgita View Post
I gave it a chance, rode it for a month. Lopped off 2", rode a month, then 2 more inches. OK, now it all feels proportional and comfortable. I can't go any further anyway because the levers are slammed right up to where the taper ends. Now I am happy. Bars are cheap, life is short.
Exactly, give it a reasonable try. If you don't like it, change it. I long ago learned equipment is made for ME, I'm not necessarily made for certain equipment.
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Old 08-19-15, 11:00 AM
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Originally Posted by tsl View Post
+1.

I ride 38cm bars too.

I always went with conventional wisdom. Then by happy accident, I ordered tapered bars that were 39cm across the hoods. Hated the taper, but loved the width. Within weeks I'd chucked every set of bars I had and replaced them all with 38s.

When I use bars the width of my shoulders, it feels like steering a bus.
I was never comfortable with dropped bars, even up on the hoods. Hill climbing? Made it twice as hard. My bars are 63cm with ends on, and this is the way for me. Great up the hills on the pedals, I can just bend my arms if I want to leg it. I got `em fitted wrong way round, too. Looks stupidly cool. I don`t care . . I love it!
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Old 08-24-15, 02:22 PM
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Originally Posted by tsl View Post
+1.

I ride 38cm bars too.

I always went with conventional wisdom. Then by happy accident, I ordered tapered bars that were 39cm across the hoods. Hated the taper, but loved the width. Within weeks I'd chucked every set of bars I had and replaced them all with 38s.

When I use bars the width of my shoulders, it feels like steering a bus.
I went the opposite direction. I outfitted a couple of my bikes with those slightly curvey rando bars at 40cm or less. Did not like them at all. I went back to regular drops at 42+ cm. I feel much more comfortable and I think it opens up my chest and makes it easier to breathe.

And the biggest difference was in standing up and pedaling. Wider bars feel MUCH more stable to me when I stand and crank.
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Old 08-24-15, 07:00 PM
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I also have gone to 38s on my drop bars. It was an accident that worked it. I thought I had 40s and found a set of Orbea CF 38s on sale from Amazon. Turns out I had 42s on my Tarmac. I was skeptical at first but now in the drops I find I punch a smaller hole making it easier to hold my speed.

Then I discovered the "old" standard bars many riders like Eddy and Marco used were 38s. Not that I could ever equate to their ability but it did cause me to buy a wool jersey, ok I would have bought it anyway.
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Old 08-28-15, 11:57 AM
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Originally Posted by redtires View Post
Before you cut them, you can just move the grips/levers, etc... inwards to try the position and when you like it, trim the bars to suit the new grip width.
BEST advice in this thread! Figure out the width you want, THEN get out the tools!

SP
OC, OR
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Old 08-29-15, 03:57 AM
  #19  
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Here`s my latest ergonomic bars . . .630mm wide. Helps my neck and shoulders, and still feels comfy on the pedals. I think they may not be fitted in the intended fashion . . .but you gotta admit. They have street cred . . . .



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Old 08-29-15, 05:24 AM
  #20  
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I had a few 550 Triples, but never a 500. 550 was considered comfortable, damped, torquey, and fast. The 500 was considered to have all the negatives of a basic big twin with none of the bennies of great handling. Frames were flexible.
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Old 08-30-15, 04:00 AM
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(Youre talking Kawasakis and Suzukis in the 70s/80s. . . brackets since this is off topic. I used to love those bikes)
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