A distinguishing feature of mountain bikes is their wide handlebars. While mountain bikes didn’t always have those wider bars, newer bikes are trending to have wide handlebars on almost every mountain bike.
Ever wondered why new mountain bikes have wide handlebars? They have these wider bars to give more control, to allow for easier breathing while going uphill and for better positioning for balance. It also doesn’t hurt that they look cool!
The main benefit of a wider handlebar is the increased leverage it gives you while riding. This means that you need less force to turn the bars but more movement.
It allows you to feel the trail and resist trail feedback. Rather than fighting a skinny handlebar, you can allow movement without having to fight with them. Think about the difference between doing a traditional press-up and a diamond press-up (hands close together).
The broader handlebars increase your control on the track, especially on longer rides where your upper body could quickly tire if you have to wrestle with every lump and bump on the path.
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More of a benefit if you are doing uphill mountain biking. A nice wide grip on the bars opens up your chest, allowing you to breathe in more oxygen during extreme efforts.
This is something that manufacturers of road bikes have caught onto in recent years.
A wide grip combined with a more upright seating position on mountain bikes is the perfect combination for more comfortable and more controlled breathing.
Better positioning for balance
A wider grip on the bars gives you a better balance, essential when you are up and out of the saddle.
You can use leverage to put more power to the pedals in addition to staying in complete control.
They look cool
The final reason, is because they just look cool! There is no denying that other than improved balance, easier breathing, and better control, the wider flat bars you get on mountain bikes just look cool.
While in the past, mountain bikes may not have had wider handlebars, the newer bikes with wider bars tend to outperform those that don’t due to the reasons we talked about above.