• Shop
  • Show all categories
  • Hide categories
  • Gift Cards
  • Brands
  • Hire & Workshop
  • Advice
  1. Community >
  2. Help & Advice >
  3. Cycling >
  4. Choosing Gear >
  5. Why run a wider handlebar?

In the last couple of years there has been a shift in mountain biking to running wider handle bars. Where a traditional bar width used to be around 660mm wide, many bikes are now sporting wingspans as wide as 800+ mm.

In the XC race world you’ll find most riders running 680-720mm widths while many downhillers bars hover up  around the 800mm width.  All-mountain riders are somewhere in the middle, around 730-760mm wide.

Why the change? The simple answer is performance and control. By running a wider bar you open the chest and bring your weight forward over the front wheel giving a more planted feel over the bike. The wider bar also gives you more leverage and reduces trail feedback, helping you hold a line through roots, rocks, ruts and other heavy terrain. A wider grasp will require more input for a given turn but conversely, increases precision and stability which can negate the sluggish feeling that the slack head angles found on modern day all-mtn bikes can sometimes offer.

For a good example of a wider stance, try doing a push-up with your hands centered and touching under your chest; then move them out past your shoulders – which is easier, and which feels more stable? Now imagine a rough downhill run as a series of push-ups.

It’s not just in descending that the benefits of a wider bar can be experienced either. Climbing is also improved, opening up the chest and lungs and again offering more leverage when you’re off the saddle and really stomping down on the pedals.



It’s important to remember that adding bar width is closely related to stem length. With a wider position pulling you forward on the bike, as a general rule consider that as you add bar width, you should also reduce stem length to keep centered and balanced overall. As a basic rule, a sub 700mm bar will run around an 80-90mm stem, around 730mm matches well with a 65mm stem while any bar over 750mm will be suited to a 50mm or shorter stem.

Take into consideration too the terrain that you’re going to be riding. If you like to rip aggressive trails at high speed, then wide may be the way to go but if your local trails are tight and technical, you may quickly grow tired of weaving your wide bars through small gaps or get caught out by lack of quick response thanks to the added width.

Bar width needs to be in proportion to body size of the rider, if you’re quite small, a super wide bar won’t be any good for you but in general, the wider the better. Worst case scenario if you go too wide it’s always easy to cut your bars down but it’s a little more tricky trying to add width back on so be sure before you cut!

James Mulcahy

James Mulcahy

Marketing & Sponsorship - Torpedo7



Whether you're wanting to choose the right gear or find out about the best spots, we've got experts who can help.

Contact Us
Unlock Exclusive Experiences