Email from reader about stem length and bar width. (from New Zealand!)

I love getting happy emails from students but happy emails from halfway around the world from riders I have never meet?! That is cool! Feels great to be helping riders all over the planet.  Here is the email:

Hey there
Low, wide bars.

I am 5 ft 8, broad shouldered and ride a medium Ibis Mojo.

Until last week I had an 80mm stem, 670mm bars set at (XC) saddle height.

I had thought this a great setup.

However after pondering your suggestions for a while I finally made the change:

60mm stem, bars 1.125″ below saddle, and 725mm width.

No downsides, no oversteering, just way way better stability, agility smoothness and control.

My local trails have heaps of close trees and rocky banks, however the increased stability combined with greater agility means the extra width is not an issue.

And with more practice things will only get better.

My bike loved cornering before (low BB etc) however it settles into a turn much more quickly and is just plain way more fun.

Downhill braking is much nicer, and climbing is uneffected.

And the front end is way better planted over the rough stuff.



5 replies
  1. Roberto Sanchez
    Roberto Sanchez says:

    Yeah! I made the same changes (stem and handlebar) and told to my partners that was nice but they seems to be suspicius. Well its ok, they have to learn by themself.

  2. Mike
    Mike says:

    I’ve read this recommendation a few times from and would like to purchase a wider bar and shorter stem. My bike has a ridiculously narrow bar topping out at 23 inches and I have one of those adjustable stems. But am having a difficult time finding them! Also, it seems the ones I’ve found (online) are marketed towards DH rigs/riding. I seek out XC type trails (in CO: Lair O the Bear, Centennial Cone, Fruita/GJ trails, Salida Trails, etc.) Will these DH marketed components still do the job?

    • Gene
      Gene says:

      Hi Mike,

      Man! you are going to freak at the added control and stability the wider bars give you, 23″ is out right dangerous! I live in Morrison and ride all of the trails you mention and yes, the bars and stems for dh bikes will be fine.

      Have fun,


  3. Mike
    Mike says:

    Thanks Gene for the encouragement! I just ordered a 65mm stem (Easton Havoc) and 711mm bar (Easton Vice AM). Hopefully you’ll see them at one of your future camps!

  4. Gene
    Gene says:

    Great to hear Mike, that set up will feel weird at first (because you are used to 23″ bars) but will also feel more stable and in control. Within a few days you will absolutely love it! Looking forward to coaching you.
    Create your best ride yet,



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