Do you need flat bars?

Aug 12, 2009
by Simon Paton  
Here is a good conversation piece:

If flat bars are so good then why don't any of the top WC racers ride flat bars? Saw that appear on a forum somewhere and one tinternet champion piped up and said it's because none of their sponsors make a flat bar!

Chromag were the originals, Sunline have just followed, who will be next?

Chromag were the originals, Sunline have just followed, who will be next?

I know one top UK pro who was riding flat bars this year but had to take them off as his team boss went crackers as he had taken his sponsored "riser" bars off his bike.

We all know everyone has gone a little wider with their bars, even I don't cut mine down anymore. That said I'm only 5ft 6ins and a 710mm is still good for me but that is personal preference.

The way forward

The way forward

Most guys are bigger than me, no surprise there then so the average size bars on the DH tracks we're seeing are now around 730mm. This means the bikes feel more stable at high speed and you can go faster! Downsides are bleeding knuckles, a few grams in extra weight (insignificant) and your bars are higher off the ground. This is due to the sweep and rise of your bars, the longer they are the higher they will be. This means you are more upright in your riding position, further away from the ground and a higher centre of gravity. All bad news.

Kore's at 800mm wide received much abuse.

Kore's at 800mm wide received much abuse.

Then someone clever mentioned the axe-saw. What happened to Kore and these bars, nobody seems to know. Remember this story is not about wide bars but flat bars!

Let's go back to the beginning to why we rode riser bars in the first place. Once DH started to appear in the early 90's we needed a more upright position as we were running rigid forks. Therefore on came the 50mm risers, don't laugh! Then suspension forks began to appear, first with elastomers (rubbers) inside giving us 1-3inches of travel. Springs and oil appeared and those who could, had a pair of Marzocchi Z1 Bombers with 4inches of travel! Yet we still had those 50mm riser bars on even though the front end had lifted 4inches.

Next big break through were the Boxxers, originally 6inches of travel, then 7 inches and then 8inches like what we have today. Let's get this right then, the cockpit has risen over 8 inches yet we still run 50mm riser bars? Some idiots do, the rest of us went down to 40mm, 30mm, 20mm and now the likes of Funn produce 15mm rise bars.

I was just about to start talking about Chromag, just went on their website and it's down, have I missed anything there? Anyway I originally rocked the Chromag Fubars flat bars over two years ago and haven't "risen" since.

Element and Reverse

Element and Reverse

To be fair Reverse jumped on the Chromag rolling band wagon first with there REVERSE XXL DH-Race "fli-bar" FLAT that comes in at 760mm wide and 279grams. EN tested and approved they tell me. Priced at under £49.99 they come in either black or white and do exactly what they say they do.

Reverse Germany
Reverse U.K

Looking on the forums some guys are saying it's just another fashion statement and plan to get you to splash out on another new product. Whilst in their next post say they look ugly!

How do they ride, feel? Well for starters make sure on your first outing you give these broom sticks an extra tug up when popping off a jump or drop as they will have a tendency to nose dive a fraction. After a few hits you will re-correct yourself and be flying again.

Most bars have a degree of sweep on them, these are no different 9 degrees for both. If I blind folded you and gave you a pair of flat bars to grip onto and then a pair of standard riser bars with the same sweep you couldn't tell the difference. If they were fitted onto two identical bikes again they would feel exactly the same, except the flat bar would of course be sat slightly lower on the bike.

Now before you go spending any cash dollars on your pride and joy firstly make sure you remove as many spacers as possible from between your stem and headset. Meaning your stem is as close to the top of your headset as possible.

Note: All the flat bars seen here and mentioned all come in 31.8mm clamp size, that's "Oversize" to you and me. Will you ever see a 25.4mm flat bar? I'm guessing not but I'm always more than happy to be corrected, especially by you.

Winter Sun Photoshoot

Winter Sun Photoshoot

I took the Elements with me on holiday with Switch-BacksDH

Available in three colours, Black, Gun Metal and now Show Chrome in a limited 150 pieces World Wide will be the ticket. Definitely EN tested and passed the finish on the Elements is super shiny and they look a million dollars. Priced under £49.99 and available through Element U.K.

Be an Organ Donor.

Si Paton..
661 Kyle Strait Patriots 29.99GBP Posted


  • 39 4
 800mm bar? That's way wide! Personally, I'm not a big fan of flat bars.
  • 9 1
 its better to buy them longer than you need so you can just cut them back to the size you want. but yeh same here, not a fan of flat bars.
  • 2 12
flag whitetux (Aug 12, 2009 at 2:49) (Below Threshold)
 wide bars are a good solution to frame with a large head tube Razz
  • 3 1
 you mean flat bars?!?
  • 3 3
 i love it!
  • 5 1
 i am running the Elemment nickel wide 760mm bars,
had them on my bike for a good few months now, i am in complete love with them, i would never go for anything else now i use these Big Grin

deffiniatly one of my better up grades i made to my cycle Big Grin
  • 2 1
 holymoly 800mm!!!
  • 2 1
 aren't the atlas freeride bars, or whatever those popular colored ones are, like 1000 mm. The ridiculously wide ones that were featured in the vod a while back?
  • 1 1
 i have the atlas freeride bars they are 785mm wide
  • 1 1
 wow suicidedownhiller 1000mm are you sure? that would be a 40 inch bar...
  • 1 1
 I know its not 1000, just an example. I'm not sure of the brand, but someone told me they are 875mm
  • 1 1
 He says in the article that everyone used to ride flat bars. That's true, but DH back then was wide open fire roads where it made sense to be low. I'm unsure whether to like this trend or not.
  • 1 1
 ohh i see, awesome!
what bars do you ride?
  • 1 0
 the truvative boo bar
  • 17 5
 I personally do not feel comfortable with flat bars, or long stems. It creeps me out to be over the front of the bike in rock gardens. I have my bikes set up with bars at least 4 inches higher than my seat. What is there to be gained from using flatbars? More weight forward=frontflip to me...I am a freerider at heart, so maybe that's why. I like my weight in the back. I can always transfer it forward when the need arises...which isn't very often???
Someone fill me in please. Or is this just another trend.
  • 2 0
 i agree with you i have the reverse fli xxl bars at first thought i would need to cut them down but there not to bad although i got 20mm rise bars and with the long stem i couldnt agree more i hate having long stems.
  • 8 1
 I go to agree with you long steam suck but flat par help in DH not freeride. As you got more over the front of the bike you put more pressure on the front tire and then you got more traction. The over the bar think is not really an issue. You just got to be confident and pull it when you need.
  • 5 3
 Doxx, Correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't most DH courses filled with rocks? That's where you want your weight further back, not forward. In corners, you can always transfer your weight forward if the need arises, it's a bit harder to shift your weight back when your leaning with your chest over your stem in a normal 'attack' position.
  • 3 2
 i think your confusing flat bars with long stems. with flat bars your chest should not be over your stem... or your doing something wrong. it just gets you lower. Your not going to fly over the bars going through a rock section in fact your going to have extra traction and better center of gravity. But its not as easy to pull up for hucks.
  • 2 5
 I think Suicide is right on the money!
  • 2 1
 Flat bars lower your chest, and therefore transfers your weight forward. It gives the same feeling you get from lowering your crowns, or switching from 8 inches to 6.
  • 9 0
 i just think its a matter of personal choice, what your comfortable riding with Smile
  • 7 1
 good piece but you mention:
''Let's go back to the beginning to why we rode riser bars in the first place. Once DH started to appear in the early 90's we needed a more upright position as we were running rigid forks. Therefore on came the 50mm risers''
''Next big break through were the Boxxers, originally 6inches of travel, then 7 inches and then 8inches like what we have today. Let's get this right then, the cockpit has risen over 8 inches yet we still run 50mm riser bars?''
but no mention of the bike geo thats changed with the rise of fork travel. surely its personal choice and not just a fad, same as flats or cleets... or even down to the type of clothes we wear.
  • 7 3
 i got me some flats and have been really loving the shit outta them!
i gots some really long arms, and i like a low stack hight/front end for free riding and dh-ing.
i noticed a few drawbacks and a few big plusses....
i miss up sweep for starters, and the up sweep thing really is noticable if you turn your bars much when jumping, or do much for tricks. so for serious FR with some style, the flats lose to a good pair of real risers, though i am digging the width side of things, and the dh control in the tight shit is great, and the flats just added to the increased control and responsiveness when cornering in the woods.
still, when the going gets really tough at speed, and i mean REALLY tough, like sustained un-lineable rock gardens on a speedy steep degree face or wide open dh run, i struggled to get back REEEEEEAL far.
so I have determined that the flats really do rule, but just not for everything.
the thing is that my low rise 30's actually are just as awesome where the flats are the best, but more versatile for all around performance.
i ended up missing a little low rise wide boy, and will probably let the flats sit in the tool box for those special tracks, or the 29er!
good to have around though, and i really enjoyed the education of actually riding something.
ya'll should try em, you might really dig em, and then you know, for really realls.....
  • 6 1
  • 7 4
 Flat bars are never going to look as good as a riser so that alone is enough to put off alot of people, myself included. Suicide, it's not a trend , it's how YOU like to ride so stick with it! Dh racing is alot about speed and attacking a course so a head down position may be more suitable whereas a free rider will be taking on big jumps, huge drops and various other big stuff so the ability to pick the front end up at will is a big requirement as is having the seat down and out of the way.
  • 3 0
 Nice article but raises even more questions for me. Sam Hill seems to be the first rider poeple noticed with super wide flat bars leverage and more front end traction were guessed as the reason. Plenty poeple happy to imitate Mr Hill's shoes, pedals, socks etc so why not his bars.
The super wide bars seems to mimic MX where they still have bar widths of 810mm, but they still use risers and slide right forward to load the front wheel for more traction. Are the flat bars just for poeple only at the expert end of downhill racing? Do 4X racers not need the same advantage or does the ability to get the unweight the front matter more on bmx/4x tracks? Is it all just fashion or has a manufacturer tested if there is any significant advantages to weight distribution? How come the same traction can't be found from just pressing the front down harder?
  • 1 2
 1st. From my experaince 4x rideing requires a much different set of skills and higher bars will benefit on the rollers, wider bars are also a problem as 4x is a contact sport. Add to that the low height 4x forks and you can see why it happens.
2nd. Pressing the front harder creates more traction just for a short period of time and with higher bars it's simply harder to put as much weight forward. You have a limited amount of arm length and you have first to reach the damn bars.
3rd. Sam Hill recently is used more and more like a bashing golden word. I 've seen many other riders rocking wide/low bars and some of them did it before him (remember the times of old dh when ppl used MX bars?). If pros thought it was hurting their results they'd choose the higher rise models as most companies still have them for the DJ, SS and parts of FR community.
  • 1 1
on the MX side of life- they still use the riser bar as its designed to take much higher tolerances of down force than a DH bike. Look at the weight difference in the two sports. DH bike is on average maybe 40lbs (very average number) and a MX bike would be what, 200-250lbs (a very rough guess here guys) and if you then add on to the math the distance and height the MX bike's are falling from. if they had a flat bar on a MX bike I'd be happy to bet large amounts of money on the fact that you'd see a lot of bent/snapped bars at the tracks.
  • 3 0
 True we cant compare MX to closely to DH but the bar only takes the weight of the rider not the machine (unless ur really unlucky).
  • 7 5
 "We all know everyone has gone a little wider with their bars..."


Since when has what 'everyone' is doing related in any way to what I like to ride with?

Actually, I do *not* find that all riders want flat bars. What I actually find is that all vendors want to *SELL* flat bars and low rise bars.

These are two dramatically different things. I don't think it takes a rocket scientist to see that a very significant portion of the riders here are not even a little bit interested in flat bars.

Comparing rigid forks to the amount of travel in a compressible fork is nonsensical because it's not about the travel, it's about the actual length of the fork. I have 2.5 inches of sag on my front fork. I can alter that simply by changing how I place my body. That means that of my 7.2" of travel, I'm still around 5 inches from the bottom. My hardtail has a fork with 5 inches of travel and .75 inches of sag. So it's a little over 4 inches from the bottom.

none of that makes one scrap of difference because the forks are totally different lengths, but it shows how travel is not actually such an important factor.

The thing that really gets me scratching my head is articles that compare 40mm rise vs 10mm rise as if 30mm of difference means anything at all when compared to a 200mm travel fork that's easily 100mm taller than forks of 10 years ago anyways.

There isn't a lot of difference between today's weak 50mm riser bars and a flat bar anyways.

FWIW, I ride a 3" riser bar.

I switched to 31.8mm thick bars some time ago and I cannot conceive of any reason why I would ever go back. I use the same reasoning to avoid tapered forks.

After paying X thousand dollars to get 1.5 on the stem, why would I want to throw that stiffness away by making a weak link in the chain right in the middle of my leverage forces.

Gimme a break.
  • 6 0
 The forks are much higher than 30mm differance on the bikes but the frames are much slacker so the differance is essentialy smaller.
Also you theoreticize much but apparently you had no real life contact with a flat bar. I have in my stable 50mm, 2x30mm bars and flatbars and the sentence that there isn't a lot of differance is pure bullshit. The differance is humongous. Try before you pull a theory like that out of your ass.
Also most people who say no to flat bars simply never tried them. I don't know one person who converted from low/flat to high rise outside of the DJ/Street community.
  • 2 0
 not a big fan of the thought of flat bars but i cant comment until i ride with some so i think i will stay on the fence for this one, personally i cant knock them until ive tried them.
  • 3 2
 I think alot of people forget that, a low front end only works well if its balanced with the rest of the geometry of the bike,mainly a low bb and slack head angle. Mx bikes dont run flatbars cause it would put you too low in the front and mess up the balance of the bike(freestyle guys ride taller bars, racers run lower ones, but flats arent needed).
  • 2 1
 This article seemed to be written by a pretty surly dude. Instead of offering his opinion about flat bars, he made fun of everyone who doesn't run them. "Let's get this right then, the cockpit has risen over 8 inches yet we still run 50mm riser bars? Some idiots do..." Nice language there, guy.
  • 2 1
 I agree, after mathmatically concluding that flat bars were indeed closer to the ridiculous bar height of the 80's, the only remark about riding them was that he needed to pull up harder when going off drops. wow, thanks for the great write up.
  • 2 1
 Bahaha, its so obvious that half the people here didnt read the writeup, they just saw "flatbars" and decided to comment. It is a very good writeup and alot of people should listen, lower bars are awesome, and for those who say "well i freeride so i need to have my bike setup like a horse, with my reigns higher than the seat" what is easier to do, get your weight back or lower your centre of gravity? obviously its lean back, so why not lower your centre of gravity? it makes life better. Another thing, Si CLEARLY states that our front end is already 8 INCHES higher than a standard bike with no suspension, if you need your bars another 4 inches higher to ride comfortably, go get a comfort bike. Or, and even BETTER idea, go get BMX bars, they have HUGE rise, i mean, the higher the better right?
  • 1 1
 and why is the bar height of an xc bike from the early days being used as a serious reference???
  • 1 0
 i also have the nickel flat bars and love them. imo flat bars are awesum for shorta riders as my dh bike has the same height front end as all the pros. I am much shorta than them so the flat bars allow me to be set up decently on the bike rather than hanging off the back.
  • 3 3
 Err. Flat bars no no. I cant see why we would progress to using risers and then everyone is say "get wide flat bars" more than likly a trend. Like The trend in BMX at the mo is a tiny chainring (sproket). The kids have no idea why but they got to have it and besides it looks sooo odd.
Can anyone explain why they are flat bars are good, cant think one reason.
  • 3 7
flag gilty (Aug 12, 2009 at 2:01) (Below Threshold)
 small sprocket - less chain. it saves weight
  • 3 3
 i had a pair of spank spike bars and bent 2 pairs so after them i got a a pair of nickel wide elements to try and they just feel sooo much better and stronger. they may not look as good but that gun metal colour sure makes up for it!
in my opinion its not a trend (for some maybe) but its got to be personal preference for me.
  • 1 6
flag ghosthack2501 (Aug 12, 2009 at 6:30) (Below Threshold)
 I was fairly certian that a small sproket was ment so that you didnt bash your chainring to bits if you came up short on a jump or messed up a "drop in " but i hadnt thought about the weight issue.
But still nobody has given a logical explaination of the flat bars thing.....
  • 2 0
 i think flat bars are good for people who like there front end a little bit lower
  • 1 1
 @ghosthack2501: just read the article and there you`ll find reasons
  • 2 0
 Agreeing with DH rider441 on the elements. I rode on funn's on my last two bikes and even though they where a 15mm rise the flat bars feel so much better to me. I'm 6ft 3 and with the wider spread of the bars I can control the bike a hell of a lot better at both high and low speeds. Again Si you've done a good write up there and like forementioned, ou'll need to get used to pulling up when hitting things as your riding position will have changed and your weight distribution will have come forward slightly.
These are predominately aimed at the DH racing market. Its personal choice as with everything in the sport but if you are intrigued by the flat bar revolution then try them on someone's bike first. You never know, you may just like it?????!!!!!!!
  • 1 1
 Went from 30mm's to flats and I'm loving them. People tend to be sceptical as the companies pumped a lot of cash in the cool riser look but it's much better for riding dh. Gives you a better body position and more grip at the front (where it counts). Tried them also on the steeps and as long as your cockpit isn't enormous (in most I've had contact lately it's smaller than some time ago) you can still easily transfer your weight back for braking and steep stuff.
  • 1 1
 It's all about comfort. Whatever feels the best is going to make me enjoy my ride more...and if I'm having fun, I don't care how fast I'm going. I love trying new products! I'll try it, if it's not for me, someone will get a deal on ebay.
  • 1 1
 I have some Chromag bars (the one's in the frist pic) and I think that they are amazing they fell more comfertable (not sure how to spell that one) then raised bars and they give me better handling. One of the only problems I have had is wen you are in a narrow area i tend to bash my hand's on tree's. But overal they are amazing and I don't think I will go back to rised bars.
  • 2 1
  • 1 1
 I've been running Chromag flats on my DH bike for a year now, and they are amazing! Easy to place the front wheel exactly where you want it, stiffer than the eastons they replaced. If you've ever removed all your headset spacers and thought the turn-in is amazing, this takes things a step further! Baring in mind, twin-crown forks have an extra crown above the headset, they put your hands in the same place as a 15mm rise bar with a single-crown fork. Not for everyone i agree, but everyone who has tried my bike since i fitted them has loved them!
  • 1 1
 Cockpit set-up is all personal preference, and body proportion is a factor in bar height as well. Some people have longer legs, some have longer arms, some have longer bodies.. Everyone is different so it's really not that cut and dry.

It's pretty funny that your theory for bar height is based off of bikes from back in the day when it was all about climbing and bikes were set up whack. Ask around, bars were way too low and it wasn't fun. Remember jumping your bike clipped in with your a$$ a foot higher than your bars? I guess the guy that wrote this does not.

Bars were slammed (but with a 6" long stem) for climbing, so front-ends were kept as low as possible which made the bikes handle horribly for everyone that didn't have 4ft long arms.. I'm going to say risers are the single most useful change I've ever made to any bike, definitely more significant than increased travel. And you can actually still ride uphill just fine with them.

The bars on a dh bike are not 8" higher than and older xc bike, trust me. The slack HT angles and HT placement on dh bikes puts the bars lower at a given travel as compared to the older bikes with steep xc geometry like you're referring to.

Besides the fact that flat bars were about 12 inches wide, had no sweep and snapped if you frowned at them, I think most of us just figured out that the super low front-ends you're using as reference just sucked.

Why not just try moving your bars around and see what feels best? just because some random pro dh'er likes 'em doesn't mean you will!
  • 1 1

Can I remember clipping in, seat a mile high?
If you read the first few lines of my article you would have worked that one out. I rode a Klein Pinnacle from the early 90's, no SPDs but I used to have toe straps! Please don't tell anyone..
  • 1 1
 Someone mentioned trails bars. The author commented that 25.4 was a dead zone for wide/flat bars. Not entirely true, more like a standard on the way out. At any rate there are trails bars available in 25.4mm that are wide. I snagged a set of Woodman Wide&Wild bars off ebay that are 740mm wide.

I am not running a DH bike, so I like rise. It is a bit disappointing that DH flat and low rise is dominating the wide bar trend. Hopefully mfg will catch on and more wide rise bars will come on the scene. I have been eyeing a Truvativ Boobar. At 6'3" riding an AM bike I need width and rise. I have been riding either 685 or 710mm bars with about 2in rise for the last 5 years. Seeing the possibility to run 740mm is a good thing, but not if it drops the bar height by over an inch.
  • 1 1
 kore has their torsion bar in a 50mm rise, i almost bought them, but i went for the 35mm instead. They're 800 mm wide and cheap on ebay. Definetly pretty lame how theres almost no choice for a taller wide bar.
  • 1 1
 I bought some sunline v1 flat bars about a month ago and love em, if you ride DH and wanna go fast, the key is bar height. My DH bike is like a big 37lb slalom bike and I can maneuver it as such. Hopefully more people make a flat bar soon!
  • 1 1
 nobody has mentioned that dh bikes have as much as 10" of rear travel also. a properly set-up bike should be balanced anyway, so lowering the front of the bike does not automatically throw you too far forward... Unless ofcourse you run 8" forks on a hardtail, in which case, goodbye front teeth Wink
  • 1 2
 flat bars are fine with one of these modern swoopy top-tubes, but my brake levers used to hit the top-tube on my old bike with them, that said they really put you over the front of the bike so you feel like you're pinning it, hard to say if they actually make a difference though. As for the width thing, I can't stand wide bars and still run 670mm, I find wide bars twitchy and unstable and I catch my hands on trees all the time with them!
  • 1 1
 You're obviously running a single-crown fork. I think the consenus is that flats are best in DH applications, where typically people would be running double-crowns, and bars hitting the top tube would not be an issue.
  • 1 1
 true dat - I had a short travel dh bike with dh geometry and single crowns - I think the use of flat bars more comes down to how you prefer to be positioned on the bike, some ride right over the back, but flat bars defo make more sense, they're stronger as there's no curve, not sure why motoX bikes use risers though?
  • 1 1
 i thought flat bars were a fashion but after riding someones bike with flats i realized it is more than that because u have lots more front end grip and u are a lot more stable on the bike especially when corning!
  • 2 4
 How can you get more grip on the front end with flat bars?? surely its more to do with tyres??
  • 5 0
 because u have a lot more body weight on the front when u need it!
  • 2 0
 Yeah, its pretty simple really if you think about it. For example, the more weight you put on a piece of paper, the harder it is to move.
  • 3 4
 I have 11 bars and 6 stems sitting in my drawer. I rode flat bars on 7 bikes over 11 years. I also do some work for a company that makes bars and stems, so I can have any bar/stem combo I want, alu or carbon. Even if it's not sold on the public market. My 3 inch riser on my Perp (for knee clearance) is prototype and unbranded.

The day I got a riser stem and riser bar was also the first day I ever managed a manual. That was a long time ago.

How the heck do you know what kind of real life contact I have had with a flat bar.

Just by slightly changing the position that I'm sitting on my full suspension bike, I can change the height of my hands by 1.5 inches. That's 40mm.

I say no to flat bars because I HAVE used them.
I also say no to flat bars because I like to have more control over my bike.
I also say no to flat bars because my knees hit my shifters with less than 2 inches of rise.

As to the number of people who prefer flat to high rise, read the comments above and do a little math.

It is true that we all choose kit to suit our riding, but the only people that I can think of that might want to use a flat or low rise bar are people with triple clamp forks. While that is a significant chunk of the user base on PB, it's not everyone. I use SC Totems and I can't see ever needing more (although I may change the springs one day).
  • 3 3
 Duuuh, you figured it out that flatbars are a DH thing? They are not made for manuals so using that not a big drawback for the target group.

And I assumed you didn't ride them because well even your "theory" about the little to no influence of bar height and not taking into the comparison the change in head angle in different bikes, types of tracks ppl ride and many different other things simply seemed very ignorant. Flatbars are a group specyfic bars, do you say crap when someone speaks about 2.5'' tires or 8'' travel frames? There is a differance between saying it's not for me and it's crap.

Also as I stated above 90% of people put off by flat bars either don't ride dh or had no contact with them. I have a lot of dh friends that were using higher and narrower bars for quite some time and now after the change they say they'd never go back. Even though many of them were sceptical of the idea.
  • 5 1
 Your knees hit your shifters with less that 2 inches of rise on your bars? I recognize that you seem to be faily sophisticated in your knowledge of bikes, but it really sounds like you need a bigger frame.
  • 2 3
 What? Where did I write that my knees hit my shifters?
  • 3 1
 He's replying to eschelar...
  • 1 2
 steve, thanks. I have the correct size frame and the correct height of bars. I like my FS to have a bit smaller frame. I tend to move around on it a lot more. My hardtail is a slightly bigger frame and I tend to do a lot more distance riding and plain commuting on it.

You are welcome to continue to think that 30mm difference in hand placement makes a significant difference to the way you ride on a bike with 180-200mm travel front and back.

I don't. There's a difference, but it's minor.

Sure, there are some people out there with really tall forks and who got used to riding with nosebleeder flat bars and flat stems on XC bikes back in the day, but I've experimented with a lot of different geometries and it's not for me. I have a very hard time believing that the consistent trend of the last 10 years is total bollocks because there are some guys on the podium with a flat bar.

Here are some figures for you.

Maxxis Mobster 2.6x26 with X-Vert 2002 X-Vert Super 4" and a 40mm rise FSA - My hands are 102cm from the ground. 99cm with sag.

Same tire, with 2007 Totem 7.2" with a 75mm riser bar and stubby stem. 110cm from the ground. 104cm with sag.

So going from a 4 inch fork, nearly 10 years old to a 2007 fork with 7.2" of travel moved my hands 5 cm upwards while seated. Note that the riser bar is 3.5 cm taller and you end up with an increase of 2cm in height.

The X-vert is 49cm from center of axle to the bottom cup.
The Totem is 57cm from the center of axle to the bottom cup. That's an unsprung length difference of 8cm, or a little shy of 3 inches. That makes sense.

So what happened to this argument? " Let's get this right then, the cockpit has risen over 8 inches yet we still run 50mm riser bars? "

I don't really buy this reasoning.
  • 2 0
 You are entitled to your opinion but the idea that if we were going somewhere for 10 years than we cannot be wrong and can't change direction would left us still beliving that the sun revolves around earth. You know the trend for a lot of time was to add travell and weight to the bikes. Do you belive that the recent change it that direction is wrong?
If you ride more freeride stuff and like to move around the bike than I really understand why you don't feel the need for flat bars but for dh I really felt the change and don't try to force upon me it was otherwise. Especialy that it's not only my opinion but a lot of people that RIDE DH ,TRIED IT and now LIKE IT. You can do all the e-engineering you want but you can't fight real user feedback. It's not about how high you grip your bars but about overall riding position (for most of the dh people I know, myself uncluded the front forward one works the best) and if you don't understand that than you need to ride more and talk about your bike industry experiance.

BTW. It's a component for a very specific target group. Get it? Same as susp with very heavy damping, dual crowns and very slack frames.
  • 1 0
 I could have sworn I saw one of the riders at the world cup in Bromont last weekend running flat bars. I can't remember which rider though.
  • 1 1
 I think it might have been Blenki.
  • 2 1
 running flat, no gloves but clipped in, right? End of the day, it's what gets you down the fastest,safest and with the biggest grin!
  • 3 0
 I don't like the flat tits and bars.
  • 2 1
 flat bars r the way forwrd.i got element bars now bur befor i had revrese they feel so much better than bars with rise,if your looking to buy new bars get flat bars Razz Big Grin
  • 3 1
 so many subjective opinions.... i run my risers upside down and shred the sendergnar steezbrahs
  • 3 0
 Whats next? Bars that Swoop down!!!!!!!
  • 1 1
 Soooo not a fan of flats! You wont ever catch me running a set of them,the lowest i will go is 25mm rise, but would prefer 30mm ones. The flats look rank amongst other things.
  • 2 0
 Does it matter when they make you faster?
  • 1 2
 It doesnt actually make you faster,just allows you yto be SLIGHTLY more stable at speed!
Shaving ure arms and legs or wearing spandex will also make you go faster,do you wear/do that? hmm i didnt think so,lol.
And just think how unstable you will feel when ure forks are at the bottom end of the travel,your body weight would be way too far over the front,any1 think of that!! Or if you are on a seriously steep descent,you weight would be too far forward to weight the back wheel for any breaking control!
Plus i have a bit of a dodgy back,having my cockpit too low doesnt agree with me,thus making me slower.
  • 1 1
 2 things :
1. Slack Frames
2. Correct Balance instead of going face forward of jumps
  • 1 1
 Frames are already slack enough to keep you as far back as you need, riser bars are just overkill. I have yet to ride a pitch where I was too far forward.
  • 1 2
 Every frame and rider combination calls for a different height/rise of bars. better control can be achieved by widening the bars, lengthening the stem or raising the stem. For every 1/8th inch you widen the bars you must shorten your stem..or raise your stem. Plus all of this is affected by what frame you ride, how you ride and the terrain you ride. Buyer beware
  • 1 1
  • 2 0
 in my opinion flat bars look awkward. never ridden some cant say anything but they look awkward.
  • 1 1
 I ride xc and dh, and I had flat bars on my xc and the shock absorbtion was horrible then whith risers it helped alot. woudnt it be the same for a dh bike even though they are plush and dont have like 80mm of travel
  • 1 1
 "the cockpit has risen over 8 inches"

Yeah, cos an increase in travel DIRECTLY corresponds to an increase in axle-crown height, and nevermind grip-ground height... Especially when you're comparing technology 20 years apart.
  • 1 1
 i have the nickel flat bars and are mint they look sick and ride low and are so much better in corners my bars are extended at 800mm and feel much more controling i think they are the future of downhill Razz
  • 6 3
 im not a fan
  • 5 4
 ^^ Agreed, but a great article none the less! makes me wanna give the bars a try.
  • 4 2
 So people with 50 mm rise bars are an idiot then? Penis.
  • 2 1
 my 2.5'' rise bars keep my chin away from my stem when I happen to overshoot the tranny and land hard to flat....
  • 1 1
 Back to the future?
I might have to dig up a set of them from my "takeoff box" from 1996 and install them. Perhaps the Onza ones?
Next trend..... bar ends?
  • 1 1
 this is exaclty wat was thinkinng for the last few days, to get flat bars or low riser? FLAT BARS Smile
  • 1 0
 i have a feeling i wouldnt want to own flat bars
  • 1 1
 Finally, the DH world is coming around, I've been riding flat bars for 3 years and wouldn't think of riding anything else.
  • 2 0
 Flatbars ?
Ehhh NO!
  • 2 0
 this is a goog
  • 2 0
 good xd
  • 1 1
 fuckin no it all
  • 1 1
 might have just found my new bars for my dh bike
nice and cheap to Smile
  • 1 1
 LAst two years my friend Use trial bar.
  • 1 1
 gee atherton rides flat bars
  • 2 3

  • 1 2
 where can i get the 800 mm wide kore bars ??
  • 2 5
 flat bars are for XC, risers r the vest for DH
  • 2 1
 Well the simple and none sarcastic answer to that is NO. hahaha. look at the obvious signs of the times and please stop being ignorant.
  • 1 1
 if that was the case then y have they brought flat bars out for downhill. wat it is,is u r probably to scared to try them cause your mates dont like. dont nock it till u try it!!
  • 1 1
 I take it thats for are yankie friend Adam?! hahaha. I'm running the Elements and loving them.
  • 1 1
 yeah same dude they r awsome bars
  • 12 15
 nice write up si

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