Pinkbike Poll: What's Your Ideal Handlebar Width?

Apr 9, 2021 at 13:00
by Mike Kazimer  
Race Face Next SL Bars

Handlebar width is a funny topic in the mountain bike world, with all sorts of theories about what the best method is to determine the ideal width. For years, riders in every discipline were on bars that measured less than 750mm. That is, until around 2008 when the first 800mm wide bars were introduced. Suddenly riders of all sizes were riding around with their arms outstretched, and in some cases the look was downright comical. Over the years wider bars have become the norm in disciplines other than cross-country racing, although things seems to have topped out around the 800mm width, with most riders trimming their bars down a little bit from full length.

This week we saw Race Face release their 740mm XC / trail handlebar, and Truvativ announced a new run of 760mm wide bars, which got me wondering if narrower bars are coming back in vogue, or if these were two outliers amongst the sea of trimmable 800mm bars. Of course, bar width is somewhat related to rider height, although there's no exact science to determine what width you should run, and at the end of the day it really is a matter of personal preference. The terrain you'll be frequenting matters too - if you're constantly riding through tight trees, those super wide bars may not be ideal.

In any case, for this week's poll find your height below, and then pick your bar preference. We'll follow up with a stem length poll further down the road in order to get a rough idea of what riders are running in 2021.


TON Finale ligure 2019 France also has the main women team with nothing but Isabeau Coudurier leading the pack.
Isabeau Courdurier is 5 / 153 cm tall.

Rider height: 4'8” to 5'2” / 143 – 153 cm

What's your ideal handlebar width for XC riding?

For riders who are 4'8” to 5'2” (143 – 153 cm)


What's your ideal handlebar width for general trail riding?

For riders who are 4'8” to 5'2” (143 – 153 cm)




What's your ideal handlebar width for enduro?

For riders who are 4'8” to 5'2” (143 – 153 cm)


What's your ideal handlebar width for DH riding?

For riders who are 4'8” to 5'2” (143 – 153 cm)



Emily Batty and Laurie Arseneault in Victoria British Columbia March 2021.
Emily Batty is 5'3" / 160cm tall.

Rider height: 5'3 - 5'6” / 159 – 168 cm

What's your ideal handlebar width for XC riding?

For riders who are 5'3" - 5'6” / 159 – 168 cm


What's your ideal handlebar width for general trail riding?

For riders who are 5'3" - 5'6” / 159 – 168 cm



What's your ideal handlebar width for enduro?

For riders who are 5'3" - 5'6” / 159 – 168 cm


What's your ideal handlebar width for DH riding?

For riders who are 5'3" - 5'6” / 159 – 168 cm



Unlucky number 13 might be playing a little role here for Danny Hart finishing outside the top 10 in qualies.
Danny Hart is 5'9" / 175 cm tall.

Rider height: 5'7" – 5'10” / 169 – 178 cm

What's your ideal handlebar width for XC riding?

For riders who are 5'7" – 5'10” / 169 – 178 cm


What's your ideal handlebar width for general trail riding?

For riders who are 5'7" – 5'10” / 169 – 178 cm



What's your ideal handlebar width for enduro?

For riders who are 5'7" – 5'10” / 169 – 178 cm


What's your ideal handlebar width for DH riding?

For riders who are 5'7" – 5'10” / 169 – 178 cm




Luca Shaw will look to shut down his team mates tomorrow and if not just join in the Syndicate podium party.
Luca Shaw is 6' / 182 cm tall.

Rider height: 5'11” to 6'2” / 179 - 188

What's your ideal handlebar width for XC riding?

For riders who are 5'11” to 6'2” / 179 - 188


What's your ideal handlebar width for general trail riding?

For riders who are 5'11” to 6'2” / 179 - 188



What's your ideal handlebar width for enduro?

For riders who are 5'11” to 6'2” / 179 - 188


What's your ideal handlebar width for DH riding?

For riders who are 5'11” to 6'2” / 179 - 188cm




Jack Moir looks like he s settling into life at Canyon just fine. He looked on it on track today.
Jack Moir is one of the taller riders currently on the enduro / DH circuit at 6'4" (193cm).

Rider height: 6'3” and above / 189 cm and above

What's your ideal handlebar width for XC riding?

For riders who are 6'3” and above / 189 cm and above


What's your ideal handlebar width for general trail riding?

For riders who are 6'3” and above / 189 cm and above



What's your ideal handlebar width for enduro?

For riders who are 6'3” and above / 189 cm and above


What's your ideal handlebar width for DH riding?

For riders who are 6'3” and above / 189 cm and above





257 Comments

  • 595 3
 accidentally voted 800mm for 5'2". sorry market research team, I'm stoned
  • 78 1
 Did the same, smoked something similar. 6' stoners messing things up
  • 259 2
 I’m completely sober and did the same thing.
  • 64 0
 Voted for every single one and I was like yo why is this deleting all the time, then my drunk ass realized
  • 29 0
 It's Friday afternoon...
  • 68 8
 When stoned on internet be careful. If you do need to go to Youtube, make sure you turn off "Suggested video" option. Sooner or later it will show you Arty Panda where folks make mandalas out of marcipan dough or worse: those two dudes building underground pools - you'll get sucked into this for hours.
  • 18 1
 I did the same, except I’m not stoned, just really dumb....maybe from all the weed.
  • 8 0
 This is what lockdown does to you, instead of hanging with your friends on a Friday night you drink a beer and browse Pinkbike
  • 2 0
 I did the same, except I'm tired of cutting my bars down, just make it in the length I want already.
  • 31 1
 I voted 680mm for everything all height LOL Take that, free market research!
  • 1 0
 @whambat:
What he said.
  • 6 0
 The mtb community is basically a bunch of happy midgets
  • 4 0
 Generationfourth: You are solely responsible for the massive percentage of riders included in the 4'8" to 5'2" category! This will through off PB statistics and the number of small bicycles manufactured and not purchased for years to come. The downfall of an entire industry is on your shoulders now.
  • 11 0
 @Warburrito: 2022 Juliana review: why did they put an 800mm bar on the size small? we'll never know
  • 2 0
 @theoskar57: Is this real world?
  • 1 0
 @theoskar57: I do that every Friday!
  • 4 4
 @generationfourth: Blame Christina Chapetta and her cornering skills vid...
  • 1 0
 @rtclark: Completely agree! They can at least offer 3 lengths that maintain the same flex as the bars get shorter.
  • 5 0
 @justwaki: bahahah, yeah the underground pool guys, that is some crazy sh*t
  • 1 0
 @nw-rhb: At least yooz guys have an excuse..........
  • 1 0
 who didn´t
  • 1 0
 Reading for comprehension.... Friday Fail!
  • 3 0
 thats the modified crucifix attack position...
  • 2 0
 Same, also real stoned
  • 1 0
 @whambat: me too
  • 1 0
 @theoskar57: It's EVERYday afternoon... fixed for the rest of us
  • 1 0
 @nw-rhb: thought it was just me. Still a bad design.
  • 1 0
 LOL So real, man...
  • 4 1
 @theoskar57: Unless your american when the trend seems to be getting stoned
  • 7 5
 @Josef-Coburn: I wish whole world was getting stoned sometimes. And shroomed. International DMT and International Molly day instead of Christmas and Easter. It would be a much different world.
  • 1 0
 Me too.
  • 2 0
 @justwaki: oh god the underground pools thing... many many times...
  • 1 0
 @baptistamtb200: So true! I need 2-3 XL in mtb apparel, XL in civiies.
  • 1 0
 Yea gotta use the second reply and get it to 420 like the1rst
  • 123 2
 I have a feeling that 780 will win out solely because of the sheer number of people who get a bike with a 780 bar and never change it.
  • 15 22
flag lastminutetech (Apr 9, 2021 at 13:23) (Below Threshold)
 I also have a theory that I've been kickin around recently in my idle thoughts that the bike doesn't care how tall the rider is and that there is an optimal wheelbase, reach, bar width etc.

This is because one constant regardless of rider height is gravity and the other is trail. I'm 5'6" and on new META with 470 reach, 780 bars and I've never felt so comfy and confident.

But this is just a theory and I have no data, proof, expertise or training. So ya, beer....Happy friday ya filthy animals.
  • 29 1
 Don't most come with 800 these days?
  • 4 1
 @islandforlife: I think so, and most aftermarket bars are 800 or wider.
  • 3 1
 @lefthandohvhater Agreed. Also, for some reason people seem to be afraid to cut their bars to odd lengths. I actually run both my bikes at 790mm. I'm 183cm/6'.
  • 2 0
 @islandforlife:A lot of DH and Enduro bikes do! At 5'10", 780 is my preferred with anyhow tho!
  • 13 2
 @lastminutetech: I bet you look like a goon @ 5'6'' riding those numbers! Now go try and slap a turn at mach chicken with a technical entry on a steep and drops. Guarntee youll wish you were riding a reach more like 740-750.
  • 4 0
 @likeittacky: The only real problem is catching trees on the insides of right corners. Which everyone is affected by.
  • 7 5
 The difference between 760 and 780 is quite subtle. Not nothing, but we’re talking 10mm each side. Not sure if that’s making or breaking your whole setup

For example: I would definitely worry first about having my favourite grips, stack/spacers/bar rise, bar sweep, brake lever angle, saddle pitch, pedal size/shape...maybe even crank length?!...before I worried about whether I was rocking a 760 or a 780
  • 1 0
 @islandforlife: Giant, devinci, and Marin usually spec 780mm according to their websites. Specialized looks like 800, and Trek is mixed.
  • 1 0
 @likeittacky: i do all the time. Trails here are steep. I rode a small for 15 years and over the last three seasons have bought a longer and longer bike and wouldnt go back. I always thought I’m a really steep technical sections I was going to go over the bars at any time and quite often did. Maybe smalls are just too small
  • 3 3
 @lastminutetech: Yup everyone should wear the same size shoes as you as well.
  • 4 0
 You're probably right, but I just wanted to tell you how special and unique I am because that's the size which really works for me. All jokes aside though, I'm 6'4" and tried 800mm but did not get along with it. I feel like you need to have Johnny Bravo shoulders for 800+ to work.
  • 2 0
 @lastminutetech: Counter Argument: Center of gravity. Varies directly with rider height and is affected by bike geometry and bar width.
  • 2 0
 @lastminutetech: That can definitely occur due to a hodge-podge of things like older geo, bad suspension and set up, skinny tires that make you brake quickly, bad braking habits (Pun intended), stem to long, goofy tire pressure, rebound or air pressure to high in the rear, etc.,etc........

Unless you have long lanky arms like an Orangutan; at 5'6'', nine tenths of us here on PB would agree, this is an anomaly, that your most comfortable on a rig with a reach of 470mm. Hence, your seat must be completely slammed forward and running a 15mm long stem!


Correction on my earlier comment i meant to type (440 -450 mm reach) not 740-750 !
  • 1 0
 @TobiasHandcock: It is a strange thing! Maybe due to the earths rotation and obliquity. What time of year do you trim trees the most????
  • 2 0
 @likeittacky: I ride the same size medium meta at 5’9”. It definitely feels big, but manageable. Not sure I’d be able to ride it at 5’6”. I feel like I’m pushing it at my height even with a 470 reach
  • 1 0
 @lastminutetech: I'm 5'6 and I feel my 440 reach bike is on the limit. Tried a bike with 450 and felt like I was steering a barge. 470 must be real boring to ride at 5'6.
  • 5 0
 @mybaben:
I cut mine to 777 precisely
  • 1 0
 It also proved to be the most used size by EWC racers. I have a feeling they don't get stock bikes and do experiment.
  • 1 0
 @Mac1987: Do you have anything to back that up? Richie rude runs 750mm bars at 6' tall and clearly does just fine.
  • 1 0
 @lefthandohvhater: Troy Brosnan also on 750mm at 5'6'' short.
  • 1 0
 @lefthandohvhater: There was an article on PB some time ago with an overview of racers' bike setup. It surprised a lot of people that almost no rider used 800mm+ bars and 760 to 780 was the most common size.
  • 1 0
 @lefthandohvhater: also Sam Hill 750
  • 1 0
 @likeittacky: DH bike at warp speed is a different set of leverage requirements than an enduro bike on a mixed stage. Like standing in front of your fruit bowl and noticing that the apple you are eating doesn't taste like the orange you left in the bowl.
  • 2 0
 @enis: Boeing employee or pilot? Wink
  • 2 0
 @Mac1987:
Nah, just 111 better than the devil
  • 28 0
 Used to race aggressive DH 10 years ago, came back to MTB last year, still can’t understand why folks go wider than 760ish for trail/enduro. Tried wide and moved a set of ODIs in to different widths, huge difference shorter, very few noticible benefits wider. 6’1” for the record. Just an opinion, but curious to hear if people who tested genuinely noticed a positive “difference” with wider.
  • 6 0
 Im the same height, i prefer 780, feels spot on for me, but i have freakish monkey arms
  • 6 0
 Same. I took a long hiatus and came back to find super wide bars "all the rage" so I tried a pair of 800's. Didn't like it and ended up right back at a trusty 760.
  • 7 0
 Used to just run whatever I had. Bars got wider and wider and I never noticed it feeling funky. Have been riding 780s for a few years now. Thing is, if I now try anything narrower, it feels horrible. I often find that, you don't always notice the improvement when you switch to something that works better, but you definitely miss it when you switch back.
  • 11 0
 I used to think my 780 bars were fine until I read that LeeLikesBikes article. At my height 6'2" (188cm) he pitched my ideal length at 835!

I got curious and printed some bar extenders to 820 and immediately felt at home. Just a lot more balanced and in a stronger position to move on the bike.

It annoys me that we seem to have hit this arbitrary number of 800 and stopped. Reach figures vary massively by frame size, and bar widths are all just "medium".
  • 4 0
 I am with you on the smaller bars. I tried 785mm and didn’t notice any improvement. What I did notice though, was how much closer the trees in the trails were to my bars and much less I could lean the bike over in the turns.

After trying out an adjustable 750mm-800mm bar, the extra space from trees and extra lean in the corners convinced me to leave the width at 750mm.
  • 3 0
 I suspect it is the width of your shoulders. I have pretty wide shoulders, and ride 810 on my DH bike, and 800 for enduro. My gravel bike has 44cm bars, and I am probably going to get a 44cm bar on a road bike. A friend of mine who is significantly taller (6'5") rides 780mm for his enduro, and 760mm for his xc.
  • 1 0
 @gabriel-mission9: it’s a interesting thing to switch bar widths. I did the same thing but stuck with it for a bit and realized my entire riding style changed based on bar width. At first it felt horrible to go back and then after a little bit I was more loose and nimble and riding was more fun just not as fast.
  • 2 0
 I had 760 for a couple of years because that's what my bike at the time came with. They were ok. Got a new bike and went 780 because I started looking into it and determined that this was my "ideal" width based on the press-up test I read somewhere. That was better for me, kept my set-up like that for a few more years. Then recently got new bars. They came as 800 so I thought I'd leave them like that for a ride before the cutting guide I ordered arrived. What a revelation. 800 is fantastic for me.

Up until I moved to 800 I always had my little fingers hanging off the ends of the bars. Man I smacked them on trees and stuff so many times. First couple of rides at 800 I brushed my bars against things once or twice but now that I'm used to it I don't.

Bar width is one of those really personal things. So many factors play into it. I'm 5'11'' and have pretty broad shoulders which is probably a big reason I like wider bars.
  • 1 0
 @L0rdTom: 6'5" here and I had a similar experience - love the 825 size with my frame. It puts me in a more natural position and helps on the downhill and climbs alike.

There are definitely some trails where I would love to chop them down a bit due to tree clearance issues (and that alone). I'm a 1-bike type and wouldn't give up the 820's, but i could see buying a 2nd set in the 780-800 range to throw on once in a while depending on the circumstances
  • 1 0
 @L0rdTom: Lee has a formula, height in cm x 4.4. I'm also 6'2" so thats 827mm. I ride 800 with Ergon grips, which ad about 15mm.
  • 1 0
 Ape factor also plays a role. I'm 181cm,
wide shoulders, my armspan is 190cm and 800mm feels spot on. Many "oh sh#t" moments through the trees, however.
  • 3 0
 When I jumped up to 29” wheels (from 26”) I feel that the wider handlebars helped to cancel out any potential negatives of the larger diameter wheels.
  • 1 0
 @therev34: I definitely felt closer to the trees on the first ride, but very quickly adjusted until it was once again my shoulders hitting the trees first. South Wales tracks tend to have a lot of tree hugging opportunities to test it out!

I think that being taller somewhat negates the tree clearance issue as you have more arm reach to lean the bike over further, to squeeze past the tree.
  • 2 0
 @jzuijlek: Surely shoulder width should also be included in this formula. I'd say arm length to height ratio is a lot more consistent between people than shoulder width to height ratio is.
  • 2 0
 @Angu58: Absolutely. And at a certain point you get diminishing returns. Beyond that point the strength to leverage ratio falls off pretty steep. Makes narrow shouldered riders look pretty silly using the 800's.
  • 5 1
 “Used to race aggressive dh 10yrs ago” lol

I’m glad you qualified your opinion for us...
  • 1 2
 @baxterbike you are obviously too sensible. Please cancel your PB account and go and ride. No one wants to read about your practical real world testing instead of couch potato trend following.
  • 1 0
 @arrowheadrush:

Ha! Me too. 5'11 here with a 6'2 wingspan.

I'm running 800, coz that's what came stock. Will probably cut to 780 soon enough. But, my bike still hadn't seen dirt yet. (FYI, managed to get my 2021 Slash in December.)
  • 3 0
 @andrewbikeguide: This whole thread is people's real world testing experiences, but please carry on with your trendy but basic anti-progress comments that this section is traditionally flooded with. Thanks for your input!
  • 23 2
 770! Good middle ground between a nice flickable narrow bar, and a wide dh bar.
  • 2 0
 agree
  • 11 0
 I've been running mullet bars for years now. 810mm on the left for mad stability on sweeping high speed right hand turns 720mm on the right so I can surgically cut through the tightest of technical left hand turns
  • 14 1
 Height is one thing but arm length seems to be just as important, if not more. I'm 6'0" but with a +3" ape index. I rode 760 and 780 bars for several years before buying a pair of 810s, thinking I'd cut them down. I ended up loving the extra width, regardless of what the experts in the comments section might say.
  • 4 0
 Same here. My hardtail had 720mm bars and I got used to them. Then a new FS with 800mm bars and they felt crazy but I gave them a chance before planning to cut them down. Now I absolutely love them and the hardtail feels wrong. 6'3" here.
  • 10 0
 Not just arm length (although also that, for sure).

But also shoulder width of the rider. I don't have hard data on this, but just observing people, it seems that even at the same height, there can be inches of distance between their shoulder sockets.
  • 1 0
 @DylanH93: That makes total sense for you because 6'3" is tall!! Smile
  • 2 0
 Yes, and shoulder width. I’m the only one in our biking group that has 760 mm bars and also the one with the tiniest chest.
  • 2 0
 @ocnlogan: Let's ask T-rex...? resident SME
  • 2 0
 Man I wish there was more data about people with real long arms. I'm one of them as well. 5'11" (but with really long arms) and running 790s is about spot on for me (I think the DMR Deathgrips add some).

I've been looking for other things to satisfy my ride fit for my abnormally long arms - I've been experimenting with a longer stem (currently at 50 up from 35) and honestly, I can't tell much of a difference there, to my surprise. Going with a longer chain stay (if you have a flip switch) has so far given me the most amount of comfort. Not sure if that's a long arm thing, but I don't feel like I'm sitting too far back over the back wheel like I was on a shorter chainstay. The long arms do tend to push your body backwards.
  • 1 0
 @ocnlogan: exactly this. Just as you would expect the distance between hands to vary according to shoulder width for someone doing a push-up or deadlift, so too for a handlebar. In fact, I wonder if the riders with longer arms should be adjusting some other fit variable like stem length, seat setback, or even frame size rather than handlebar width considering the kinematics.
  • 17 0
 Step 30: Pick a handlebar width and be a dick about it
  • 14 3
 Being a mountain biker for more than 15 years and working in a bike shop for a few years, it's crazy how people ride their handlebar too wide. Even pro riders, yes it's kind of a personal preference but to have a good body position, you can't go too wide or too narrow. People need to experiment with that. I'm 5ft10, 150 pounds and I have medium width shoulders and I run my bars 750mm. I see people with the same size of me running 800mm bars and think it's so stupid
  • 5 0
 I'm about 5'8, 170lbs with a wingspan over 6' and I used to ride 760. I got an 800 bar recently and I honestly can't find a reason to cut it down. I might go to 790 but for the time I've spent on them riding trails I can't see a downside at the moment. I used to be right there with you in that thought process but I'm sure it has something to do with shoulder width as well as personal preference.
  • 1 0
 Agreed.
  • 1 0
 5'8, started with the 760mm bars that came on my bike, felt fine. Started doing skills drills for manuals and bunny hops, and just thought I sucked until somebody recommended moving my grip inboard. Only took 30 mm to make all the difference in the world! Suddenly I can get my weight behind the bike, and no noticable difference in cornering and stability. Cut my bars to their limit (730), and I still ride at the inboard edge of the grips. 800+ just seems alien.
  • 9 0
 Really really odd comment here, maybe opposite of current thinking, I figured out my ideal bar width by doing pull-up instead of a push-up to figure out where I could pull the hardest with my lats and small of my back, turns out this gave me a width that was narrower than norm but found when I set my bars to this width my control and ability to intuitively move the bike benefiting (especially cornering). Also the plus aspect, is that my upper shoulders could stay more relaxed, felt stronger overall and could ride for longer periods of time, and no pump b/c my elbows could do their thing naturally.
  • 9 1
 Does anyone find the "measure the width of your strong pushup position" advice to be wildly inaccurate? Or at least not very feasible?

I did this for kicks a while ago when I was just starting out, and was looking at websites/youtube for info on "how to find the best handlebar width".

Turns out, my "normal" pushup position has the outsides of my hands just over 36in apart (~920mm). Which seems wildly impractical (I'd hit every tree gate within 100 miles with bars that wide).

So far I have found that measuring the wear on the grips is a good way of finding how comfortable I actually am on my current handlebar width.

If you find your wear patterns go to the very edge of your grips, and unconsciously hanging your palms over it, maybe they are too narrow. If you find yourself always on the inner end of the grips, then maybe the bars are a bit wider than you need to be.
  • 2 0
 I need to try the pushup test, but I think it does have something to do with shoulder width. I had a weird growth hormone issue when I was a kid and have pretty narrow shoulders (skeletal) as a result and anything over 760mm is just uncomfortable. I have long arms for my 5'7" frame and through lifting weights have built my shoulders up enough to appear normal width for my size, but that doesn't seem to make longer bars feel any more comfortable. If anyone has suggestions on lengthening bones at 39 let me know so I can ride the newest gear.
  • 1 0
 @Warburrito: Well 5'7" is not super tall, so 760mm is a great fit for your height.
  • 1 0
 you need to do hand clap push ups with regular push ups you can cheat by reducing your vertical range of motion
  • 1 0
 @taprider:

Out of curiosity I just did a few clap pushups. While my hands didn't land in the same place every time (I'm not great at them, as I never practice them), they tended to be within ~10-25mm of my previous marks on either side. So at max lop off 50mm of my previous number, which would still put me at 870mm.

I'm 6'1", with relatively wide shoulders though.

@Warburrito:

I personally wouldn't worry about not "being" able to run full 800's. I think its mostly about comfort/control. So if you feel good on them, I wouldn't worry.

At 5'7", 760mm seems like its probably about right.
  • 1 0
 Also 5'7" here and I run 760. I used to do 750 but I could go either way.
  • 1 0
 The grips thing has merit except it seems like my grips wear mostly depending on how far in my brake lever is.
  • 2 0
 I know what you mean but I’ve also been told that the traditional push-up position is way too wide and makes you prone to shoulder injuries. Closer into the ribcage near the armpits at the low position is preferred.

Hand position while pushing yourself off the ground from the prone position might be a better metric in this case.
  • 1 0
 @ocnlogan: you must be built like a gymnast so fifty 2 or 3 clap push ups for you
  • 3 0
 @Giddyhitch: those are just a different pushup meant to target a different set of muscles. Wide pushups use more pecs and pushups with your hands near your chest are for tricepts
  • 8 0
 all you shorties (i include myself in this category) with 780 must love doing wide stance pushups, making life harder for yourself, and punching trees.
  • 4 0
 I'm not sure half the people scrolled down before answering cuz I can't see a majority of 5' tall riders being on 780mm bars for XC
  • 3 0
 The pushup test is trash. The width of your powerful pushup has to do with your powerful muscles. The closer your hands the more triceps recruitment, the wider more chest. I dont know about everyone but im not in a constant push on my bars, its a pull for me, so a powerful pushup position makes even less sense. Throwing your hands up against a wall and seeing where they land naturally makes more sense.
  • 1 0
 Not just push ups but ever do wide grip pulldowns at the gym. Your strength is significantly weaker when doing them which means pulling up on the bars would be weaker too. I'm 5'6" and I run 760 bars I noticed a lot less wrist pain too.
  • 2 0
 @Muggsly: wrist pain is usually a good sign your grip is too wide.

Also deadlift and posterior work has translated to the trail much better for me than pushups ever will.
  • 5 0
 I’ve been riding for long enough to remember when we were advised to ride with bars no wider than our shoulder width. Then we used to wonder why our bikes were trying to kill us every time the trail got a little bumpy. Most of what magazines /experts/other riders have suggested over the years has been wrong, so I think I’ll ignore the advice on here too,

This said, my own thought is that ideal bar width is not directly a function of height or ape index or any other similarly spurious metric; it is more related to how much leverage you need as a rider. So, I’m average height but with narrow shoulders and like to ride fairly gnarly stuff. I’ve found that an 800mm bar works best for me as it gives me more leverage to compensate for less upper body strength than a big burly guy.

JP
  • 7 0
 740 across the board because I like lots of range of motion in corners and go fast in close proximity to trees.
  • 3 0
 Yep! Can corner much better. I am 5’7” and run 740-745 range. So many just listen to the masses but have no clue really.
  • 4 1
 @oldnw: That's totally appropriate for your height! A 6' rider is not going to like 740mm.
  • 1 0
 @oldnw: you are right about where they suggest.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=xMXlKED32uo
  • 3 0
 @mybaben: For a counter point I’m 6” but quite a slim build and ended up cutting my 740mm bars down to 690mm over a period of 6 months. I believe bar width is mainly based on shoulder width and has almost nothing to do with height.
  • 2 0
 @Tim2: Interesting... What kind of trails do you ride mostly?
  • 2 0
 @mybaben: I’m mainly riding XC/trail so I’d probably go slightly wider if I rode more technical terrain but honestly anything above 720 feels uncomfortable to me. Just puts extra strain on my shoulders and neck.
  • 1 0
 @oldnw: Or they have 30mm of bar sticking out beyond their hand. I don't know why but seeing that grinds my gears everytime.
  • 2 0
 @Tim2: Sounds like you're dialed in then. It is true, shoulder width is a huge piece of the puzzle.
  • 5 0
 You should take into consideration that bar width is dependent on your grips. Changing from Santa Cruz grips to Ergon GE1 made about 15 mm difference in the width of my handlebar
  • 1 0
 Yeah I just installed the Ergon GE1 grips and the bar felt wider.
  • 7 3
 People think wide overly bars are good because it 'feels good'. They're only good for the feels. Not for performance. Overly wide bars are worse for ability to pump, range to work, harder on your shoulders, weaker stance. But they make people feel confident.
  • 3 3
 Maybe with midget arms, anything lower than 780 puts my grip far too inwards and makes me a worse rider
  • 4 0
 I don't know man, for me, 800 feels right, especially for ability to pump. Coincidentally(?), just measured the width of my hand placement when doing a bench press - 800 on the button
  • 2 0
 @funboi-parisi: Isn't most of the pumping done with the legs?
  • 2 0
 @Zayphod: yeah but in the USA we don’t hold the handlebars with our legs
  • 2 0
 @funboi-parisi: That's a bummer.
  • 5 1
 You'd be hard pressed to find a Motorcycle Handlebar wider than 815mm.

Even a heavy E bicycle is at a toy like weight compared to the average Dirt Bike, yet we've got a Lot of people (often, Tiny people , inevitably most being ladies) running bicycle bar widths wider than used on Motorcycles. And that, can look like pure comedy in pictures, video, and, in person.

It's laughable. Look at so many pictures of MTBers with their hands / arms splayed out. "Tillering" their way around / down a course, limiting their ability to better position themselves, through being almost locked into position.

Look, I know I'm a somewhat cynical old man, but really, so very, very many of my fellow MTBers are like dogs, following each other around, sniffing their arses. There's an endless succession of 'trends' that so many just blindly follow.

I've got bloody big, wide shoulders - hence the 'Bear' nickname I've had for decades - but I run 'only' 750mm (max) wide 'bars on my Motorcycles, and Bicycles. Any wider, just has me hitting things, and feeling restricted. Perhaps some use ultra wide bars because their bike handles so badly, is so badly set up, thus needing the width to control 'push' or 'tuck' of their ill handling steeds? No, mainly I think it's because it's "the thing" now........
  • 2 0
 Had this exact conversation on the trail today. Agree, MTB bars wider than moto bars look pretty stupid--but I will say that the front end of my MTB feels a lot twitchier than the front end of my dirt bike and wide bars feel more stable because you have more leverage to counteract the wheel getting knocked around. There is a point of diminishing returns on that logic, but I think it's an instinct as well as a trend. You don't see too many pros running comically wide bars, but I think to new/casual riders they feel reassuring... or they can't be bothered to try cutting them down, or they can't recall a time when 800mm wasn't the norm and don't know what they're missing.

I'm 5'3", started riding on an XC bike with 640's, the faster I went the worse they felt on the downhills. Bought a new bike that came with 760s, thought they felt super stable (though the bike was slacker and had better suspension, so how much of that was the responsibility of the bars, I don't know). Couple years later, saw a video of myself riding and came to the same conclusion you did...I looked like an idiot and they were obviously keeping me from moving around on the bike. Cut them to 720 and thought, Oh, this is what it must feel like to be a normal sized adult--I could pump, lean the bike, get over the back wheel on steeps... there were no downsides.

Also, it's getting kind of hard to find narrow trail/enduro bars. My controls would fall on the tapered, non-clamping area on a lot of new bars. No sweet carbon upgrades for me...thankfully for my bank account.
  • 3 0
 At 6’1 I had 780 on my last two bikes, so when my new one came with 800 I figured I would cut them down, but I love the wider bars! Don’t have too many narrows to ride through where I’m at so don’t see the downsides.
  • 4 0
 I had an old retro bike with 560 bars on it and boy oh boy could I weave through trees. I got a new bike with 780 bars and I will hit every tree there is on the trail now cause I’m still not used to it.
  • 4 0
 I think Pinkbike needs to repost this poll with more emphasis on RIDER HIGHT cuz I really don't think riders scrolled down before answering seeing that a good amount of ~ 5' tall riders love 800mm bars on their XC bike
  • 6 0
 760 everywhere, blown shoulders do not allow more
  • 2 0
 I'm 6'2, and run 800 bars with wide grips (Meaty Paws). This gives me some flexibility to change my hand position depending on the terrain. Outboard for fast flowy riding and inboard for slow tech where I want faster response. Best of both worlds, other than the odd tree tap...
  • 2 0
 I'm 6,3. 780mm all the way. I used 800s on a few dh bikes. Hit more trees with pinky's and grazed more elbows. Trail riding with a 800 was no good for me. The trails don't get wider with your bars. But I got smaller buddies that love 800s so preference is king I guess.
  • 5 0
 So currently running 820mm bars.
  • 4 0
 Used to beriding 800mm, changed to 780 and i think i can go lower to 770 765 (180cm)
  • 6 0
 Why no 820?
  • 1 0
 We're not giants!!
  • 1 0
 My m/l slash came with 820mm bars. Cut down immediately to 780mm. At 5'10ish, 820 was comedy.
  • 1 0
 I think it also depends where you ride. I 6'1, had 780mm bars on my trail bike and 800mm bars on my XC bike (the reach on my XC bike is shorter so I felt comfortable with wider bars), but then I moved from Scotland to BC, Canada and 800mm bars just too wide for dodging between all there trees here, so had to chop them down.
  • 1 0
 Width discussions aside, I recently smashed my gucci Renthal carbon Fatbar on a tree and decided to shelve it. For kicks, I put on my stock alloy Raceface bar, cut to the 780 width and jumped on it. I was really surprised as to how much more compliant it is. There's a small weight penalty but for those looking for something that dampens trail chatter, I'd recommend giving a cheap alloy bar a try.
  • 1 0
 And Raceface bars aren’t even that renowned for their compliance in the first place.
  • 3 0
 At nearly 200cm tall I'd apparently be best suited to 880mm bars if I want to really be "Dialed". Anyone want to make me some 35mm clamp 50mm rise 880mm wide bars?
  • 1 0
 I'm the same height and went from 820 back to 800 and it was totally fine. Now I'm about to try a bar with, gasp, more than 9' of backsweep.
  • 1 0
 Nah sorry bud we’re gonna have to make a 38mm clamp standard for you but we’ll make em a meter wide if you want
  • 1 0
 @alexsin: Haha, yeah, I've been using 800s for years and never had and issue with the width. Honestly I don't think I'd want them to be longer for the safety of my hands with all the trees around here.
  • 4 0
 Trails you ride is a factor. If you have tight tree lined trails, most will opt for shorter bars because of tree bonking.
  • 1 0
 I'm late to the comment game however I like bikes that come with the widest bars possible and then allow me to cut my bars to my length as cutting a bar down to my ideal 786-788mm (I know ridiculous however that's become my happy spot 790 plus there's a bit of bar sticking past by fingers 75 and under my pinkie is on the lock on part). But it cost me 0 dollars to cut down an 820mm bar.... But it cost me considerable money to buy 800mm bar to replace a 780mm that I can't add 8mm to.
  • 1 0
 I had 780 on my new enduro bike, but I kept clipping trees and for some reason they felt a touch wide compared to the 780 bars on my trail bike (lock on grips vs esi chunky could be a factor). I think the taller-riding front end was causing the tree clipping though. So I thought I would go small and go 770. It is amazing the difference 5mm off each end has made.
  • 1 0
 Optimum handlebar width is dependent on whether the rider wants/prefers to use their triceps muscles (arms) or shoulder muscles (and skeletal structure) to stay in form smashing through technical sections or avoiding an unforeseen crash.

The narrower the handlebar, the more tricep strength is needed.
  • 2 0
 There was no 820 option so i couldn't vote. Im 6’2” and tried a pair of spank vibrocores that came at 820 and feel great. If my local trails had mote tight trees I’d cut down to 800 but no need on front range trails.
  • 1 0
 For all the 800 bros... are your hands placed at the ends of the bars... or are you choking up a bit?

May hands ride on the edge, and I always start out with a few rides at 800, but end up cutting down. The wide bars add too much forward lean, and bike is less responsive... plus always end up glancing a tree.

6'0 190
  • 1 0
 Uncut Atlas 820’s on my DH and enduro bikes and same bars cut to 770 on my DJ/pump track bike. 5’11”. The bend makes a difference to the width preference for me. I feel like wide bars put me in a good attack position but it makes for some tight squeezes between trees sometimes.
  • 1 0
 I don’t know my ideal width. I’m 5’11 with pretty broad chest and shoulders and ride with a 31.8 aluminium 780mm Fatbar. But that is what once had for ages and feels pretty comfortable. I’ve also ridden with 800mm and 750mm and they also felt pretty much the same.

I recently rode an old bike I gave my bro with 720mm bars and after a run it 2 it felt pretty similar and didn’t hold me back
  • 1 0
 Actually 760 is my sweet spot but I kept clipping trees, sounds nuts but shaved 5mm of each side and now it's all good. Running Deathgrips too so a can comfortably use all the width available and that's a definite improvement too.
  • 1 0
 I’m 6’3” and actually run 820mm bars on the bike I do trail, all mountain and enduro riding on. I had 810mm Funn bars for ages, then got a new bike which had 35mm stem and 800mm bars and couldn’t get on with them. Got the Spank 35 vibrocore 820mm bars and they are amazing. Highly recommended.
  • 1 0
 I haven't played around too much but think trying something narrower should likely be on many peoples to do list. Use the measure twice, cut one rule by just moving grips in to start. Judging by the marks no the tree's at my local trails many people think they are are narrower bars all ready.
An interesting article that mentions bar width is:
enduro-mtb.com/en/enduro-race-bike-mtb-review
  • 2 0
 So based on the number of responses, most Pinkbikers are shorter than 5”2’, mainly ride XC but are still big fans of a wide bar. Can probably write off these results as useless...
  • 1 0
 I cut the bars on my downhill bike to 420mm because I like to run 6.9" protruding from either side of my direct-mount stem, which also happens to have a clamp width of almost exactly 69mm. My right shoulder is just a tad bit bulkier than my left shoulder for some weird reason but I really like that setup since it saves me from punching too much of the local flora while I'm shredding - wouldn't want the trees to think I'm angry at 'em or anything! I also make sure to leave my bar ends unplugged to facilitate my annual gut biopsy.
  • 1 0
 I only have one bike, and it's got an 800mm bar on it because I haven't cut it yet. I'm 5'10".

Other than potential issues fitting between trees are there downsides to having a bar too wide?
  • 3 0
 @f*ckingsteve: shoulder pain for some of us
  • 7 0
 @f*ckingsteve it can have a negative impact when it comes to the shoulder joint and general muscle fatigue. It’s like doing a push up with your hands out too wide, lots of unnecessary and possibly catastrophic stress on the shoulder joints. With the width just right, you will be in the strongest position possible for your height.
  • 2 0
 @RBalicious: What's the best way outside experimentation (which I'm loathe to do with a carbon bar) to determine the ideal width?
  • 4 0
 A bar that's too wide can contribute to shoulder or wrist discomfort and fatigue. It can also position you too far forward in your cockpit, as you use up some of your arm reach spreading them too far out.
  • 2 1
 @f*ckingsteve: what’s your natural push-up position?
  • 6 0
 @DHhack: Implying I do push-ups, haha. No idea.
  • 4 0
 Just move all your controls and grips in 10mm see how feels... worse? Go back. Better? Move them another 10mm... once you've found your sweet spot, cut yer bars.
  • 2 0
 @f*ckingsteve: What kind of grips do you have? If you have double ring lock ons, you can simply move them around the bars! Start at the ends and move them in 5mm at a time and ride around for a bit on the trails. When you find the perfect spot for you, cut the bars!
  • 3 7
flag ChocolateNinja (Apr 9, 2021 at 14:04) (Below Threshold)
 @RBalicious: Idk im about 5'10 or 11 and I run 800mm. I have not experienced any significant fatigue or negative impact. 800 feels very natural to me. Maybe some fo yall need to do more pushups.
  • 2 0
 @ChocolateNinja: Height doesn't play as much a part in this as arm length does. People with the same height can have quite a difference in arm length. One thing the ideal bar width has nothing to do with, is how many pushups someone does, Chachi.
  • 1 0
 @f*ckingsteve yeah, I should have said height to arm length ratio. Everyone will have a sweet spot in there somewhere. Our shoulder joints are one of the most interesting and easily compromised joints on our bodies due to the forces it can receive. There were a few great examples listed here on how to experiment with that. I am 5'8", with a 5'10" wing span. When 800mm bars became a regular width to purchase, I gave them a try. Found my shoulders and wrists would fatigue to quickly. Then tried 780, same thing. Then down to 770, felt better. 760 is the sweet spot for me, personally.
@ChocolateNinja I definitely do not need to do more push ups. Yes, chest/tricep strength is crucial in this sport. But what is as equal if not more important is making sure you do not have muscular imbalances, which a majority of us do. Tight chest, weak back, pronated shoulders and thus compromised joint. For every pushing exercise set, you need to do double the pulling exercises to counter our life styles, and do a bunch of stretching of the chest and anterior deltoids.
  • 1 0
 @f*ckingsteve: Good point right here. Wider bar gives you more leverage. There is a reason Ritchie Rude (a big guy) doesn't need to run a wide bar...because he's strong enough not to need the mechanical advantage.
  • 3 0
 I’m a little over 6’5” and 800 is my go to. 780 also feels fine but anything less starts to feel narrow.
  • 2 0
 Makes sense for you, you're HUGE! LOL.
  • 2 0
 @mybaben: Ha. It is what it is.
  • 2 0
 @extratalldirtrider: Ha, my son is 6' 4". Wink
  • 2 0
 @mybaben: must be a cool dude.
  • 1 0
 @extratalldirtrider: LOL. Yep he is. Smile
  • 2 0
 comparison between xc, trail and dh is ok. but I would really like to know the difference between DH and dirt / freeride / slopestyle riders
  • 2 0
 I mistakenly trimmed my hardtail bars to 720, and... I liked it. So trimmed my Enduro to 730 this AM, thumbs up. 5'9" - 160 lbs
  • 2 0
 5 foot 10 inches tall. And personally I've found that 780mm is the sweet spot. 760 is the smallest I can stand. And anything over 780 feels too wide.
  • 2 0
 Could have pick a better picture of Batty to descripe her cockpit since she's behind a tree. Rider upfront is Laurie Arsenault.
  • 1 0
 At first, before scrolling down, my first thought was... will they even cover height and riding discipline? Looks like you spared no expense with this poll and I was way off on my concerns. Impressive, most impressive.
  • 1 0
 I forget how tall I am and my preference is 780, but I’ll happily run anything between 740 and 800.

One time I rode 780s for like a year thinking they were 760s. Such a cool story, I know.
  • 2 0
 riding style. the more active you are, the more relatively narrower bars facilitate your riding. good for corners. good for riding forward.
  • 5 2
 780mm for everything ! Isn't that the standard ?
  • 1 0
 Run 800 on all my bikes now...feels natural but weaving through trees can be a bit tricky (6'3). I don't feel like I need wider, but can't say that I've tested.
  • 3 0
 There should be an option for: "About yay wide".
  • 1 0
 There is what I like, and then there is what the narrow gaps in some of my favorite local trails allow, and they are a liiiiiitle different!
  • 1 0
 just went back to back with an ENVE m6 780 to a Renthal Fatbar 800 and I gotta say the Fatbar felt so good on the downs, I primarily ride black trails and do enduros
  • 4 0
 776.53
  • 3 1
 I'm running 810mm enve m9 bars solely because im too lazy to get them cut down to 800
  • 2 0
 That was a lot of choices...Cheesecake Factory called, they want their menu back
  • 3 0
 im running 825's and its not on the poll... im so excluded
  • 1 2
 I had a bar width related realization today that in hind sight is pretty obvious: I'm 5'10 with a stocky build (husky/big. thicc etc)
I am running 780mm bars on my trail bike and my usual grips are Sensus Meaty Paws (HUGE grips, single clamp design)
Today, because I just cant seem to leave shit alone, I swapped to a set of Sensus "Swayze" grips (thin, dual clamp design)
I immediately went for a ride at my local spot and at first I just took in the obvious differences like the thickness, distance to the brake lever etc. I was about half way through my ride and I was feeling off as if something wasn't quite right. As I started up a long and painfully steep climb, I noticed that I had spread my hands out to where my pinky finger was on top of the outer clamp area. (Insert Bill and Ted "whoa" meme") By switching grips, I had just effectively reduced my bars from 780 to roughly 765-770 ish wide bars. (5-ish mm clamp+ Pinky ramp section of the grip= roughly 8-10mm per side)

Is the difference between 760-770 to 780 really that big of a deal? For me, yes. (Insert Ren and Stimpy "No Sir I don't like it" clip)
maybe if my bike wasn't already right-at-the-line of being too small for me it wouldn't have made such a noticeable difference, I'm not sure about that but I am sure that I am going back to the Meaty Paws before my next ride.
  • 1 0
 Whoa - this is a long one.
  • 1 0
 Mine are 746. Maybe I would like a bit wider bars but where I regularly ride I occasionally clip my fingers so afraid of going wider.
  • 1 0
 Depends on rider preference but also on rider size. Measuring the rider's shoulder width should be more indicative of a handlebar width than preference.
  • 1 0
 For riders who are 4'8” to 5'2” (143 – 153 cm) with 800 mm bars would look like a scarecrow going down the trail.......
  • 1 0
 My new Trek Remedy came with 820s. I was going to cut them down but I love them. I’m just over 6’ but I have monkey arms.
  • 1 0
 I buy what ever is cheap and aluminum and just cut them down from the freakishly large until I no longer smash my hands on the trees.
  • 2 0
 Bar width should have more to do with shoulder width rather than ones body height.
  • 2 1
 I ride with narrow bars so when I build a trail I build trails with narrow gaps between trees to slow down the wide bar riders.
  • 3 0
 Choose a width and be a dick about it, everyone!
  • 2 0
 There be some weird looking 4'8” to 5'2” people if they are using 780-800mm bars.
  • 2 0
 Love seeing riders with maximum width 820mm bars, every where for every thing no matter they're height because mtb media
  • 1 0
 I looked at results and thought now we'll only get bars in even numbers of centimeters long - hardly anyone likes 770, but loads of love of 780 and 760!
  • 1 0
 I'm 6'0" (183cm) tall and use 780cm stock bars. I don't think I'd want any wider, but it felt HUGE moving from 635mm bars on my 2002 Gary Fisher.
  • 3 3
 How about just asking about width without the extensive “for xyz riding”? Bike ergonomics, right?

Plus: less time wasted, collecting meaningless and redundant data.
  • 13 0
 Because if I did it the other way there would be comments that said, "I use 720 for XC and 800mm for DH, what do I choose?"
  • 1 1
 @mikekazimer: We could just average it. My old XC bike was 680, current enduro is 800. So I guess I like 740.
  • 3 1
 @mikekazimer: I get it, yes.

So maybe the poll-machine will at some point offer conditional questionaires, eg.:

1. How tall are you?

2. Arm length?
2.1 Orangutan
2.2 Pygmy marmoset

3. Resulting and preferred handlebar width for

3.1 XC
3.2.1 Trail, Up- & Downcountry, Enduro
3.2.2 E-biking
3.3 Downhill
  • 3 1
 @whiteboarder: basically what I said in a negged comment below lol
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer: What does it mean when your grip on only one side of the bar slower moves inward with riding(over months)? My bar is centered and this is happening on both my bike and my sons and on the left side. In addition I ride moto and he rides wrong. I am 5'9 and he is 4'
  • 2 0
 800 feels good to me i like wide bars and such i might try wider
  • 1 0
 5'6" and 800mm on both my bikes. Tried various bar widths and prefer the 800 size.
  • 3 1
 Hipsters on fixies ride 780s now, get with the times.
  • 3 0
 Wow, that's huge for hipsters!! LOL.
  • 1 0
 Bike came with 800 bars. Feels good to me. 780 might be better but Not going to bother with cutting 1cm off each side.
  • 1 0
 You just might love it.... I cut my 800 to 790, 5mm off a side. Feel great!
  • 1 0
 My bars are 800 minus a little more than the width of my wedding ring cut off each side. Whatever that is.
  • 1 0
 No need to cut bars... skrew on 680mm bars 20mm, 40mm or 60mm external adjusters to have the proper lenght for every taste.
  • 1 0
 I exclusively run 710mm bars on all my bikes.... tree gates ain’t gunna get me! #dorkateamracerandsposoredbeerdrinker
  • 1 2
 Height is a small part of it. Arm and torso and leg length play a larger roll. Ape index, preferred frame length per application, etc. This is too generic. Not answering.
  • 1 0
 781 but there was no option for that in the poll.
  • 2 0
 777!!!
  • 1 0
 my bars are 820, why dont i have a option mate?

Frown
  • 1 0
 I run 769 exclusively and you're not allowed to ask me why
  • 1 0
 Why?
  • 1 0
 220, 221, whatever it takes.
  • 1 0
 Just wide enough that i can fit though the trees on my local trails.
  • 1 0
 4ft8 on 810 bars. Now that would be worth a watch coming down a hill.
  • 1 0
 Where's the option for 560mm with bar ends?
  • 1 0
 720 for everything. I'm a short girl Smile
  • 1 0
 Hey pinkbike, do you sell the results of the polls to bike companies?
  • 1 0
 You should have made people pick their height first, then vote.
  • 1 0
 I can ride my bike with no handlebars, no handlebars,
  • 1 0
 Whatever the bike comes with
  • 1 0
 820? I 820 820 820, and 820 is 820!! “oh my, 820”
  • 1 0
 Where's the freeride category!? And where's my 825mm width option smdh
  • 1 0
 5’6” on 760s. Who tf runs 800mm at 4’8”-5’2” lmao
  • 1 0
 I go 840mm so I can touch my bars on the ground while cornering.
  • 1 0
 My bars are 820mm, but none of the options have that number :p
  • 3 2
 Do Pinkers ride XC?
  • 2 2
 Of course they do!
  • 5 0
 Today's XC is more like yesterday's all-mtn.
  • 1 1
 They do if PB can make $$$ from advertising
  • 1 0
 4'8-5'2 really?
  • 2 1
 @Waki, any thoughts?
  • 1 0
 775mm 183cm

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