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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

Airik Elstracular Spectacular

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OMG, this has to be one of my favorite web edits of all of times. Once you get past the first 30 seconds (I think it’s ironic) it’s truly inspiring stuff. You couldn’t even name half the tricks he does. Just watch it. It’s good stuff :).

Written by Adam Pollard

July 14, 2009 at 6:34 pm

Posted in BMX

2 Sunny Days and a Garage Full of Wood

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Impromptu front yard quarter pipe… aaaaaaaahh yeeeeaaahh!!

It was sunny. I thought, “I wonder what wood I have in the garage?”. I had a look. I saw a bunch of wood. I thought, “I wonder how big a ramp I could build out of this stuff?”. 2 sunny days later, lots of screws, some fun with power-tools, and more than my fair share of energy drink, and this is the result :D.

I built it scrap-heap challenge style. Measuring tape was never used, I didn’t plan a thing, I just keep sawing and drilling stuff :P. For example, I didn’t have “thick ply” large enough for the sides, so I improvised and screwed a bunch of smaller pieces together.

Anyways, the thing is super fun to ride :D, and I’ll hopefully post up some pictures of me riding it soon :).

Take it easy


Written by Adam Pollard

July 6, 2009 at 7:42 pm

Posted in BMX, Trail Building

Harry Main: Decade to Footjam

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This guy is a nutter. Seriously amazing rider, with a sound head on him too. He really seems like a genuinely nice guy in his interviews, which is nice to see from a UK BMX rider. Relatively young rider, only been riding 6 years and he is already one of the better riders in the world now. Props to him. Anyways, I found this mad decade to footjam he did, I think at Woodward.

Written by Adam Pollard

March 29, 2009 at 12:37 pm

Posted in BMX

Fly Bikes: Projects Update

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Fly Bikes have finally updated their projects section.

The uno seat looks good. Eclat’s complex (ironic name?) seat is amazing, and I’m certainly a fan of the all-in-one seat/post thing. It just makes an awful lot of sense in bmx. It’s good to see more BMX companies following suit and giving riders options. Though it’s been in the works for ages, it better be good because they aren’t the hardest of components to design eh?

The cassette should be interesting, I doubt it’ll trump what profile have to offer, but fly have spent 2 years refining the design, and they seem keen on it, so we’ll have to see. The cobra tube is just retarded (and thus not even worth discussing).

The “integrated” dropouts?!? I think the dashes are necessary. In what way are they integrated? It sounds like they’ve just prepped the welds and smoothed it. People on the forums don’t dig the aesthetics that much, and its obviously no more advantageous from an engineering point of view. So I don’t get it. It’ll probably bring with it some hype, so won’t be bad for Fly. I sometimes wish BMX engineering made more sense ya know.

The lever and chain look a bit mundane. The chain just won’t be on the same level as current chains on the market. And the lever just doesn’t look like a better option either.

My verdict: Make sure the cassette and uno seat are good – because the rest looks like no more than marketing hype. Up your game fly… (though props for trying)

Written by Adam Pollard

March 28, 2009 at 8:31 pm

Posted in BMX