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!
1. Wide handlebars give more control on the trails
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 like this one right here, 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.
2. You can breathe easier with wider handlebars
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.
3. You have 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. This is especially beneficial when you are traversing more difficult terrain.
The extra width of the bars gives you a more stable base to work from, improving your control over the bike as you ride. It also gives you a better position to attack obstacles and ramps.
You can use leverage to put more power to the pedals in addition to staying in complete control. It also means you can sit deeper in the seat when in the wide handlebars, allowing your legs to rotate at their best.
4. Wider handlebars just look cooler
Finally, wide handlebars simply look cooler. There is something about that wide and commanding grip on the trail that just screams “I’m in control!”
It’s not just wide handlebars, though. Mountain bikes are better than ever looking. Manufacturers are putting so much time and effort into making these bikes look good that it makes sense that wide handlebars would follow.
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Frequently Asked Questions
An 800mm handlebar is quite wide! Most people find that a 700-720mm handlebar is ideal for mountain bicycling! That said, if you are a taller rider, you might find that 800mm is perfect for you. Just make sure to test them out before spending your hard-earned money.
Narrow handlebars like what you would find on a gravel bike, road bike, and even some big box mountain bikes result in a faster ride. This is because you are put into a more aerodynamic position. That said, mountain bikes tend to be much better with wider handlebars due to the better handling.
Not many newcomers know this, but you can cut down most MTB handlebars. This is something that can easily be done if you find that the handlebars you purchased are a bit too wide! You can cut them down using a hack saw, or a dedicated handlebar cutting tool.
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.
From being able to breathe better to have more control on the track, wide handlebars are a must-have for any mountain biker. With all of these benefits, wide handlebars are something to invest in.