The Best MTB Handlebars and Why You Should Use Them

Trying out distinct designs and styles is the perfect way to figure out what MTB handlebars are right for you. Of course, this is not as easy as it seems. So here are some things to consider when shopping for the best MTB handlebars.

Part 1: An In-depth Introduction to Mountain Bike Handlebars

The steering control on a bicycle is the handlebar. Structural connection to front wheel via stem, which then links fork to fork. This is the vehicle and vessel counterpart of a tiller.

Aside from steering, handlebars can sometimes sustain a fraction of the rider’s weight and provide a comfortable mounting location for brake levers, bells, shift levers, cyclocomputers, and other accessories, based on the rider’s seating position.

Handlebars are available in multiple styles, each designed for a specific type of biking.


Drop handlebars typically have a straight central section connected to the shaft, with every end twisting forth and down before returning to a lower position towards the rider. These are some of the most common types of handlebars. And their precise shape and purpose have led to them being broken down into the following groups.


These handlebars are for bikes that go on the road and the track.

Reach, drop, and width are three of the most important things to think about when making handlebars. They are even more broken down into three types: Classic, which has a long reach, and Deep Drop, which has a very deep drop. Compact, which has a shorter reach and a shallow drop. And Ergo, or Anatomic, which is explained further down. Drop bars might just have one or two longitudinal indentations to reduce the amount of protrusion of the brake and shift cables when enveloped under the bar tape. A flat-top section is also plausible.


Track drop bars are a type of bar made for track bicycle racers who usually ride in a certain way. Large, sweeping ramps define track drops, effectively averting the rider from using the top and brake hood postures while encouraging the rider to use the ends, or hooks. To use track bars, you don’t need brake levers. Popularity of fixed gear bikes has necessitated modifying them.

Anatomic or Ergo

The drop’s shape can be a simple, classical spiral, a plain spot, or a straight segment, which some bikers feel is more suitable for their fingers. Anatomic or Ergo are the two terms that can be used to describe these bars.

Some manufacturers use the word anatomic to describe the curving form and ergo to describe the non-cylindrical tubing cross-sections on the upper plain part of the bar.


If you have a Bullhorn or pursuit handlebar, the bar bends up and forward. When used on the path, they are frequently teamed up with devoted clip-on triathlon bars, but they are also widely known on single-speed, track, and fixed-gear bicycles. This handlebar has been given the name of the track racing discipline in which it was first used, and it is also known as the Bullhorn bars because of how it looks, particularly when the rider’s body is fully stretched to tilt forth and retain control of the bicycle. Basically, just cut off the drops off drop bars and mount them upturned so that the remainder starting of the drop would provide a slight ascending hook for resting the hands, and you have a makeshift bullhorn bar. Even though it does not provide as much forward extension or lowering as purpose-built bullhorns, it is a good compromise.

These are also known as flipped and clipped or flopped and chopped bars, and if done correctly, the sharp corners from the cuts ought to be removed, and the bar edges should be taped and plugged for protection.


On the initial mountain bikes, the Bullmoose style was popular. This bike has a triangular appearance due to the stem and bars being one piece. The handlebar on this kind of handlebar is normally quite large, allowing for easy breathing even when under extreme pressure. Due to their being heavier in weight than modern flat or riser bars and less adjustable in height and distance from the rider’s body they gradually faded away.


Almost all hybrids, mountain bikes, and flat-bar and fixed-gear road bikes have handlebars with flat bars, which are the most common type of handlebars. Most of the time, the flat bar is a cylindrical shape that bends a little bit toward the rider.

Flat handlebars were common on penny-farthings and early safety bikes. The sweep angle is the angle formed by the mildly swept-back edges of the handlebar and the alignment of the stem buckle.

Note: There are a lot of other MTB handlebars available in the market. To read about them you can check out Wikipedia.

best mtb handlebars

Part 2: A Complete Buying Guide to the Best Mountain Bike Handlebars

The wider and heftier the handlebar is, the more complex and harsher the bike and riding style are. Enduro, downhill, and trail riders will appreciate a wider bar with more surge to help them transmit weight on challenging terrain. For sloping XC-style hills, cross-country riders will benefit from a lighter, narrower flat bar.

In this buyer’s guide, we will dig deeper and further into the world of mountain bike handlebars to help you find the best fit for your bike before suggesting a few of our preferred trail bars.

Although there are no strict guidelines, finding a balance between terrain, riding style, and body dimensions has always been the key to choosing the right handlebar.

A great deal of what makes a handlebar the correct decision for you depends on your preferences and requirements, just like it does when deciding on the appropriate mountain bike grips. Ultimately, the easiest way to figure out which handlebar is right for you is to experiment with various styles. Of course, this is not always easy, so here are a few things to consider when shopping for a new handlebar.

These are the most important features to look for in a mountain bike handlebar.

Width of the Handlebar

Mountain bike handlebars have gotten wider over time as researchers have discovered that more width improves bike control. Several people seem to believe it can also help you breathe better by opening up your chest. The wider the bar, the more power and influence you can implement to the front wheel to push the bike into more combative lines.

It’s also easier to keep the bike on track because the trail isn’t very twisty. Because hand movement has minimal effect on steering angle, you can fine-tune front tire control more accurately. Like a slacker head tilt, the effect makes a new bar seem more affordable.

MTB handlebars are now typically 700 mm to 800 mm wide in thickness. Think about the type of terrain you will be riding on as you get wider bars, especially once you reach the mid-700mm range.

If you ride a lot of tough singletrack, you may weary of squeezing a broader handlebar between trees. Riders who rip harsh trails at high speeds, on the contrary, are far more likely to gain from a wider bar.

Gravity-oriented downhill or enduro bikes are most probable to have bars wider than this. If you’re unsure about the handlebar width, go a bit broader than you think you’ll need since you can always trim it afterwards. Because a broader handlebar extends your bike’s reach, you may wish to shorten your stem as well.

Sweeps and Rise

A flat bar is exactly what it sounds like: it’s flat from one side to the other. There are more people who know about rise bars, and they rise from the center of a handlebar to the clutches, as the name says. You also need to think about the handlebar sweep, which can be measured in two ways: upsweep and backsweep, which are both ways to measure it.

Now let’s take a look at the definitions of rise, upsweep, and backsweep one at a time.


In English, “rise” is a word that refers to how far up from the bar’s tips the stem clamp is from the bar itself.


Upsweep is the amount of times the handlebar swings up between the stem and bar ends. The curvature of the bar varies as you rotate it in the stem. When seen from the front of the bike, the ends of the bar are at a little inclination.


Backsweep refers to how far the bar can swing back in degrees from parallel to the stem. Sweep simulates the effect of a shorter stem by increasing the wrist angle.

Diameter of the Handlebars

At the grips, mountain bike handlebars come in only one diameter: 22.22 mm. It means you can always cut and switch grips whenever you want. The clamp diameter, on the other hand, can be either 31.8 mm or 35 mm. If you’re replacing the handlebar but not the stem, ensure sure the sizes are similar.

31.8 mm bars are still extremely common, even though the mountain bike market has shifted towards 35 mm bars.

Larger handlebars are firmer than smaller ones, so they feel more direct when steering hard.

A more gentle bar, on the other hand, can sometimes improve comfort.

Material of the Handlebars

Materials are the second most significant consideration when determining the reliability of a handlebar revamp. Aluminum, steel, or carbon fiber are usually the best choices for mountain bike handlebars.

Steel is the most common and heaviest of the three metals. It is also usually the least expensive.

On mid-to-high-end mountain bikes, aluminum handlebars are more popular. The feel isn’t quite as cold as steel, but that would not matter with your grips. Aluminum handlebars are more lightweight than steel and have more sturdiness, giving them a stiffer feel.

Carbon fiber offers the best riding experience by combining appropriate flexibility and ultimate strength with a low weight-to-weight ratio. Carbon fiber is also the costliest, with steel handlebars commanding big bucks.

Part 3: Some Words in Conclusion

It takes a lot of time and money to make sure that each brand’s handlebars meet European safety standards and will last for a long time to come.

We highly recommend that you replace your worn-off handlebar to prevent an unwanted break. It can be destroyed and endanger its wear resistance without being evident to the human.