Are narrow handlebars the next big thing?

Turns out wider isn't always better, at least for the pros on the EWS circuit

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Richie Rude is 5’11. Last year he was running 740mm wide bars, this year he’s on 750s. For comparison, Jerome Clementz is 5’6 and also running 750mm bars.

Richie Rude is 5’11. Last year he was running 740mm wide bars. This year he’s on 750s. For comparison, Jerome Clementz is 5’6 and also running 750mm bars.

Trends are a funny thing. It used to be everyone ran skinny bars, then all the sudden wide bars were all the rage. While wider bars offer obvious benefits, some riders went too far. Rather than using a bar that’s proportional to their shoulder width, many went even wider. These days, it appears the pendulum has swung back and settled somewhere in the middle. To investigate, Enduro World Series presenter Ric McLaughlin headed to the pits at the last round of the EWS to talk with riders. The majority of pros were in the 750mm-780mm range. And many such as Yoann Barelli and Jesse Melamed had previously run wider setups, but have lopped their bars down this season.

What handlebar width are you running and why?

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  • Bret says:

    I saw this coming. I’m 6’4″ on 750mm with grips. Maybe a gym membership is in order if you need wider than that.

  • fix-the-spade says:

    You guys forgot a very basic thing. The trails in the Tasmania EWS had some extremely narrow gaps in them either due to trees or because the trail ran between rocks. Narrow(er) handlebars were a necessity rather than a choice. Also, 29 inch wide handlebars aren’t narrow. No doubt normal service will resume at the next race.

  • R. Wilson says:

    Thankfully I have no need to worry about narrow gaps. Even if I did I wouldn’t go back to narrow bars. Once I got on a bike with wider bars I couldn’t believe the added control it gave me going over rough terrain. Pro-people who race have the luxury of using spec. equipment to suit the venue they are racing. I think most people who ride are usually going to be dealing with rough terrain rather than trails with tight gaps. I can’t speak for others but I’ll take wide bars over narrow any day of the week.

  • YYC says:

    OMG a pro is running slightly narrower bars?!?! Better just throw my whole rig in the trash and upgrade to stay current.

  • DM says:

    Many of these guys have been running 740 – 750 mm over many seasons. Other pros have been running 780 – 800 mm. It’s a personal preference thing.

    I can’t help but think that this headline attempting to trend-set narrow bars is misguided; consumers are smart enough to know that they can cut down their existing bars, if indeed this narrower trend turns out to be the next big thing – but knowing the bike industry, some new standard for handlebars will come out and everyone will be forced to jump on it.

  • Tom says:

    I run 720mm and couldn’t care less what the pros are doing. Feels good to me.

  • dirtdiggler says:

    I run ”Boost” width handlebars…

  • Rick B says:

    The whole wide bar trend should never have started. Wider does NOT equal more leverage after a certain point. Get down and do some push-ups with your hands at different spacings apart. You’ll find where you’re strongest. That’s the bar width you should be running. Too close in and your triceps fail. Too far apart and your chest gets weak.
    Where I am in the mid-Atlantic region, we have some dense woods. Wide bars will only get your knuckles clipped. We don’t all live in southern California.

  • andy says:

    The wide bar, slack bike trend has had an unfortunate side effect where I live – people widening and straightening trails to get their stupid bikes through.

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