Handle Bar Height - how do you measure

Endless Trails

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I see it being discussed elsewhere and figure we could start putting in some more generic information threads.

This is for those that have adjusted their stack either with spacers under the stem, angled stem, or taller / shorter bars. Or those that aktually know how to set up a bike... How did you choose where to put your grip height other than "feels right"? This is for trail / enduro / down country riding. If you are a drop stem XC or endurance rider go start your own thread. :D

I have heard a good rule of thumb is grips level with your seat at full climb extension. I have also heard level with your waste while standing flat on your pedals. What says everyone.

YT Decoy XXL
Bar rise: 30mm
Spacers under stem: one 5mm spacer. But the YT top headset cup is real tall.
20231109_101542.jpg
Seat height extended: 44 5/8"
grip height: 44 1/4"
Rider height: 6'4"
Waist/belly button height: 43 1/2"

Per the measurements I probably could use 40mm rise bars to get the bars level with the seat.

Bar rotation plays a small part in fit for both rise and reach. I like my bars rotated a little forward than most bikes come. This puts some rise on the grips in regards to the measurements. It also adds some reach, but that is a different tech discussion.
Stack on the XXL is 652mm (25.7") so I don't really know how you can use that in relation to waist height to figure out another way to figure out bar height.
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I'm 6'4" and I like really effin steep trails, so I whenever I get my hands on a bike I try to run the stem as high as the stock cut steer tube will let me.

I have an unverified theory from watching world cup dh races while drinking beers for going on 2+ decades:
If you want to be comfortable going fast downhill, you want to run your bars as close to where your waistline is while standing in the attack position on your pedals as possible.

Seems like every WC DH pro that's doing that doesn't appear to be struggling as much as those who run their bars lower.

I haven't got a chance to totally test this theory, because I'm pretty tall and it would require a Greg Minnaar level of effort to get my bars there.
Greg's bike:
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Examples-

Check out these recent WC champ's bar height in relation to their waist line:
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I
any of you dorks wanna Chime in on how you come to your perfect settingz

@TrailDogsemptyb
@Haulin&Crawlin
@f2taco
@MaddChadd
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@Harry Johnson


For me extremely tech dude here...... almost Caveman like... gets bike.... "mmmm... good. yes, I will Bike with this Bike."
🤡

Probably why such a hack...
currently ride a 27.5” frame with a 29” front wheel and a 10mm more travel than I’m supposed to have in the front, I generally like my bars rolled forwards a little more than standard but bar height for me is generally fairly low. Most pro level riders I know stick with one angle/rise on their bars and chuck a spacer or two under the stem for steeper stuff. I would say just push on a flat corner and if the front tire starts slipping first, add a spacer if you want to try and get your cornering better. I’ve messed with that a bit and it helped for me at least.
 
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I would personally not recommend a 40mm riser bars for regular trail riding, I’ve only ever felt them useful on an XS slopeduro bikepark only bike where I just used them to make manuals/nosebonks and other unnecessary but fun things easier.
 
I

currently ride a 27.5” frame with a 29” front wheel and a 10mm more travel than I’m supposed to have in the front, I generally like my bars rolled forwards a little more than standard but bar height for me is generally fairly low. Most pro level riders I know stick with one angle/rise on their bars and chuck a spacer or two under the stem for steeper stuff. I would say just push on a flat corner and if the front tire starts slipping first, add a spacer if you want to try and get your cornering better. I’ve messed with that a bit and it helped for me at least.
IMG_2482.JPGIMG_2477.JPG
This is my current trailbike setup.
 
I

currently ride a 27.5” frame with a 29” front wheel and a 10mm more travel than I’m supposed to have in the front, I generally like my bars rolled forwards a little more than standard but bar height for me is generally fairly low. Most pro level riders I know stick with one angle/rise on their bars and chuck a spacer or two under the stem for steeper stuff. I would say just push on a flat corner and if the front tire starts slipping first, add a spacer if you want to try and get your cornering better. I’ve messed with that a bit and it helped for me at least.
Are your bars currently level with your extended seat or where are they in relation to that? I also rotate my bars a little forward for a more flat grip vs the beach cruiser feel I get riding some other bikes. I also like my controls rotated further than some others I have ridden.



I would personally not recommend a 40mm riser bars for regular trail riding, I’ve only ever felt them useful on an XS slopeduro bikepark only bike where I just used them to make manuals/nosebonks and other unnecessary but fun things easier.
My Dirt Jump has way higher rise bars than I would think of putting on my trail bike.

For sake of discussion and "tech".
If rider A is 6'0" and rider B is 6'4" and they were both on the same frame/spacers/stem, shouldn't the proper setup for rider B be taller bars than rider A? I would think that the amount of rise in the bar needed or the amount of shims under the stem is dependent on the size of the rider to the size of the frame. Isn't the bar rise just a part of the total calculation. 40mm rise bars would be goofy feeling for a shorter rider but might not be enough for someone real tall.

Wouldn't 20mm of spacers under the stem and 30mm bars be the same as 10mm of spacers and 40mm bars for stack?

I know reach will change dependent on bar rotation and would be amplified with taller bars. But reach is a different discussion.
 
I guess the discussion could also be what is a better way to get to the stack if you are already at the top of your fork tube. More rise in the bars or more rise in a stem?
 
I guess the discussion could also be what is a better way to get to the stack if you are already at the top of your fork tube. More rise in the bars or more rise in a stem?
Probably depends on the bar spec and things like upsweep and back sweep and how a taller rise affects that (if at all). I would imagine the easy way to go about it is to move your stem taller if you can. I'm 6'4", so any bike I get from the factory, I immediately make sure I've got as many spacers under the stem as will fit. After that I spend a few years thinking about how I'm going to try taller bars on there too, while at the same time having analysis paralysis on what set of bars I want to try while also being too cheap to order new bars until eventually I sell the bike and start the process all over again.
 
Are your bars currently level with your extended seat or where are they in relation to that? I also rotate my bars a little forward for a more flat grip vs the beach cruiser feel I get riding some other bikes. I also like my controls rotated further than some others I have ridden.




My Dirt Jump has way higher rise bars than I would think of putting on my trail bike.

For sake of discussion and "tech".
If rider A is 6'0" and rider B is 6'4" and they were both on the same frame/spacers/stem, shouldn't the proper setup for rider B be taller bars than rider A? I would think that the amount of rise in the bar needed or the amount of shims under the stem is dependent on the size of the rider to the size of the frame. Isn't the bar rise just a part of the total calculation. 40mm rise bars would be goofy feeling for a shorter rider but might not be enough for someone real tall.

Wouldn't 20mm of spacers under the stem and 30mm bars be the same as 10mm of spacers and 40mm bars for stack?

I know reach will change dependent on bar rotation and would be amplified with taller bars. But reach is a different discussion.
My bars are currently about 1-2" below the seat level



I think my gripe with taller bars is just that even when I ride a smaller bike with tall bars I find that it just feels too twitchy front to back for trail riding. I used to have an S1 or xs specialized status 140 built for jumps and bikepark with 40mm risers as an experiment and to clear the saddle nose and 40mm rise bars felt awful on trail riding to me (i'm 5' 10"). If I hit the brakes suddenly, I could feel the fork dive into the travel noticeably quicker than before. It worked well for jumps and stuff but it made the bike feel a bit indirect when cornering through switchbacks quickly. I think it is mainly just that high rise bars amplify the effects of handlebar angle even more and makes it harder to find a sweet spot. As for the braking thing i mentioned about the fork diving, I think that has to do with just the overall axle to bar height and the bar to axle angle (different from the stated HT angle on all bikes) placing more leverage on the front suspension when you hit the brakes hard. A larger frame has less of this dive affect, because the taller steerer tube slightly slackens the bar to axle angle with a higher stack. I would say though, just try not to go crazy on bar rise (30mm of rise or less) and try to use like 40-50mm of spacers at the very most (I run 20mm under the stem with a zero stack headset and 25mm bars).
 
Probably depends on the bar spec and things like upsweep and back sweep and how a taller rise affects that (if at all). I would imagine the easy way to go about it is to move your stem taller if you can. I'm 6'4", so any bike I get from the factory, I immediately make sure I've got as many spacers under the stem as will fit. After that I spend a few years thinking about how I'm going to try taller bars on there too, while at the same time having analysis paralysis on what set of bars I want to try while also being too cheap to order new bars until eventually I sell the bike and start the process all over again.
If you go taller bars, just keep them rolled back as possible where it stilll feels good to keep the imaginary line betweeen the bars and stem as slack as posssible.
 
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