Mountain biking has enjoyed a surge in popularity during 2020.
More and more cycling enthusiasts are discovering the cardiological, muscle-strengthening, and endorphin-releasing benefits of this extreme sport.
The thing about mountain biking is that it’s a sport that relies heavily on preparation for success. To get the most out of your biking trip and avoid any accidents, you need to have a few things in place first.
For example, you’ll need to plan your route and work out what essentials to take with you.
Most importantly, you’ll also need to have a bike that’s perfectly suited to handling treacherous terrain.
However, one thing you may not have considered is that the factory-installed handlebar that came with your mountain bike might not actually be the best for your biking requirements.
We’ve pooled together the best mountain bike handlebars on the market to help you get your bike off-road-ready. If you need any extra guidance on making your purchase, our buyers guide and FAQ section are here to help.
OUR TOP PICK
RaceFace’s Atlas FR Riser Handlebar is a great choice for downhill mountain bikers looking for a combination of speed and comfort.
This handlebar is made of 7050-T76 aluminum, which is a high-strength aluminum alloy. This material ensures that the Atlas handlebar is durable and impact-resistant, as well as easy to clean.
The Atlas is also a riser handlebar. This means that the handles of the bar rise up on each side. Riser bars like this one allow for improved downhill control and greater comfort.
RaceFace has enabled customers to select the level of handlebar rise that they prefer, with a choice between flat, 0.5-inch, or 1.25-inch. The width, however, is fixed at 785 mm (see buyers guide below for sizing information).
This handlebar has a relatively high rearward sweep for a mountain bike, at 8 degrees. The upward sweep is lower, at a relatively standard 4 degrees. The increased rearward sweep makes for more intuitive hand positioning for a more comfortable ride.
The clamp of the Atlas handlebar measures 31.8 mm, meaning that it will fit most standard mountain bikes.
Additionally, this handlebar can be purchased in 6 different color options for maximum design compatibility.
- High-strength aluminum alloy
- Easy to clean
- 3 rise options
- Superior downhill control
- Designed for comfort
- Fits most standard mountain bikes
- 6 color options
- Feels a little heavy
Wake’s MTB handlebar is durable, lightweight, and ergonomic - everything you need for an enjoyable and successful ride.
This handlebar is available in a choice of 2 sizes: 720 or 780 mm. This is ideal because it means that you can select this handlebar model in the size that best fits your body and your bike (see the buyers guide below).
The design of this handlebar is both lightweight and highly durable. The strong aluminum alloy material is also double-butted, hard anodizing, and shock-resistant. This means that your handlebar is unlikely to get severely damaged on impact.
This aluminum material is also easy to clean, which is a highly sought-after quality in mountain bike parts that are likely to be exposed to a lot of dirt and mud.
The ergonomic construction of this handlebar is another major selling point. The CNC precision bending ensures that the bars are machine-shaped to perfection for comfort and streamlining.
The bar’s 9-degree backsweep, meanwhile, allows for natural and comfortable positioning. The comfortable, non-slip grip also provides added control.
This handlebar model is also compatible with the majority of mountain bikes and other off-road bikes such as dirt bikes.
All you need to do is check that the diameter of this handlebar (31.8 mm) matches the diameter of your bike’s stem.
Additionally, this handlebar is available in 4 classic color options of red, blue, black, and yellow, so you’ll be able to find this model in a color that complements your bike.
- 2 size options (720/780 mm)
- Compatible with most offroad bikes
- Durable aluminum material
- CNC precision bending
- Comfortable, non-slip grip
- 4 color options
- Some reports of defective products bending and snapping
UPANBIKE’s Mountain Bike Handlebar is available in both flat and riser designs, so whatever your requirements, there is a version of this bar to meet them.
Due to the aluminum alloy material that makes up its construction, this handlebar is strong and durable whilst remaining lightweight.
The 6-degree rearward sweep of this bar provides back, shoulder, and wrist comfort without positioning your weight too far over the front wheel.
UPANBIKE conveniently allows for the selection of your preferred diameter, with 2 diameter options: the standard 31.8 mm and a smaller 25.4 mm. This means that the handlebar can fit both standard and slimmer mountain bike structures for optimal compatibility.
However, the width of the handlebar is fixed at 600 mm, which some customers have found slightly too narrow for their biking requirements.
- Available as a flat or riser bar
- Durable aluminum alloy
- Lightweight construction
- Optimal rearward sweep
- Compatible with 31.8 mm and 25.4 mm stems
- 600 mm width is too narrow for some
If you’re looking for an ergonomic and lightweight mountain bike handlebar that you can easily tailor to your individual needs, this bar from RXL SL could be the one for you!
This handlebar is constructed with T700 carbon fiber, which has an impressive pressure resistance as well as anti-shock properties.
But superior strength and impact-resistance aren’t all RXL SL has brought to the table with this design.
The ergonomic construction of this handlebar is another huge advantage. The design provides improved control over the front fork and wheel of your bike. It’s also easy to assemble for maximum convenience.
You can purchase this handlebar as a flat or riser bar. The riser has a high backsweep of 8 degrees and a low upsweep of 3 degrees for superior comfort. The flat bar, meanwhile, has no upsweep and a standard 5-degree backsweep.
You also have the option of selecting your ideal handlebar width from a variety of sizes, from 660 mm to 760 mm.
As an added bonus, this handlebar is also available in a wide range of colors and either matte or glossy finishes, so you’ll have no trouble matching this bar to the design of your bike.
- Strong T700 carbon fiber
- Ergonomic construction
- Superior front-wheel control
- Easy assembly
- Available in flat and riser models
- Multiple width options available
- Wide color and finish range
- Some reports of flexing and cracking
Another product from UPANBIKE, this Trekking Mountain Bike handlebar looks very different from the other bars reviewed on this list.
If you’re a mountain biking enthusiast, you may already know that this handlebar’s interesting curvature is known as the ‘butterfly’ shape.
Made from an aluminum alloy, this handlebar is a durable choice for the fast pace and high intensity of mountain biking.
The 600 mm butterfly shape of this handlebar allows for easy hand repositioning when required, which is great for relieving tension in the back, neck, and shoulders.
To enhance the comfort provided by the bar’s curvature, UPANBIKE includes a pair of sponge handlebar covers for a more comfortable grip, and plastic end plugs to keep them in place.
You can purchase this handlebar in a diameter of either 31.8 mm or 25.4 mm to fit the vast majority of mountain bikes, as well as road bikes.
- Durable aluminum alloy material
- Butterfly shape for increased comfort
- Available in 31.8 mm and 25.4 mm diameter
- Includes sponge handlebar covers and plastic end plugs
- Suitable for both mountain and road bikes
- May feel too flexible under pressure
Best Mountain Bike Handlebars Buying Guide
Now that you’ve had a look at the best mountain bike handlebars available on the market, it’s time to make a decision.
If you’re still unsure about which handlebar will complement your bike and fulfill your biking needs best, our buyers guide will help you out.
A variety of materials are used in the manufacture of mountain bike handlebars, each with their own advantages and drawbacks.
In order to determine which material will suit you and your bike best, you need to know the pros and cons of each of these metals.
The most commonly used metals in mountain bike handlebars are aluminum and carbon.
There is some contention within the biking community regarding which metal is the superior choice when it comes to handlebar construction. In most cases, however, this is largely subjective and dependent on individual priorities.
Many bikers swear by carbon handlebars because of their superior vibration absorption and lightweight feel. There is also a general preference for carbon bars in terms of aesthetics.
On the other hand, there is an argument to be made for the superiority of aluminum handlebars based on durability and affordability.
As a general rule, if you’re looking for a long-lasting handlebar that won’t break the bank, aluminum is probably your best bet. If, however, your priorities lie more in the realm of easy handling, reduced vibration, and sleek aesthetics, you may be better off with a carbon handlebar.
The width of your mountain bike’s handlebar will play a significant role in determining how comfortable and easy to handle your bike feels.
Using a handlebar that is too wide or too narrow for you can lead to muscle strain and discomfort, which may eventually result in more long-term problems over time. Therefore, it’s imperative that you know roughly which handlebar width is appropriate for you before purchase.
Unfortunately, here’s no real way to determine your perfect handlebar width to the millimeter with 100% accuracy. However, height and shoulder width are good ways to make an estimate.
Generally speaking, the width of your handlebar should be equal to, or just surpass, the width of your shoulders. The taller you are, the wider your shoulders are likely to be, and the wider your handlebar should be.
Additionally, if you often mountain bike in a way that requires a lot of control, such as biking downhill, you will probably need a little extra width to allow for added leverage.
Mountain bike handlebars vary a lot in terms of their rise. Some handlebars are flat, whilst others rise up and away from the cockpit. The degree of rise on a mountain bike handlebar is a crucial factor to consider because it will impact the performance and comfort of your bike.
A flat bar is ideal for reaching high speeds on thrill-seeking bike rides because of the forward-leaning position that they encourage.
The main drawback to flat bars, especially for mountain biking, is that they tend to have very little backsweep compared to riser bars, so they are often less comfortable in terms of posture and hand placement.
The higher the rise of your handlebar, the more upright you’ll be able to sit, and the more comfortable you’re likely to be. Higher rise also allows for easier front-wheel lifting for navigating obstacles.
Sweep, which we touched upon briefly in the section above, is another important factor in handlebar construction that sometimes doesn’t receive enough consideration.
As we’ve mentioned, increased backsweep translates to superior comfort and front-wheel maneuverability.
However, upsweep also needs to be considered alongside backsweep. Upsweep for mountain bike handlebars tends to stay around the region of 5 degrees but can be higher or lower.
Higher upsweep may offer more control and support from the cockpit, which can be useful when mountain biking. However, it is less comfortable over long distances, so it all depends on what you personally prioritize on your bike rides.
When a lot of people think of handlebars, the first thing that comes to mind is the traditional, linear bar shape, either flat or risen.
However, as you may have noticed from our list, this is not the only handlebar shape for mountain bikes. In fact, the slightly less common butterfly shape has many advantages that are worth considering before you finalize your purchase.
If you often find yourself in pain after your bike rides, particularly in your shoulders, lower back, or neck, it could be a sign that your positioning is putting too much strain on your body.
A butterfly handlebar can help to alleviate this because of the multiple hand positions and upright posture that it allows.
Mountain biking handlebars don’t typically come with a lot of extra features, but there is one particular addition that we felt it was important to mention.
It’s no secret that mountain biking can be hard on your hands. Gripping your handlebar for hours on end over rocky terrain, especially if you’re using a more vibrational aluminum bar, can get quite uncomfortable.
That’s why, if you can, we suggest opting for a handlebar that includes foam or sponge handle covers. This will help to alleviate some of the pressure on your hands during long bike rides.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I make my mountain bike handlebar more comfortable?
The biggest and most effective step you can take towards making your mountain bike handlebar more comfortable is to purchase a new handlebar.
By following the suggestions outlined in our buyers’ guide, you should find yourself in possession of a very comfortable and ergonomically designed handlebar that will enhance your mountain biking experience.
However, even the most rider-friendly handlebar can start to become uncomfortable after a full day’s biking.
Luckily, there are some steps you can take to make your handlebar a little easier on your upper body for those long bike treks.
Firstly, although we’ve already touched on this, we can’t stress enough how important it is to make sure that your handlebar is of the correct width.
If you’re feeling a significant amount of strain in your arms, wrists, and shoulders, it’s possible that the handlebar you’re using is either too narrow or too wide.
The only real solution to this problem is to replace your current handlebar with one of the correct size. For more information on how to find your perfect handlebar width, see our buyers guide above.
If width isn’t the problem, there are other ways of adapting your handlebar for maximum comfort.
If you’ve been experiencing tension in your back, neck, and shoulders specifically, you could try raising or lowering your handlebar. This can usually be done using an Allen key to reposition the expander bolt. However, construction varies between bike models, so you may need to consult your bike’s manual for instructions.
In cases where the grip of the handlebar itself is what seems to be causing the issue, you can add some extra padding to the bars to make them easier on your hands.
Some handlebars, as you can see from the products listed above, come with additional foam padding that you can use to enhance your comfort. Alternatively, you can purchase padded bike grips online for very affordable prices.