ContentsQUICK ANSWER – THE BEST MTB HANDLEBARSCOMPARISON TABE – THE BEST MTB HANDLEBARSMTB HANDLEBARS REVIEWSRACE FACE NEXTORIGIN8 PROSWEEPSUNLITE NORTHROADSOMA OXFORDTHOMSON CROSS-COUNTRYSALSA WOODCHIPPER 2NITTO RANDONNEURHOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST MTB HANDLEBARSMECHANICSDESIGNLEVERAGECOMFORT When it comes to maneuvering across uneven gradients and rigorous terrain, the handlebars can be a mountain biker’s greatest asset. But is there a science to choosing the best MTB handlebars for your specific riding needs? Handlebars are crucial for maintaining your balance and position on the bike to control the steering and technical precision. Since they’re basically an extension of your hands and forearms, it’s important to ensure they deliver optimum results, both on the trails and that daily commute. Here at The Adventure Junkies, we’re breaking down all the factors to consider when looking for the right pair to suit your needs. From the shape to the diameter to the grip cushion and more, we’ll “steer” (pun intended!) you toward the best MTB handlebars to maximize your overall performance on the bike. For more of our top mountain bike gear recommendations, check out these popular articles: Men’s Bikes | Women’s Bikes Pedals | Wheels | Tires | Brakes | Saddles Chains | Cranksets | Derailleurs | Gear Shifters Helmets | Lights | Computers | GPS | Pumps Shorts | Jackets | Shoes | Gloves LOOKING FOR A GIFT FOR AFELLOW BIKER?Check out our gift guide that includes 100 ideas to surprise your biking friends.From big ticket presents to stocking stuffers, there is something for everyone. VIEW NOW QUICK ANSWER – THE BEST MTB HANDLEBARS 1. RACE FACE NEXT VIEW AT REI 2. ORIGIN8 PRO SWEEP VIEW AT AMAZON 3. SUNLITE NORTHROAD VIEW AT AMAZON 4. SOMA OXFORD VIEW AT AMAZON 5. THOMSON CROSS-COUNTRY VIEW AT AMAZON 6. SALSA WOODCHIPPER 2 VIEW AT JENSONUSA 7. NITTO RANDONNEUR VIEW AT AMAZON COMPARISON TABE – THE BEST MTB HANDLEBARS PICTUREMTB HANDLEBARBEST USEMATERIALSDESIGNPRICERATING PICTUREMTB HANDLEBARBEST USEMATERIALSDESIGNPRICERATING Race Face NextOverallCarbon FiberRise Bar$$$5.0 Origin8 ProSweepBudgetAluminumFlat Bar$4.9 Sunlite NorthRoadBudgetChromeRise Bar$4.6 Soma OxfordBudgetAluminumRise Bar$5.0 Thompson Cross-CountryTouringCarbon FiberFlat Bar$$$5.0 Salsa Woodchipper 2TouringAluminumFlared Bar$$5.0 Nitto RandonneurTouringAluminumFlared Bar$$4.0 MTB HANDLEBARS REVIEWS RACE FACE NEXT Check out the latest price on: Amazon | REI BEST FOR: Off-Road Riding MATERIALS: Carbon Fiber DESIGN: Rise Bar PROS: Increased diameter for a lighter weight that doesn’t compromise strength or stiffness CONS: None that we could find ORIGIN8 PROSWEEP Check out the latest price on: Amazon BEST FOR: Commuter Riding MATERIALS: Aluminum DESIGN: Flat Bar PROS: Steering ability is right on-par with some of the more expensive models CONS: Bikers who prefer more rise will need bar end attachments SUNLITE NORTHROAD Check out the latest price on: Amazon BEST FOR: Commuter Riding MATERIALS: Chromoly DESIGN: Rise Bar PROS: Upright position supports riding posture to reduce tension on the back and shoulders CONS: Narrow diameter might not be ideal for rigorous climbing SOMA OXFORD Check out the latest price on: Amazon BEST FOR: Commuter Riding MATERIALS: Aluminum DESIGN: Rise Bar PROS: Upright position supports riding posture to reduce tension on the back and shoulders CONS: Heavier than some of the sleeker, more ergonomic models THOMSON CROSS-COUNTRY Check out the latest price on: Amazon BEST FOR: Distance Riding MATERIALS: Carbon Fiber DESIGN: Flat Bar PROS: Combination of three different fibers to maximize sturdiness and flexibility on rough terrain CONS: Bikers who prefer more rise will need bar end attachments SALSA WOODCHIPPER 2 Check out the latest price on: JensonUSA BEST FOR: Distance Riding MATERIALS: Aluminum DESIGN: Flared Bar PROS: Bent along three planes to support technical maneuvering on singletracks CONS: None that we could find NITTO RANDONNEUR Check out the latest price on: Amazon BEST FOR: Distance Riding MATERIALS: Aluminum DESIGN: Flared Bar PROS: Bent, angled shape offers multiple hand positions for maximum comfort over long periods CONS: Narrow diameter might not be ideal for rigorous climbing Gear up for mountain biking, without breaking the bankGet the Latest Deals on MTB GearSent right to your inbox...GEAR UP FOR MTB HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST MTB HANDLEBARS We suggest paying the most attention to these components when selecting the right handlebars for your mountain bike. If you want to know more about how they function with the other MTB parts, our beginner’s guide is a useful resource. MECHANICS The structure of your handlebars should take into account three elements: weight, strength and width. These are largely determined by which material the handlebars are made from. Choose among aluminum, carbon fiber or chromoly, which all have their own advantages. Aluminum and carbon fiber are the strongest, most durable options, and carbon fiber is also the most lightweight of these materials. However, a carbon fiber handlebar can’t be tweaked for optimal shoulder width. So, riders who need a narrower grip should opt for chromoly or aluminum, both of which are adjustable. DESIGN There are two basic handlebar types: flat bars and rise bars. SingleTracks explains rise height as the measurement between the tapered edges and where the bars attach to the frame. For mountain bikers, a rise bar is preferable because it shifts the center of gravity further back. It allows them to lift the bike over rugged surfaces and navigate sharp descents more efficiently. For riders who want to further customize their handlebar shape, there are three sub-categories worth knowing about as well. Flared bars are wider in the middle and narrower at the ends. Tapered bars are thinner between the stem and grips. Butted bars are thicker on the ends than in the center. These options are ideal if you’re looking for added strength. LEVERAGE Also called “torque,” this feature determines how much stability and control you can exert on the bike. In general, a wider handlebar with a shorter stem offers increased leverage because the bar’s steering input requires less force to operate which allows you to conserve momentum. BikeRadar also points out that with greater leverage, you’ll be positioned more centrally over the bike which distributes both front and rear weight evenly. To gauge if the handlebars provide enough torque, measure the distance between your hands when leaning over the bike. They should be about shoulder-width apart or within two inches of that radius. COMFORT If the handlebar’s location forces you to bend over it drastically to maintain a firm grip, this causes pressure on your hands or wrists, often making them go numb. To avoid that discomfort, ensure that the handlebar is equidistant from your position in the saddle to the length of your arm extension. If your hand placement is too spread out or your shoulders are too arched over the handlebars, there are structural adjustments you can make such as lowering the stem or moving the saddle forward. For extra hand cushioning, MTB gloves are also an option. Our guide can help you choose the right pair. MOUNTAIN BIKING RESOURCESTABLE OF CONTENTSMOUNTAIN BIKINGTABLE OF CONTENTS 1. MTB BASICS 4. MTB MAINTENANCE 2. MTB CLOTHING 5. MTB SKILLS 3. MTB EQUIPMENT 6. MTB TRAINING 1. MTB BASICS 2. MTB CLOTHING 3. MTB EQUIPMENT 4. MTB MAINTENANCE 5. MTB SKILLS 6. MTB TRAINING Disclosure: The Adventure Junkies is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, we will receive an affiliate commission at no extra cost for you. We also use other affiliate programs like REI, LeisurePro, Diviac and Liveaboard.com.