Do wide handlebars make it harder to lean your bike?

If you would have asked me yesterday I probably would have said “no” but after my ride today I think they do. After cutting my bars down to 26.5 inches wide I went for a trail ride fully expecting got them to be too narrow, especially in the corners. But what I found was that the narrow bars made it easier to lean the bike over and gave me a bigger range of motion for my lean.

You can see me show this in the video and you can see it even better in the pictures.

The first picture is with my hands about 30 inches wide and the second is with my hands 26.5 inches wide. You can see in the pictures the difference in how much the bike is leaned over with my arm fully extended with the second picture showing more lean (you can really see the difference in how much of the spokes you can see in the two pictures from the tire lean).

30 inch bars
26.5 inch bars

I’ll be digging into this more but so far I’ve shown how wide handlebars compromise your range of motion up and down and now from side to side, as well as how they make it hard to keep your elbows “wedged” behind your hands to keep the bars stable. Wide bars are one of the worst things to happen to mountain biking, let’s get away from the scarecrow posture and get back to a strong, functional position on the bike.

Until next time…

Ride Strong,

James Wilson

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