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  1. #1
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    Cockpit Setup, Handlebars, Grips, etc

    I thought this may be a good opportunity to do the whole thread about each thing for the ask the experts.


    I'd like to start with...
    handle bars...

    What's the deal with them.


    Seriously, I'll need a new 35 mm at the clamp bar that I'll wait until this winter to purchase. existing bars are santa cruz carbon bars that are (I think) 20mm rise. I could go up a hair from that. I'll want to cut them to about 790 mm.

    I've seen some hooplah about the bars that are more vertically compliant than horizontally... anything there? Should I just go with the pnw that match my bike?
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  2. #2
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    Cockpit Setup, Handlebars, Grips, etc

    Re: Compliance. Carbon bars were great because they were stiffer than aluminum bars. Then they got wider, and stiffer, and even more stiffer, and then thicker (35mm clamp) and then they were super stiff until someone realized that too stiff was a bad thing.
    Carbon layups have allowed bar manufactures to adjust the compliance a bar will give. To me it makes sense to have a bar that is stiff horizontally (steering inputs) and have some compliance vertically (bump/shock vibration).
    I kinda thought it was marketing BS until I got a bike with a generic carbon bar that was so stiff it hurt. I felt it in my forearms and elbows (tennis elbow burn). I tried rolling the bar to adjust the sweep, moved my stem spacers.
    I got a new bar and it was noticeable right away (even set up in the same position).

    For trail riding (not downhill bike) I think finding a bar that is designed for some compliance is worth the extra spend. I think the guys at OneUpComponents have a great design on their bar, they took the best stiff qualities of a 35mm bar, and the best compliance qualities of 31.8 bar and combined them. If I was going to purchase a new bar, that would be my go to bar.

    Re: Width. When wide bars became a thing, all the little kids in Whistler wanted super wide bars. These 5'3 120lb kids were putting 800mm bars on their bikes. They looked ridicules and they couldn't realize that they didnt have as much control on their bikes. When we suggested they shop cut down their bars they all cried no.
    I ended up putting a Race face handle bar sticker on the floor with marks at 800mm apart and at 740mm apart. When these scronny kids told me they NEEDED an 800mm bar, I showed them the stickers, made them do 10 pushups at 800mm, and another 10 pushups at 740mm, and asked them which one was easier, and which size bar would give them more control.

    Re: Rise. Rise and sweep are all personal preference and bike fit specific. Riser bars were hot, then flat bars were cool, and rise came back, then high rise bars, and now were are back to normal rise bars. It's a personal preference. The roll of the bar drastically effects the sweep, its one thing I notice instantly on a bike. If a bar is rolled to far forward I find the grips angle upwards and are uncomfortable on my wrists. When setting up a new bike I site across the bars at eye level, to make sure the top of the bar is flat, or parallel to the ground at the grip tops. I use this as my base setting and slight adjust from there.
    I always cut my fork steer to allow for a few spacers above and below my stem to play with the fit of a new bike/cockpit set up.

  3. #3
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    Here is a good article on handle bar width.
    It compares body size to Handke bar width, with direct comparisons and ratios:

    What handle bar widths do the top EWS Enduro and World Cup Downhill riders use?

    Edit: This article reads much better on computer, format on mobile does not make the charts very readable.
    Last edited by Dee Hubbs; 09-28-2022 at 10:20 AM.

  4. #4
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    A lot of the talk around handlebar stiffness revolves around macro level flex - how much the bar is flexing vertically in a hard compression. But I find that micro level vibrations matter much, much more for hand fatigue. I've ridden bars that are pretty stiff on a macro level but are great for my hands because they damp vibrations really well. I've also ridden bars that aren't particularly stiff on a macro level, but completely destroy my hands because they transmit a ton of vibration.

    A good carbon layup can go a long ways towards damping vibrations. Similarly, a bad carbon layup can be absolutely brutal.

  5. #5
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    Thanks Dee.
    I had seen the EWS coverage a month or so ago re: width. A bunch of them were riding a little narrower than they would normally for some of the tighter tree sections and also that the wide thing is really person dependent, and many run too wide of a bar.

    I know I don't love too much sweep... I'm probably just not used to it, but as I've had 5 years straight with injuries, sitting up a stitch more on my climbs may be worth it.
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    formerly an ambassador for a few others, but the ski industry is... interesting.
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  6. #6
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    I used to set up mountain bike handlebars so that the grips were flat (parallel to the ground). This usually meant that the bar was rolled towards the rear of the bike quite a bit, affecting sweep and therefore reach. I tried with the bar rolled forward more (less sweep, more reach, upward angle at the grips in relation to the ground), and liked it more - feels like the angle of my arm / wrist matches up better with the angle of the grip / bar, and I feel like I have better control that way.

    YMMV?

    I agree that compliance differs between different carbon bars. It's usually subtle differences. I have one bike with a Truvativ Descendant 35 carbon bar, which is much stiffer feeling than a Renthal 35 carbon bar on another bike.
    Quote Originally Posted by powder11 View Post
    if you have to resort to taking advice from the nitwits on this forum, then you're doomed.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by El Chupacabra View Post
    I used to set up mountain bike handlebars so that the grips were flat (parallel to the ground). This usually meant that the bar was rolled towards the rear of the bike quite a bit, affecting sweep and therefore reach. I tried with the bar rolled forward more (less sweep, more reach, upward angle at the grips in relation to the ground), and liked it more - feels like the angle of my arm / wrist matches up better with the angle of the grip / bar, and I feel like I have better control that way.
    Agreed with this. If I run handlebars rolled back, it forces my elbows down and in a bit. If I roll the bar forward a little, it angles the outer edge of my hands up a bit which pushes my elbows up and out into a proper "attack" position. In other words, by rotating the bar forward, I'm turning some of the backsweep into upsweep.

  8. #8
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    Most 35mm bars are uncomfortably harsh. Avoid anything Race Face or Renthal in 35mm - they are extremely stiff. The OneUp bars are good. I've heard the newer Santa Cruz 35 bars are a good balance of compliance and stiffness too. I'd run 31.8 if I couldn't run OneUp, personally.

    Rise: this is personal preference mostly. The difference between adjusting bar height through rise vs. moving stem up is that by moving stem up, you shorten reach slightly (since it's sliding up at the head angle). Adding bar height through bar rise keeps the bar at the same horizontal distance.

    Width: unless you're a sasquatch, you're probably good to chop to 780 to start. I'd suggest getting a pair of grips that have a removable endcap, and sliding them in 5mm at a time to find what feels best. I've taken the end plugs out of Ergon grips in the past, then used a knife to trim the slight lip off the end of the inner grip sleeve. You can still use the end plugs for safety while you do this that way. Note that grips with lockrings correspond to a 20mm narrower bar unless you like putting the end of your hand over the metal lockring (ouch).

    Bar roll: I only recently figured this out. It seemed counter intuitive to me, but if you roll the bar back, you end up with more pressure on the outer edge of your hand (I thought there'd be less since it was lower, but it's more since you rotate the tip of the bar further back). If you roll the bar forward, it will decrease the pressure on the outer edge of your palm. I now prefer my bars rolled just a hair (maybe 1 degree) forward from the angle corresponding to my bike's head angle.

    Sweep: most bars have 8 degrees sweep. A handful of ergonomic brands make bars with really crazy high sweep (12 degrees or more), that's supposedly more comfortable for long pedals. There's a few that use 9, PNW uses 10. Renthal is the only one that I know of that uses 7 degrees. I've heard that less sweep helps promote a better "elbows out" attack position. I recently started using some grips that effectively reduce sweep slightly (Ergon GE1) and I did notice that I felt like I had better position, so there might be something to that statement. It makes sense to me, in that if you take a really exaggerated sweep position with your hands, your elbows move in.

  9. #9
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    I'm running the Oneup 35mm bars - In all honesty I expected better compliance; it was not notably more compliant than the stock, Pivot, 35mm carbon bar on my Switchblade.
    That's not to say it's a bad bar, I just didn't notice much difference.

    What I do like about it, though, is that it has hash marks to line up rotation based on different head tube angles. I thought that was a neat feature.

    Edit it to add that I'm at 2.34 ratio based on height, but I do have a +2.5 ape index, so that's more like 2.41.
    (I don't like their ratio system - Numbers go up as bars get relatively smaller. It really ought to be a bar width as a % of height / wingspan so that it goes down).
    Last edited by XtrPickels; 09-28-2022 at 04:07 PM.

  10. #10
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    TBH, I'm not sure 95% of MTB'ers can tell the difference in handlebar stiffness. I've used OneUp, TrailOne and E-Thirteen, and they all feel basically the same to me (I like all of them, FWIW). I can definitely tell a difference between alloy and carbon, but that's essentially it.

  11. #11
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    When your bike cockpit works well for you - it disappears, you donít think about it. If it doesnít work for you, you wonít stop thinking about it as you ride. So if there was nothing throwing you off on the previous setup, just keep similar bar dimensions and grip type/width.

    As said by others, carbon bars from a brand name high end manufacturer do make a difference. If you can afford them, do it. Donít do 35mm alu bars. Donít do cheap carbon.

    FWIW: The formula from the article Dee posted - 2.35 factor for male enduro - calced perfect for me.


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  12. #12
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    I really like the modern cockpit, I havent thot about it on the yeti or on the SC so it must be fine
    Lee Lau - xxx-er is the laziest Asian canuck I know

  13. #13
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    I just switched to aluminum bars after over-tightening the dropper clamp on my carbon bars and producing a small crack. Ive had enough dental work in my life I didn't want to risk it. I maybe noticed a little extra hand/wrist fatigue at the end of a 2.5 hour ride but it was also my first decent ride in two weeks due to covid. I honestly think that tire volume and compound as well as grip type has more influence on vibration damping.

  14. #14
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    I like the carbon OneUp and Enve bars I have owned. I had a stock carbon Yeti bar on a new bike last year. Holy fuck that thing was harsh.

    As other's have said: You are probably running your bars too wide. I've gone down to 760mm....I have run 800 which is stupid. I'm a smaller guy anyway, but you lose so much control of the bike with super wide bars. Imagine doing push ups at the gym with each hand 3 inches wider than your shoulders. Just stupid.

    I'll take on the grips thing as well cause i'm in a mood: Super thin rad bro dirt jumpy grips are also stupid. "Dude they look cool!" Yeah and you can feel every pebble the front wheel hits and your hands hurt all the time for a reason. I went with really fat grips for a while and then found the holy grail:

    https://revgrips.com/

    Run those in size large and you will not want to run any other grips ever again.

  15. #15
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    shouldn't one run whatever grip they like ?

    or should they just be a cunt about it ?
    Lee Lau - xxx-er is the laziest Asian canuck I know

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by XXX-er View Post
    shouldn't one run whatever grip they like ?

    or should they just be a cunt about it ?
    Lol

    Sure, I just know many people personally who complain about hand pain and they are running these paper thin grips simply because they look cool and not cause they actually work well or are comfortable.

  17. #17
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    well thats just your opinion man

    and i think its wrong

    their hands could hurt for any number of reasons which have nothing to do with grip size

    I've had tendonitis from holding an overly large paddle grip which went away after i got rid of the paddle so IME one should run whatever works for them

    this whole thread is a YMMV so what do YOU like ?
    Lee Lau - xxx-er is the laziest Asian canuck I know

  18. #18
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    Mar 2022
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    Available gripshift compatible.



    I wanted a bike with gripshifts SO DAMN BAD when I was a kid.

    I honestly didn't know you could get 12-speed grip shift.

  19. #19
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    i hear gold ano is the new purple ano

    I have purple ano lock-on rings which looks great on the lavender Bullit, I usually wouldn't give a fuck about the purple ano but the ODI lock-ons a grip i like ( important ) came without any rings so CRC shipped me some purple ano rings to shut me up

    I have never owned a bike with gripshift
    Lee Lau - xxx-er is the laziest Asian canuck I know

  20. #20
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    Dec 2015
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    I am way more comfortable on 750-760 bars than the ape-generation 800-820. Faster thru the trees and squeezers too.

  21. #21
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    I went from black 780mm w/20mm rise to ano purple 800mm with a jacked up 35mm rise. Also went from 50mm to 45mm stem. Just couldn't get it right with the stock setup. Now I'm loving it. Feels better on the downhill, and no adverse effect on the up.

    Still sucking but having more fun doing it. Maybe it's just the color?

  22. #22
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    You should have gone redÖ it would have made you faster #maggotscience


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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by grskier View Post
    You should have gone redÖ it would have made you faster #maggotscience


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    All of my red ano parts eventually faded and became pink. Does that mean they're even faster now?

  24. #24
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    Can anyone comment on the quality of Deity carbon bars?

    Iíd imagine they fall somewhere near Ďhard to tell the difference between other decently built carbon barsí


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  25. #25
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    Poser alert: I fucking love these grips. Especially with a fubared wrist these days.
    Ergon G3 (very low profile). Not with the light switch, though!

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Forum Cross Pollinator, gratuitously strident

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