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Reinforced grip areas ideal for lock-on grips. Weighs just 220 grams. Ultra strong, “bombproof” carbon composite. Attractive color options. Longer bars for better steering control.
Requires a 31.8 mm stem; won’t work with 35 mm stem.
Decent level of durability. Plenty of handle room for different grip styles. Installation relies on a single bolt connected to the steering tube clamp.
Heavier than more expensive options.
Extraordinarily strong carbon fiber construction. Easy to install. Lightweight. Minimizes vibration. Aerodynamic. Available in a wide range of colors and sizes.
Your preferred size and color combination may not be in stock.
Created with input from star enduro rider Jerome Clementz. Sleek, attractive design. Comfortable. Ideal for intense trails where control and precision riding are a must.
Flat bars can put extra pressure on rider’s hands and wrists during long rides.
We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.
If you’re into mountain biking, you know that having the right equipment greatly improves your ability to withstand uneven terrain. The handlebar you attach to your bike is no exception. This vital part of your bike must provide you with enough control to maneuver over rocky, bumpy ground. If your current handlebar isn’t getting the job done, it may be time for an upgrade.
The handlebar on your mountain bike doesn’t just affect your steering. It can also influence the riding position you assume and how smooth your ride is overall. With the right handlebar, you may be able to improve your maneuverability as well as your balance for downhill pedaling. If you frequently ride tree-lined trails, the right handlebar can help you get through tight spaces between the trees. Your ride will also feel more comfortable because every bump and pothole won’t feel so jarring.
There are two main types of handlebars to choose from: flat handlebars and riser handlebars.
Flat handlebars are the classic handlebar style for mountain bikes. A basic, straight design makes the handlebar strong and durable. A flat handlebar typically encourages a riding position in which you lean forward slightly. This is an effective posture for most basic trails, steep climbs, and cross country riding.
Riser handlebars feature a straight middle. They rise slightly toward the ends and then straighten again for brake and grip placement. Because of the rise in the bar, these handlebars allow you to sit up straighter and use a wider grip. Many mountain bikers find riser handlebars to be a better option for extreme mountain biking because they offer better control and comfort.
Handlebars for mountain bikes can be made of a few different materials. The most common options include the following.
Nearly all mountain bike handlebars have a 22.2mm diameter at the grip. As such, you should be able to use any grips with the bar you choose. When it comes to the clamping surface, though, you can find handlebars for mountain bikes with a few different diameters. A 25.5mm clamp diameter is the most traditional, but in recent years, a 31.8mm diameter has become more common. A 35mm diameter is becoming popular, too, so be sure that any new bar you consider is the right fit for your stem clamp size.
The best mountain bike handlebar width for you is typically a matter of personal preference. A wide handlebar can provide better leverage than a narrow bar, which is better for rough trails. The reason: the greater width slows down your steering so you feel more in control of the bike.
Narrow handlebars are a good option if your primary concern is maintaining an ideal riding position. Narrow handlebars also work better if you often ride dense forest trails, are a cross-country rider, or have short arms.
Flat bars are a bit narrower than riser bars. The average flat handlebar has a width of 23 or 23.6 inches. (Riser bars typically have a width of 27 inches.) That said, you can find handlebars for mountain bikes that are as wide as 32 inches. Keep in mind that you can always cut down a bar that’s too wide. As such, you may want to opt for a wider bar if you’re not sure which width is best.
A handlebar’s bend is how much the bar is angled back from the center. This figure helps determine how comfortable your hand and wrist positioning is. Some bars have zero bend, which means they are completely straight. Others have a bend of up to 9 degrees. They sweep backward slightly to allow you to position your hands closer to your body.
A bend of 4 to 6 degrees will provide a good neutral position for most riders.
Handlebars for mountain bikes usually vary in price based on their materials and durability. Most range from $8 to $175.
The most affordable mountain bike handlebars are made from steel or aluminum. They usually cost between $8 and $65. Mid-range mountain bike handlebars are typically made from aluminum alloy or titanium. They generally range from $28 to $95. The most expensive mountain bike handlebars are usually made from carbon fiber. They typically cost between $40 and $175.
● If you’re not sure how wide your handlebar should be, aim for a model that positions your arms at a 45-degree angle with your torso. You can figure out the best width for that position by doing a push-up: the distance between your hands is the ideal handlebar width for you.
● Choose a flat handlebar if you prefer to maintain an upright position when you’re sitting on your bike. Flat bars make that riding position much more comfortable.
● If you tend to ride on rougher trails or do a lot of downhill riding, a wider handlebar is often the best choice. The width provides greater leverage than a narrow bar, boosting your control and stability on uneven terrain.
Q. Can a mountain bike handlebar be too wide?
A. Absolutely. If you’re 5’9” or shorter, a too-wide bar could put serious strain on your shoulders because your hands are positioned too far apart. You can usually tell if your bar is too wide by how your shoulders feel (sore or not sore) after hitting the trails. If you notice tightness or discomfort in your shoulders the next day, it’s a sign that you should cut your handlebar down to a more comfortable length or swap it out for a narrower one.
Q. How long do mountain bike handlebars last?
A. It depends on a variety of factors including bar material, how often you ride, and the kind of terrain you ride on. In most cases, you should be able to get at least two or three years from a handlebar before needing to replace it.