Friday, January 23, 2009

No Control

If this were a Friday quiz, which it isn't, I suppose this would be the essay question:

The primary reasoning I've heard behind people running bigger and bigger bars is this: "It gives you more control." Now personally, I think this is true up to a point. Back in the good old days of 19" Castillo Bars, when men were men and those men slid their grips all the way to the crossbar, wider bars were definitely a step in the right direction. The thing is—to me—things have now gone way too far the other way. If you're an 85-pound kid with shoulders the size of the average house sparrow's, a pair of 30" wide bars is probably going to give you less control than a pair of 25" wide ones.

But that's not even my point.

My point is this. If the reasoning for wider bars is "more control," why do many people with super-wide bars also have a) no brakes, b) super-short rear ends, and c) vestigal seats? Brakes give you more control. Longer rear ends (arguably) give you more control. And a seat raised to a reasonable height absolutely gives you more control.

So my question is this:

If you run super-wide bars because they give you "more control," why do you intentionally set up the rest of your bike to give you less?

••••••••••

I picked up the current copy of Road Bike Action this week to accompany me on a train ride, and less than 20 pages in I found the most amazing bike part in the history of history. You know all that stuff I've said about pointless BMX parts? This takes the cake, eats it, then shits it on my head and eats it again.

I present to you the $1,600 carbon/ti brakeset.

Unbelievable. But hey, at least you get free shipping.

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*EDIT* Changed the title to what it should have been in the first place. Sorry, Brett and Greg, it won't happen again. (Why can't I remember what video used this? I remember Hallman riding to Bad Religion in a Standard video, but I think it was a different song. Stupid faulty memory.)

35 comments:

.michael.philip.okiver.mcneill. said...

the best is that the brakes are sold out.

as far as bigger bars=more control, the big bars make up for everything that is lost with no brakes / seat / short chainstays

Hman said...

I've been running Odyssey Skim Milk bars shortly after they came out. The few times I tried someone's bike with wide bars, I felt less in control. Plus I couldn't do x-up manuals worth a crap. I can't say I ever felt like I didn't have control with my shorter width bars.

Dig your blog Russ!

Hman- older than Dominguez but younger than McCoy

nate said...

10" x 35" BARS!!!!!
WE NEEEEEED THIIIIIS!!!
If for no other reason than it just needs to be.

Bailey said...

michael.philip.:

thats what he is saying haha. why wouldnt you just set up your ENTIRE bike so it has stability, rather than just making up for it by adding two inches to your bars for ever inch you take off the back end?

i dont want to ride a bike with a 13" rear end until it comes with a free ass pad.

SkidMarkPDX said...

I tried running the little bars when I started riding again, but I didn't like it. I ended up with some Mosh Street Bars that I cut to 27", my prefered width BITD. When I first started riding Race Inc. were popular and they were 25", then it was redline V-bars at 26" and then GT at 28".

Anonymous said...

Why do peopke ride wide bars?because they want to...why did they run 19' bars back then?because they want......i ride mad max bars because they feel good and i get the right amount of control that i want plus im 6'3....i hate how you bitch bout all the new trends..ya there sum that i dont like but thats just the way it is...if you dont like them just dont do it and stick to your on game....plain and simple just ride the products that you want to ride and if other people dont approve of it....FUCK THEM

Russ said...

hXc

Russ said...

And nate, I was all amped about the thought of 10x30" (SuperUltraMegaSlam?) bars, then I found out that those Solid Roseanne bars actually existed and I was sad.

peglessEBCo said...

i'm getting those brakes and i'm gonna put a set of odyssey 2x4 brake pads on it.

nate said...

Russ,
Thanks for the tip on those Solid Roseanne Bars. The thing is that one part of me wants to try them just for shock value, but I'm hesitant to spend $65 on a whim. . . but then there's the off chance that I could end up liking them. . . who knows?

Anonymous said...

One thing that's nice with wider bars is that there's more leverage. I felt a difference when I moved to big bars in that it pretty much makes your entire bike feel a little lighter. But obviously that has a limit when it runs into other factors such as the control issue you're talking about. I'm happy with the 28x8's we've seemed to settle on.

Beau said...

As long as you hold on to your bars on towards the end of them I don't care what you run, what bothers me is tiny ass kids running 28x8s with no spacers, a drop stem, and they hold on to them with 2" of grip on the outsides of their hands. How is this better than running 25x7s with a top loader?

peglessEBCo said...

"As long as you hold on to your bars on towards the end of them I don't care what you run, what bothers me is tiny ass kids running 28x8s with no spacers, a drop stem, and they hold on to them with 2" of grip on the outsides of their hands. How is this better than running 25x7s with a top loader?"

tell me about it. that is EXACTLY what i hate more than anything.

Kyle FTW said...

When I first started riding, I had a pair of 26" x 7.25" Free Agent bars and cut them down to 23". I then started riding Northwests and rode them at 28" for a year. After a while I trimmed them to 26". About 4 months ago I put on my Free Agents bars just for a goof and ended up loving them. I don't think I'm going back any time soon. The smaller rise and the smaller width is much, much better.

Don't worry though Russ, these trends are dying. I seen a(and I quote) "not normal Tierra" today on BikeGuide with the seat raised maybe 1" above the tobtube. The times they are a changin'.

Anonymous said...

i have 7" bars cut to about 24" with spacers under an elementary. feels good, man.

Anonymous said...

At least it's 1600 for the pair!

G.S.GUCCILIFE said...

Yes,first thing i noticed...out of stock...

John said...

25x7.75 Fit 4pc with a topload stem and spacers feels perfect to me. I ran 23.45x7.25 Sunday Colors for a while, but they were just too narrow. Having your hand on a scraped up barend isn't very comfortable...

xtheoneyouforgot said...

bob bars are perfect. hands down.

Anonymous said...

"Daddy, why are seats shaped like they wanna go in your butt?"

"Sometimes we used to put them there, son."

"Ewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!"

Rully said...

Does not include pads, pad holders, or mounting nuts!

BUMMER!

bman said...

id prefer it if the kid said, cos it looks cool. its an easier position to argue from. bmx does have a large aesthetic element (i.e. people will continue perfecting tricks until they look good) its not wholly unreasonable that someone wants their bike to look good too.


for the record i run big bars. but then i run a shitload of spacers also.

jason said...

Russ, regarding the Bad Religion song...


Mark Murphy rode to "I give you nothing..." in Roger's Garage. At least, he did in the original VHS version (not sure about the re-release...)

That probably doesn't help... just a tidbit

Duncan said...

I'm wondering about the "pair" of carbon/ti brakes. Because just one set of brakes, i.e. front OR rear, could be called a pair, just like one "set" of pants are called a pair.

Roadies are idiots, pretty much. It's like, dude--you've got legs like the fucking Hulk cause you ride 100 miles a day. Does your bike have to weigh 10 pounds?

I've run 8x28" since I ran CW bars in 1982. They always just felt right, because they fit the width of my shoulders. I got shit for running Slams when my friends were on cut down Skim Milk bars, but now they're all back to Slams.

I'm not sure about the leverage thing. It seems to make sense, but smaller bars actually put you into a tighter ball, so to speak, so when you uncork your hop, you've got more pop. The one set of 7.5 x 25" bars I ran (small for me) seemed to give me a bit more pop. But they were uncomfortable and killed my back.

What about a Subrosa complete, russ? And are there any completes you could get in 21" without being the super high end ones? Seems like riding a too short bike will effect your opinion of its performance, thus biasing you to thinking it's shite. Give it a fair chance and get one that fits.

MWM said...

I remember people cutting Haro Slims and riding on the bends. I miss those days...

Loop said...

At least the proliferation of wider bars has meant there's much greater choose in terms of higher rise bars: you can cut wide bars down but you can't make narrow bars grow taller.

Anonymous said...

Anything wider than shoulder width is superfluous... which is why i love the WTP lockstock and United Trinity Bars

Rodney Dangerfeild said...

"At least the proliferation of wider bars has meant there's much greater choose in terms of higher rise bars: you can cut wide bars down but you can't make narrow bars grow taller."

Very true, most everyone has access to a hacksaw. I'm a fan of the Shoulder Rule, run your bars roughly the width of you shoulders and you will be set. In my experience of shredding bowl corners and maximum speeds, i have found a bit wider bar is good or ripping around corners and basically stabilizing when your feeling those Gravitational forces.

But what it really comes down to is your riding style. If your gonna go out and try to be R....RRRRAAA....RRRRRAAATTT TTAAT. RRAT BOY! then i guess you don't need wide bars when your doing suicide no handed bar spin rocket sprocket stalls to fakie. If you at the track pumping rollers and huggin' the Berm shots then wide is good.

Basically, just find your comfort zone and pump up the moon jams! NO RESPECT!

Anonymous said...

http://www.powercordz.com/catalog/

litewate brake cables to go with your 1600 dollar brakes

Anonymous said...

The difference between bars and a seat is that with one, you're generally almost always in contact with it, and would certainly want to be in contact with it all the time. I can't remember the last time I actually used my seat for anything (I live in a big city so it involves a lot of pedalling, but I prefer pedalling standing up as you're putting your body weight into it, rather than just caning your upper legs to crank round). I prefer my seat out of the way, so I run it slightly lower than would be considered 'Right' by you, no doubt. However, whereas I don't want my seat to get in the way, I definitely want my bars there, so running my seat lower isn't "Less control". Equally, not running - say - a front brake or indeed any brakes gives you more control. Bike control, I mean. Compared to doing a nosepick with a front brake, or doing one without (Or doing a tyre tap with a brake to without one), you have to exercise way more control without a brake, so people are probably into that more? Similarly, you often don't need to use brakes for much, so again it's not giving you control in the same way different sized bars would.

I don't necessarily agree with "Wider than shoulder width is superfluous" either, in reply to an earlier post. Whenever you're doing anything involving power in weightlifting or bodybuilding in general, it's generally accepted that you hold your arms on the bar slightly wider than shoulder width, or if you're doing anything leg based they're not "hip width" (so to speak) beneath you either. Slightly over shoulder width is comfortable to me, but that's slightly, and I completely agree that 29" Sky Highs when you're sub 5' 6" is probably fairly un-necessary, unless you happen to be built like the missing link.

Anonymous said...

Roadies. hahaha

One time I was driving and passed a roadie and my buddy stuck his head out the car window and yelled "nice spanex ya homo!!" ... then we stop at a red light and the guy pulled up next to us. awkward.

Russ said...

Don't get me wrong, I think road riding is great (and I even dress the part), but buying a pair of $1,600 carbon/ti brakes when even the riders on the Tour run good ol' aluminum Dura Ace or Record is insane.

ben said...

My bike was referred to as "The one with the tall seatpost".. it was fist high.

Anonymous said...

dressing like a roadie is sprfls ya fag. annonymous is hating.

Anonymous said...

I've been riding small bars since i started. i rode my friends bike with big bars, and i can never go back. it makes your bike feel lighter and more balanced. short backends make manuals feel soo good