Every cyclist wants to have complete control of their two-wheel. Primarily, that depends on the handlebar size. So, how wide are bike handlebars?
Most mountain bike handlebars are about 680-800mm wide, while road bikes average 380-460mm in width. On the other hand, BMX handlebars average 711.2-762mm while commuter, hybrid, and cruiser bikes are about 500-640mm.
So, different bikes require different handlebars sizes, some wider than others.
We’ll look at the various handlebars sizes for different bikes. I’ll also explain what to do if your handlebar is too wide, plus the things that determine your handlebar width.
How Wide Are Bike Handlebars? Handlebars Sizes of Different Bikes
1. Road Bike Handlebar Width (380-460mm)
Most manufacturers measure the road bike’s handlebar width from the center of one drop to the other.
A ‘drop’ refers to the vertical length from the handlebar’s top to the curved section (or bend).
So, expect a road bike handlebar to be narrower than the rest. But how wide should handlebars be on a road bike?
Depending on the handlebar manufacturer, road bike handlebars average 380-460mm in width.
Overall, a road bike’s handlebar is narrower to offer you these two advantages:
- Allow you to throw your weight forward to boost your pedaling power
- It puts you in an aerodynamic position to resist wind drag and pedal much faster
But is the handlebar width the only size consideration when it comes to road bikes?
Not at all! You also have to consider its reach.
The reach is the horizontal length from the handlebar’s top to the bends furthest extension.
The recommended reach length is 80-85mm. If the reach exceeds 85mm, then the handlebar is longer than it should.
Check out a variety of road bike handlebars here and there prices.
2. MTB Handlebar Width (680-800mm)
While mountain bike handlebars average 680-800mm, the sizes vary depending on the type.
a) Cross-Country (XC) Mountain Bike Handlebars Width (680-740mm)
Cross-country MTBs are designed for pedaling efficiency and endurance. As a result, these mountain bikes require a longer stem to allow you to sit more comfortably and pedal much better.
But for you to have more control of the two-wheel, a long stem pairs well with a narrower handlebar. That explains why XC mountain bikes have the narrowest handlebars in the mountain bike category.
On average, XC mountain bikes are about 680-740mm wide.
b) Enduro/All-Mountain Bike Handlebars Width (740-780mm)
Enduro bikes are your perfect choice for climbs. They are powerful when pedaling up, which means they need a more powerful handlebar.
Their handlebars usually are longer than those of XC MTBs to give you more pedaling leverage. On average, the handlebars are about 740-780mm wide.
c) Downhill Mountain Bike Handlebars Width (760-800mm)
While enduro mountain bikes are designed for uphill cycling, downhill MTBS are the direct opposite. They have the build to go downhill comfortably.
Since stability is pivotal when going downhill, their handlebars are slightly wider than those of enduro MTBS.
On average, downhill MTB handlebars are about 760-800mm wide.
Such width allows you to ride aggressively on a hill, not just downhill but uphill too. You’ll have a more stable ride on a mountain with such a handlebar size.
d) Trail Mountain Bike Handlebars Width (760-800mm)
Trail mountain bikes are considered the mother of all MTBs. They can take the ascents, the declines, and the flat rugged off-road while enjoying a relaxed geometry.
Given that trail MTBs come with massive 27-inch or 29-inch wheels, they require wider handlebars for their control.
Overall, the handlebars for trail MTBS are more like downhill MTBs – about 760-800mm wide.
Check out a variety of mountain bike handlebars here and their prices.
3. BMX Bicycle Handlebar Width (711.2-762mm)
BMX bikes call for a broader handlebar to offer you more control and allow you to pedal more efficiently.
The handlebars are not as wide as those of MTBs, but they are reasonably wide.
On average, BMX handlebars are about 28-30 inches (711.2-762mm) wide.
Check out a variety of BMX bike handlebars here and their prices.
4. Other Bikes (Cruiser, Commuter, and Hybrid Bikes) Handlebar Size – 500-640mm
When it comes to cruiser, commuter, and hybrid bikes, their handlebars come in a wide range of sizes, depending on the rider’s preference.
Their sizes range from 500mm to 640mm to allow you to find your most comfortable handlebar size.
Check out a variety of cruiser bike handlebars here and their prices..
Are My Handlebars Too Wide? What Size Handlebars Do I Need?
Based on our previous discussion, below is a table summary of the handlebars’ width of different bikes. You can use it to determine your bike handlebars are too broad.
|Bike Type||Handlebar Width (mm)|
In addition to checking the above bike handlebar sizing chart, you can tell if your bike handlebar is too wide if:
- You struggle controlling the bike
- You don’t have better control around turns
Pros and Cons of a Wide Bike Handlebar
- More stability when cycling downhill
- Boosts your uphill pedaling capability
- Better maneuver over obstacles
- More leverage when turning
- It saves you energy when maneuvering over rugged terrains
- It gives you a sluggish feel when going through tighter sections
- You are likely to get caught by branches and other things in tighter spaces
Pros and Cons of a Narrow Bike Handlebar
- Less wind drag as you enjoy a more aerodynamic position
- More pedaling power uphill as you thrush your weight forward
- It doesn’t offer you adequate leverage when turning
- The bike may feel slightly less stable
How Wide Are Bike Handlebars? Factors That Determine the Handlebar Width
- Cycling Distance
Overall, the cycling distance dictates how narrow or broad your handlebar should be.
Here’s a key takeaway;
Wide handlebar = Longer ride and vice versa
A wider bar allows you to ride longer without straining much and vice versa.
Do you know why? Try doing pushups with your wide closer and then do it with arms apart.
You’ll notice that you are using a lot of effort with arms closer than wider.
That’s the same thing with bike handlebars. The narrower the handlebar, the more difficult it is to ride longer and vice versa.
- Body Type
If you are short with narrow shoulders, you require a narrower handlebar. In contrast, if you are taller with broader shoulders, you should consider a wider handlebar.
- Cycling Background/Experience
Your background as a cyclist matters when picking bike handlebar sizes. If you have been used to a road bike’s shorter handlebar, then you are more likely to prefer narrow handlebars even if the new bike is not a road bike.
Likewise, if you were accustomed to an MTB’s wide handlebar, you’ll likely get something wide even if the new bike is not an MTB.
What Should I Do with a Handlebar That’s Too Wide?
If your MTB handlebar is too broad, you have two options; replace it or cut it to size.
In the former case, check the best MTB handlebars here.
Now, let’s talk about cutting your MTB handlebar to size.
With most MTB handlebars coming longer than you want them to be, you can cut them to a perfect size.
If the handlebar is either aluminum or carbon, use a park tool saw, hack saw, or any other high-strength metal saw to reduce its size.
Other Bike Handlebars
While it’s possible to cut down an MTB handlebar, you don’t have such flexibility with the other bars. So, in the case of a BMX, road cycle, commuter beach cruiser, or hybrid bike, replace the handlebar if it’s too broad.
Now that we’ve answered ‘how wide are bike handlebars?’ it should be easy to find your ideal handlebar size. Just ensure you match the handlebar with your cycling needs.
More importantly, it should feel comfortable and should offer you better control.