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How to choose handlebars for your MTB: the width and other considerations

How to choose handlebars for your MTB: the width and other considerations

Let's tell you what you should take into account Buy a handlebar for your MTB. Of all contact points of a Mountain Bike, it is possible that the handlebar is the most important. It not only serves to control the bike address, but it has a great impact on maneuverability and march comfort. The handlebars come in different shapes, sizes, curves and materials, which results in different levels of control, comfort and performance. In fact, almost without realizing it, it is one of the components that They have evolved in recent years. [IRP Posts = "5919" Name = "How high must be placed the handlebar of the bicycle?"] Mounting different handlebars on the same bicycle can drastically change your march experience. For this reason, we will detail some issues that you must take into account to choose The handlebar you really need. We are aware, in any case, that many times it is not possible to try the handlebar of a new bike before releasing the money. But that is already something that escapes our reach.

The handlebar material

The mountain bicycle handlebars, except for exceptions, are manufactured in Aluminum or carbon. There are also titanium, but they are marginal. They differentiate them, to begin with the weight and price. You can find carbon handle from about 125 euros, while its aluminum equivalents will be around 50-75 euros. The rigidity of carbon differs largely with respect to aluminum. The handlebars manufactured in this material better absorb the irregularities of the land and are lighter. However, its manufacture is more expensive and, usually, they are less durable than aluminum.
If you worry about weight, a carbon handlebar will be your ideal choice.
On the other hand, the aluminum handlebars are almost eternal. If they fail, they do not collapse as can happen with carbon, but tend to bend and can even be repaired. In addition, they are more affordable. Instead, they can result Too rigid; Especially, with 35 mm diameters (then we will talk about this measure). It is desirable that a handlebar flex slightly (vertically) when the bike impacts against land accidents.

The height and angle of the handlebar: Rise and Sweep

He Rise and the Sweep They are the elements that provide the definitive aspect to the handlebar. But much more important than that: they influence the comfort of the Rider on the bicycle and in your pilot style.

The importance of Rise

He Rise It is the rise of the handlebar and indicates in millimeters. The term refers to the height difference between the handlebar center and its fists; that is, a handlebar with Rise It is a double height handlebar. In recent times, the handlebars with Rise generous They are a trend. In modalities such as enduro, they usually range between 20 and 40 mm. An older one Rise Provide a more comfortable position. It also facilitates the jumps of the front wheel in descents and allows a greater field of vision because the posture is more upright. In addition to specialties such as XC, it is common for Rise shine for your absence. In this case, we talk about flat handlebars or Flatbars. Anyway, this measure will almost never be greater than 20-25 mm by b bikeRoss-Country. It all depends on the posture you are looking for on the bicycle. A minor Rise, more launched will be the position on it. Your body weight will throw down and forward, so you will feel a more direct connection with the front wheel. According to the Rise It grows, some sensitivity is lost and more play with the weights of the body. Let's say more dynamism is required on the bicycle.

The importance of Sweep

Closely related to the Rise is the Sweep or curvature of the handlebar. This curvature has two possible variants: the angle that draws the handlebar up (UPSWEEP) and the one who can draw back (Backsweep). He UPSWEEP It measures in degrees the angle between the central line of handlebars and the fists: it reflects how the handlebar tips are inclined up from the horizontal. Normally, on a mountain bike is about 5 °. This measure is more important in modalities such as Enduro and All-Mountain. So relevant or more is the Backsweep. Remember: it is the angle or curvature that draws the handlebar towards the cyclist's body, and it is more visible if we observe it from above. A Backsweep Generous provides an extra comfort by promoting a more upright posture. It is also useful for cyclists with short arms that mount a bike with a REACH or long horizontal tube. In this case, the angle usually ranges between 7 ° and 10; The most common measure is 8º. Handlebar Measures: Rise, Upsweep, Backsweep These values ​​are a matter of comfort. Minimum variation will affect your way of grabbing the handlebar. Therefore, before going to buy a new handlebar, it is convenient for you to know the measures with which you currently move to hit your purchase.

The width of the handlebar

The width of the handlebar of an MTB is a measure very personal. A bad choice can harm our piloting, but also to our physical state, with back overloads, forearms or dolls. As a rule, a wide handlebar contributes maneuverability, stability in descents and balance when pedaling in an upright position. In addition, it allows to open the rib cage and breathe better. For its part, a narrow handlebar facilitates piloting for narrow paths And it provides a more aerodynamic position in fast areas, where navigation is important. In this case, small handlebar movements cause large oscillations of the front wheel, so the bike is more nervous. Therefore: What is the perfect width for my MTB handlebars? It will depend on three conditions: The size of the cyclist, the pilot style and the conditions of the land. Cyclist sitting on a stone The requirements of a 1.90 m cyclist will be different from those of a 1.60 m cyclist. In general, a smaller cyclist will mount a shorter handlebar; The shoulder width is the measure that will determine this aspect. As we have said, driving style also tells. Normally, a biker Rally or XC will mount a narrower handlebar than someone who practices DH. As the handlebar widens, we gain in stability. But a handlebar too wide can be harmful to our muscles and joints.
A too wide handlebar can be harmful to our muscles and joints.
By norm, a narrow handlebar is less stable, but it can be a better position on the bicycle for resistance races and many hours of pedaling. The last factor to consider in the choice of the handlebar width is the land. If you usually roll by trails Ratoneros, a narrow handlebar can be more useful. In summary accounts, experience a bit, keep these factors in mind and find What works best for you. Surely, it will be very different from what your grupeta companions need. MTB fork There are some formulas that are usually used. They are not fixed rules, but do you want to know some? Multiply your height in centimeters by 4.40 if you are a man, and by 4.20 if you are a woman. The result will be the Maximum recommended handlebar size for you. Another classic option is to measure the distance between the shoulder joint and the tip of the longest finger of the hand, which will result in the ideal width.
Multiply your height in centimeters by 4.40 if you are a man, and by 4.20 if you are a woman. The result will be the maximum recommended handlebar size for you.
Do you want a recommendation? Start choosing A wide handlebar (Aluminum or carbon), try it and, if you see it necessary, take the bike to a workshop to cut it. Today the handlebars come with a width of 800 or 780 mm and are designed precisely for that; They usually have cut lines arranged every few mm so that the operation is simple. As a curiosity, the width of the handlebars that assemble the Bikers professionals participating in the EWS (Enduro Word Series) or in the World Cup of descent. Surely, they are narrower than you can imagine. The complete width handle (800 mm), and even 790 mm, are almost non -existent. We would say that the average is 770-780 mm. But there are many professionals who mount 760 mm, and even 750 mm wide. If we talk about less extreme modalities, 720 mm is an increasingly widespread measure among those who compete in XC.

The importance of the handlebar diameter: 35 vs 31.8 mm

In recent years, the industry has lived the emergence of handle with a diameter of 35 mm (measured in the central zone, where they fit the power) instead of the classic measure of 31.8 mm. Regardless of these values, the handlebar diameter narrows at 22.2 mm at the ends. It is a trend more typical of high ranges, and more common in more extreme modalities of MTB, such as Enduro and Downhill. Both measures have advantages and disadvantages, although for a little expert cyclist they can be irrelevant. In general, the handlebars and powers with a widest diameter will be more rigid and durable. But keep in mind that no more rigidity is the correct answer to our way of piloting. MTB bicycle A combination of handlebars and power is important that, in turn, is compatible with the vibrations of the land. A 35 mm diameter handlebar can be lighter than one of 31.8 mm, maintaining the same resistance. It is also possible that two handlebars have the same weight, but that one is much more rigid than the other. As you can see, many more variables come into play than it seems.

Most common handlebar settings

Although there is no general rule to know which handlebar it is convenient for each type of bicycle, there are guidelines that can facilitate the purchase. In general, the more aggressive a bike is, the wider the handlebar should be.
  • Cross-Country bicycles. XC bicycles are better expressed when they mount a handlebar with less Rise. A lower posture allows you to maintain your body's weight on the front wheel more easily. This is especially important in steep and technical increases. A smaller height combined with a longer power will help you obtain good performance in these circumstances. Most high -performance XC bicycles mount carbon fiber handlebars because the search for lightness is crucial.
[CAPTION ID = "Attachment_7771" Align = "Alignnone" Width = "744"]MTB handlebar Image: Sergey Nivens.[/caption]
  • Trail/Enduro Bicycles. On Trail/Enduro bicycles, you will find a huge variety of handlebar settings. If you spend long days pedaling, a carbon handlebar that absorbs well the vibrations will maintain your most relaxed upper limbs. Here the Rise is an important aspect, and any measure from 10 mm to 35 mm could adapt very well to your bicycle.
  • Descent bicycles. In the descent bicycles is where you will find the most height handlebars. In this way, it is easier to move your body's weight on the rear wheel to face very pronounced declines. They also facilitate jumping to overcome stones and roots. The Downhill is the MTB modality where materials and components suffer more. Therefore, a game of aluminum handlebars can be more durable than its carbon equivalent. And cheaper.


It is possible that a handlebar is not the first component you think to improve the comfort and performance of your mountain bike. However, choosing the most appropriate can decisively condition your pilot style. Replacing the handlebar could be key To unleash the real potential of your machine, in which you have surely invested a lot of money. There are many factors to have an account, but hopefully all this information helps you make a good purchase decision and acquire the MTB handlebar that best suits your needs. [IRP posts = "9359" name = "How to adjust the geometry of your bicycle to your measures to turn it into an extension of your body"]
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