When mountain biking, having full control is essential. Therefore, go for as wide a bar as possible. Wide handlebars are particularly useful in technical terrain. Of course, width alone is not enough, and the handlebar should fit the rider. The shape of the bars is also important: bars without any rise mean a low cockpit that's great for certain styles. Riser bars offer a raised position, which increases overview, control and comfort – perfect for downhill and enduro riders.
Handlebars can make or break the comfort of a mountain bike, as well as have a dramatic impact on your ability to handle your bike on technical terrain. If you’re looking to upgrade your existing mountain bike handlebars, bikester.co.uk has a huge selection of bars to choose from.
Choosing the Right Mountain Bike Handlebars
When it comes to finding the right mountain bike handlebars for your ride, there are a few important design aspects to consider.
If you’re upgrading your handlebars but keeping your mountain bike stem as it is, you’ll need to ensure that the diameter of the bar matches the diameter of your stem clamp. While most bars and clamps are 31.8 mm in diameter, 25.4 mm and 35 mm clamps are also common. If you’re planning to replace your bar and stem together, handlebars and clamps with a wider diameter do have some small advantages. A larger diameter increases the surface area of the clamp, which reduces the overall pressure on your bar. Plus, handlebars with a greater centre diameter tend to be stiffer and more durable.
When it comes to handlebar width, many believe that wider is better. Wider mountain bike handlebars require you to move your arms further to turn the front wheel, which allows tighter control over your steering on technical downhill terrain. In addition, wider handlebars force you to open your chest when climbing, which allows you to breathe more easily. However, it is possible to go too wide. If you frequently ride narrow forest trails, wide handlebars could quickly become a problem. In addition, riders with short arms may have trouble comfortably reaching the grips on wider handlebars. And while wider bars are very much in vogue for downhill and enduro mountain bike riding, they can be simply too wide for other styles of mountain biking, particularly cross country.
Most mountain bike handlebars are made from either aluminium or carbon. Aluminium bars are less expensive and more durable, but they do very little to dampen vibrations against your hands. Carbon bars, on the other hand, offer a more comfortable riding experience. If you opt for carbon handlebars, having a larger 35 mm clamp can increase the durability of the bars since they are sensitive to clamp pressure.
Rise and Sweep
Rise and sweep together describe the geometry of mountain bike handlebars. Rise is the difference in height between where the bar attaches to the stem and the grips, and varies between flat (zero rise) to up to more than 70 mm. Bars with a higher rise are typically better for keeping upright during a steep descent, but may be uncomfortable when riding on flat terrain. Sweep, and specifically backsweep, refers to the degree to which the handlebars angle back towards the rider. Backsweep comes down entirely to preference and comfort, but typical mountain bike handlebars vary between no backsweep to nearly 20 degrees of backsweep.
Thankfully, every mountain bike handlebar on the market today tapers to 22.2 mm at the grips. That means that no matter what bar you choose, you can outfit it with the perfect grip.
Mountain Bike Handlebars at bikester.co.uk
The best way to shop for new handlebars for your mountain bike is to browse our huge selection at bikester.co.uk. We make it easy to find bars that fit your riding style and comfort preferences. Plus, we offer a variety of shipping options and a 100-day return policy to ensure you’re happy with your new handlebars.