The Ideal Handlebar Width (Road and MTB)

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The width of the handlebar is an important thing cannot be overlooked. This is one thing that is hardly talked about, but the reality is, you must give it a thought. Having the right bike handlebars width is a necessity for better control and comfort.

You must write the abovementioned words in golden letters in your biking journal. You need to find out a way to figure out the right handlebar width measurements for your bike. Do not worry as we got you covered. Read this post until the end to get a hang of things.

Related: Is 26 Inch Bike Good for What Height?

What Size Handlebars Do I Need?

The best way to find out the bike handlebar sizing is to measure the distance between the bony bits in your shoulders. The scientific name of these joints is acromioclavicular (AC) joints. To be specific, they are bumps on top of your shoulders and they attach the collarbone to the deltoid muscle.

Wait this is not the end, as you will have to add 2 cms to the measurement to get the right size of the required handlebar. For example, if it measures 38 cms, then you will need a handlebar that is 40 cms. That is how you get the correct width of bike handlebars.

It is believed that the correct road bike handlebars sizing is between 38 cms to 46 cms. Whereas, an Mtb handlebar width should be between 74 cms to 76 cms and not more. Wider handlebars are more stable and narrow handlebars provide you with speed.

So, you see there is an advantage with each type. Now that you know the measurements, you can opt for either of these as per your needs.

Related: Can You Put a 26 Inch Tube in a 24 Inch Tire?

How To Measure Handlebar Width?

How To Measure Handlebar Width?
How To Measure Handlebar Width?

We have already mentioned how can go about it one way, there are tons of other ways that you can opt to find the size of a bicycle handlebar width. To start with, you can also consult charts that provide you with proper bike handlebar sizing.

They can be found all over the internet and you can go through them to get an average idea. now, you will have to take into a few more criteria while selecting a handlebar. They are like your height, weight, riding style, and the terrain you will be riding on.

No two riders are the same, which is why “one-size-fits-all” is totally a misconception. Hence, you need to choose something that is suitable for you.

Of course, riding a bike that fits your requirements will only make it more efficient. You will not get tired easily and above will be able to enjoy your rides better. We are avid cyclists and we can tell you that you need your arms straight all the time while riding cycle. This keeps your body in the central position giving you more control.

That said, if you are making changes to your bicycle, then we recommend that you test it several times before you actually take it out for a ride. We believe that this answers how wide are bicycle handlebars once and for all.

Road Bike Handlebar Width

Ideally speaking, the road bike handlebar width should range from 38 cms to 46 cms. Everyone rides differently and for this, you need to understand what your style is. Remember, we have already spoken about how the most important thing is the shoulder to shoulder measurement for this.

Once you know that then you go to a fitter to replace the handlebar or do-it-yourself (whichever suits you). Of course, your body type and weight also matter here. The bottom line is you must be able to regulate the whole process for your safety.

You must be in command while riding on any terrain, be it mountains or the roads. That is it and this should be the basic idea whenever you think of “what size handlebars do i need.”

Related: What Size Bike Do I Need for My Height and Weight?

Okay, before making any significant changes you must consider the latest trends as well. This will make you aware of what is in vogue and if that does any good for you. This will also give you an idea of what professional riders are into these days.

It has been observed more often that such trends are quite pragmatic. You can mull over them once at least. What do you say?

MTB Handlebar Width

The average mtb handlebar width ranges from 74 cms to 76 cms. During the early years mountain bikes also came with narrow handlebars. However, as things advanced and manufacturers became more aware, the size started rising.

Hence, as of now, the sizes have become totally different from the road bikes. Today the MTBs come with pretty wide handlebars that offer you not only stability, but can also absorb shock. In fact, the downhill bikes have wider handlebars, like 82 cms that can bear a lot of pressure.

Yes, that is quite a lot and you will be surprised to know the amount of weight these handlebars can endure. This is another reason why you will find some MTBs to be substantially big in size. This will give you a better idea of bike handlebar sizing as far as MTBs are concerned.

Narrow Vs Wide Handlebars

Alright, we will provide you with all the information about narrow versus wide handlebars in-depth in this section. Let us start with wide handlebars that are exclusively found in mountain bikes. If you are thinking of wide vs narrow handlebars mtb, then you must go through this part:

  • Good Grip – A wider handlebar gives you a better grip, think of going up and down the hill, you need a lot of force and for that, you must have a good hold over your bike.
  • Power – You need less power to move a wide handlebar, but yes you may have to steer a lot while changing directions. This means wide handlebars need more rotation as compared to their narrower counterparts.
  • Better Riding Position – You cannot deny it as this is the truth as a wide handlebar allows you to sit in a stronger position. Imagine moving up a hill or even down, it is intense riding and you need to be in charge. A wide handlebar will always come in handy for such activities.
  • Blessing For Narrow Spaces – Think of forests, cyclocross races, and race tracks, these have no competition there. Even if you are riding in the city, they can easily take you out through lanes and by-lanes. You must have tried them at least once, well we have, so we speak from experience.
  • Aerodynamic – You read it right! Bicycle and aerodynamics? Yes, narrow handlebars can reduce wind resistance. A study by Bicycle Quarterly showed that if the handlebar is reduced by 2 cms, then the rider’s speed increase by 5%.
  • Weight – These are lightweight handlebars that do not need a lot of maneuvering. This makes riding smooth and trouble-free for riders on the road.

Benefits Of Narrow Handlebars

Although, we have already spoken a lot about narrow and wide handlebar, yet we need to discuss a few more things about them. Below are some of the advantages of narrow handlebars:

  • You know riders that bend their elbows, find narrow handlebars to be extremely comfortable
  • Easy to handle
  • Can move faster

Benefits Of Wide Handlebars

We are back with wide handlebars and here is what we can say about them:

  • They are good looking and there are no doubts about it
  • You know you can move downhill more securely with a wide handlebar
  • It will conserve your energy as they can absorb all the force while moving up or down the hill that will keep you from getting tired

Can You Change Handlebar Width On The Same Bike?

Heck yes, you can change the handlebar if you are not comfortable with it. If you have narrow bars or wide handlebars, you may want to change them according to your comfort levels. Why not? You can even do this on your own, which will be labor-intensive.

You may need time to think about it, but it will be cost-effective. All you need is just a hack saw and some technical skills. You may even learn it by watching a few videos online!

You may also seek refuge in a professional that can help you set it up. For this, you will have to shell a few extra dollars from your hard-earned money. Nonetheless, that will be worth your investment as a professional can help you more.

Look, the choice is yours as we do not know what technical know-how you have. Hence, you can follow either of these ways to change the handlebars. It is true that people usually change their bikes instead of replacing a handlebar.

This is another practical approach that saves you from acting like Goldilocks! Let us know via the comments section what path you took for this.

We have explained everything in this article from how to measure handlebar width to how to choose handlebar width in detail. We hope this serves your purpose and you find the best fit for your bike. Till then, happy cycling!


How much is a bike handlebar?

Handlebars for road bikes often fall between 38-46 cm.

What is The Ideal Road handlebar width?

The ideal handlebar width for road bikes is 38-46 cm.

What is the width of a mountain bike handlebars?

As mountain bike terrains vary a lot, there needs to be a variety of widths to accommodate riders. Currently, MTB handlebars are usually 740mm or 760mm.

Why narrow or wide handlebars?

For road cyclists, narrower bars are more aerodynamic.

What are your thoughts on wider bars?

Some riders also like the wider bars to pull on and gain traction from when riding fast.

Hi! My name is Dario Lemut and I am the Founder of Cycling fanatic with over two decades of experience on all types of terrain. From long-distance races to rugged mountains. Sharing my experiences and knowledge on my popular cycling website, I'm helping fellow riders to discover new routes and adventures.

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