Wide Bars And Short Stems - Speak To Me

Postby Conners on Wed 3/May/17 10:28pm

Ok, as per the discussion kicked off in "this thread" - I'm biting the bullet on a 1.0 degree angle set for my ageing (2007) Trance. Which has gotten me to thinking about wider bars and a shorter stem - all in a (probably misguided) attempt to obtain something more resembling this "modern geometry" that people speak of.

Velocipedestrian wrote:
Conners wrote:Think I'm going to have to start a separate thread on short stems and wide bars now too rather than continuing to hijack this one.

Those are both good things, but in moderation.
Start the thread.


My current setup is 640mm bars and 90mm stem. Consensus around the intertubes seems to be that 720mm bars and 50mm stem are somewhat a "minimum acceptable standard" these days. So thinking that would be a good start point if I was to borrow some bits to try.

I guess what I'm really wondering is, is it worthwhile or is there a chance of just totally killing the geometry (ie reach just gets silly short).

Current geo (that I see as part of this equation) is:
Head tube angle - 69 degrees (going -1 on the Angleset)
Effective TT - 600mm
Seat tube angle - 72 degrees (actual rather than effective)
Wheelbase - 1135mm

Photo of current setup (deemed "unrideable" by another vorber :lol:)
IMG_6968.JPG


In terms of me, I'm a bit over 6'2" (190cm) and my wingspan is the same. 520mm if I measure across my shoulders.

Interested to hear any theories on:
1. How to calculate the best bar length vs your shoulder width (if this is even a thing)
2. Optimum stem length reduction compared to bar length increase (in an engineer so of course I've done the trig on this and have calculated what combo is required to maintain the same reach - but I think there is more to it that that)
3. What is considered 'good wide' and what is 'silly wide' in terms of fitting between trees (based in Welly).
4. I notice the trend towards flatter and flatter bars - but I figure this must be to do with forks and front ends getting taller. As you can see I've already got a couple of spacers under my stem - and raising the stem further for a flat bar seems like a dick move to me. I know lower front ends are good for weight distribution - but I'm not sure how comfortable I'd be if I went any lower with my bars (note current seat height...).

I'm not doing any/many big XC rides or races any more, riding much more for fun than XC speed like I used to - so happy to compromise uphill geo if the improvement on the downs is there.

Discuss.
Conners
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Re: Wide Bars And Short Stems - Speak To Me

Postby AgrAde on Thu 4/May/17 1:02am

I don't think there's any way to calculate bar length. It's more of a feel/riding position thing and stability/agility trade-off rather than a body fit thing.

If you're not interested in getting a frame that actually fits you ( :p ) then I'd probably get a 60mm stem and a 760mm bar. It won't fix the bike fit but at least you'll have a bit more strength on the bars and better steering.

For you, good wide = 750-770, silly wide = anything above that. Probably. My friends in wellington ride 760-780ish. Fast trail/"enduro" riders that are about 6' tall. I'm 5'11", have 760 on my trail bike, 780 on my "enduro" bike, and 800 on my downhill bike. 800 is noticeably too wide in certain circumstances, so they're probably going to go down to 780. 780 is only very occasionally too wide for small parts of some tight trails, but it feels perfect for my preference in feel and riding style. 760 is great everywhere and my forearms become a problem before the bar width does.

Flatter bars are for longer travel bikes with big wheels, XCers or short people. You're 6'2", you want higher bars than most people. Get 20mm rise, or 30, or whatever you want. Low bars I don't think help for weight distribution, they just give you a sore back and fold you up like a pretzel, especially when you've got a short reach, slack seat angled bike.
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Re: Wide Bars And Short Stems - Speak To Me

Postby dwgknz on Thu 4/May/17 7:13am

At 6'0 I found my sweet spot at 760 riser bar (23mm)/ 60mm (+6). I didn't give a 50mm stem a long enough chance though as I got scared about shifters smashing through the top tube. I have a 70mm stem for long steep climbing rides too. I've also got about 20mm of stack height but drop that for XCing.

I don't get a sore back on long rides like other bikes.

Other advantage I find on wide bars is opening up the chest for improved breathing. On big climbs and long roads I'll hold on to the end caps.
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Re: Wide Bars And Short Stems - Speak To Me

Postby Velocipedestrian on Thu 4/May/17 7:38am

HT - 760 bar, 45 stem
FS - 785 bar, 50 stem
Clip a tree maybe twice a year in wellytrack, but there's an adjustment period.

I've played with 35, 40 & 60mm stems, for my machines what I have feels about right. I have inner clamp only grips on the HT, and both end clamp ones on the FS, this reduces the felt difference in bar length.

I tend to set bar height so the levers & shifter(s) will just clear the top tube in a crash. But both bikes have tall forks.

You really can't tell until you spend some time with it, happy to lend a stem or two for the experiment.

(edit: a squeak under 6')
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Re: Wide Bars And Short Stems - Speak To Me

Postby Wobbler on Thu 4/May/17 7:44am

I wouldn't get too hung up on what modern bikes are running bars/stem wise, take a gander at the current trance geo and compare and front end length and you'll see your bike is probably shorter in the front than a medium these days. I'd chuck some 720+ bars on and a 65ish stem and work from that. I reckon going 640 bars to 760 or similar is going to feel 2spoopy doing it all at once.
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Re: Wide Bars And Short Stems - Speak To Me

Postby Velocipedestrian on Thu 4/May/17 7:49am

Conners wrote:in[sic] an engineer

With advanced welding tickets? Just chuck a new head tube on there, slack as shit and reach for the moon.
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Re: Wide Bars And Short Stems - Speak To Me

Postby mudguard on Thu 4/May/17 9:48am

I'd go 50-60mm and maybe 750mm bars. I'm shorter than you and have 40mm and 780mm on my trail bike. If anything it will slow the steering a bit. Provided you're not going with carbon it's a cheap change if you don't like it.
Usually a few OEM take offs on tardme.
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Re: Wide Bars And Short Stems - Speak To Me

Postby Dougal on Thu 4/May/17 10:48am

750mm is a good bar width for all round riding. I've got 780's and find I'm running my hands in from the ends.

Stem length depends on a lot. I'd try 70mm.
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Re: Wide Bars And Short Stems - Speak To Me

Postby Velocipedestrian on Thu 4/May/17 10:58am

Conners wrote:My current setup is 640mm bars and 90mm stem.


Going 110 wider and only 20 shorter seems off, what did the trig say re: length:width to maintain reach?
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R+P+K
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Re: Wide Bars And Short Stems - Speak To Me

Postby phunk on Thu 4/May/17 6:04pm

Ive got a 50mm stem and a couple of 780-800 bars in the spares you are welcome to borrow.
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Re: Wide Bars And Short Stems - Speak To Me

Postby Velocipedestrian on Thu 4/May/17 7:29pm

phunk wrote:Ive got a 50mm stem and a couple of 780-800 bars in the spares you are welcome to borrow.

I'd be interested in purchasing one of those bars, not too high not too low... After Conners has sorted out his cockpit of course.
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Re: Wide Bars And Short Stems - Speak To Me

Postby phunk on Thu 4/May/17 7:47pm

Velocipedestrian wrote:
phunk wrote:Ive got a 50mm stem and a couple of 780-800 bars in the spares you are welcome to borrow.

I'd be interested in purchasing one of those bars, not too high not too low... After Conners has sorted out his cockpit of course.

You can have the 800mm giant sl bars for a gp porter, but they are fairly flat both in rise and back sweep.
phunk
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Re: Wide Bars And Short Stems - Speak To Me

Postby Conners on Thu 4/May/17 8:14pm

Crikey - thanks for all the feeback guys, lots of good stuff in there for me to ponder. Also a pretty common theme developing too which gives me a good start point (somewhere in the 720-750 and 50-65/70 range I reckon).
A few comments/responses:
AgrAde wrote:If you're not interested in getting a frame that actually fits you ( :p )

I know this is in jest, but it is interesting that I haven't grown at all in the last 10 years - and I'm pretty sure my bike hasn't changed either. So it does fit - but the interesting bit that I have noticed is that 10 years ago people erred on the small side if they were between sizes, whereas a lot of the reviews I read these days seem to push towards going a size bigger if you're borderline.

AgrAde wrote:It won't fix the bike fit but at least you'll have a bit more strength on the bars and better steering.

Again, I don't think the bike fit is broken per se, but bike geo and riding style has moved on in the last ten years. But I am keen to see what improvement can be made handling wise - so cheers.

Wobbler wrote:I wouldn't get too hung up on what modern bikes are running bars/stem wise

Definitely something I was worried about, trying to compare one aspect in isolation is dumb.

Wobbler wrote:take a gander at the current trance geo and compare and front end length and you'll see your bike is probably shorter in the front than a medium these days.

You're bang on, 600 ETT on my Large 07 vs 610 on a Medium 17.

Velocipedestrian wrote:
Conners wrote:in[sic] an engineer

With advanced welding tickets? Just chuck a new head tube on there, slack as shit and reach for the moon.

Nah, the only welding I've ever done is building farm gates out of galvanised pipe :crazy:

Velocipedestrian wrote:Going 110 wider and only 20 shorter seems off, what did the trig say re: length:width to maintain reach?

I've realised today that my trig wasn't right - I was using the steerer as the pivot point to maintain the same pivot to bar tip distance (which coincidentally was telling me that 670 bars with zero stem would be widest equivalent possible). In reality the pivot is really somewhere around your sternum or shoulder I guess. At that point of not having fixed points and straight lines I put it in the too hard basket. I did see Richard Cunningham say in the vid that R+P+K posted (cheers) that 20mm wider on the bars needs 10mm off the stem to "have the same feel". Which I guess calculates to 720 on a 50.

Cheers to Velo and phunk for the offers, I have another iron in the fire as a start point but if that falls through I will get in touch.
Conners
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Re: Wide Bars And Short Stems - Speak To Me

Postby AgrAde on Thu 4/May/17 8:40pm

Conners wrote:
AgrAde wrote:If you're not interested in getting a frame that actually fits you ( :p )

I know this is in jest, but it is interesting that I haven't grown at all in the last 10 years - and I'm pretty sure my bike hasn't changed either. So it does fit - but the interesting bit that I have noticed is that 10 years ago people erred on the small side if they were between sizes, whereas a lot of the reviews I read these days seem to push towards going a size bigger if you're borderline.


Or the whole industry (bar Specialized with some very lengthy bikes in late 00s, and few others) was wrong ;)
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