Running modern handlebars and stem

d8mok

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Re:

Modern bars are more like 800-810mm wide with very little rise. Modern stems are 35-50mm.

I realise you said more modern but I was running wider bars than 700mm and a shorter stem back in 1998. Some bikes it suits and others .... well it doesn’t.

Head angle , fork offset , reach , stack , trail and lots of other factors go into whether a bike is suitable for wider bars and a shorter stem and that hasn’t changed since the 90s.
 

Mikey08

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Re:

I found this video quite informative. He give s a good description of how changes in bar and stem length feel (relative to modern standards).

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gTFLamAJ0Hc&ab_channel=Biker%27sEdge[/youtube]
 

mk one

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I think a lot of it is down to personal aspects.

All the flat period bars on my retro bikes are 580mm+, some bikes are a bit low and long by design, '93 Kona's spring to mind, but my comfiest bike i own is my original spec '90 Kona Explosif. I ride a more modern Charge bike a lot, the bars and stem are older 55.4 as the width is just right for me, however the bike is not as comfy a ridding position as my Explosif, it is also nowhere near as fast through twisty singletrack as my Brodie, long and low. Always makes me smile when people assume something built for a purpose, and built to the highest standards, is no longer any good due to age :)

I am 54, I rode wide bars for years, 800mm+ to start, but as well as most people i know, ended up cutting them down to a suitable width. I go by my natural and most relaxed hand position when i raise my arms in front of me, any wider or narrower and i have to physically hold my arms in that position. Different bikes are going to feel different to ride, it takes time to get used to them. If i go out on my Enduro motorbike, upright position and wide bars, then after a while go out on a sportbike, long low and narrow bars, the position feel unstable to start, no leverage, bent over and feeling precarious, however once used to it the bike is a joy to ride and makes perfect sense.

At the end of the day if it gets you out ridding then thats the best option. Geometry is a good point also, and putting short stems and wide riser bars on some older bikes will not be the best option, people often dont think of it the other way for comparison, putting a long low stem and flat bars on a modern trail bike, or drop bars and turning it into a cx bike :shock: :LOL:
 

ishay

Retro Guru
d8mok, you are of course right, definitely 'more modern' not modern. I knew I liked the feel of a similar bar on my 2007 Kona (which I used to test the setup before buying too) but really the riser bar is more to account for the low top of the headtube compared to a more modern slack geometry rather than for its shape being modern.

In fact I figured I could get away with it being almost period correct because by the late-mid 90s Club Roost risers were all the rage iirc...
 

Raumer

Devout Dirtbag
Bars and stems are easily changed so run what you feel comfortable. I tried out a new GT Zaskar last year at a Centre Parcs. It was a more comfortable riding position and confidence inspiring on the downhills. Reminded me of riding my brothers downhill bikes back in the 90's. But it had two missings for me. The first was a lack of high gears, desperately needed a 44 tooth or higher front ring. The second was the handling was very slow. The same thing that gives the confident and comfortable handling.

When I was younger and performance was everything the fast head angle and twitchy handling of the 90's bikes was just what I wanted. Now two of my bikes do have wider and higher rise bars. It does make the position more comfortable and handling more forgiving. But I can't resist smiling if I take the Klein or the Decade for a spin. Sneeze and you turn! Great fun for sprints but not for longer distance.

It's all personal choice, whatever you like and makes you happy.
 

legrandefromage

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<cough> 690mm bars <cough> 1986 <cough>

file.php
 

Mikey08

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Exactly! The slack front ends, wide bars and short stems of today have more in common with clunkers than the 90's geometry which was roadie influenced.
 

Tootyred

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Re:

Mr Fromage is completely correct.

80s wide with long stem......90s narrow with long stem
00s all over the place, probably with a clamp on brace for good measure ........10s wide with short stem.......

By a process of elimination all that's left is narrow bars with a short stem....that will sort the men out from the downhill'ers.
 

jimo746

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I've one early 90's bike that I keep "period correct" with a lengthy 120mm stem and girthy 540mm wide flat bar.
To be honest it feels bloody horrible to ride, for the first half hour or so at least, until I get used to the riding position again.
We have a Gentlemans Agreement, I've looked after it all these years and kept it looking good, in return it agrees not to try and kill me every ride (just every other ride :LOL: )


Any other bike is ripe for making more modern though, most recently an old Hardrock that got a shorter stem and 700mm bars, and lock on grips that can help extend the bar another 20mm at least. I found wider 25.4mm Riser bars to be a bit flexible, so it now has some even more modern 31.8 diameter bars.
 

legrandefromage

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look at that moron with his long stem and bar ends!

Oh, wait, thats me this afternoon :oops:
 

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