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Handlebar Width

Old 07-06-19, 07:40 PM
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Handlebar Width

I'm curious how long other people's handlebars are relative to their height. Mine seem way too long which wouldn't be an issue except I'm adding bar ends.
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Old 07-07-19, 04:55 AM
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Handlebars are generally measured against a person's shoulder width. Conventional bike fitting practice suggests having the handlebars, or at least the primary gripping surface, at about the same width as your shoulders, so your arms are straight out in front of you. Some prefer narrower than this and some prefer wider than this. I have relatively broad shoulders, and I prefer bars that are even slightly wider than that, and 660-720mm handlebars tend to work well for me. I have some that are in the 580mm range, and they work, but I feel a little tight on them.

Depending on the style of bar end you're getting, a bar end can work well out at the ends of wide bars. I have some that go on the end of the bar like caps, so they sort of look like T-handles. These work great at the end of wider bars as grips for standing up and climbing. I have these on my mountain bike, which has a 680mm bar if I recall correctly. My Giant Roam has a slightly shorter 660mm bar, and I have bar ends on it that come forward and then curve in. I have these wrapped with foam gripping surface and they work well to augment the main grips. I use these much like someone on drop bars would ride on the hoods of the brake levers. These probably wouldn't be quite as comfortable at the end of wider bars, at least the way I use them.

I recommend experimenting some to see what you find comfortable. If you like your current bar, then you probably don't need to change or cut it just because you're adding bar ends. You will probably need to slide your grips inward just a bit to allow the bar end to mount. Try it like that for a while and see if you find it comfortable. If you think it's too wide, then slide everything in 1/4" or so. And keep doing that until you find the right width. Even small measurements on the bar can make big differences in how everything feels so adjust in smaller increments until you find the right adjustment. After you're sure you've found the right adjustment, then you could consider cutting your bar to length, or replacing it with one the length you want.
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Old 07-07-19, 09:19 AM
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Originally Posted by bikehoco View Post
I'm curious how long other people's handlebars are relative to their height. Mine seem way too long which wouldn't be an issue except I'm adding bar ends.
Handlebar width is related to shoulder width and depends on the handlebar type, top tube length, stem length, and position desired. Also, BITD we did "narrowest gap in trail" for bar width. The shoulder width rule of thumb is for drop bars.

Risers are generally wider with more sweep than flats, which are wider than drops for the same rider. Modern bikes use shorter stems with longer top tubes, so older bikes do better with narrow bars and vice-versa.

Lately there is a trend in bars to be wider and wider every year. For modern risers, I like to use the "most efficient pushup distance" to determine bar width. I do push ups at different hand distances and measure the outside of my palms at the position where it feels easiest to push up.

You may have to adjust your stem once you find your right bar width, the two are closely connected.
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Old 07-07-19, 10:50 AM
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using the bike shop's saw guide results in a nice square, clean cut ..

Ergon's Grip-bar end combinations are nicely integrated...

I got some old bullmoose bars they got an inch per side cut off (old winter bike in the basement, now)

my BiFri MTB (separable) bars have Ergon GR3 combo grip/bar ends and are 21" wide .

GR3 on my M bar, Brompton, are 20"

(road, drop , 42, tour drop 48)


Last edited by fietsbob; 07-07-19 at 11:12 AM.
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Old 07-10-19, 06:32 PM
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My FX2 handlebar was approx. 25", got it cut down to 23 1/2".
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Old 07-11-19, 08:04 AM
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After reading the previous posts I decided to look into the width of my bars in respect to my shoulder width. I tried moving my hands inward in differing amounts. Found that I felt better with my hands about 3/4" from the ends. Removed my grips, used a tubing cutter and removed 3/4" from both sides, reinstalled grips and brought the brakes and shifter back to their place and went for a ride. Not life changing but definitely an improvement. Just my experience but thought I would pass it along. Also, being a retired plumber I had the perfect tool to cut the bar and knowledge on what to do after the cut and before the installation of the grips. Not crazy about changing the stock parts but in this case it was a good decision.
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