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How to choose your MTB handlebars

The diameter

First of all, you have to make sure that the diameter in the center of the handlebars where you come to clamp your stem is 31.8mm like 95% of the current cases in MTB. If your bike is old, entry level or equipped with a very high end extra light handlebar, it is possible that you have a 25.4mm diameter handlebars equipped on your bike. In addition, a new format of 35mm diameter has just seen the day, designed for Enduro and DH.

When it comes to grips and controls, the diameter of the Mountain Bike Handlebar is universal and will never be an issue.

The width

The width of the handlebars, from end to end, often depends on the bike used and the discipline practiced.

  • Wide handlebars improve handling, downhill stability and balance on the bike and open up your rib cage for better breathing.
  • A narrow handlebar makes it easier to pass between tight shafts and gives better aerodynamics on the rolling parts.

A wider handlebar in 29" than in 26" is preferred in order to facilitate the steering of the larger wheel, which has more inertia.

La tendance actuelle donne un cintre aux alentours des :

  • 600-650 mm for XC 26"
  • 660-710 mm for XC 29"
  • 690-740 mm for Enduro/All Mountain
  • 740-800 mm for DH

The rise

A"Rise", a raise, very common in DH, allows you to raise your cockpit and rebalance your weight to the rear.
The more you increase the rise, the more you get a bike that is easy to handle, agile and precise when going downhill, to the detriment of the uphill parts which, when the percentage is too high, will cause the front wheel to lift off the ground and the bike to lose control.


An "Upsweep", very common in Enduro-All Mountain, is equivalent to the "Rise" but in a more ergonomic way for wrist/hand bone alignment on your bike.


A"Backsweep"makes the ends of the handlebars come back towards you, it makes the handlebars more comfortable in wrist/hand alignment just like the "Upsweep" with which it is often combined on typical Enduro-All Mountain bars. The "Backsweep" on a flat handlebar or "Rise"of 5° is popular in XC.

The materials

Regarding the materials that we cross on the handlebars, you will have the choice between:

  • Aluminium, cheap and solid.
  • Scandium, thinner and lighter and as strong as aluminum with equal mass.
  • Carbon, the lightest, absorbs vibrations for better comfort, gives a racy look to the bike and remains at least as strong as aluminum for the same weight.


Each handlebar of each brand is subjected to fatigue tests in laboratories in order to pass CE standards and to ensure maximum safety over the long term.


  • Competition XC handlebars generally weigh between 100 and 150g, or even 170g for very wide carbon bars. For a more casual practice, handlebars are more often around 200g.
  • In Enduro, the bars are more often between 200 and 250g because they are wider and have more material as they often offer a rise and require more strength.
  • In DH, the bars are around 300g for the majority, to be rigid and sturdy.


After a major crash, it is strongly advised to change your handlebars to avoid unfortunate breakage because it may have been damaged and jeopardized its resistance to fatigue without it being visible to the naked eye.


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