While handlebars may seem like just a piece of metal, they are much more than that and they have a few very important functions. The best mtb handlebar will help you balance your bike, control its direction, and keep you properly positioned while you ride. So, when you’re looking for new handlebars, it’s safe to assume that you want the best design with a quality construction.
With so many options on the market, it can be difficult to choose what features make a top rated mountain bike handlebar stand out. Our list of quality products and detailed buying guide will highlight all the important features and help pair you with the best mountain bike handlebar. With our help, you can feel confident that you will get the support, functionality, and stability you need to take your mountain biking skills to a new level.
How To Choose A MTB Handlebar – Buying Guide
The overall mechanics of a handlebar for men’s or women’s mountain bikes will change how your bicycle handles while out on the trail. The best mtb handlebar should have a balanced strength, weight, and width. These three parts of the design are mostly affected by the type of material used in the construction.
Aluminum and carbon fiber are both high quality material that deliver high stretch with a lightweight feel. However, if you really are worried about the weight, carbon fiber is the ultimate light material. But the downside to the mechanics of carbon mtb handlebars is that you cannot change the shoulder width because the material is harder to cut. If you want to have the versatility to change the length, you should look for aluminum or chromoly material.
The best mountain bike handlebar will come in two different types of design – flat or rise. Flatt bars are stable, but they are harder to use when balancing. Mountain bike riser bars are better for mountain bikers because it redistributes your center of gravity towards the back of the bike. This keeps you more stable when cycling over uneven terrain and allows you to safely navigate heading downhill on steep slopes.
Another difference in design is the shape of the handlebar. The most common shapes are flared, tapered, or butted handlebars. Flared handlebars will be thicker in the middle but thinner at the ends. Tapered bars will be slimmer in the grips and stem. While butted handlebars are thickest at the end and center.
The leverage of a top rated mountain bike handlebar also refer to the torque, or how much stability and control you have over your bike. A wider design with a short stem gives you more leverage because you will use less force to control and operate the handlebar. This ultimately allows you to be more conservative with your momentum.
A bigger leverage means that you are balanced in the center of the bike, so the front and back of the bike both evenly support the weight of your body. This also means that you will have better overall control over the bike.
The torque of a handlebar for mtb riders can be determined by the distance of your hands while you lean over the handlebar. Ideally, your hands should be shoulder width apart. This will make it more comfortable to ride and ensure that you can still control your handlebar with minimum effort.
Comfort is another important feature because the best mtb handlebar should be comfortable to use all day long. But it can be hard to determine how comfortable a handlebar is when you don’t have it installed on your bike. Mtb handlebar reviews can help you can be a good resource to inquire about the comfort of a design when you’re shopping online.
If you are lucky enough to shop in stores or have the ability to test the handlebars for a period of time, you can see how your hands and arms rest while the handlebar is in its proper position. If you have to bend over too much to maintain your grip, it will be extremely uncomfortable because it puts unnecessary pressure on your joints.
A comfortable handlebar for mountain bikes should be equidistance from your saddle and the natural length of your arm extension. You also don’t want your hands set too far apart or it can be difficult to control your bike.
Mtb handlebar width is important because it determines the placement of your body. A wide handlebar has become a favorite amongst riders because it helps to evenly spread your weight over your front wheel. This ultimately requires less force to turn your wheel and makes steering easier. Now, there are many mtb handlebar widths that are close to 800mm in length.
The height or rise of your handlebar will determine how comfortably you sit in your saddle. A higher rise is more comfortable because it helps push your weight further back into your saddle, which keeps you better balanced and in more control. Downhill handlebars also need extra height because it will ensure that you can go down steep slopes without falling over your handlebars and off your bike.
The best mountain bike handlebar should have a few different rise options available for purchase. The rise is normally measured in millimeters and can range from 0 to about 40mm. However, some mountain bike riser bars may have even more rise, but it is rare. It is also rarer to use a flat handlebar and most designs will have at least a 10mm rise.
The bend will help keep you in a natural position while you use your handlebar. A normal bend would have 6-7 degrees of a backward sweep and 5-6 degrees of upward sweep to keep you secure while riding. Ultimately, the bend will change how the handlebar feels while riding and this is mostly left up to personal preference rather than performance.
Diameter is also important to consider because most top rated mountain bike handlebars are getting thicker. The once standard 31.8-millimeter diameter is now a thing of the past and the new normal is to have a 35-millimeter diameter. The thicker diameter gives you more strength and rigidity to keep the handlebar stable.
The best mtb handlebar will be made of metal, like aluminum, or carbon fiber. Chromoly may also be used but it isn’t as common because it is heavier. Aluminum and carbon fiber are both extremely strong materials, and many will be available with a variety of widths and diameters. But for riders who want to keep their weight down, carbon fiber makes the lightest handlebars for mountain bikes.
Q: Are Carbon MTB Handlebars Worth It?
Yes, but because of the higher cost most riders who purchase them will have higher level of mountain biking experience. The benefits to using an mtb carbon handlebar is the significant reduction in weight and stiffer build. Carbon is also sometimes considered to be more comfortable than other types of handlebars for mountain bikes. But with a higher price, these benefits are most helpful to experienced or professional riders.
Q: How High Should Your Handlebars Be On A Mountain Bike?
Your handlebars should be as high or low as they need for you to ride comfortably. For the vast majority of riders, their handlebars will be just about even or slightly higher than their saddle. But there are some riders who prefer their handlebars to be set lower. But ideally, your handlebar for mtb riding should be placed so that you can sit upright. This will reduced the amount of stress that is placed on your body while riding.
Q: Are Wider Mountain Bike Handlebars Better?
Yes, because they give you more control over the bike and help you maintain the correct position for your balance. Many mountain bike riders are now using handlebars that are up to 800 millimeters in their width. However, mtb handlebar width on some design is customizable and marked on the tube. This would allow you to shorten the handlebar if needed.
Q: What Handlebar Size Do I Need?
Top rated mountain bike handlebars are available in a variety of sizes in relation to their diameter. Most handlebars have a 22.2-millimeter diameter at the grip. But the diameter can vary at the clamp from 25.4 to 35 millimeters. Riders should ultimately choose the size they need for their style of riding and remember that the larger the diameter, the stronger the handlebar will be. Trail bike handlebars can have a smaller diameter because they do not need as high of strength as aggressive or downhill handlebars.
Q: How Does Stem Length Affect Mountain Bike Handling?
Yes, the stem length will affect how your mountain bike handles and responds. A shorter stem is more responsive and will have quicker handling. While a longer stem puts your body weight towards the front of your bike and makes it easier to use mountain bike flat pedals. For mountain bike riders, it is suggested that they use a stem length of 50-60 millimeters. However, some stems come as short as 35 millimeters and you will ultimately have to choose the length that is most comfortable for you.
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With the best mountain bike handlebar attached to your wheels, you’ll be able to conquer any terrain and go new places. Our article will help you find exactly what you need and inform you on the best up to date features on the market. All you have to do choose your setup and set off on your ride.
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Do you own one of the mountain bike handlebars that made it onto our list? Let us know which mtb handlebar your favorite is in the comments section below.