Mountain Bike Handlebar Width Calculator

Mountain Bike Handlebar Width Calculator

Max. Width: N/A

Sweetspot: N/A

Narrow Width: N/A

How to use this calculator

  1. Choose your gender by clicking on the appropriate “Male” or “Female” button.
  2. Enter your height in centimeters or feet.
  3. Select the unit of measurement you used for your height by clicking on the appropriate “cm” (centimeters) or “ft” (feet) button.
  4. Click the “Calculate” button or press enter to perform the calculation.
  5. View the results displayed below the button, which will show the recommended bar widths in millimeters:
    • Maximum Width: This is the widest you should go. Often handlebars are wider out of the box.
    • Sweetspot Width: This is the statistically optimal bar width for handling, power transfer and joint health.
    • Narrow Width: Getting near the narrow end may help when riding in dense woods and narrow trails. But it’s not biomechanically optimal.

This calculator is designed to provide an easy-to-use interface for users to determine the appropriate handlebar width for their mountain bike based on their height and gender.

By following these steps, users can quickly and accurately calculate their optimal handlebar width.

If in doubt, start with the max length. Cutting it down more is always possible, adding some back is not.

renthal mountain bike handlebar width indicators
Most modern handlebars have length indicators to help you cut – like this one from Renthal.

WARNING:

Keep in mind to only cut half of the length you want to reduce your bar per side! I’ve seen riders cut 100% of the amount on each side resulting in a handlebar way too short.

For example, let’s say your bike comes with an 800mm bar. You want to cut it down to 780mm. That means it gets 10mm shorter on each side. Please don’t cut off 20mm (800 – 780) anywhere …

Measure twice, cut once.

How to find your ideal width

This calculator is a tool designed to help riders find the optimal handlebar width for their mountain bike based on their height and gender.

Proper handlebar width is important for both comfort and control when riding a mountain bike, as it can affect your riding position, leverage, and overall bike handling.

The specific formulas used are based on median body and limb ratios of adult men and women. It takes into account the average proportions of a person’s height, arm length, and shoulder width to provide a handlebar width recommendation that should generally be suitable for most riders.

mottolino dh mtb pov
I run the same handlebar width for enduro and downhill. For me, it’s about biomechanics, not riding discipline.

However, it is important to note that individual body and limb proportions can vary significantly from the average.

Riders with relatively long or short limb lengths may find that the calculator’s sweet-spot recommendations are not perfectly suited to their specific needs.

A rider with longer arms, shorter feet or wider shoulders, might prefer a wider handlebar. While a rider with shorter arms, longer feet or narrow shoulders may prefer a narrower handlebar.

The goal is to calculate an optimal bar width for both power transfer and handling. The arm width you would use to achieve maximum power for push-ups is a good indicator. For reference, measure from pinky to pinky in your push-up starting position.


Frequently asked questions regarding MTB handlebar width

How do I measure my current handlebar width?

Use a tape measure or ruler and measure the distance between the outer edges of your handlebar, from one end to the other. Make sure to measure in a straight line across the handlebar.

How does handlebar width affect my riding comfort and performance?

Handlebar width affects your riding comfort by influencing your upper body posture and alignment. A suitable width helps you maintain a comfortable and natural position, reducing strain and fatigue. It also affects performance by providing better control, leverage, and stability.

This is essential for maneuvering through technical terrain, cornering, and maintaining balance on the bike.

What are the differences in handlebar width recommendations for men and women?

Handlebar width recommendations for men and women differ slightly due to differences in average body and limb proportions. Typically, women have narrower shoulders and shorter arms compared to men, which is why the recommended handlebar width for women is slightly narrower.

However, these recommendations are based on averages, and individual preferences may vary.

How do I know if my handlebar is too wide or too narrow for me?

If your handlebar is too wide, you may experience discomfort in your shoulders and arms, difficulty reaching the brake levers and shifters, and reduced control and responsiveness.

If your handlebar is too narrow, you might feel cramped, have limited range of motion, and experience decreased stability, especially at high speeds.

Testing various widths and considering your riding style will help you determine the optimal width for your needs.

Can I cut down my handlebars to achieve the desired width, or should I purchase a new handlebar?

You can cut down your handlebars to achieve the desired width if you have enough material to remove and the necessary tools, such as a pipe cutter or hacksaw. However, cutting down handlebars requires precision and care, such as uneven cuts or damage to the handlebar or your hands.

Alternatively, you can purchase a new handlebar with the desired width, which may also offer additional benefits such as improved materials, back sweep or simply a better design.

How do different mountain biking disciplines (e.g., cross-country, downhill, enduro) affect handlebar width preferences?

You may have noticed that there is no input field for the riding style like cross country, trail, enduro or downhill. That’s because there should be no difference. Your body stays the same no matter what bike you sit on. This calculator gives you a bar width that’s optimal for you to use based on biomechanics.

Are there specific handlebar materials or designs that can improve my riding experience?

In addition to width, handlebar materials and designs can impact your riding experience. Common materials include aluminum and carbon fiber, with carbon fiber being lighter and better at absorbing vibrations, while aluminum is generally more affordable. Designs that incorporate specific rise, sweep, and clamp diameters can also affect your riding position, control, and comfort.


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