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  1. #1
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    Wider bars for gravel bike?

    I got myself a disc road bike that has room for 35C tires, which in my mind is really good enough for a gravel bike.

    I rode it a few times, loved it, and couldn't resist the temptation of being a bit creative w/ the terrain, including going light offroad.

    Then I did notice that I feel a lot less confident than when I ride my XC hardtail even though the tires are more or less handling the terrain just fine.

    So I swapped the stock 420mm bars for 480mm bars from Bontrager (they seem to be the only one making these after some search, plus I have always had broadish shoulders and used to run 440c-c/460o-o bars in the past).

    Guess what? It felt sooooooo much better now. Not quite as in control as the 680s on my XC rig but enough of an improvement from the 420s.

    If my XC bike is 9 out of 10 in terms of control and maneuverability, then the roadie w/ 420s were more like 3, and w/ 480s it's at 7.5 now.

    Just curious if anyone else has had similar experience. Thanks for any input.

  2. #2
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    Looking at these, you must not be alone in the use of wide bars.

    https://crustbikes.com/products/wide-load-bar/
    Too old to ride plastic

  3. #3
    WA outdoor enthusiast
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    I would agree that wider offers more 'modulation' control than narrow bars in off-road situations. I run wider on my tandem as well.


    But for packed gravel or hard dirt roads/trails in dry conditions, where you can hold some speed (meaning not too bumpy or potholed), regular road bars should be fine.


    48cm if ctc seems extreme. But we come in different sizes.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by velodog View Post
    Looking at these, you must not be alone in the use of wide bars.

    https://crustbikes.com/products/wide-load-bar/
    Did I see a width listed?

    I would have to agree with a few of the Crustbike's list of advantages, but he missed the best advantage. For gadget freaks you can load up those wide bars with double lights or cameras or Power Meter displays or bigger phones. Go for it all! Bag enthusiasts can go huuge up front!
    Last edited by SantaCruz; 2 Weeks Ago at 08:48 AM.

  5. #5
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    Depends a lot on the terrain. I ran 38 cm bars on my gravel bike for years with a lot of success. The terrain was windy and rolling with very little fast cornering. On my cx bike I run flared bars 42 at hoods, 48 at drops and love how it handles on the technical stuff.

    edit: Actually the same bike. I just change the bars for cx season.

  6. #6
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    I'd guess the geometry and wider tires of the XC bike are also a (not small) factor when it comes to stability and confidence. My "gravel" bike is an older, steep-ish rigid 29er with flared 44cm drop bars (and 2.0" tires... it's a ton of fun). It's not quite as stable as it was with a 700mm flat bar, but it's noticeably more comfortable when sitting and spinning and easier to hold speed. It started with non-flared 42cm bars, and while the extra 2cm might be helpful, the flares are more noticeable. When I'm in the drops, they allow for more room to move around and what feels like a more secure hand position.

    But yeah, generally, wider bars are going to feel more stable. If you're picky, you'll need a shorter stem to maintain the same fit.

  7. #7
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    My Grail (Canyon's gravel bike) came with 46cm bars - it feels great. I don't think 48 would be too wide. But then, I'm used to a 76cm bar on my mtn bike.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by SantaCruz View Post
    Did I see a width listed?

    I would have to agree with a few of the Crustbike's list of advantages, but he missed the best advantage. For gadget freaks you can load up those wide bars with double lights or cameras or Power Meter displays or bigger phones. Go for it all! Bag enthusiasts can go huuge up front!
    I didn't see a width listed, but as far as gadget freaks go, it looks like there's enough room for a desk top computer on those bars.
    Too old to ride plastic

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by carlosflanders View Post
    Depends a lot on the terrain. I ran 38 cm bars on my gravel bike for years with a lot of success. The terrain was windy and rolling with very little fast cornering. On my cx bike I run flared bars 42 at hoods, 48 at drops and love how it handles on the technical stuff.

    edit: Actually the same bike. I just change the bars for cx season.
    38cm is pretty narrow for a gravel bike. Seems like narrow bars are making a bit of comeback in road cycling extrapolating from the pros. I have gone to a narrower bar on my roadbike and I believe it saves a handful of watts at high speed. I was running a cowcatcher 44cm previously which was like driving a bus comparatively.

    I am a bit old school when it comes to riding rougher rode including a lot of gravel and single track. I prefer a carbon hardtail mountain XC race bike with flat bar and Ergon grips. I can ride it faster and longer on the rough stuff. Mtb's generally have a long-ish handlebar for leverage.

    Money no object, lightweight rocket:
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Wider bars for gravel bike?-epic.jpg  
    Last edited by 11spd; 2 Weeks Ago at 01:56 AM.

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