ProTaper 76mm Riser Bar NSMB AndrewM (4).JPG
REVIEW | EDITORIAL

Fit Before Fashion - ProTaper’s 76mm Riser Bar

Words Andrew Major
Photos Andrew Major (unless noted)
Date Sep 16, 2020
Reading time

Chopper, Cruiser, Klunker, BMX

I'm meandering down the road on my way home from a few hours of mountain biking. Relaxed. My left hand is up against the flange on my push-on grip with a couple of inches of my 3" rise handlebar to spare on the outside. My 3" rise handlebar. I'm certain I look like a much older, and much lamer kid on my way home from the skate park. I'm good with it though and let's be honest, on streets filled with a slippery slope of throttle-controlled, battery-powered, bicycle-shaped-objects flying about this way and that, a middle-aged dude on a 29" BMX doesn't qualify as weird.

It's in the woods, on the trails, that ProTaper's 76mm rise bar really stands out. Mountain bikers are about as non-conformist as members at Wimbledon and the looks on some folks' faces as I roll through are epic. Now me, I totally dig the 80's BRC aesthetic of the high rise bar. I've also chosen to take the terms 'modern Klunker' and 'offroad cruiser' as compliments. Fair warning, if you take a 76mm riser bar on the trails it is entirely noticeable and apparently open season for comments from strangers.

ProTaper 76mm Riser Bar NSMB AndrewM (12).JPG

Slamming an inverted stem as low as it would go, to make the 76mm riser bar work for me, noticeably increases my effective reach.

I don't need close to a 76mm riser bar, on any of my bikes, but every week I meet riders that do. People like:

  • I-would-love-to-have-a-higher-cockpit-but-my-friends-would-make-fun-of-me-with-that-bar-guy
  • I-really-do-need-a-lot-more-rise-but-I-only-ride-carbon-bars-because-they're-lighter-dude
  • The-shape-of-Answer-ProTaper-bars-is-magical-and-I-ran-them-for-years-but-it-only-comes-in-black-and-my-bike-needs-an-orange-bar-so-I-have-a-FU40-and-50mm-of-headset-spacers-fella
  • I've-only-seen-heavy-steel-bars-with-that-much-rise-but-$115-(CAD)-seems-like-a-lot-of-money-for-an-aluminum-handlebar-currently-running-an-ENVE-carbon-bar-person

I could go all day, and those are just the people who ask me about my handlebar. I also regularly keep my mouth shut as an individual rides by with 60mm of headset spacers under a 30mm rise bar on that new longer-reach rig they've purchased. Or even worse, when I see a giraffe careen down the trail with their bar so low their arms are locked-out in terrified-mode descending basic blue-trails.

A lot of companies suck at proportionately increasing their frames' stack height to match that new longer reach. Evidence? 40mm rise bars on mountain bikes used to be the territory of super-tall-folks, people with back issues, and the odd weirdo with a very upright personal preference. Now, they're legion. When was the last time someone purchased a bar with less than 25mm rise? Remember when flat 800mm bars were the thing? If the perfectly proportionate 6' tall dude is deciding between a 30mm and 40mm riser bar for his new size large super-bike then what the heck is the taller gent riding an XL, with the same headtube length, supposed to do?

sexy-volvo-4.jpg

Slamming the stem and going with a 76mm ProTaper bar is going to be like going up a frame size in reach on Duppy's Bike!? Photo by Tom. Maybe.

Housekeeping

  • I prefer a bar with more sweep and I'd like to see ProTaper add a 12° backsweep model to its lineup
  • I don't need a 76mm riser bar, as mentioned earlier
  • Even with my bar as low as it can go, there was a learning curve to riding the bike with this setup
  • I ended up jacking up the bar and going to a longer stem on my full suspension bike to maintain a similar feel and now that I'm used to it I have to say that I'm loving the taller grip height, versus bottom bracket height, for my local terrain.
  • I wish more companies made a 50mm rise bar at least.
  • Even on bikes where the reach & Stack measurements are well balanced for most riding, I find I'm more comfortable on steeper terrain on a large frame (480mm+ reach) with the handlebar jacked up a bit.
  • If the bike is designed around a 30mm riser bar with a 10mm headset spacer underneath, that doesn't give me much room to play with fit.
ProTaper 76mm Riser Bar NSMB AndrewM (6).JPG

The full 810mm. After playing around with the full length, with my controls pushed in, I cut them to 770mm.

ProTaper 76mm Riser Bar NSMB AndrewM (7).JPG

I would have preferred this photo with a 355ml can. One more reasons that six shorties is better than four tall cans.

ProTaper 76mm Riser Bar NSMB AndrewM (11).JPG

Swayze push-on grips with the controls run inboard. I kept smoking the end of the bar on stuff, which my pinkies didn't mind so much. I ended up cutting them down before I wired the grips.

My notes about wanting a bar with more back sweep aside, there is something beyond numbers about the ProTaper bar. I mean it has a 4° up-sweep and 8° back-sweep, which is nothing out of the norm, but they do feel great. That could just be nostalgia I suppose. Not just mine either, the number of people who've commented to me about their beloved - gold - Answer ProTaper bars back in the day makes me think it's a serious miss on Hayes Bicycle Group's part that these bars don't come in an anodized gold option. ProTaper was the bar.

Whether it's the bend, or the internal taper, or the 31.8mm clamp, or a combination of all three items and some magical metallurgy, the ProTaper bar is surprisingly comfortable. Certainly it was a learning curve coming off of the Fasst Flexx bar with it's 12° backsweep and shorter rise, and the corresponding addition of a stack of headset spacers, but nowhere near as rigid as I was prepared for whether riding my Helm, Durolux, or rigid fork.

ProTaper 76mm Riser Bar NSMB AndrewM (4).JPG

Slack headtube angle, long reach, short offset, CushCore - whatever the reason I had no issues getting the front end to hook up in steep & loose terrain or corners even with the much higher bar.

Teravail Semi Slick NSMB AndrewM (5).JPG

With flat pedals, I'll often put my seat down for technical climbs. Combined with the notably taller grip height v BB height, this went from helpful to a comfortable necessity.

Stem Interlude

There are lots of nice machined stems on the market around the 100 USD price range and I'll count the ProTaper MTB stem among them. Like the bars it comes in either a yellow or stealth graphic and it comes in five sizes, in a 31.8mm clamp; 30mm, 35mm, 40mm, 45mm, and 50mm to be precise. There is also a 35mm handlebar version available, albeit in 35mm and longer lengths due to the constraints of the clamp size.

ProTaper 76mm Riser Bar NSMB AndrewM (9).JPG

Answer makes a nice forged and post-machined stem for 100 USD.

I also played around with flipping my Industry Nine A318 stem upside down to get the bar a bit lower yet, but went back to the ProTaper for the duration of the test. The ProTaper MTB stem, simply works, unfailingly, as you would expect any decent stem to do.

Riding ProTaper

I also have a lot of hours on a regular 1" rise ProTaper bar on both my full suspension and my hardtail bikes. That includes the sweet tartan-graphic model I had on my Kona Unit and more recently a black bar with the same livery as this 3" bar. They do not stand out as being flexy or stiff. I'd say as 31.8" aluminum bars go it's a Goldilocks product for me in that regard.

Coming off bars with 12° and 16° backsweep it took a few rides to get used to the more generic 8° backsweep and that was perhaps trickier than learning to ride with my now much higher setup. It's an easy bar to recommend, with no caveats, in either rise. But then, there are a lot of great aluminum, and carbon bars running similar geo. Certainly where the ProTaper distinguishes itself is the height.

It's not a cheap, dead, and heavy stock steel high-rise bar. It's not an expensive and heavy custom steel high-rise bar. It's a sub-350-gram aluminum riser bar with a nice shape and a rise that people are looking for - whether they know it or they don't.

Protaper 76mm Riser NSMB AndrewM.JPG

I closed my eyes, cut my bars, and ended up at 770mm wide. Whichever fork I'm running, I love the setup I'm used to now with the 76mm bar, but I'd still love to try one with more backsweep.

Chatting about the ProTaper 3IN Riser Bars on the trail produces two distinct conversations. First, there are the folks waxing nostalgic about their amazing back-in-the-day ProTaper experiences. Then there are newer riders who don't have any personal stake in the brand or the product. In either case, I hope that riders who really would benefit from running the high rise bar will consider it.

Who cares what your riding friends say. They're just trying to hold you back on the descents and keep your upper body cooked on the climbs.

Anecdotally, from my conversations on the trail, I know there's interest out there for these bars. If you don't need one that's great, but if you do whether it's getting the most out of a bike where the bar feels too low descending or trying to optimize riding position on the climbs, this is a great option in a stock aluminum bar, with a nice ride quality, and a towering rise.

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Comments

olaa
+2 Andrew Major Mammal
olaa  - Sept. 15, 2020, 11:54 p.m.

That is so much better than the huge spacerstacks that you see all around! 

That Doctahawk should get a good inch longer reach with that bar :)

Reply

Tremeer023
+4 Andrew Major Allen Lloyd grcgrc Sean Chee
Tremeer023  - Sept. 16, 2020, 12:22 a.m.

Looks like my current set-up.  I'm running a Renthal Apex stem inverted with an Ergotec 70mm riser bar, also cut to 770.  It has a 12 deg backsweep so may be worth checking out. 

Andrew, as a fellow 'over 40' I've never seen the Waltworks look as good as it does in the top pic.  Looks similar to my bike but better.  It's my dream bike!  Maybe due to growing up riding bmx and living somewhere flat.

Reply

fartymarty
+2 Tremeer023 Sean Chee
fartymarty  - Sept. 16, 2020, 1:04 a.m.

Thanks for the tip on Ergotec, I've just bought one - a bargain at £35.  Worst case if they're too high they can go on the rigid bike to replace the bone shaking Surly Sunrise bar I have on there.

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AndrewMajor
+2 Tremeer023 Tjaard Breeuwer
Andrew Major  - Sept. 16, 2020, 6:33 a.m.

Thanks, I’ll check it out for sure!

Reply

fartymarty
+5 Sean Chee Andrew Major grcgrc JVP Tjaard Breeuwer
fartymarty  - Sept. 16, 2020, 12:24 a.m.

If Answer made a 60mm rise 12 degree backsweep I would all over it. 16 would be preferable but a bit nichey.

Reply

AndrewMajor
+2 JVP Tjaard Breeuwer
Andrew Major  - Sept. 16, 2020, 6:33 a.m.

Yeah, I put 12* as I figured there was a chance!

Reply

JVP
+1 Andrew Major
JVP  - Sept. 16, 2020, 1:29 p.m.

There needs to be more 12* options out there. I suspect we'll have more choices in the next 1-2 years.

I'd buy a couple of them tomorrow if I could find 12* sweep, alooomineeeeum, 800mm wide, 35-50 rise, 31.8 clamp. Heck, I might even compromise and buy a 35mm thiccccc bar (and stems). Still not interested in carbon bars. Ever.

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AndrewMajor
+2 Tjaard Breeuwer Greg Bly
Andrew Major  - Sept. 16, 2020, 2:40 p.m.

Completely agree.

I know more companies are dabbling in 10* bars. I have had two brands tell me they don’t have plans to do bigger sweeps because their sponsored riders have negative things to say about them and are really good at riding bikes (paraphrasing but not exaggerating)... which is like... ugh

Reply

craw
+3 Andrew Major Tjaard Breeuwer Geof Harries
Cr4w  - Sept. 16, 2020, 4:55 p.m.

Everyone's physiology Is exactly the same as those pro riders dontchaknow? Did you know that Steve Smith was 5'10" and he's like, really good at riding bikes so that's the only size we offer.

Reply

cooperquinn
0
Cooper Quinn  - Sept. 17, 2020, 8 a.m.

There's some guy named... Goat? Greg? 

I think he's pretty good. And tall.

Reply

otagoboy
+2 Sean Chee bumVSmtn
otagoboy  - Sept. 16, 2020, 4:27 a.m.

I also love my Protaper bars but mine are the 20/20 carbon ones; 810mm wide, 20 mm rise and 20 degree back sweep. It’s the 20 degree sweep which I crave - just so much more comfort for sore old wrists. Pity they don’t come in a higher rise too. These work well on a 160mm Zerode Katipo; previously had the 720mm Answer version on an old Yeti ASR5c. Only recently discovered they had updated to this wider model.

Reply

NotEndurbro
+1 Andrew Major
Dustin Meyer  - Sept. 16, 2020, 5:19 a.m.

Whoa! I didn't know they finally widened the 20/20! I heard someone recovering from a shoulder injury say on a podcast last week that the 20/20 bars they bought were too wide and my brain went all wonky because I thought they were saying 720mm was too wide.

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AndrewMajor
+1 bumVSmtn
Andrew Major  - Sept. 16, 2020, 6:35 a.m.

They didn’t do a great job of announcing the widening of the 20/20. I’ve mentioned it to a few folks who had to be shown photos to believe.

Reply

Tjaardbreeuwer
0
Tjaard Breeuwer  - Sept. 16, 2020, 8 p.m.

Yeah, I still have the narrow ones on my fatbike, but at 195cm tall, I like sienna wider. Good to hear.

Reply

Tjaardbreeuwer
0
Tjaard Breeuwer  - Sept. 16, 2020, 8 p.m.

Yeah, I still have the narrow ones on my fatbike, but at 195cm tall, I like sienna wider. Good to hear.

Reply

Vikb
+6 Andrew Major Tremeer023 grcgrc goose8 JVP Tjaard Breeuwer
Vik Banerjee  - Sept. 16, 2020, 5:06 a.m.

If the SQLabs 12/16 deg bars and this Pro Taper bar could have a baby I'd adopt it!

Reply

AndrewMajor
+2 Vik Banerjee grcgrc
Andrew Major  - Sept. 16, 2020, 6:36 a.m.

You, me, and at least five other people - it’s a start!

They do need to get the ProTaper 8/4 bars in stock as well.

Reply

Vikb
+2 Andrew Major grcgrc
Vik Banerjee  - Sept. 16, 2020, 6:38 a.m.

I'd buy 5+ if that was required to meet a minimum order quantity!

Reply

Vikb
+4 Andrew Major grcgrc bushtrucker Geof Harries
Vik Banerjee  - Sept. 16, 2020, 5:10 a.m.

I fully embrace the adult BMX fashion on my rigid SS bike. Not enough back sweep and only 760mm wide, but a nice 80mm rise on these Deity bars. 

BTW - What Chromag is that purple bike? I didn't even know they made a rigid bike?!?!?!

Reply

AndrewMajor
+2 Vik Banerjee Mammal
Andrew Major  - Sept. 16, 2020, 6:40 a.m.

Hahahahahaha. It’s the new Rigid Samurai 29” with sliders - you should email Chromag and ask when they’re available! 

I didn’t actually know that adult-BMX was a category of cycling-look. Still better that googles-with-half-lid?

Reply

Vikb
+2 Andrew Major grcgrc
Vik Banerjee  - Sept. 16, 2020, 5:13 a.m.

Maybe someone with industry connections could get Soma to release a 16 deg backsweep Dream Bar? They seem open to meeting niche demands.

Reply

WalrusRider
+1 Andrew Major
WalrusRider  - Sept. 16, 2020, 5:35 a.m.

This bar could work almost perfectly for my Stumpjumper Evo. It has a relatively short head tube and I'm running a 40mm rise Renthal bar with a Renthal stem and 20mm of spacers. It would be nice to reclaim a bit of reach. I really like a higher bar on steep trails.

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Sept. 16, 2020, 6:43 a.m.

You’re on the North Shore, or elsewhere?

Speaking more of 50mm rise (v. 76mm) and stem spacers, higher grip-heights are absolutely becoming more common here. I’ve wondering if it’s trending places that are less steep as well.

Reply

WalrusRider
+1 Andrew Major
WalrusRider  - Sept. 17, 2020, 5:26 a.m.

I'm in Washington state. I think many of our trails are on par with North Shore trails as far as steepness is concerned. But I've never ridden on the North Shore so I'm just going off of what I've seen online.

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Sept. 17, 2020, 2:49 p.m.

Yeah, definitely similar PNW terrain.

I’m not convinced that I’d lower it if I lived elsewhere, I think a good / bad descending position is much more noticeable if you regularly ride steep trails.

Reply

Bad-Sean
+1 Andrew Major
Sean Chee  - Sept. 16, 2020, 5:59 a.m.

I'm 6'5" and can hardly wait to get my hands on one of these for my next (downduro style) bike. I'm just waiting for them to come back into stock.

I'm also pretty keen on the 20/20 for my "xc" bike. It will make my daily grind a lot more comfortable.

Reply

AndrewMajor
+1 Sean Chee
Andrew Major  - Sept. 16, 2020, 6:44 a.m.

I’ve asked about an ETA for when they’ll have them.

Reply

AndrewMajor
+2 Sean Chee grcgrc
Andrew Major  - Sept. 16, 2020, 7 a.m.

The all black ‘Stealth’ bars are coming soon but the Yellow Graphic version I tested is in stock at ProTaper.

You can order through a shop or buy direct.

Reply

Bad-Sean
+1 Andrew Major
Sean Chee  - Sept. 16, 2020, 8:31 a.m.

Thanks mate. I'm in Australia and my LBS has promised me a set off the first shipment to arrive. 😀

Reply

AndrewMajor
+1 Sean Chee
Andrew Major  - Sept. 16, 2020, 8:52 a.m.

Cheers! Let us know how you get on with it!

Reply

ackshunW
+2 Andrew Major Tjaard Breeuwer
ackshunW  - Sept. 16, 2020, 7:26 a.m.

You mention added “effective reach”—- but it dawned on me, recently switching to a higher-rise bar (but not 3” — I’m not ready yet) — higher rise, if you keep the bars “level” i.e., rise part vertical, your effective stem length grows. I bet the 3” rise are equivalent to a 20mm longer stem with 15mm rise bars. What I’m saying is, don’t tell the short-stem mafia about this.

Reply

AndrewMajor
+2 grcgrc Tjaard Breeuwer
Andrew Major  - Sept. 16, 2020, 7:43 a.m.

But, but... Real Stem length doesn’t change relative to the steerer tube :-).

The change in the ETR (effective total Reach) can be very noticeable for sure!

As part of adapting to this setup I went from a 40mm to a 60mm stem on my Marin Alpine Trail (and had my most confident trips down a few double black trails on the bike - definitely don’t tell the short stem-ers, my credibility will be blown).

Reply

ackshunW
+1 Andrew Major
ackshunW  - Sept. 16, 2020, 8:26 a.m.

Yabbut, if the back sweep/upsweep numbers are the same, 15mm bar vs 76mm bar, for sure your hands wind up ~20mm further forward of the steer tube on the taller bar. 

Unless you’ve got the “rise” bend of the bar inline with the head angle- but most bars seem to be right when that bit is vertical. 

EDIT: I see now in the side view you do have the bars raked pretty far back...

In other words, bar roll has a way bigger effect on reach/ effective stem length when the bar is tall.

Reply

AndrewMajor
+2 ackshunW Greg Bly
Andrew Major  - Sept. 16, 2020, 8:55 a.m.

Bar roll I do just like cutting. Close my eyes and go. It’s absolutely a bigger range of feel with the taller bar but it was easy to find my happy place by semi-tightening the stem bolts and rolling it fore-aft.

I usually run 12 bars or 16 bars so not surprising I prefer the 8* rolled back a ways.

Reply

agleck7
+1 Andrew Major
Agleck7  - Sept. 16, 2020, 1:24 p.m.

9.25" bars on my bmx, and yeah, the tiniest roll at that stem has a huge impact on effective reach

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Sept. 16, 2020, 2:41 p.m.

Totally. Effective Reach and also the feel of the bar.

Reply

geraldooka
0
Michael  - Sept. 18, 2020, 5:30 p.m.

I tend to prefer my bars flat, I can't stand having the inside of my hand pointed towards the ground. I actually have not idea how anyone could ride like that it feels super awkward but hey whatever floats right?! In my case within extreme limits I would not experience a longer reach because I do generally keep the bar in line with the head angle, assuming the grips are flat at that angle which so far in dozens of bars tested seems to be the case.

Reply

Kenny
0
Kenny  - Sept. 19, 2020, 8:52 a.m.

Not quite accurate though to be fair, I'm mean it's effective total reach with respect to where your hands land relative to the bottom bracket, which is great and necessary in many cases, but not with respect to where your hands land with respect to the front axle. 

I'm not disagreeing with the approach but you are gaining that space between bars and bottom bracket at potentially the expense of putting your hands further out over the front axle. 

In my opinion many  manufacturers keep increasing reach but not increasing stack height along with it. The fact that we're rocking headtube angles in the low 60s exacerbates the issue since adding stem spacers has a greater effect on the reach as well.

I guess what I'm saying is I get it, but I think it's worth making the point that in a perfect world more bikes would have more stack because the reach increases are kinda "fake" when stack remains low. The latest long travel 29er forks are in a way accidentally helping matters but it's still not quite enough. A bike like the Madonna v2 with a 130mm headtube in size large and a 170-180mm is more in the rightballpark. I think it's even more important on hardtails and as such I find odd that chromag for example still seem pretty enamored with low stack heights in many cases.

Reply

geraldooka
+1 Andrew Major
Michael  - Sept. 19, 2020, 10:32 a.m.

There are drawbacks to big stack or even higher bars. It’s not as much of an issue on descending but it can make climbing those particularly steep punch climbs more challenging. Andrew‘s bike is quite anomalous in the industry to a degree that his riding experience is going to be very unique. I’m not suggesting his opinion is invalid just the unique geometry of his frame needs to be considered as part of the discussion. I recently stretched the chain stays out on my hardtail to their longest setting 435mm vs the shortest 415 it made a massive difference in the way the bike climbed. I could stay seated and run a more upright cockpit with taller grip position and still climb steep terrain similarly. Imagine what 450mm or longer stays would be like I could probably sit bolt upright and still maintain the same front  wheel traction...

Reply

AndrewMajor
+1 Michael
Andrew Major  - Sept. 19, 2020, 9:26 p.m.

It's a fair comment; my Waltworks as it sits in these photos has ~460mm chainstays. Climbing traction seated or standing is excellent. Weight distribution downhill is excellent.

Reply

geraldooka
0
Michael  - Sept. 20, 2020, 10:58 a.m.

I’m encouraged that in my experiment when matched to a higher cockpit I was still able to do the wheelies and pump track type fun stuff despite adding 20mm to the rear end. It rides great and because I’m more upright I’m more comfortable. It’s convinced me that should I go for another custom hardtail or full suspension I would have no problems starting at 435 “the new playful” and have the ability to stretch it to 455 for even more upright comfortable goodness.

cooperquinn
+5 Andrew Major Pete Roggeman Sean Chee Tjaard Breeuwer Bikeryder85
Cooper Quinn  - Sept. 16, 2020, 8:04 a.m.

Mountain bikers are the Goth kids*; everything has to fit in and look right. And its black, or plaid. But remember, we're edgy and cool and its not a uniform. 

Ride whatever bars you want, and just hit anyone who makes fun of them on the head with said bars. 

*watch Goth Kids 3: Dawn of the Posers to really understand how NSMB.com readers are probably goth kids, view enduro-bros as the vamp kids, and then there's all the new emo-kids who started riding recently, and shop at Hot Topic.

Reply

AndrewMajor
+1 Cooper Quinn
Andrew Major  - Sept. 16, 2020, 8:08 a.m.

Hahahahahaha 

I feel like the emo-kids of mountain biking are the dudes (always dudes) who buy an AXS drivetrain and then whine (to the bike shop employee) about the replacement cost of a rear derailleur when they blow it up.

Reply

cooperquinn
0
Cooper Quinn  - Sept. 16, 2020, 8:28 a.m.

Yep. The whole episode is basically about mountain bikers. 

I will say, the All England Club is about as inclusive as mountain biking, though.

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
+2 Andrew Major Sean Chee
Pete Roggeman  - Sept. 16, 2020, 11:03 a.m.

Neither here nor there, but I've been to Wimbledon - the event and the club - and it was one of the best live events I've ever been to in terms of organization and even *gasp* accessibility. When daily/weekly ticket holders leave for the day, they 'donate' their seat back to the club for the rest of the day. The organization then sells them for 5 pounds to people lined up outside, with the money going to charity. As a result, I've sat at the center of Center court in the third row, and watched Andy Roddick, for only five pounds.

Obviously the world's best-known private tennis club is exclusive, but I was impressed and surprised by how great their annual tournament is, and how easy it is to watch great tennis live even if you don't have a lot of money.

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cooperquinn
0
Cooper Quinn  - Sept. 16, 2020, 12:44 p.m.

Accessibility is but one component of inclusivity. Its important, though. 

Lets go with, "Like mountain biking, the All England Club might not be a bastion of progressive action."?

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
+2 Andrew Major Sean Chee
Pete Roggeman  - Sept. 16, 2020, 3:49 p.m.

Tennis has a way better track record than most sports for inclusivity, actually. Far from perfect but better than most.

cooperquinn
+1 Andrew Major
Cooper Quinn  - Sept. 16, 2020, 5:37 p.m.

cam@nsmb.com
+1 Sean Chee
Cam McRae  - Sept. 16, 2020, 10:05 a.m.

Andrew was mentioning this to me (haven’t seen it) and there is likely an article in there. 

What I wonder is how the motivations differ? Are goth kids simply trying to fit in, because the culture they live in doesn’t work for them, and achieve status with their lifestyle and fashion choices within this group? That seems likely and a parallel can be drawn for sure. 

A question I have is how does performance fit into that equation. The conversations I have with riding friends focus on performance and getting the bike to work with you in challenging terrain and to keep up with my buddies. I have no idea what that equates to for goth kids at all. What is the performance equivalent for goths? 

How many dudes in suits roll their eyes at you on the bus? How many jocks bully you? What are their metrics?

Reply

cooperquinn
+6 Pete Roggeman bushtrucker Sean Chee Tremeer023 Geof Harries Todd Hellinga
Cooper Quinn  - Sept. 16, 2020, 11:17 a.m.

Mountain bikers - especially those of us who have been at it for decades - generally view ourselves as counterculture. Which, mountain biking was, at one point. We're the goth kids on SP dissecting Edgar Allen Poe, or geometry charts, or the latest in moisture wicking technology. 

Countercultures often fall victim to themselves, and become the opposite of non-conformist. It becomes a uniform. 

Think of the plaid. The Tacomas. The derogatory comments about 'dentists', as if people with real jobs and incomes are somehow lesser. What did you think when you saw someone ride by in jeans? Or on a decade-plus old bike? Or someone riding Bobsled on the newest Santa Cruz decked in full AXS?

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
+2 Andrew Major Tjaard Breeuwer
Pete Roggeman  - Sept. 16, 2020, 3:50 p.m.

Yep. Funny because it's true. Sad because it's true.

Reply

cooperquinn
+8 Sean Chee Tjaard Breeuwer Andrew Major Velocipedestrian Tremeer023 Geof Harries Andy Eunson Todd Hellinga
Cooper Quinn  - Sept. 16, 2020, 6:38 p.m.

And I'm guilty here of many of these - let he who has not judged a passing rider's clothing choices cast the first crankarm. 

Its funny, to a degree. But the sad part is I can name several 'fashion' offenses I'm apparently guilty of, because random people I don't even know have poked fun at them out on the trails. Recently. Unprompted. 

Its not sad to me - I don't give a flying f*** if you think I'm riding in 'tap dancing shoes', or if you don't think I'm going to be, "ok on that bike on this trail". I know I got this. That's the culture that pervades big parts of the sport though, judgement. Think of the stares and rotating heads in your group every time a Tacoma pulls into the brewery parking lot; who's getting out, what bike are they on, and what does it look like they rode? 

Maybe I'm wrong; we're not the goths. We're a bunch of jocks; bullies. Even for me - straight, white, on fresh gear with fresh-ish kit, I can see what people mean when they say its not 'inclusive' or welcoming. Its because there's a huge amount of judgmental pricks out there, telling new riders they don't have the right socks on.

EDIT: Let's keep it on topic here, folks. Drew, your handlebars look dumb. Get something like the rest of us non-conformists.

Reply

Bad-Sean
+1 Cooper Quinn
Sean Chee  - Sept. 16, 2020, 9:09 p.m.

Your comments have been bang on.

AndrewMajor
+1 Cooper Quinn
Andrew Major  - Sept. 16, 2020, 9:41 p.m.

"EDIT: Let's keep it on topic here, folks. Drew, your handlebars look dumb. Get something like the rest of us non-conformists."

Bingo!

cooperquinn
+1 Andy Eunson
Cooper Quinn  - Sept. 16, 2020, 10:17 p.m.

Its a hilarious episode, Sean, and not just because Randy is in it. Its from back when South Park was really in it's prime. The Goth Kids are underappreciated characters. 

Mountain bikers are the classic 'we don't conform. but to be one of us you must wear the uniform' culture. And as usual, South Park is the best parody out there.

andy-eunson
+2 Cooper Quinn Sean Chee
Andy Eunson  - Sept. 17, 2020, 8:48 a.m.

I say South Park is the best reality show out there. Non conformists must conform with their non conformist group. Otherwise how would we know we don’t conform unless we conform. I think there may be a philosophy dissertation in there. The shoe thing really kills me. The shoe must be a combination of Adidas Stan Smith and an orthopaedic shoe. I mean heaven forbid that someone sees you riding a bike in real bike shoes and thinks you’re a biker.

cooperquinn
0
Cooper Quinn  - Sept. 16, 2020, 6:38 p.m.

This comment has been removed.

Jotegir
0
Lu Kz  - Sept. 16, 2020, 8:33 a.m.

And here I am at 6' 2" trying to keep my front end low. Every time a new bar comes out I'm bummed that the 10mm or flat options stop after 740mm wide. I wonder if my tune would change if I rode the Shore daily rather than the interior?

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OLDF150
+2 Andrew Major Tjaard Breeuwer
Kerry Williams  - Sept. 16, 2020, 12:32 p.m.

There's so much more to fit and bar height than where you ride, in my old opinion.  I too ride the Interior and am only 5'11" on an Instict XL.  I'v added tons of spacers to make it work for me, but the guy I bought it off of is about 6'4" and he had it slammed with only 1 spacer.  It depends on your body shape and also where your body strength comes from. Some people have strong limber backs, some do not. Hope you've found a bar height that's working for you Lu.

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AndrewMajor
+2 Kerry Williams Tjaard Breeuwer
Andrew Major  - Sept. 16, 2020, 2:44 p.m.

Absolutely. 

Just to clarify, I certainly am not suggesting everyone needs a 76mm riser bar, 50mm riser bar, etc. Simply that many people do need one and this is a great example.

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andy-eunson
+4 Andrew Major Tremeer023 Tjaard Breeuwer Sean Chee
Andy Eunson  - Sept. 16, 2020, 8:34 a.m.

It’s about time we that we are seeing different bar rises and sweeps. Road bars have been available in widths and drops and reaches as well as different bends for quite some time. I was at a shop yesterday and the mountain bars were on display and really, it was simply a colour change. Cycling is funny. So many riders set their bike up for how it looks. Clothing too. So many road riders never use the drops because they slam an overly long stem which makes reach and drop uncomfortable. Thing is, there’s all kinds of resources available to set up a road bike well. Not so much for mountainbikes.

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AndrewMajor
+3 Andy Eunson Kerry Williams Tjaard Breeuwer
Andrew Major  - Sept. 16, 2020, 8:58 a.m.

Mountain bikes are a lot more complicated to fit for sure since power generation and comfort are only two factors. Plus, at least around here, we spend most the time climbing but need geo/brakes/tires/suspension(?) set up to survive the downhills.

Absolutely agree though. More rise and sweep options = better. More people willing to try stuff outside the norm to find a better fit is the next step.

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andy-eunson
+2 Andrew Major Cooper Quinn
Andy Eunson  - Sept. 16, 2020, 12:02 p.m.

Yeah. Off road fit has to balance pedaling efficiency with descending efficiency. Two different things.

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gdharries
+2 Andy Eunson ManInSteel
Geof Harries  - Sept. 16, 2020, 9:15 a.m.

How tall are you, Andrew?

I feel like every time I try to get myself on a fashionable bike, it backfires. The only bike that has ever fit me really well was the one hand-made for me. This one, in 2009.

I look at it now and see the short top tube and high stack. I miss those days.

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AndrewMajor
+1 Geof Harries
Andrew Major  - Sept. 16, 2020, 2:45 p.m.

Geof, I’m 5’9” with T-Rex’s ape-index. I usually ride a size large bike.

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blaklabl
+5 Andrew Major Andy Eunson Vik Banerjee Sean Chee Tjaard Breeuwer
blaklabl  - Sept. 16, 2020, 10:52 a.m.

As a mountain biker for the past 33 years, my fit and fashion has changed a lot over time - and the former has become way more important to me as I get older and my back/neck acts up more frequently.

I still prefer a hardtail, but plus tires have a been a great advancement in my comfort (and hardtail-riding longevity) over the past couple of years. One thing I have always struggled with was stack height. I just can no longer ride with the bars level or below the saddle, and as a short-ish guy at 5'8" my saddle has never been super high.

After having a set of titanium "klunker" bars (Defiance Frameworks Arise! bars) made for a SS project I did a couple years ago, on a whim I put them on my last plus bike (Fuse Carbon) and my comfort improved IMMEDIATELY. So, it made perfect sense to move them over to my new ride, Why Cycles S7, even with it's slightly higher stack and taller head tube. The combo of rise, sweep and material flex make them magical for my *personal* comfort.

I have spent a lot of time and money this year trying to get the same "feel" of these bars with more of the "look" as a more traditional mountain bike, for many of the reasons you listed in the review. More spacers, highest rise (50mm in most cases), because I got hung up on my bike looking more like a classic klunker than a regular bike, and the questions and comments that come along with it. But, after many frustrating rides with equipment that was more about fashion than comfort, I said f*ck it and now I'm embracing my oddball and eccentric setup because it works FOR ME.

Sorry that's a long-winded comment but thank you Andrew for the great review and the positive comments around "non-traditional" handlebar height & setup.

I wish I could figure out how to post a simple picture...

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AndrewMajor
+2 Vik Banerjee bushtrucker
Andrew Major  - Sept. 16, 2020, 2:52 p.m.

Cheers!

I think a good takeaway is that it’s a system. Plus tires (at least 2.6”) and inserts changed riding a hardtail for me & made rigid forks (part time) rideable again. Longer reach, flats (or cleat position), grips, saddle, and so one forever and ever. For a lot more riders higher bars should be part of the equation.

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OLDF150
+1 Andrew Major
Kerry Williams  - Sept. 16, 2020, 12:25 p.m.

This is a very topical story even if you don't want an Answer Protaper.  I'm only 5'11" and on my XL Instinct run a ton of spacers to get the bars to an acceptable height.  The only question I have is, is it because I'm now over 50, or is it younger people too, who are finding current bars are quite often too low?

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Sept. 16, 2020, 2:47 p.m.

I think on average older riders are less adaptable to bad setups and more inclined to spend money to change them. I ran a slammed setup for years and I’m positive I would have been a significantly better rider using a position similar to what I have now (rigid, hardtail, or FS)

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Vikb
+2 Andrew Major Sean Chee
Vik Banerjee  - Sept. 16, 2020, 1:12 p.m.

BTW - interesting to note that the head tube length on the L & XL Santa Cruz 5010 are 150 and 165mm respectively. That solves a bunch of the rise issues we are discussing once HTLs get that big.

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AndrewMajor
+1 Vik Banerjee
Andrew Major  - Sept. 16, 2020, 2:49 p.m.

I can’t get my head around who’s buying XL, and even large, 27” wheeled bikes!?!?

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OLDF150
+1 Andrew Major
Kerry Williams  - Sept. 16, 2020, 3:52 p.m.

I fully admit, the reason the XL works for me at 5'11" is because the Rocky's up until this year were sized on the smaller side of the spectrum.  I sure like how much more in the bike I feel when on a larger framed bike, so long as the reach doesn't make it weird for me.

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AndrewMajor
+2 Andy Eunson Greg Bly
Andrew Major  - Sept. 16, 2020, 4:39 p.m.

Short chainstays. They win the parking lot test. They’re great for trials, pump tracks, manuals and dirt jumps. On actual technical terrain - fast or slow - a lot of geometry evolution has been to add to wheel base forward of the bottom bracket.

Longer Reach. Slacker HTA. Shorter stem, reduce fork offset.

I usually ride a large and have ridden some XL bikes (with short stems) - I’m 5’9” - and I think a big part of that is chasing wheelbase / balance stability. I believe if the standard 150/160mm bikes were running 450mm+ chainstays I could be happier with a bit shorter Reach (and maybe a bit longer stem & larger fork offset). 

I’ve been saying for a while now I think rear centers will grow (wheelbase is the new head angle) and I like what Santa Cruz and Rocky and Kona and... are doing with flip-chips on a limited number of models. Short rear Center for the parking lot & longer for the trail. I just wish the short settings where the long settings and the long was ++

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gdharries
+1 Andrew Major
Geof Harries  - Sept. 16, 2020, 4:53 p.m.

So, what you're looking for is an EZ button to press for whether you're in the parking lot or on the trail. Hit the button, and the bike's rear centre auto-lengthens or shortens. Love it.

Can I get the same for quick on the fly adjustments to stack height? Up, down? No problem!

Basically, a dropper post for everywhere else on your bike.

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AndrewMajor
+1 Geof Harries
Andrew Major  - Sept. 16, 2020, 5:01 p.m.

Nah. I don’t care how my bike rides in the parking lot!

Tjaardbreeuwer
0
Tjaard Breeuwer  - Sept. 17, 2020, 8:27 a.m.

Bionicon used to do this:

Push button and fork travel dropped, rear extended and vice versa

andy-eunson
+1 Andrew Major
Andy Eunson  - Sept. 16, 2020, 6:22 p.m.

A friend of mine was going on about how good his ten year old is on a bike. Those kids have proportional longer bikes than adults from the looks of things. Whoever it is that started this whole short chainstay thing should have his bikes taken away permanently.

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Bad-Sean
+2 Andrew Major Geof Harries
Sean Chee  - Sept. 16, 2020, 9 p.m.

I want a 27.5 XL. Hahaha but that's more about my delusions of free ride grandeur than anything else.

I've just pulled the trigger on a new "xc" bike. The Canyon Neuron will be my first new bike in about a decade, my first new full sus, and first 29er. It's the bike I want  the 20/20 for.

I cover about 20km every morning on my fence checks at the farm. This route is a mix of fire breaks and livestock trails with some extra features scattered around to keep me interested. 

Back to the XL 650b bike, I'm 6'5" and 240-250lb. My 6 year old giant reign is on its last legs. I would also like some more travel out back and an air shock.  The 36 I have on it feels like a noodle, although not as bad as it did when I was closer to 300lb. Hopefully 37/38mm forks are better for that but I am pretty interested in switching to a dual crown oem take off. 

I've been using a backhoe to build more technical lines and have a big freeride line build planned for summer. I'm also planning a couple of trips overseas to bike parks in the post covid future.

I realise I am a pretty edge use case but I'm completely open to more modern geometry and wheel size changing my mind. 

I would just slap a wide cassette on a DH bike if I didn't have to ride to the top of my trails or cover up to 10km to reach some. One of my mates has a polygon xquareone DH bike with an 11-42/6 cassette on it and that thing climbs like a hardtail. It's pretty awesome on the downhill side of things and much more playful than reviewers let on. They're also impossible to find in XL or i would own one.

So a yt capra, canyon torque, commencal clash, norco range, polygon ex8 etc seem to be a good fit. My LBS is keen to hook me up with the new Cannondale enduro bike, Scott Ransom or Rocky Slayer. I guess I should give serious thought to the 29er bikes, and probably will when I get used to them on the Neuron. 

No matter what I end up buying, this pro taper bar will end up under my grips.

/novel

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gdharries
+2 Sean Chee JVP
Geof Harries  - Sept. 17, 2020, 7:01 a.m.

Fun stories. I smile at the idea of a morning fence check.

I’m a little shorter than you at 6’3” but have only owned 27.5” wheeled XL bikes since 2018.

This Norco Torrent hardtail marked my return to the smaller wheel size after nine years on various 29ers. I liked how with the smaller wheels I was closer to the ground.

For some people, like myself who aren’t concerned about all out speed and just want to bounce around having fun, a 27.5” XL is pretty awesome. Sounds like you feel the same way.

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Bad-Sean
+1 Andrew Major
Sean Chee  - Sept. 18, 2020, 5:43 a.m.

100%. Im all about fun over speed. That is a sweet ride. If I didn't have to cover my fences every morning I would have seriously considered a hardtail. 

A 130mm 29er is perfect for the public trails near me too. No lifts or shuttling in my part of the world save for one spot that I'm yet to visit.

For the more technical lines that are evolving since I bought the backhoe (I really did buy it for farming and not trail building, I promise hahaha), I want all the travel to conceal my lack of skills and give added confidence. I would prefer a 650b bike but I'm also prepared to fall for 29" wheels. 

At the end of the day I'm grateful guys like us are finally getting bikes with appropriate geometry. I never thought I would be able to consider throwing a dual crown onto a bike that I use to pedal seated.

I used to (and still do occasionally) run the fences on my ktm 2 stroke or quad. But since a couple of mobs of kangaroos and wallabies moved into some of my pastures I made the conscious decision to ride it so I can really enjoy it and reduce the noise disturbance for the wildlife.

It's been great so far. I hope the enthusiasm remains during summer when everything is hard outdoors. But my plan is to just keep building new trails to keep myself interested. Luckily I have plenty of space to do it.

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bushtrucker
+2 Andrew Major Sean Chee
bushtrucker  - Sept. 16, 2020, 4:55 p.m.

When you mentioned more sweep I couldn't help but think of Hunter Smooth Move High Rise. 15 degree backsweep, 5 degree upsweep, 75 mm rise and 750 mm wide. And they come in a polished finish if you're looking for something classy. I have them on my Karate Monkey and couldn't think of a better shape for that big BMX feel.

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AndrewMajor
+1 bushtrucker
Andrew Major  - Sept. 16, 2020, 5 p.m.

A few people have pointed them out to me but 750mm is just a bit too narrow.

I would be keen to try this 48mm rise Stooge Moto Bar or I mean, if ProTaper did a 12* that would be great.

Also really hope Fasst Flexx does a 50mm+ rise in the future.

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bushtrucker
+1 Andrew Major
bushtrucker  - Sept. 16, 2020, 5:45 p.m.

Totally agree, a bit narrow for out and out trail use. I've actually managed to press in some control tech bar extenders to get another pair of Low Rise Hunters out to 790 mm. Yet to fit them up though.

I've also tried those Stooge Moto bars and althought the width was great I really loticed the lack of upsweep with the outer part of my hand feeling undersupported. Would be great to see more options with more rise.

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velocipedestrian
+2 Andrew Major Andy Eunson
Velocipedestrian  - Sept. 16, 2020, 5:08 p.m.

I have a theory about your mysterious comfort, Andrew.

> Whether it's the bend, or the internal taper, or the 31.8mm clamp, or a combination of all three items and some magical metallurgy, the ProTaper bar is surprisingly comfortable.

The extra rise means the bar is a longer tube than the same width in a lower rise. This means more bar to flex, and a lower resonant frequency (an open tube has a resonant frequency of a wavelength twice the tubes length, see, education is useful!)

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Sept. 16, 2020, 5:51 p.m.

Nothing was said about open tubes and resonant frequency but, one of my regular riding buddies wondered if the significant increase it tube length to achieve the same bar width would have an effect on comfort/flex. 

Beyond my level of sciencing to prove/disprove but it’s an interesting idea.

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craw
+1 Andrew Major
Cr4w  - Sept. 16, 2020, 5:54 p.m.

So now that you've made this discovery and confirmed the results would you build the next version of this hardtail differently? i.e. with a lot more stack but maintaining your current reach number?

What other innovations are you considering for your next HT adventure?

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AndrewMajor
+2 Vik Banerjee Cr4w
Andrew Major  - Sept. 16, 2020, 10:18 p.m.

It's actually strange. The V2 is the first bike in my history of riding bikes that I've been completely happy with. There are some small things I'd change if I broke it, for sure, but wholesale? No. I've been riding rigid again a lot but I love being able to swap to a 100-120mm fork when I need to or want to. The sagged 64° HTA w/ suspension | static 64° HTA w/ rigid is perfect. I like the pedaling position (or more accurately the range of pedal position adjustment) and the wheelbase and rear center are perfect for either application.

If I had to replace the bike tomorrow I'd add 1cm to the rear center, remove that 1.5cm from the Reach, slack it out another .5° and switch back to a 50mm offset. But I certainly wouldn't invest any amount of money in making those changes unless I had to replace V2.

***

If I had a pile of cash I had to spend on a bike I'd be getting a custom full-suspension bike made. It's just cloud drawing exercises for me so I change my mind all the time on what that would look like.

As of tonight, I'd get the rear end and linkage of a 27" Specialized Stumpy ST Alloy in Dusty Lilac (130mm rear) with a custom steel 29" front triangle with a 62° HTA, 470-ish Reach (Reach designed around 50mm stem and 75°-ish STA), 50mm offset. Anyways I have a clear picture of it in my mind and I think it's pretty cool.

Reply

Bearlover
+1 Andrew Major
Bearlover  - Sept. 16, 2020, 6:45 p.m.

Thanks for the article Andrew. At 193cm, I’ve struggled with getting my stack height right for years. Currently, I’m running 35mm of spacers, with a 6 degree rise-50mm length stem, and 40mm Renthal handlebars. That gets me right at seat height with a 130mm head tube on an XL bike. I could get away with running a 76mm bar, given my spacer stack, but, like others, feel like it would look a bit cartoon. Still, I would love to get some reach back, and I’m eyeing the new Spank 60mm vibracore bars to knock out some spacers and extend my cockpit just a smidge. 

One thing I didn’t see addressed in the article or comments has always concerned me and that’s most, if not all, fork manufacturers tell consumers not to have more than 30mm of spacers. Have you ever seen someone sheer off a fork steerer below the stem? Are all of us riding at the Minaar and Lindup end of the height spectrum just asking to be impaled on the front of our bikes?

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Sept. 17, 2020, 5:27 p.m.

I have seen cracked steerer tubes but nothing I would attribute to headset spacers. That is to say, it’s crazy how tight you can make M5 hardware.

Still, companies don’t usually throw max numbers out just for fun. Most the major brands - in any category of cycling gear - test to failure.

In the original layout for this piece I was also going to talk about stiffness. For example, folks with 35mm bars, 38mm forks, and carbon wheels not accounting for how much flex some steerer tubes have (with lots of spacers) but it seemed to muddy the waters especially when talking about the benefits of a higher rise bar having more (different) flex - or damping - or...

So yeah, I’m not panicked by seeing more than 30mm of headset spacers bit most really tall folks I know still haven’t discovered a bike that’s too big for them so I think lowering the stem and using a high rise bar is a good fit option over a big stack of spacers.

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Bikeryder85
+1 Andrew Major
Bikeryder85  - Sept. 17, 2020, 6:25 a.m.

Andrew, first, love these articles (finally created an account to comment).

I have been riding mtb since roughly 97-98 with lots of nagging injuries and these bike-fit exercises allow some of us to get some guidance on how to keep riding as we age. I moved to a wide 11° bar after the sqlabs article and can ride longer with less pain. Please keep up the good work! (That goes for the rest of NSMB.com as well).

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Sept. 17, 2020, 4:59 p.m.

Cheers!

I think it was most extensively covered in the Fasst Flexx piece but folks who don’t need this stuff don’t need it - great! But the feedback I’ve received from pieces about bars, grips, etc is that it does change folks’ riding experience for the better and that’s awesome. Glad you are getting more riding for less discomfort and appreciate the props very much!.

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Bikeryder85
+1 Andrew Major
Bikeryder85  - Sept. 18, 2020, 4:11 a.m.

No problem! I have always found it curious why there are not more pieces in that vein. Like you, bikes have always been a little bit "adult Lego" and tinkering for the sake of it is just a part of it. So if you can test a wide range of stuff, why not mess around with set-up...to me that is part of the fun!

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alexdi
+3 ackshunW Andy Eunson Martin Lesar
Alex D  - Sept. 17, 2020, 7:47 a.m.

You're not 'preserving' reach by using a high-rise bar. The only thing that matters is the ultimate position of your hands relative to the steering axis. You could have a 300mm or 30mm stem, a riser bar, a flat bar, a long or short headtube-- it makes no difference how the parts are combined if your hands end up in the same place. The bike will handle and feel the same. The advantage of riser bars is that it's hard to find high-rise stems, so if your fork was cut short, they're the only good way to get the grips high enough.

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cooperquinn
+1 Andrew Major Cr4w ManInSteel Alex D Martin Lesar
Cooper Quinn  - Sept. 17, 2020, 11:57 a.m.

Er, no. Stem length changes things; just because your grips are in the same relative position to your saddle doesn't mean the bike will handle or feel the same. 

Front center, stack, reach, wheelbase... all of these things matter. Yes, you can fine tune and make changes within a reasonable range, but you can't just throw a 125mm long stem and high rise bar on a small frame and think it'll be the same as riding a large with with a 50mm.

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ackshunW
+1 Martin Lesar
ackshunW  - Sept. 17, 2020, 1:39 p.m.

No! I agree with Alex —- he’s saying what I was alluding to above — if Andrew gained “effective reach” with this setup change—— those added mm’s didn’t come from the frame, they came from additional “effective stem length”

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cooperquinn
+1 Andrew Major
Cooper Quinn  - Sept. 17, 2020, 2:38 p.m.

You're trying to fix grip position relative to saddle and front axle?

Sure,  you can get your grips in the same place relative to various points in different ways with different stems and bars. Andrew could have added headset spacers and stem length. But...

Just because your grips  are in the same place relative to some parts of the bike, doesn't mean the handling will be the same. As an easy measurable, the steering arc radius will increase as you increase stem length. Adding headset spacers (stack increase) decreases reach - that Doctahawk is a good visual of this. You can't just offset that with more stem length and arrive at a bicycle that handles the same as it would with a lower stack, and higher bar. 

With any of these changes, there's a reasonable box to play in and maintain design characteristics. I'm sure bike manufacturers would love to make one frame, and sell it with different components.

And, perhaps one of the biggest challenges in mtb geometry, fit, and design, is that no geo number is an island. They're all related to overall handling; trying to change - or fix - one measurement will have direct impacts on others.

As an example - one place I see higher rise bars possibly useful for me is with anglesets - they decrease reach if you're slackening the bike, and making no other changes. So, install angleset, reduce headset spacers to shorten 'stack' and increase reach, then put bar height where it belongs w/ bar rise. Stem can stay similar length thereby not changing steering radius arc much, or ratio of stem length to fork offset. In this scenario, you've also increased wheelbase, fork trail, and dropped bb; no number is an island.

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velocipedestrian
+1 Andrew Major
Velocipedestrian  - Sept. 17, 2020, 3:35 p.m.

I've just recently done this - works - 2° headset with external upper cup, and switched out a 20mm rise bar for a 40mm rise.

Grips are finally near raised saddle height, but without the cramped reach feeling I get with spacers under the stem.

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AndrewMajor
-1 Martin Lesar
Andrew Major  - Sept. 17, 2020, 2:55 p.m.

You can create the same static position sure - where the grips are is where the grips are, no debate.

But if you think a 30mm stem / 3” rise bar rides the same as 3” of headset spacers, a long stem, and a flat bar that’s easily refutable by physical evidence. 

Even within a narrower window of testing - say a 40mm v. 60mm stem with the same bar width and raising / lowering spacers to get the same static grip position will deliver very different handling.

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alexdi
+1 Martin Lesar
Alex D  - Sept. 18, 2020, 9:21 a.m.

> But if you think a 30mm stem / 3” rise bar rides the same as 3” of headset spacers, a long stem, and a flat bar

If that long stem was paired with a bar that put the grips in the same position and orientation, there would be no difference. Your hands would move the steerer from the same position, with the same force, over the same arc.

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cooperquinn
-2 Andrew Major Velocipedestrian Christopher Daniel Martin Lesar
Cooper Quinn  - Sept. 18, 2020, 10:03 a.m.

"Your hands would move the steerer from the same position, with the same force, over the same arc."

No. 

alexdi
+5 Velocipedestrian Christopher Daniel JVP ackshunW Martin Lesar
Alex D  - Sept. 18, 2020, 12:30 p.m.

Cooper, you've given the same argument twice for a position I don't have. In your example, your hands are not in the same position relative to the steering axis. This is a correct example:

Bars

Radical difference in stem length, no difference at all in steering movement (assuming you're in the hoods or the drops for this silly bar). Only the position of your hands relative to the steering axis matters, not how you get there. 

And again, this doesn't just apply to the horizontal axis; you can get identical fit and handling with radically different combinations of bar rise, sweep, stem angle, and spacers.

alexdi
0
Alex D  - Sept. 18, 2020, 12:30 p.m.

This comment has been removed.

alexdi
+4 ackshunW Carmel Vik Banerjee Martin Lesar
Alex D  - Sept. 18, 2020, 6:11 a.m.

> but you can't just throw a 125mm long stem and high rise bar on a small frame and think it'll be the same as riding a large with with a 50mm.

That isn't what I said.

Stems

These stems are 70mm/-20D, 65mm/10D, and 110mm/53D. They will all fit and ride exactly the same.

Bars are no different. Here's Pinkbike comparing a bar that extends forward from the steerer tube to a conventional bar with a 50mm stem:

Bars

These two configurations (accounting for the imperfect match) are functionally identical, and this applies equally if you're talking about vertical deviations (bar rise) rather than horizontal.

If we're really boiling things down, the bike size when you're standing is wholly determined by the position of the bottom bracket relative to the bottom of the head tube, and the HTA. Whether the position of the grips comes from a taller head tube, more spacers, up-angled stems, or bar rise makes no difference.

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cooperquinn
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Cooper Quinn  - Sept. 18, 2020, 11:14 a.m.

Yes. Having a one piece bar that simulates a certain length stem and rise/sweep bar, will be the same as having that actual stem and bar combo, at the same place on the steerer tube.

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AndrewMajor
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Andrew Major  - Sept. 18, 2020, 2:54 p.m.

Alex, I completely agree that two setups where the stem is clamped in the same spot on the steerer (say right at the headset bearing cap for example) that put the grips in the same position are going to ride the same. If one has a 3” riser stem and one as a 3” riser bar so be it.

But getting the same static fit by moving my stem up the steerer tube (3” of headset spacers for an extreme example) and installing a longer stem to get the same static position feels totally different on the trail. It’s like steering with a tiller.

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alexdi
+2 Christopher Daniel Martin Lesar
Alex D  - Sept. 18, 2020, 5:23 p.m.

Andrew, that's just it-- it's not the same position. If you actually sketch out where your grips are, you'll find that a configuration that feels different puts them somewhere else. It's not something you can eyeball or guesstimate; as an experienced rider, you'd probably notice a half-centimeter deviation in any direction, and for a bar that tall, just one degree in tilt will move the grips over a centimeter.

> where the stem is clamped in the same spot on the steerer

When you're picturing your bar setup with a stem mounted, imagine drawing extra support lines from your bar clamp to random points on the head tube. None of those lines would change your steering geometry. All of them represent a potential stem (or would, if we pretend you could mount a stem to the hidden parts of your steerer). It does not matter whether your new stem clamps lower or higher if your grip position doesn't change.

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delusional
+2 ackshunW Martin Lesar
delusional  - Sept. 19, 2020, 5:09 p.m.

This conversation grabbed me, and I found myself thinking it about it while I was riding today. In this case, isn't everyone right to a degree? It seems like, by removing stem spacers and installing a high rise bar, Andrew was both increasing reach AND increasing effective stem length (or, at least the horizontal distance between grips and steering axis).

From what I can see, if you add or remove stem spacers without changing the bar or stem, then you are modifying the effective reach and stack. That is, if you remove stem spacers, the horizontal distance between grips and bottom bracket will increase (and the vertical decrease) but the relationship between the grips and the steering axis will remain the same. So the increase in horizontal distance is in the reach.

Similarly, if you add higher rise bars to a bike, but keep all other variables the same, you are increasing the effective stem length by moving the grips further away, horizontally, from the steering axis.

Every time I start thinking about this stuff I realize how incredibly complex bike geometry really is! There's just so many variables here I'm not taking into account (and not at all equipped to) I'm not sure that I really know anything about how to make a bike ride well.

delusional
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delusional  - Sept. 19, 2020, 5:09 p.m.

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velocipedestrian
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Velocipedestrian  - Sept. 20, 2020, 12:11 a.m.

You're right Alex. A given headset cover - grips height and length will feel the same.

This unfortunately means I'm a goth kid. I recently fitted a new higher bar with the same stem in the same position... I could have left the 20mm rise bar, added 20mm of spacers and swapped the 50mm stem for a 70mm to get the ~same position as the new 40mm rise bar gives. This would look much less cool than the slammed 50mm stem + taller bar. 

Oh well, I'll justify it with flex - slammed stem is stiffer than steerer flex = good. Plus higher rise bar is softer than lower = good. 

Is that right?

cooperquinn
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Cooper Quinn  - Sept. 17, 2020, 11:58 a.m.

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Shoreloamer
+1 Andrew Major
Greg Bly  - Sept. 17, 2020, 12:27 p.m.

I remember Howard buying the Marzochi Z one when it came out and to the shock of everyone mounted that 4 inch travel beast on his GT annodized blue Zaskar. He had these super wide( at the time) handlebars with I think a one inch rise.  He wanted an even wider bar and more rise.  

Decades later I'm using those now narrow riser bars on my commute bikes.  They look cool! And I think they are more comfortable on long rides. 

I remember seeing 800 mm bars with shortest stack hight possible. You don't know what works till you try it.  

My Answer pro taper bars in loud orange weighs about 320 grams so these new bars are not significantly heavier. They sure look comfy!

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bumVSmtn
+1 Andrew Major
bumVSmtn  - Sept. 18, 2020, 11:24 a.m.

still have two Tonic Fab “All Time High” bars, one of which lives on the klunker. 

will have to check the specs, but the design was meant to mirror the bends of a SM Slambar.

ran one on the Ransom back in the day, and had one on my 09 Shonky but prefer a lower rise bar for primarily terrestrial pump track riding. 

might need to slap them back on the mtb for fun!

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Bikeridenow
-1 Velocipedestrian
Bikeridenow  - Sept. 20, 2020, 5:29 a.m.

Boring!

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Vikb
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Vik Banerjee  - Sept. 22, 2020, 6:28 a.m.

https://www.amazon.ca/ERGOTEC-Riser-31-8-Safety-Level/dp/B06XZWRXT9?fbclid=IwAR1FynEZeXp-G7oHYnuUyK1_Xyfr5ljAlU99FRR6Yy1_KUNjYhGHRaGl5RY

- 780mm wide

- 70mm rise

- 12 deg backsweep

- 410g

- $111CAD

I figured this might be of interest to folks here. I'll probably order a set in the next few months to try out.

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AndrewMajor
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Andrew Major  - Sept. 22, 2020, 7:07 a.m.

Have had a fair few folks send me links to Ergotec. Couple of heads up, the amazon advert says the bar is 25.4 and 31.8 clamp. Can obviously only be one. Also some bars on amazon don’t match spec on their site and vice versa. Also, weight limits on commuter bars.

Still interesting that someone is doing a high-rise 12*.

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geraldooka
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Michael  - Sept. 22, 2020, 8:53 a.m.

https://www.ergotec.de/en/safety-level-33.html

I have no concerns re safety this is much more complete data than the vast majority of manufacturers out there. I would caution the purchase source however Ergotec is not well distributed outside of the EU and Amazon has been know to ship me something I didn't actually purchase ;)

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