30-day return policy
800.000 active customers

MTB Handlebars – Full Control on Every Trail

Got control on everything? When it comes to your mountain bike, this mainly comes down to the handlebars. The width, rise and backsweep play a huge role in the ergonomics of your mountain bike and how it handles, and it goes without saying that weight also comes into play. But what types of MTB handlebars are out there? What benefits do different materials have? And what should you pay attention to when making your purchase? You can find out the answers to these questions and more on this page. Read more

Order by Popularity

MTB Handlebars – a Crucial Part of Your Mountain Bike

Whether it's a fast-paced trail through the forest or a downhill track in the bike park - you primarily exercise control over your bike via one part of the cockpit - the handlebars! In addition to the pedals and saddle, they are the main point of contact between your body and your mountain or e-mountain bike. Not only do they play a crucial role when it comes to balance while biking, but when it comes to control too. You use your handlebars to set your direction of travel, as well as to manage uneven terrain. And having the right handlebars can mean more safety and comfort while biking too.

Mountain Bike Handlebars - What Types Are There?

All the handlebars available for mountain bikes can basically be divided into two categories: flat MTB handlebars (flat bars) and MTB handlebars with a backwards sweep (riser bars). 
On riser bars, the ends where you attach your grips or bar ends are higher than the centre of the handlebars and bent backwards. This changes your posture on the bike and thus improves comfort, but many mountain bikers also swear by the fact that riser bars give them more control off-road and on trails.

Flat bars are especially common on very sporty (race) bikes. With flat (or almost flat) handlebars, your body weight is moved forwards, putting a lot of pressure on the front wheel and thus increasing traction. In turn, this means that handlebars can be manoeuvred very precisely and directly. However, the steeper the descent, the more the rider’s weight moves over the front wheel. This can get extreme, especially with flat bars, and some riders find that manoeuvring can become too sensitive. Aside from simple questions of taste, the specific construction of these handlebars also has a big impact on bike control and more power is required in this regard.

Riser bars bring the upper body into a particularly upright position. This is more comfortable at first and as you have less body weight over the front wheel, the mountain bike is easier to control. Conversely, you have to use a little more body pressure to manoeuvre the bike on flat roads, and even lifting the front wheel before obstacles can be more demanding and require more effort with high riser bars.

A Buyer’s Guide to MTB Handlebars - What Should I Pay Attention to?

Which MTB handlebars are right for you? Before we start going into detail to answer this question, the first thing is that your new handlebars have to fit into the clamp of the mtb stem on your mountain bike. Nowadays, a diameter of 31.8 (or 31.7) millimetres is common, and you can also see diameters of 35 millimetres in enduro and downhill. On older bikes, a diameter of 25.4 millimetres was the standard and even 22.2 millimetres on very old bikes.

The second thing that comes into play is width. This is where physics comes in: the wider the handlebars, the greater the leverage required when turning. Wider handlebars therefore create more stability on technical terrain. And that’s not all: handlebars have to fit your height too. The longer your arms, the wider your handlebars can be. A 1.65-metre-tall person is more likely to go for handlebars around 680 to 710 millimetres wide, whilst a 1.80-meter-tall person would ride with handlebars with a width of 760 millimetres, for example. Widths of 780 or 800 millimetres are more common for enduro or downhill. We also stock specialised downhill handlebars as a matter of course. 
Top tip: if in doubt, buy wider handlebars, because you can easily shorten them if they are too wide for you.

The next decision to be made is more a matter of taste, but, above all, regards comfort and control: your position on the bike determines how high you want the grips to be above the clamp on the stem. A rise between 0 and 40 millimetres is common. Here the rule is: the more rise the handlebars have, the more upright you’ll sit and the less the weight and thus pressure applied on the front wheel (see first paragraph for more on this).

Last but not least, you should think about the backwards sweep you want your handlebars to have - 0 to 9 degrees are the most common variants here. The further the handlebars are bent backwards, the more upright you’ll sit, and this alters the angle of your wrists in your grip. This all depends on your personal preference. Whether wide handlebars, handlebars with a high rise or backwards sweep, you’ll find a wide range of mountain bike handlebars at BIKE24 so you’ll be all set for your next bike adventure.

Dimensions of Mountain Bike Handlebars at a Glance

  • Clamp diameter: this must fit with the size of the stem clamp on your mountain bike. Nowadays, 31.8 millimetres and 35 millimetres are the standard for enduro and downhill bikes respectively. Older handlebars and stems have clamps of 22.2 millimetres (rare) or 25.4 millimetres (a standard size in the past).
  • Width: the width of the handlebars should be appropriate for the rider’s height and how the bike will be used: the taller the rider and the more technical the use, the wider the handlebars should be. Widths between 720 and 760 millimetres are currently common, however many riders also opt for MTB handlebars with a width of 800 millimetres.
  • Rise/upsweep: this is the difference in height between where the handlebars are clamped in the middle and the handlebar ends. More rise means a more upright, comfortable posture and less weight (= pressure) on the front wheel. The rule of thumb here is: the racier you ride, the less rise you want. If you’re a more technical rider, however, then you’ll want more rise.
  • Backsweep: the more the bars are bent backwards, the more upright you’ll sit, and the straighter your hands will grip the handlebars.

Mountain Bike Handlebar Materials

Another way in which mountain bike handlebars differ isthe materials they’re made from. Here you can find the full range of handlebar materials used: aluminium handlebars are the first choice for many riders because they have a good price-performance ratio. Carbon MTB handlebars, on the other hand, are in demand among racers, as they save on every last gram when it comes to weight whilst promising comfort at the same time. There are also MTB handlebars made of titanium, steel or scandium, but these special metal alloys are rarely used and are rather something for avid aficionados.

  • Aluminium MTB handlebars: standard handlebars are made of aluminium. The material is reliable, and provides the best trade-off between weight, stability and price.
  • Carbon MTB handlebars: carbon fibre is lighter and stronger than aluminium, but also more expensive. Carbon handlebars are rather on the luxurious side, but they can save a lot of weight on your bike.
  • Titanium/steel/scandium: handlebars made of special metal alloys are primarily something for aficionados as they are usually quite expensive.

MTB Handlebars – A Summary

  • Handlebars are the most important component in the cockpit of your mountain bike. They give you control, help you compensate for uneven terrain and play a significant role when it comes to your posture.
  • The most important dimensions of MTB handlebars include the clamp diameter, width, rise and sweep.
  • MTB handlebars are available in different materials, with the most widespread being aluminium and carbon.
  • The most important factor to consider when buying new MTB handlebars is what kind of riding you do. Therefore, you should think carefully about the kinds of adventures you want to go on with your new MTB handlebars before making your purchase.