Adam Pollard does a Blog

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I bought wide bars: and I f-ing love it

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(Extra)wide handlebars have become a bit of a contentious issue in the world of bmx. The “old dawgs” are adamant that it’s a fad, and the new kids are adamant (see I like that word… hint: ADAMant) that it makes riding more fun and tricks easier. I just bought the widest bars around, and here’s my lowdown.

First of all, let me just clarify: I’ve been riding bmx for 2 or 3 years now, and went from running 23″ bars, then a year ago I bought some 25″ bars. I’m also not one to buy bmx parts to look “trendy”. I can’t do any trendy tricks, and I think the image looks a bit gay anyways. And o yeah, I’m 5’11 (ish).

I just bought a S&M Grand Slam handlebar. 29″ wide, and 8.25″ rise … and I f-ing love it.

Why 29″ wide and 8.25″ rise bars actually make sense for me

First of all, the rise. Lots of bars nowadays come in 8.25″ rise, with 8″ being the standard rise. I run no headset spacers and I also run a front-load stem (just because it was cheaper and looks more aesthetic). Sooooooo, the 8.25″ rise actually fits me really nicely – despite everyone saying you need to be 6ft something to run high bars. The extra rise also makes nose manual and foot-jam tricks easier too. I’m sure manuals are easier as well, although the angle you run the bars probably makes a bigger difference. I could do some maths to prove it. But I just can’t be assssssssed.

And the width. Most importantly, it feels nicer – just like brakeless feels nicer. It’s hard to explain, but riding just feels “nicer” with wide bars. I ride cause it’s fun, NOT because I want to do a bazillion tailwhips. So, I honestly don’t care if 27″ bars make tailwhips or tables or x-ups easier. Regardless, there are actually logical benefits to wide bars. Stability for one. Leverage for another. The stability is commonly stated as a reason for wide bars, but leverage tends to get forgotten. Try hop 3-ing with 23″ bars, and then hop 3-ing a 29″ pair… Trust me, wide bars are an awful lot easier. Because its easier, it means you can do these tricks with less effort, and THAT makes it more fun. It’s the same principle as to why riding lightweight bmxs are more fun than heavy ones.

And finally, I run a long toptube and super long chainstays (21″ tt and 14.5″(ish) cs). This makes bigger bars more in proportion to the rest of the bike. I certainly wouldn’t have got the Grand Slams if I had a 20″ tt and 13.25″ cs. I would have probably gone for the standard 8″ rise and 28″ width. Why do I run such a retarded frame geo? I got a sweet deal on the frame :). And it kind of makes sense as I have 2 mountain bikes as well.


I had originally intended this blog post to be super analytical, precisely explaining why wide bars are better: but as you have probably gathered, I got a bit lazy and just rambled a stream of conciousness… It’s not like it’s the first time it’s happened eh?



Written by Adam Pollard

September 18, 2009 at 8:24 pm

Posted in BMX, Thoughts

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