I bet you’ve been wondering how to choose a mountain bike handlebar width. Well, it’s not as complicated as you may think! Let me tell you everything that I know about this topic. You will be able to make an educated decision on your own after reading my post.

In order to choose the right width of handlebar for yourself, there are some important factors that need to be considered. The first consideration is your height. Taller riders will want a wider bar because it gives them more leverage when they stand up on their pedals while shorter riders might consider using a narrower bar so they don’t feel too stretched out sitting down.

How to measure the width of a mountain bike handlebars.

There are a few ways to measure the width of mountain bike handlebars. The most accurate way is to use a ruler.

If you don’t have access to a ruler, you can also measure the length of your arms and compare it with the height of your shoulder blades in order to estimate how wide your handlebar should be. 

Another option is using one hand span as an approximate measurement for mountain bike handlebars. One hand span equals about 9 inches or 22 centimeters, so this would give you an idea on what size bars may work best for you. Remember that this isn’t accurate because people who have longer arms will need wider bars than those with shorter arms; however, it’s still helpful when choosing between two sizes of bars.

How Wide Should Your Mountain Bike Handlebars Be?

Method #1: This formula is given by Lee McCormack in his book called Dialed: The secret math of a mountain bike setup.

This formula depends upon rider’s height and gender 

For Males: 

Height (in inches) * 25.4 = Height (in mm)

Recommended MTB width for Males = Height (in mm) * 0.44

For example, I’m 72” * 25.4 * 0.44 = 804.6mm = handlebar width

For Females:

Height (in inches) * 25.4 = Height (in mm)

Recommended MTB width for females = Height (in mm) * 0.426

Method #2: Use the Push up Method

Push up method is a great way to find a comfortable width of a handlebar. Straighten the measuring tape on a flat ground. Then do 2 to 3 Push-ups on the measuring tape and it is important for you to take note of the outside measurements on your hands which will help guide what size bars should be used.

Now close your eyes and do 2 to 3 Push-ups again on the measuring tape and take note of outside measurements.

Now take the average out of method 1 and method 2 (both eyes open and eyes closed).

Suppose

Method #1 = 804.6mm

Method #2 eyes open = 770mm

Method #3 eyes closed = 768mm

Average = 804.6 + 770 + 768 = 2342.6/3 = 780.8mm (target width)

Now measure your width of the uncutted handlebar. If suppose your width is 810.8 mm, then just subtract the target width. So the Math is 810.8 – 780.8 = 30mm.

Divide 30mm/2 = 15mm

You need to cut down 15mm width of handlebar from each side of handlebars totalling 30mm.

Which is the correct approximate size of a mountain bike handlebar?

You can find mountain bike handlebars in a variety of shapes, sizes and materials. 

Which is the best size?

There are two ways to answer this question. The first is based on the type of bike you own or plan to buy. The second is based on your personal preference for comfort, control and experience. 

Here’s what it boils down to: Handlebar widths range from as narrow as 640mm up to 890mm wide (or 23″ – 31″). Most bikes come with 700mm-720mm bars (25″ – 26″), which work well for most people under 6’6″.

 If you’re very tall, ride aggressively or just prefer a more stable feel when riding, go with wider bars at 760-780mm (or 29″ – 30″) or possibly even wider. Handlebars are made from aluminum, titanium, and carbon fiber for weight savings; as well as steel and other materials for strength. 700-720mm is a good starting point size for a mountain bike handlebar. However it depends on the type of bike you own or plan to buy.

Benefits of Wider Handlebars:

  • Going over obstacles is easier on a wider handlebar, as the bike will be more stable and less likely to fall.
  • A wider handlebar on a mountain bike allows for more stability in the downhill sections.
  • A steering provides more leverage and makes turning corners easier.
  • Riding on a wider handlebar will boost your confidence.

Disadvantages of Wider Handlebars:

  • Feels Slow moving on a tight sections
  • On narrow trails, it is important to be aware of obstacles around you.

Benefits of Narrower Handlebars:

  • Narrow handlebars are the best option for longer stems as this will allow you to shift your weight more forward.
  • The rider has a better feel for the bike’s front wheel because their hands are closer to it.
  • Narrow handlebars provide special aerodynamics and positioning for cross-country riders to help their speed.

Disadvantages of Narrower Handlebars:

  • For beginners, it feels less stable.
  • The steering does not turn as quickly when making a sharp turn (not responsive).
  • During turning shows lack of grip.

How to judge the right handlebar width for you?

The right handlebar width is a personal preference. It depends on the type of riding you do, your body shape and bike size, and what feels comfortable to you. If you’re new to cycling or have been off the bike for awhile, it can be tough to know if your current setup is ideal. 

Here are few things to consider: 

 Bike size: If you’re shorter than average, a handlebar that’s too wide may feel uncomfortable and become a safety hazard. Conversely, if you’re on the taller side of things, many brands offer extra long models to accommodate your proportions. 

Riding style: If you ride aggressively and in an ultra-low position, a too-narrow bar could leave you cramped up and uncomfortable over time. 

Riding terrain: The more your handlebar has to absorb vibrations, bumps, or impacts from the trail, the wider it should be. An overly narrow bar will only exaggerate the impacts you feel on your wrists, hands, elbows and shoulders. 

Your personal preference: If it feels good to you, that’s the most important factor of all.

Things to keep in mind while cutting down mountain bike handlebars:

There are three things you should keep in mind when cutting down mountain bike handlebars: safety first, comfort second and performance third. To start off with safety, it’s important not only to purchase high-quality parts but also remember that you will be compromising some functionality, so you might need to make some additional safety-related modifications.

You should also keep in mind your own personal comfort level when cutting down mountain bike handlebars. It’s a good idea to be able to switch between different types of handlebars, which means it’s important to purchase bars that are compatible with the stem and brake system that you already have. If you want to be able to switch between different types of handlebars, you’ll need to keep this in mind when you’re purchasing your new bars.

Last but not least, it’s important to remember that mountain biking is a sport where performance matters. You should choose a bar that fits your comfort level but also gives you the best performance possible. With a strong, sturdy handlebar that has the correct shapes and angles, you’ll have an easier time cutting through the trails.

There are many different styles of handlebars made for all sorts of biking preferences. Some people may value safety over function, while others will want to make sure they have both. Whatever your goals may be for your mountain biking, it’s important to know which handlebars are going to work best for you.

Tools Required to Cut MTB Handlebars:

  1. Measuring tape, Caliper or Small scale
  2. Hacksaw (Use 32 TPI for cutting carbon handlebars)
  3. Pipe Cutter
  4. 200 gr Sandpaper
  5. Marker or Scribe
  6. Flat and Rattail files
  7. Torx and Allen wrenches

Process for cutting metal handlebars (Aluminum, Titanium, Steel)

  1. Before making any cuts, take a quick picture of your current setup so you can reference it later.
  2. Start with one side of the handlebar at a time.
  3. You need to loosen your brake, dropper post and shift levers and slide them inboard toward the stem (centre of the handlebar).
  4. Mark the position on both the sides of the handlebar from where you want to cut down excess width of the handlebar with the help of measuring tape or Caliper.

For Example, If you have 780 mm handlebars from one point to another point of handlebar and want them to be 720 mm, you will be cutting 30 mm width of handlebar from each side.

  1. Use a hacksaw with a new blade to cut off the marked portion. A fresh sharp blade is important because it will ensure you make a clean straight cut and go slowly so everything proceeds smoothly.
  2. If there are any rough edges of the handlebars, smoothen it with sandpaper and files
  3. Repositioned the position of brake, dropper post and shift levers to the freshly cut side of handlebars.
  4. Repeat the same process for the other uncut side of the handlebars.

Process for cutting Carbon metal handlebars.

  1. Before making any cuts, take a quick picture of your current setup so you can reference it later.
  2. Start with one side of the handlebar at a time.
  3. You need to loosen your brake, dropper post and shift levers and slide them at the inboard toward the stem (centre of the handlebar).
  4. Mark the position on both the sides of the handlebar from where you want to cut down excess width of the handlebar with the help of measuring tape or Caliper.

For Example, If you have 780 mm handlebars from one point to another point of handlebar and want them to be 720 mm, you will be cutting 30 mm width of handlebar from each side.

  1. Use a hacksaw with a new blade to cut off the marked portion. A fresh sharp blade is important because it will ensure you make a clean straight cut and go slowly so everything proceeds smoothly.

Don’t forget to use a carbon specific cutting blade or you can use a 32-TPI fine tooth blade.

  1. In order to prevent or reduce carbon dust from filling the air while cutting, spray the cutting area with a soapy water or Windex.
  2. Smoothen out rough cut edges of the handlebar with the help of sandpaper and files.
  3. Repositioned the position of brake, dropper post and shift levers to the freshly cut side of handlebars.
  4. Repeat the same process for the other uncut side of the handlebars.