Are you looking for a great MTB handlebar, but you really don’t know where to start? Here is our look at some of the best models you could go for today
- 1 QUICK ANSWER: MY BEST MOUNTAIN HANDLEBARS
- 2 MY BEST MOUNTAIN HANDLEBARS COMPARISON:
- 3 MY BEST MOUNTAIN HANDLEBARS REVIEWS:
- 4 Mountain Bike handlebars Buying Guide: How To Choose The Best one
QUICK ANSWER: MY BEST MOUNTAIN HANDLEBARS
- Renthal Fatbar 31.8: Best for all-mountain and downhill use
- Chromag Fubar OSX 35: Best for posture position and smooth rides
- Easton Havoc Carbon 35: Best for all-round downhill rides
- Soma Oxford Handle Bar: Best for commuter and upright posture rides
- Nukeproof Warhead Carbon fiber 31.8: Best for bigger roads and distant rides
- UPANBIKE mountain bike handlebar: Best for commuting bikes
- Funn Kingpin 31.8: Best for long-distance rides
- Thomson Cross Country Handlebar: Best for cross-country
- BEIOU Carbon Fiber Mountain Bike Riser Bar: Best for the outdoor enthusiasts
MY BEST MOUNTAIN HANDLEBARS COMPARISON:
MY BEST MOUNTAIN HANDLEBARS REVIEWS:
- Material: aluminum
- Width: 780mm
- Shape: 5˚ up, 7˚ back
- Pros: Resilient, supreme shape, feel stiff and flex
- Cons: Quite heavy
- Chromag Fubar OSX 35
- Material: alloy bars
- Width: 800mm
- Shape: 5˚ up, 8˚ back
- Pros: Comfortable, strong, and reasonably priced
- Cons: Heavier than the most alternatives, graphics are too loud
- EASTON HAVOC CARBON 35
- Material: Carbon fiber
- Width: 800mm
- Shape: 5˚ up, 9˚ back
- Pros: sufficient stiffness, smooth carbon finish
- Cons: heavier and a bit ugly
- SOMA OXFORD HANDLER BAR
- Material: Aluminum
- Width: 540mm
- Shape: 52m rise, 25.4mm center, and 155mm sweeps back
- Pros: Upright position for great riding posture, quality build
- Cons: heavier, not as sleek as most alternative
- NUKEPROOF WARHEAED CARBON FIBER 31.8
- Material: Aluminum alloy
- Width: 600mm
- Shape: 6˚ up, 9˚ back
- Pros: strong enough, stable, nice touch and feel
- Cons: Heavier
- Material: Carbon fiber
- Width: 780mm
- Shape: 6˚ up, 9˚ back
- Pros: strong enough, precise steering control
- Cons: tiring vibrations
- FUNN KINGPIN 31.8
- Material: Alloy
- Width: 785mm or 810mm
- Shape: 5.5˚ up, 8˚ back
- Pros: High-level performance and reliability, reasonably priced
- Cons: extra width needs a little extra leverage
- Material: Carbon fiber
- Width: 730mm
- Shape: flat bar
- Pros: Maximum stiffness and flexibility, can handle rough terrains
- Cons: flat shape might turn off riders who need end attachment
- Material: Full carbon fiber
- Width: 720mm
- Shape: 5˚ up, 6˚ back
- Pros: Quality build, incredibly lightweight, very comfortable
- Cons: Too wide, making it difficult to maneuver through city traffic
Mountain Bike handlebars Buying Guide: How To Choose The Best one
Pretty much like when you are buying mountain bike shoes, there are a number of things you need to consider when choosing a handlebar.
The shape is everything; it is one part that dictates exactly where you are going to use the handlebar. When it comes to the shape, here are some of the few things you need to focus
What most people don’t know is that the width of your handlebar is what acutely gives you control of your bike when you are riding off road. A few years ago, 530mm was the standard width, but we have seen the with go higher and higher
When choosing the right width, people are always advised to start with their shoulders and start from there. Remember you don’t need something that feels like you are squeezing into a tight spot, but one that gives you great control over your mountain bike.
Although it will cost you more money, if possible, go for a handlebar with widths of up 800mm. This will give you exceptional leverage without necessarily feeling like you are overextending your hands.
As with the width, the diameter is also very important. When choosing a mountain bike handlebar, ensure the bar gives you a more natural feel and grip position for your palms.
We have two types of sweep; back sweep and up sweep. Back sweep is basically the angle that points to the back of your mountain bike, It often range from 0-15 degrees. On the other hand, upsweep is the vertical angle right at the grips and the angle typically ranges between 4-6 degrees. Technically, sweep angles normally have a direct influence on your comfort and not performance. So what you should go for will mainly depend on your taste and preference.
Bike handlebars with a rise often come with a bend on either side of the stem, adding a bit of height to the bars. Rise in most bikes ranges from 0 to 100 mm. However, things have changed and you will also find one, which range between 40-50mm.
So what type of rise should you go for? Your position will dictate how much rise you should go for. For example, if you feel too low on your ride, a riser bar will make more sense. This will be able to bring your hands up, making you feel more comfortable.
The type of riding you will be doing will also determine the kind of rise to go for. If you will be doing a lot of down steep, especially through those technical terrains. Sometimes, a rise will in a way lift your body, giving you better control. In other news, XC riders prefer a flat bar.
There are two main styles; flat, low rise and riser. These two come with their own features.
- Flat and low rise handlebars: These are perfect for cross country and trail. Most cross country races love this style because, as a cross country racer you are usually trying to achieve a low and powerful wind-cheating position.
- Riser/ low ride and flat handlebars: Perfect for downhill rides. This is said to help reduce any replacement cost in case you are involved in a crush. They are typically wider than those trail bike handlebars. They are low rise, but we have seen most riders go for downhill flat bars, as it can help them achieve a lower position because you put more weight on the front wheel.
There are a quite number of materials currently used. Each comes with its great properties and drawbacks, as well.
- Aluminum: One of the oldest materials. It is cheap, light and incredibly strong. It is quite common and you will see in many handlebars.
- Carbon fiber: If you find one that has been well made, it is super strong. It is also lightweight just like aluminum. A nicely made carbon fiber handlebar should be able to flex and effectively damp and vibration. This will actually save your hands a lot jolting around.
- Carbon fibers: They are quite expensive though. Don’t go for any cheap carbon fiber. Those poorly made come with a number of risks. They can break with ease, resulting in serious injuries.
- Titanium: This metal is exceptionally lightweight and super strength. However, it is quite pricey. Titanium offers outstanding vibration damping capabilities. It also lasts longer than any other material.
- Steel: You will find a number of handlebars come made from this material. It is quite heavy but offers a sleek look.
Like when you are choosing a mountain bike, the weight of your handlebar is essential and must be considered at all times. They often dictate what you can actually do with the bike.
- XC competition handlebars: These come weighing something between 100-150 g, with others going up to even 170g. If you are looking for something relaxed for those smooth rides, a handlebar that weighs around 200g will make more sense.
- Enduro handlebars: These handlebars fall between 200-250g. That is because they are wider and comes with more matter. They often offer rise and normally require more robustness.
- DH handlebars: They weigh over 300g. They are robust and are meant for technical uses like riding in tough terrain. They are quite resilient.
When you are upgrading your bike, you may also want to invest in some great lock-on grips. They influence the comfort and overall handling of the bike. There are two types of grips.
- Single clamp grips: They often come clamped on the bars and on the inside of the grip is a collar. Mostly, the end of your handlebar is covered by rubber.
- Double clamp grips: They feature metal collars on both ends. They also have a cap to enhance safety.
Grips most come made from rubber and in other cases; you will find a rubber-like material. You may also want to ensure it feels soft for your hands. Softer rubber, of course, will wear out easily, but they are not expensive.
We have also seen grips come in different patterns; however, pretty much like when you are buying a pair of mountain bike shoes, it all boils down to personal preference. All you need to make sure is there is enough rubber under your palms. This will enhance comfort and most importantly durability.
Technically, your handlebar will flex when put it under any load. Some have been designed to flex more than others. If you can get more flex, that would be great. It will go easy on your joints. However, remember if you get too much flex that can also impact negatively on your ride. It affects overall bike handling. So when it comes to flex, you may want to settle in between. Not too low and not too much.
The amount of strength your handlebar comes with is paramount. Although most have been designed to withstand any rigorous mountain riding, others will need more strength so as to handle any level of punishment they usually exert on the bar. So if you know you are going to do a lot of ride through tough terrain or you just want something to serve you for years, going for strong handlebar is all you need to do. If you can get a titanium bar, you are not going to be disappointed.
Last but not least; how comfortable the handlebar is also another thing you might want to consider. One of the reasons you are getting a new handlebar could be because the old one is no longer giving you a smooth and comfortable bike handling. So before you spend your money on any model, consider comfort levels. You need to go for a design that gives you the most comfort. It must also be easy to use.
- Tapered bars
Aimed at shedding off that extra weight, most mountain bike handlebars designers will make their bar walls a bit thinner, especially towards the grips. This helps put more strength in areas that is needed the most.
- Flared bars
With this, the bar is made a little bit wider right at the middle. However, it is a way of bringing in more strength by adding more matter. It adds some weight though.
- Butted bars
Mostly found in riser bars; those that are usually used for downhill rides. This design actually help shave off some weight but add more strength. The butting is basically done right in the middle.
- Bar ends
To add a bit of hand position to a flat bar, most riders will add bar ends. These devices do come with a few benefits. Bar ends help enhance your overall comfort. For example, they offer better leverage, especially when you are climbing an area with poor traction. Additionally, they actually enable you to get your weight back, lowering your center of gravity. This will in a way enhance stability.
This does not in any way affect the performance and reliability of your bar. It comes down to taste and preference. Most riders would want to strike that sleek look. So if you are one of them, you may want to go for a sporty look at that would definitely turn heads when you hit the road.
There is a lot that goes into the whole shopping process. With the number of designs available, you could actually get confused. But take the above-mentioned things into great consideration. It will help you single out the best mountain bike handlebar for your next trip. There is no going around if you want a great bar.