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PostPosted: Sun Mar 24, 2013 9:35 am 
Retro Guru

Joined: Sat Dec 29, 2007 7:21 am
Posts: 794
Location: Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
560-580 were pretty common. When downhill got more technical than fireroads and gravel paths Azonic and Answer stepped up with 660, 680 then 710mm bars. There was a fashion for cutting bars narrower than 550 but IMO that was driven by fashion alone, even vintage bikes seem to work best with the widest feasible bars.


In the modern day I run 780mm Renthals on my modern day trailbike, I am wide in the shoulders but the difference in stability over narrow bars is the main reason. I reckon there are maybe two places I need to button off and wiggle it through trees, and I ride some damn tight and technical trails. 680-710 is the common standard nowadays on off-the-peg all rounder mountain bikes.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 24, 2013 11:02 am 
retrobike rider
retrobike rider

Joined: Sun Sep 23, 2007 11:22 pm
Posts: 7306
Location: Hove
I've always assumed that the narrow bars that people used in earlier times stemmed from their experience being from road bikes, which affected the mentality of mtb designers and riders. Obviously wider bars are better for off-road and as time has gone on they have gradually got wider and wider because it's so obvious. Although I must admit I haven't tried anything as wide as 780 - my widest is 685 and that feels fine to me. 580 feels borderline dangerous now. Maybe that's part of it with narrow bars - a sort of macho kudos? Personally I ride my bikes for enjoyment, so I wouldn't dream of fitting 580 bars just because it was 'more retro'.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 24, 2013 11:25 am 
retrobike rider
retrobike rider

Joined: Tue Jul 10, 2012 11:58 pm
Posts: 2362
Location: Bournemouth
I have never ridden a road bike. I rode very narrow bars because in those days you made your own singletrack, on unused paths, with lots of branches and trees making them narrow. You didn't want to get the bars hooked on them. Also allowed me to fly through the posts councils put up to stop you cycling over bridges and the like, which gave me big laughs when a mate following me forgot and the resulting forced stop sent him flying into the water. I'm running 580 now and they feel soooo wide. Don't want to go wider


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 24, 2013 12:10 pm 
Old School Grand Master
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Joined: Sun Sep 05, 2010 1:10 am
Posts: 4756
Location: Heathfield, East Sussex
Ditto the stupidly narrow bars for fast, wooded single track; and my brake lever hoods did touch! 8)

I was much younger, and infinitesimally fitter of course, so the cramped position wasn't so much of an issue; use around 580 - 610mm now though...


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 24, 2013 12:38 pm 
retrobike rider
retrobike rider

Joined: Sun Sep 23, 2007 11:22 pm
Posts: 7306
Location: Hove
I'm not saying there isn't room for individual choice and if you've tried wider bars and you prefer 580s, then that's great for you. But a 99% majority is rarely wrong.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 24, 2013 12:39 pm 
retrobike rider
retrobike rider

Joined: Tue Jul 10, 2012 11:58 pm
Posts: 2362
Location: Bournemouth
of course the majority can be, and often are wrong. People do things to follow trends, not just because it's right for them.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 24, 2013 8:13 pm 
Gold Trader / MacRetro rider
Gold Trader / MacRetro rider
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Joined: Wed Jan 18, 2012 10:48 pm
Posts: 1409
Location: Edinburgh
Yup wide bars are better... I have narrow on my 95 cindercone and are fine as the bike is only used for light road/nipping about duty.. Popped a nice set of pro tapers on my 99 Explosif(link below)which is for proper trail/off road antics and they really are good.. The 580mm flat bars were poop :lol:

Col 8)




viewtopic.php?f=21&t=245503&start=15


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 25, 2013 1:55 pm 
Windmilling for a Scotch Egg
Windmilling for a Scotch Egg
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Joined: Tue Feb 15, 2011 10:27 am
Posts: 4840
Location: Huddersfield, West Yorkshire
I managed to find a source of Tioga alloy bars, retro NOS, with a 600mm width. Still looks good on a retro bike but just a bit wider for control.

I have a new bike with wide bars, old bike needs narrower bars. BUT if I could find a set of Salsa ProMoto bars in 25.4mm I'd have some.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 25, 2013 3:00 pm 
Retro Guru
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Joined: Fri May 23, 2008 2:34 pm
Posts: 320
Location: Edinburgh
I run 640mm truvativ risers on my 97 Kilauea. They dont look massively out of place but give you enough control than something narrower. I run it with 100mm forks which is a bit longer than back in the day so it needs a shorter stem and risers to match.


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