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can someone explain the differences between bars?(9 posts)

can someone explain the differences between bars?wilier
Sep 8, 2003 5:53 PM
Cyclocross bars, MTB straight bars, MTB riser bars, drop bars...

If I'm on a steep technical descent, maybe on singletrack, what are the handling differences?

If I'm cruising down a fire-road fast, what are the handling differences?

If I want to get rid of mountain bike and replace it with a CX bike, do I have to avoid certain terrains?

re: can someone explain the differences between bars?atpjunkie
Sep 8, 2003 6:49 PM
true cx bars are wider, flared road (drop) bars. Most cxers just use wide 44-46 road (drop) bars of their pref. There are true CX bars by Salsa, WTB, Nitto (the originator) and a few other mfrs.
Riser bars are the best for tech descents as they put the rider higher and farther back with the widest reach (more leverage) this is good going down but sucks for climbing as riders weight is too far back. These are the superb DH bar for all MTB applications but are useless in cx. Flat ars can be used but usually don't work well with cx geometry as it makes the cockpit too tight. You can lengthen the stem but this makes the steering sluggish (not good for cx). Personally if you are going to get a cx get drops of either wide road or cx. They just work best for the application and its fun to pass MTBers on that 'road bike' out on the trails. I use my cx for most offroad applications avoiding only the nastiest rocky, rutty, bump laden terrain when I switch out to my full suspension. A cx bike will teach you proper line choice and better technique.
re: can someone explain the differences between bars?wilier
Sep 8, 2003 7:43 PM
So as long as I don't try going down something that I really should have a full suspension bike for (very rare in Southern Cal - I can go down almost anything in my hard-tail), I should be ok with drop bars?

I guess I won't really know until I try, but Drop bars seem like they would be a tad too quick handling on a trail.

Do most people in CX descend on the drops?
re: can someone explain the differences between bars?swimbikerunjump
Sep 16, 2003 12:12 PM
I can go alot more places on my cross bike - think its a mental issue but I feel alot safer in the drops - less likely to brake in fear. Hate my mountain bike (and its a good one). Also, cuts through sand better.
one more - cx bike positioningwilier
Sep 8, 2003 7:56 PM
What's the consensus? Should my CX bike be set up so it's EXACTLY the same positioning as my road bike, my MTB, or somewhere in between.

In case you're wondering, my MTB is only about an inch higher at the bars, and a centimeter lower at the saddle. (rough guess)

one more - cx bike positioningm barnett
Sep 8, 2003 9:05 PM
Take a look at the cyclo-cross 101 articles that can be found through the links at - i think that's the url.

Anyhow - I'd say that you're on the right track - as cx is a blend of road and off road - the bike is to. The folks in the know recomend a cx saddle hgt about 1cm lower than your road saddle hgt. (a big help for those run and jump remounts) It's also recommended that your stem be a little taller and shorter than your road bike as well. This helps when your dealing with a sharp down hill and need to push the bike out front to avoid those endo feelings.

Of course this depends on your use of the bike. All round go anywhere riding that a cx bike can allow might call for a rider range of gears than the 39/48 front chain ring and 12-25 rear cogset of a more competition minded rider...

Good luck - post pictures.
one more - cx bike positioningatpjunkie
Sep 9, 2003 12:57 PM
positioning is in between. a more upright road position. get the top mount brake levers you'd be amazed at what you can descend. Where in So-Cal? I ride most trails in San Diego on my cx (Noble Canyon excluded)
one more - cx bike positioningMShaw
Sep 9, 2003 1:41 PM
We have GOT to get together one of these days soon...

Mike (replace TWO with 2 to reply)
one more - cx bike positioningswimbikerunjump
Sep 16, 2003 12:08 PM
sit a bit higher than your road bike since aero just doesnt matter as much, need to be able to get back, fast, while still in your drops. Raise your bar higher.