Handlebar sweep and roll

Hi Lee,

I was wondering if you can comment on how handlebar roll affects hand and wrist position while riding. I had a coaching session with a local guy here and he rolled my bar upwards so that I effectively had more stack height. It immediately felt more comfortable, it seemed like the way the bar sweep worked with that angle put my wrists in a more comfortable position. I did not think about it too much until I stripped down my bike and forgot to mark the handle bar to put it back. Obviously the way you roll the bar will also change the reach and stack but do you have any rules of thumb for getting forearms and wrists are in a strong comfortable position. Or am I barking up the wrong tree here?


Hi Jarred,

Thanks for writing in.

When you play with bar roll, you are changing bar sweep.

– When you roll the bar forward, you’re decreasing backsweep and increasing upsweep. This increases stack and reach, making a bike fit bigger.

– When you roll the bar backward, you’re decreasing upsweep and increasing backsweep. This decreases stack and reach, making a bike fit smaller.

Random anecdote: Back in the moto days, my friend Bob was racing Pro on a huge CR500. He is only about 5’6″ tall, so he rolled his bars back to make the bike fit him better.

While I think most people are well served by running their bars at the neutral angle (as intended by the bar maker and as marked on the bar), I think the ideal angle has a lot to do with personal preference. The goal would be to dial in your RAD and RAAD, while having your bars at the ideal angle (for you). Be careful deviating from your ideal angle — that can cause stress in your wrists/elbows/shoulders.

In my world, we want a little upsweep and lots of backsweep. Our elbows should spend most of their time directly behind our hands (now way out wide). Wrists should be straight.

I run bars with 16 degrees of backsweep. It’s more ergonomic and easier on the shoulders. Learn more at www.llbmtb.com.

I hope that helps.


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