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!