How To: A Complete Guide to Dirt Bike Handlebars

How To: A Complete Guide to Dirt Bike Handlebars main image

Handlebars are one of the most critical pieces of equipment on your dirt bike. One of the main points of contact between rider and machine, it's important to have a set of bars that suits your preferences as much as possible. Various designs and bends offer some wildly different options when it comes to choosing the bar that's right for you, so do your research before grabbing yourself a new set, as you want your bars to be just right for whatever kind of riding you plan on doing. 

As a general rule, riders who are between 5'6 and 5'9 would be better suited with a low bend bar and rotated slightly towards the rider. Taller riders are typically better suited to a higher bend bar rotated slightly away from the rider. Again, this 100% comes down to personal rider preference, based on the kind of the riding you're doing, and the style you like to ride with. 

Handlebar bends are typically measured with 6 different dimensions, as shown in the diagram below. Some brands will use slightly different measuring techniques and methods, so ensure you check the brands specific measuring chart when you're looking into a new set of handlebars. The height and width area of the bars will usually come down to your body type, while the sweep and rise of the bars are where your personal preferences will really come into play. 

For any dirt bike 125cc and above the standard handlebar width is approximately 800mm, if a set of bars has the word Mini in the title, it has been designed to fit 65cc, 85cc, 100cc and 150cc 4 strokes (mini race bikes). These have an overall bar width of around 775mm. Providing you have the matching bar clamp sizing you can put wide bars on a mini bike and also mini bars on a full sized bike if you are desperate to go for a ride and can't find the bars you would normally run. Just bear in mind the geometry and ergonomics of the bike will be slightly off and may feel awkward for the rider.

Other than the bends on offer, there are 3 main styles of handlebars in the market today. The classic 7/8" bars, the 1-1/8" (also known as fat bars), and of course the Twinwall handlebars we see from Renthal. The main differences between the 3 styles is simply strength. The harder you ride, the stronger the handlebar you should have, so the Fat Bars are quite a popular option for a lot of motocross and supercross riders out there. A thicker section in the clamping area offers a much stronger bar than the original 7/8" bars, which can also work to reduce fatigue and arm pump.

The 7/8" bars offer a lighter option than the Fat Bars, and while they may not have the additional strength as their bigger brother, they're still a solid piece of hardware. Probably more suited to the weekend warrior or trail rider, the 7/8" bars can offer a more controlled feel of the dirt bike, and with a slightly lighter weight they are a little easier to manoeuvre than the fat bars. Typically cheaper than any other bar designs, the 7/8" bars are the most popular on the market.

The Renthal Twinwall handlebars offer the best of both worlds, albeit at a slightly higher price. The Twinwall is made up of two tubes fused together, with an outer tube offering extreme resistance to mechanical damage, and an inner tube designed specifically to resist throttle tube wear and increase fatigue life. Super lightweight and super strong, the Twinwall's are often the handlebar of choice for Multi-time World Champions like Eli Tomac, Ken Roczen and Ryan Dungey.

If you are changing the size of your handlebars, you will need some form of adaptor clamp to accommodate the different size. One option is to purchase adaptor clamps which bolt into your existing bar clamps, but this will also raise your handlebar height. Different makes and models of bikes have slightly different spacing for the bolts, so make sure you check the fitment on each product before you purchase! Another option is the bolt through clamp which replaces the entire bar clamp. First you have to remove the original clamps from the top triple clamp and replace them with the new product. The benefit of this being you can choose whether you want the bar height raised or not, as they come in a variety of sizes. They also look neater on the bike, but again when purchasing check the fitment as some of the triple clamp bolts are thicker than others so not every clamp will fit every bike!

As we mentioned in the beginning, your choice of handlebar comes down to personal preference. Two people could be exactly the same height yet feel comfortable with completely different handlebars. It all comes to down to how you want to feel on your bike. Check out our comprehensive range of Dirt Bike Handlebars and filter between Brand, Design, and Colour, then choose the bend that is right for you! No matter what bars you are after, MXstore has got you covered.

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