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Handlebar position

Rob K

Chimp
Aug 25, 2008
26
0
Southern Cali (USA)
Where do you all position your handlebar and why?

I'm 5' 11", slender (160 lbs.) and my main long travel rig is a 2004 Norco Shore (7.1 inch rear, 7 inch front by way of a 888 fork). The frame is a large (and I probably would do better with a medium) which I selected on purpose - from my past long travel rigs I've always liked how the large frame handled the big hits even though it requires more effort on my part to muscle it around.

Anyway, because I also climb with this bike and the front is actually a bit heavy I found myself positioning the handlebars forward. This provides me some additional leverage when I need to get the front up and it also helps with the climbs.

Here are some pics which (sort of) shows the position of my bars (the first picture is current, the other two are slightly older - the only difference is the lower crown):







The handlebar is an Azonic PDW 1.5 inch rise and 28 inches wide. I like the amount of sweep it has; it feels comfortable.

Not too long ago another rider commented and was wondering why I run the bars forward the way I do and that I should perhaps run them "neutral" (straight up) or rolled back more. He said that if I rolled them back I would get better leverage when jumping and such.

Somehow that doesn't seem right to me.

Anyway, since then I've been starting to take notice on bar position on other FR/AM/DH bikes and I've seen a lot of them rolled back but I've also seen a few that were rolled forward like mine.

I know I should experiment - and will - I just was curious as to what you all do and why.

Keep in mind that my bike is somewhat nose heavy.

Thanks...
 

j2d013

Monkey
Jun 28, 2005
131
0
G' Vegas,SC
First of all nice rig, I really like Norcos. I have messed around w/ my set uo a few times. I rol;l mine back at the same angle as the fork. I love this and really feels great. I also climb w/ my rig( Eastern 26 Slash) and it does great, and is also 7 " front and rear. Good luck and do what is most comffy for you.
 

talusslope

Chimp
Apr 6, 2007
67
0
sst, WA
I like myn forward aswell, no idea why, just feel better. I suppose that I do stand alot, and have to suck-up my over shot landings with only 6". but it also floats over the forks abit for climbing (like you said). And to get that extra foot I do sometimes bring the front of the bike up, and with the bars leaning forward I can bring the bike further up before getting a chest full of bar.
I am 5' 8" on a medium.
 

Rob K

Chimp
Aug 25, 2008
26
0
Southern Cali (USA)
j2d013: Thanks ... This is my second Norco. The other is a "Big Foot" hard tail. There's a pic of me on the Norco website riding it :cool: Anyway, would you happen to know what the rise, width and sweep of your current bar is?

talusslope: I too find myself standing up a lot. Because the TT is pretty long for someone of my build it looks like I'm stretched out when I'm sitting in the saddle. I do feel it in my lower back and sometimes in my upper body/shoulders when I'm doing an all-day ride; I suspect this is because most of my weight is on the bars.

Another challenge with the bar being rolled forward on a frame with a long TT is that I can't get that far back behind the saddle. I know if I rolled the bars back slightly I could get further back.

Lately I've been going bigger and riding more aggressively and in doing so the bike has felt sketchy at times which I think may be partly related to the position of the bar.

Some additional advice that has been given to me recently:

For carving and fast single track, I've been told that having the bar back is best; fast technical and hucking to have the bar rolled forward.

This advice, of course, depends on the HA and other variables but it sure seemed like everyone has a different opinion/experience when it comes to the position of the bar. Hm.

Thanks for your replies...
 
May 12, 2005
977
0
roanoke va
IMO you could use a med, it would make it easier to shift your weight forward for the climbs, and back for the drops and tech stuff.
the handle bars where designed with a back sweep that for most people is most comfortable to be in line your your arms when you're on the bike. from the looks of the pics this pointing up about 15 degrees past your brake levers. if your rotating the bar because that is what fits your hands thats cool. if you want to mess with cockpit length, swapping the stem would be safer for you and the bike.
 

Rob K

Chimp
Aug 25, 2008
26
0
Southern Cali (USA)
IMO you could use a med, it would make it easier to shift your weight forward for the climbs, and back for the drops and tech stuff.
the handle bars where designed with a back sweep that for most people is most comfortable to be in line your your arms when you're on the bike. from the looks of the pics this pointing up about 15 degrees past your brake levers. if your rotating the bar because that is what fits your hands thats cool. if you want to mess with cockpit length, swapping the stem would be safer for you and the bike.
The bar does position me over the fork and is most noticeable on very steep descents, roll off and basically anytime I need to get my butt back behind the saddle.

When I built this bike I knew it wasn't going to be a climber. I had built it to take big hits. For the most part it does climb pretty good for a 38 lb beast but it ain't going to climb like an XC bike.

I've tried other stems and have gone back to the integrated one because I like the lower stack height and with the bars I have now seem to be a good match for me.

Anyway, the more aggressive riding that I've been doing is making me lift the front more but there are times when I feel like if I were positioned back slightly I may be able to push it harder and still stay in control. Does that make any sense?
 

Rob K

Chimp
Aug 25, 2008
26
0
Southern Cali (USA)
Update: so I rolled my bar back 2-3 mm - we're not talking much but enough to where the brake levers are positioned just behind the front brake caliper; almost in a straight up position.

One thing I was not prepared for the change in the handling (turning) performance; it actually responded slower than what I was use to.

When I had it forward it didn't require much movement to turn the fork. Having them rolled back (as slight as it was) forced me to pull and push the bars a bit more than I was use to if that makes any sense.

Part of it may be muscle memory where my arms know the amount to push and pull to get the bike to go where I want and so now it has to learn a new position and how the bike reacts.

Anyway -- on the first run I did I was all over the place. I wasn't as smooth as I normally was and I think I was just thinking too much because I knew I had made a change. Once I stopped thinking about it I was carving the mountain as I normally do and actually found myself going a bit faster (or I just could have had one of those days when you're completely in the zone - you guys know that feeling!). :banana:

I will say that when I hit a few of the rock gardens on this trail, I didn't hit them as smooth as I normally do. At least not on the first run. Again, I think this was in part to different riding angle and position.

One thing I did notice was that it did affect my climbing. Or so it seemed. It seemed harder so I stiffened the rear compression (turning the spring one complete turn) slightly and slowed the compression (one click); now the front really feels light but not to where it wanders - but I can now snap the front up with less effort.

Overall the subtle changes I made has had a pretty positive impact on how the bike handles. I've had to make some changes in the way I ride the bike but not alot. It does feel somewhat like a new bike or rather more like when you get a new handlebar, stem or fork.

Thanks again to all who have sent me your feedback and advice public and private.

My next epic ride will be out in Las Vegas as me and my riding partner do our annual Bootleg Canyon trip in about two weeks :biggrin: I'll let you guys know how that goes.
 

sstalder5

Turbo Monkey
Aug 20, 2008
1,945
20
Beech Mtn Definitely NOT Boulder
i read this and decided to roll my bars back... its seems so much better imo i've probably had them rolled forward since i put them on 2 months ago (ritchy severe condition) i didnt think it mattered that much but WOW
 

Rob K

Chimp
Aug 25, 2008
26
0
Southern Cali (USA)
My next epic ride will be out in Las Vegas as me and my riding partner do our annual Bootleg Canyon trip in about two weeks :biggrin: I'll let you guys know how that goes.
Back from Bootleg Canyon (Boulder City, NV) and here is a pic of me goofing around the lower section:



Since rolling the bar back, stiffening the rear and slowing the rear compression slightly the front end seems very light in that it doesn't take much effort.

In the picture above (you'll have to rotate it clockwise about 45 degrees) I'm not pulling up on the bar at all, the front just snaps almost straight up and so I find myself landing rear tire first pretty much all the time which is not so good when you're getting air and going downhill; you want to try and land it nose first :eek:

Prior to these changes I had to pull the bar in order to get the front up (even when just dropping in) - the bike seemed *nose* heavy.

I don't think the bike is really *nose* heavy, I think alot of it has to do with how the overall suspension is set up. I think the rear still may be a bit soft and is wanting to stay planted to the ground so I think I will have to continue to experiment.



But I do like the new position of my handlebar. I think that alone made a huge difference. :thumb:
 

Flyingfish

Chimp
Nov 4, 2008
45
0
Toledo, OH
mark weir says to roll em forward to help climbing.
i keep mine in line w/ the fork and really wide, im actually thinking of cutting my bars down some as i am more into freeride than full on dh racing.
"you want to try and land it nose first "
i think you should try to land w/ both wheels at the same time.
 

Rob K

Chimp
Aug 25, 2008
26
0
Southern Cali (USA)
mark weir says to roll em forward to help climbing.
i keep mine in line w/ the fork and really wide, im actually thinking of cutting my bars down some as i am more into freeride than full on dh racing.
"you want to try and land it nose first "
i think you should try to land w/ both wheels at the same time.
I use to have them really forward which did help with climbing but then it put me in a too-forward position on really steep descents :shocked: and made it difficult to really get far behind the seat.

The handlebar I have sweeps back slightly which helps.

As for landing front wheel, there are times when you are going downhill and you have to have the front wheel touch first. Most of the time I do try to stick both wheels at the same time - depends on the situation.

Right now the front snaps up and I tend to land rear wheel first majority of the time. For the most part it's not bad - I never feel like I'm out of control - but it's not a good feeling when the nose is up and you're jumping downhill :busted:

Just recently I was on one my local trails that we frequent often and because the temps were in the low 90F range, I decided to just wear the leg armor, gloves and helmet and not wear the body suit or even the elbows.

Hit a jump that I've hit many times before. The jump goes into a slight downhill so you want to at least stick both wheels down at the same time but if you touch the front first it's a much smoother landing and you don't lose much momentum.

Of course I land the rear wheel first, it got a bit skiddish and I went down. I did try to get the front end down by lightly tapping the rear brake but I was already going down. :busted: Of course my left arm from the elbow to the forearm is scratched up but not bad (one of those "it looks worse than it really is...).:stupid:
 

Ctrider

Chimp
Jul 19, 2008
12
0
I run them so the grips are parallel to the ground when viewed from the side. I heard that rolling them forward can bind your wrists, I don't like the feel of it either. I have seen a few running them tilted forward with good results, so to each his own I guess.