Riser bars - how high?


My new MTB came fitted with 35mm riser bars.

I’m tall, so having the saddle at the right height means the bars are significantly lower than the saddle.

I’m fairly certain I’d be comfier with a higher rise bar, but, when climbing steep trails I find the front end lifting and have to put my weight as much as possible over the bars. I’m assuming that a higher rise bar would exaggerate this effect. (It’s an E-MTB so I’m able to power up climbs that I’d be off and walking on a ’normal’ bike).

I’d normally experiment with different stem / bar combinations but I don’t have a ‘stock’ of riser bars and given that a 50mm riser will cost about £50 I don’t want to buy one and find out it’s not right.

What do experienced MTB’ers think? Is there a rule of thumb that applies? Thanks.


Doesn't make any difference if you achieve raising the bars by using higher-rise bars or a higher rise stem. So I'd advise trying a couple of different stems to see if you like the bars being any higher. If you prefer the aesthetics of a higher rise bar and lower rise stem, you can fit them when you've sussed out exactly where you want the bars to be.

You're right that this will make the bike more of a handful on steep climbs, especially with the extra torque on an E-bike. You need to bend right over at the waist, and get your chin down towards the stem. Soon becomes second nature, but it took me a bit of getting used to at first when transitioning from a traditional late 90's MTB to something with more modern geometry.

The other potential consideration is that as you raise the bars, on fast flat cornering you have to actively weight the front wheel or you may lose a bit of traction.

Don't know about comfort (I prefer my bars a good bit lower than the saddle for this), but it doesn't half make life easier going down the steep stuff having the bars a big higher.
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