There are some people out there who mountain bike every single day who never spare a second’s thought to the handlebars on their bicycles. This might make sense as handlebars have fewer moving parts than other bike components and some may think they all function in the exact same way. While this is true of some mountain bike rider bars, it isn’t true for all of them.
When moving across rough terrain and uneven ground, the handlebars on your bike are the biggest asset to your ride. The handlebars on your bike help with maintaining position and balance while controlling your steering and ensuring technical precision. MTB handlebars act as an extension to your arms and hands, which is why it’s important they are high-quality to get the job done right.
Changing out the handlebars on your bike can sometimes make a significant difference in how the bike rides. However, there are tons of handlebars out there and choosing the perfect option can be challenging. That’s exactly why we wanted to share the 11 best MTB handlebars for 2020. You can get an idea of what they offer, and which best meets your needs.
Table of Contents
- 1 The Best MTB Handlebar
- 2 RaceFace Atlas FR Riser Handlebar
- 3 RaceFace SixC Carbon Riser Handlebar
- 5 Wake Aluminum Alloy Mountain Bike Handlebar
- 6 Fifty-Fifty Aluminum Alloy Mountain Bike Riser Handlebar
- 7 Renthal Fatbar Carbon 35 Handlebar
- 8 Upanbike Trekking Cycling Mountain Bike Road Bicycle Handlebar with Sponge
- 9 RaceFace Chester Riser Mountain Bicycle Handlebar
- 10 Spank Spoon 785 Bicycle Handlebar
- 12 EC90 Carbon Fiber Mountain Bicycle Flat Handlebar
- 13 RaceFace Next Red Riser Handlebar
- 14 Considerations When Choosing Handlebars for Mountain Bikes
- 15 Conclusion
The Best MTB Handlebar
RaceFace Atlas FR Riser Handlebar
The RaceFace Atlas FR Riser Handlebar is one of the best on the market, which is why it is topping our list. These riser bars are created to meet the needs of downhill and freeride cyclists. These handlebars are made from a seamless, cold-drawn air alloy and are 31.8mm in diameter. They come in several colors including monster green, orange, stealth, blue, black, and red, and have a flat, 0.5 inch, or 1.25-inch rise.
These bars have an internal taper that creates extra durability and strength without adding to the weight of the handlebars. They have an ultra-wide and ultra-low geometry to cut down on cockpit height, which means the front end is lowered for aggressive cycling.
- Features ultra-wide, ultra-low riser geometry to lower the front end of the bike
- Inclusion of an internal taper increases durability and strength without adding weight
- Created from seamless, cold-drawn air alloy material
- Some would appreciate a wider diameter for more rigidity when riding
RaceFace SixC Carbon Riser Handlebar
The RaceFace SixC is a carbon riser handlebar that is ideal for downhill racing or even all-mountain racing since it can keep up when things are tough. It uses a composite material to be stronger than other handlebars in the same category. However, it remains lightweight to let you quickly make it down the road without additional effort. The handlebar has reinforced clamping zones for a lock-on grip and has gone through destructive testing to ensure it can handle any ride.
- One of the strongest and lightest carbon bars on the market
- Offers reinforced clamping zones for a lock-on grip
- Is one of the more expensive MTB handlebars available
Wake Aluminum Alloy Mountain Bike Handlebar
The first thing you will notice with the Wake MTB handlebar is that it comes in several colors so you can enjoy the style you prefer. The handlebars are available in black, blue, red, or yellow. It also comes in 720 or 780mm size depending on your bike. The handlebars are very long and stable without being overly stiff. The handlebars are made of aluminum alloy and offer resistant to shock and ultimate firmness.
There is an ergonomic structure to this handlebar, so it is non-slip and comfortable. This offers extra control for riders who need that. The handlebars are compatible with a large number of dirt bikes as well as mountain bikes for both off-road and downhill applications.
- Created to be stable without excess stiffness and long enough for great control
- Made of high-strength aluminum alloy for firmness and lack of shock
- Works well for nearly all mountain bikes and dirt bikes and can be used off-road and downhill
- Some have experienced issues with the wrong diameter handlebar being sent
Fifty-Fifty Aluminum Alloy Mountain Bike Riser Handlebar
The Fifty-Fifth Aluminum Alloy Mountain Bike Riser Handlebar is another great choice for anyone who cycles off the beaten track. The handlebar is made from a high-grade 7050 aluminum alloy for durability and strength. It also features hard-anodizing, double-butted, numerical-controlled precision bending. This is an extremely lightweight handlebar that won’t slow you down.
This handlebar is very wide at 780mm, which offers a great deal of control for extreme cycling. The riser bars also offer extra control and keep it comfortable even when riding for long periods of time. There is a set-up grid to fine-tune things, as well as cut down market on the sides. This makes it simple to install and adjust the riser to your specifications.
- Created of double-butted, hard-anodizing, 7050 aluminum alloy for strength and durability
- Offers a super-wide width that makes it simple to control your mountain bike
- Comes with a set-up grid for top-notch and simple fine-tuning and adjustment
- Paint can experience wear and tear more quickly than expected
Renthal Fatbar Carbon 35 Handlebar
The Renthal Fatbar is one of the most popular MTB handlebars you will find based on the high-quality construction and care for the cyclist community. This handlebar works with the 35mm clamp standard that is increasingly considered the best option. The use of carbon for the bars makes them quite stiff but offers fewer vibrations than using aluminum for the construction.
This handlebar comes in one color which is mainly black with silver, white, and red accents for the logo and design. It comes in four rise levels from 10mm to 20mm, 30mm, and 40mm. The finish on the handlebars is abrasive to ensure zero movement where the bars and stem are placed against each other.
- Created with an 800mm stance for an elbows-up position for simple descents
- Made using unidirectional carbon fiber for strength and durability
- Offers 35mm diameter handlebars which are quickly becoming the standard
- One of the most expensive MTB handlebar options on the market
Upanbike Trekking Cycling Mountain Bike Road Bicycle Handlebar with Sponge
This handlebar from Upanbike is made of a 6061 aluminum alloy and comes in a black color. It can accommodate a clamp diameter of 25.4 or 31.8, depending on your needs. This MTB handlebar is around 590mm in diameter and has a bar end of 22.2mm in diameter. In addition to the actual handlebar, it also comes with a sponge cover for additional comfort.
- Suitable for use with most bikes including road bikes and mountain bikes
- Allows you to place your hands in various positions for less fatigue
- Flexing the handlebars is simple just by a twist of the hand
RaceFace Chester Riser Mountain Bicycle Handlebar
The Chester handlebar from RaceFace is made of a durable 6061 alloy with a great rise, width, and sweep for many types of bicycles. It has been redesigned to offer a better taper and a wider construction for increased stiffness and better control while cycling. The new taper offers better strength without adding additional weight to the MTB handlebars. In addition, this is one of the least expensive options, so it works well for those on a budget.
- Features redesigned taper and wide construction for stiffness and control
- Butted to offer an optimal weight to strength ratio
- Paint may scuff fairly easily when using
Spank Spoon 785 Bicycle Handlebar
When you’re looking for a solid ride on your bike without spending a fortune, the Spank Spoon 785 is a great option for handlebars. It has the quality you want without making you dip into your savings account. The handlebar comes in an understated black color or more flashy hues like yellow, red, and blue. Whether you are enjoying your bike at the park or heading out on the trails, it’s sure to handle either equally well. The shot-peening and anodizing also increase fatigue life so you can ride as long as you like.
- Offers great performance on the trail or in the park for versatility
- Anodizing and shot-peening enhance fatigue life more than competitors
- Some may find the handlebars are a bit too wide
EC90 Carbon Fiber Mountain Bicycle Flat Handlebar
This flat handlebar from EC90 is created entirely of carbon fiber, which makes the handlebar both strong and lightweight. It has a great deal of durability, so you don’t need to worry about going easy while using the bars with your bike. This is a lightweight option at 100 to 180 grams depending on the size of the handlebars. They come in 680, 700, 720, or 760mm to fit onto nearly any bike that needs a new set of bars. They have been created to be easy to install and just as easy to remove if the time comes for that.
- Created with 100% carbon fiber for reduced weight and strong construction
- Simple to install or uninstall as needed
- Some users have experienced breakage or malfunctions
RaceFace Next Red Riser Handlebar
What sets the RaceFace Next apart is largely the use of a unidirectional carbon fiber weave for construction. The fibers are parallel with epoxy to bond them for additional strength. This helps ensure that no areas on the bar are going to fatigue at a quicker rate. There is also extra reinforcement on the clamp zones for durability. The handlebars are largely black with red accents and will match many bikes on the road.
- Uses a lightweight and strong unidirectional carbon fiber weave construction
- Additional reinforcement offers in the clamp zones
- One of the more expensive models you’ll find on the market
Considerations When Choosing Handlebars for Mountain Bikes
There are a few different things to keep in mind when shopping for MTB handlebars. We want to share the most important features with you so you know what you’re looking for and can make a choice that works well for your needs.
As far as the MTB handlebar structure goes, you want to think about the width, strength, and weight. Each of these things is largely determined based on the material used to create the handlebars. The most popular materials used are chromoly, aluminum, and carbon fiber, but each has benefits and downfalls.
If you want the strongest handlebars, the best choice is carbon fiber followed by aluminum. Carbon fiber is often considered the best choice since it is also a very lightweight option. On the other hand, carbon fiber handlebars have limited shoulder lengths. Those who need a narrow grip will often want to choose aluminum of chromoly, as the two can be adjusted.
MTB Handlebar Design
There are two types of handlebars which include rise bars and flat bars. When considering the rise height, it is the measurement between the area where the bars attach to the bike frame and the tapered edges.
Those who are using a mountain bike will typically prefer a rise bar. This is because it moves the center of gravity back. Lifting the bike over rough terrain is easier with a rise bar. It also makes it much simpler to navigate sharp descents in an efficient way.
While there are only two major types of handlebar design, there are also sub-categories to consider. A flared bar is going to be narrow at the end but wider in the middle. Tapered bars are going to be the thinnest between the grips and stems. The butted bar is going to be thicker on both ends than it is in the center. The last is best for those who want plenty of strength.
Level of Leverage in Handlebars
Leverage, which is also called torque, determines the control and stability that a bike allows you. As a rule of thumb, handlebars that are wide with short stems are going to offer a higher degree of leverage. This is because the steering input needs less force to operate, so you can conserve momentum for when it matters.
Additional torque also places a cyclist in a central position over the bike, so the rear and front weight are even. When deciding whether a bike has enough leverage, you can measure the distance between your hands as you lean over the bike. The best option will have your hands around shoulder-width apart or a couple of inches from that.
MTB Handlebar Comfort
If the handlebars you choose make it where you have to bend over a lot to get a good grip, this can cause problems. It can add pressure to your wrists and hands which may cause them to go numb. This is why it’s crucial to make sure the handlebars are an equal distance from your saddle position and the length of your arm extension.
Those who have a spread-out hand placement or who have arched shoulders can make structural adjustments to alleviate the problem. This might involve moving your bike saddle forward or lowering the stem.
At this point, you have an idea of the best MTB handlebars on the market and can choose the one that best fits your needs. If you aren’t happy with the listed products, you also have the information you need to contrast different handlebars to decide whether they have the quality you need. If your handlebars aren’t cutting it, there’s likely another option out there that will work better. Take your time to find them and then enjoy your time out on the trails!