Handlebar width for xc

What width bars are guys using for xc ? My last xc bike a couple of years ago had 720mm bars just got a new bike with 760mm bars this seems like the new normal but don’t know if they are a bit wide for me thoughts ?

Do a pushup, see how wide your hands naturally want to be. I bet 760 is closer than 720. It’s less “aero” but on trail that’s much less important than handling.

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My Spark (trail masquerading as XC) came with 760. My Anthem had 680mm and so I’ve shortened back down to 730mm.

It feels super controlled on the downs, but I sometimes think I still don’t need them even that wide. Can’t add width back on though.

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My trail bike had 780 which always looked a bit wide but as @mailman says can’t add it back, so I’ve had them wide for ages but recently got a pipe cutter and have removed 5mm from each side. I’ll ride it like this for a while before I even think about a trim.

Ride with the 760 for a while, might like or might not. But waiting until you’ve down a few hundred km is better than going ham with the hacksaw and then needing new bars!



Also, get a pipe cutter. I didn’t and really regret it. I will probably tidy it a smidge more but that’ll bring me down to 720mm which may be too narrow.

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780 on the element bc edition

If I have anything above 720mm my shoulders wouldn’t forgive me. I’d keep bumping into trees. So I’m running 700mm. Don’t feel hindered in any regard going downhill but I don’t bump into trees with either shoulders nor handlebars.


720mm for me on my Spark RC WC. I only have one MTB and I’ve taken my bike around the midwest, out to Colorado, Utah and a MTB vacation to Scotland. I rode the same trails and lines in my group and they were on Enduro and Trail bikes with 780-800mm bars. There’s pros and cons to shorter/wider bars so it basically comes down to what you’re comfortable with and what you want to do. Back in my Michigan riding and racing we have very narrow trails lined with trees that just beg to clip handlebars. So even with 720mm bars I’ve rubbed the bark off plenty of trees. But I could see out west (US) how wider bars aren’t an issue with more open trails.


720-740 seems about right to me. For reference, I’m 6’ tall and more or less average-width shoulders for my height.


I was just thinking it’d be useful to mention height of rider to allow better comparison.

I’m 193cm (6’4"?) With the 730mm current width.

I put together my old, old hardtail recently for commuting to work. It had 640mm bars and felt sketchy as anything.

Having had old school 640mm, enduro bro 800mm and 750mm width on the same bike, I would definitely say wider is better up to a point. It’s less aero, but then again, you can always choose a narrow hand placement when the trail is mellow.

The 750mm ended up being perfect for me, much better control over descents. Little more challenging between tight trees, but nothing that can’t easily be negotiated. I don’t see why your shoulders should hit everything? As they don’t get any wider with the bars…maybe the elbows?

I’m 6 feet and like 760mm on my xc bike. My trail/AM bikes have 800mm. Clearly, this topic is entirely personal preference!

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Definitely personal. It’s such a quick job with pipe cutter and lick on grips that’s it’s silly to jump straight to narrow bars.

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Agreed. Plus what we’re used to :wink:

I run 760. When its flat and smooth you can always tuck to get aero but most of my races have some rough single track so I’d rather have some good control.