Wide and flat is the new riser


I have noticed that wide and flat is the new riser. It seems that everyone from DH guys to rigid singlespeed riders are rocking the wide flat bars. What gives is this the latest fad like dayglo lycra and 150mm stems or is there a true benefit to rocking this set up.


Hey E,

First of all, dayglo Lycra was rad. You should have seen me rocking my 1988 Diamondback Apex (powder coated dayglo pink), dayglo pink Answer flat bars, black/pink Lycra shorts, pink Lycra jersey AND a pink helmet cover. Oh yeah.

Here are some opinions:

The pendulum swings
Over the years, we’ve evolved from the long/low dirt roadie position to the short/high roof hucker position. For a while there, cockpits were getting taller and taller — presumably to ease the rearward weight shift required when hucking to flat.

Riders and manufacturers are realizing that taller is not necessarily better. A neutral position works better, both up and down. That’s making stack heights lower and moving the grips downward.

Combat tallness
As forks and wheels get taller, the only way to keep the bars reasonably low is to take the rise out of the bars.

Soon we’ll be rocking negative rise stems a la roadies. I still have my 150mm Answer ATAC (dayglo pink) around here somewhere.

Wider is better (to a point)
Modern mountain bikes evolved from road bikes. In the dayglo days, we were running 20-inch flat bars. It was all about recreating your road bike position on the mountain bike.

Over the past several years, almost everyone has realized wider bars improve comfort and control. I doubt most people need 30-plus-inch bars, but that’s what we’re getting.

BTW, if you want to know your ideal bar width: Get down and do some pushups. See where your hands end up naturally.

Selling more handlebars
Wide, flat bars are new and hip. Too bad I can’t get a 30-inch bar in dayglo pink.

Still riding bikes and doing pushups at 28 inches …

— Lee

Know more. Have more fun!

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