So you think you’d like to try wider mountain bike handlebars, but you’re just not sure? Well, here’s a quick way to test ride wider handlebars and find out if all that better control and better high speed stability hype they say about wider bars is true.
Use this tip and the Super Tips further down to test before you buy and avoid the bother of having to swap all your brake and shifters control over to a wider handlebar, only to swap it all back again if you don’t like the outcome. All you need is lock on grips and an allen key to suit.
Here’s how to test ride wider handlebars for free
For this example we’ll assume your current bar is 650mm wide or around 25.5 inches and you want to test ride a 700 mm or 27.5 inch bar.
Now let’s work out how much we need to slide each grip out: The difference in bar widths is 50mm (2 inches), half that and it’s 25mm (1 inch) So, all you need to do now is slide each lock-on grip out 25mm, to make your bar 700mm wide.
Step 1: Hold a tape measure or ruler on the 25mm mark at the inside lock-ring of one of your grips as shown below
Step 2: Loosen the lock-rings with your allen key
Step 3: Slide the grip outwards 25mm till it reaches the zero mark on the tape measure and tighten the lock-rings (not crazy tight!)
Step 4: Repeat steps 1 to 3 for the other grip
Step 5: Repeat steps 1 to 3 for the brake and shifter controls on both sides of the bar. Moving your controls out 25mm each will ensure they are relocated in the same position and distance from your grips as before.
Step 6: Go ride!
Wide bars love shorter stems – Stem length is closely linked to the benefits of wide bars, so if you’re running a long stem, say 90 – 110mm, borrow a stem that’s 20-30mm shorter to restore turn-in response and compliment your wide bar test ride.
A third or less and only testing – never extend your grips more than a third their total length past the end of the handlebar, and never use extended grips on a permanent basis – go buy a wider mountain bike handlebar instead!