The best handlebars will give you greater control and comfort while riding, and are a simple way to upgrade your bike. These are the best we've tested.

The best mountain bike handlebars are the right width and form to give you control and comfort when riding your bike, whether you’re climbing, descending, riding cross-country or enduro. We’ve tried and tested many to bring you our pick of the best, whatever your needs and budget. Don’t ignore the significance the best mountain bike grips can make to your ride as well, while the optimal mountain bike stem can make a big difference to comfort and handling.

If you’re pushed for time, the best deals for our recommended handlebars are in the widget below – just click on the model name to reveal the deals. Otherwise, scroll down to find out more about all the best handlebars we’ve tested and why we’ve rated them.

Jump straight to the handlebar diameter you’re looking for:

Jump to: Best 35mm diameter bars
Jump to: Best 31.8mm diameter bars


Best 35mm diameter bars


OneUp E Carbon handlebar

OneUp’s E Carbon handlebar noticeably reduces deflection from roots and rocks

1. OneUp Carbon E-Bar

Best for comfort and control

Weight: 249g | Width: 800mm  | Rise: 35mm | Dimensions: 8° back, 5° up | Rating: 10/10

Reasons to buy:

  • Improved comfort and control
  • Reduced fatigue

Reasons to avoid:

  • Not the lightest carbon bar
  • Only available in 35mm rise in e-bike version
  • Difficult to see markings
  • Slight trade-off in steering accuracy

OneUp has designed its Carbon bar not to save weight, like most examples, but to improve comfort and control. With an ovalised bend, the bar is carefully tuned to offer more vertical compliance. And it works – during back-to-back testing we noticed the bike deflected less off big roots, which gave a calmer, more composed ride, and let us loosen our grip on the bars, which helped with fatigue.

It’s a 35mm diameter bar, with a 800mm width and integrated channels for hiding e-bike wiring. Gradients on the bar let you set up the rake of the bar to match your bike’s head angle, although they’re hard to read. Lots of bars claim to be compliant, but few can match the extra comfort dished out by the OneUp Carbon E-Bar and its analogue cousin, the Carbon Bar.

Read the full review of the OneUp Carbon E-Bar


OneUp Aluminium handlebar

OneUp’s Aluminium handlebar takes the sting out of the trail

2. OneUp Aluminium handlebar

Improved comfort at a lower price

Weight: 340g | Width: 800mm  | Rise: 20mm or 30mm | Dimensions: 8° back, 5° up | Rating: 10/10

Reasons to buy:

  • Two rise options
  • Coloured decals supplied
  • Tones down trail chatter and boosts comfort

Reasons to avoid:

  • Matt anodised finish scuffed up quickly
  • Only available in black

If you like the idea of the OneUp Carbon bar, but it’s a bit out of your price range, then the OneUp Aluminium handlebar will be right up your street. Available in two rises and a single 800mm width, it gets a shot-peened finish in stealth black, but there are stickers in the box to jazz it up.

Like the more expensive Carbon bar, it’s engineered to cut out some of the trail buzz that induces fatigue and can limit control. While it’s not as effective as the Carbon bar, it still does a remarkable job at reducing the volume of trail chatter. Jarring spikes are rounded off and it lets you charge into sections without getting spat into the weeds.

Read the full review of the OneUp Aluminium handlebar


Race Face Next R handlebar

The Race Face Next R handlebar has loads of space for lights and e-bike remotes

3. Race Face Next R handlebars

Best for crowded cockpits

Weight: 218g | Width: 800mm  | Rise: 10, 20 or 35mm | Dimensions: 8° back, 5° up | Rating: 10/10

Reasons to buy:

  • Good shape
  • Lots of room for controls
  • Good ride feel

Reasons to avoid:

  • Costs more than an alloy bar

Race Face always features among our list of top handlebars, and the Next R gets particular praise for its comfortable ride quality and extended control zones, useful if you have lots of remotes and clamps crowding the bar.

Compared an aluminium Race Face bar, you can feel the extra flex. The steering is still direct, but the extra compliance helps keep you fresh on long descents. With a comfortable shape and loads of colour options, this is a great finishing touch to a boutique build.

Read the full review of the Race Face Next R handlebars


Race Face Six C handlebar

Race Face Six C handlebar is so wide we couldn’t fit it all in the shot

4. Race Face SixC handlebar

Best option if you want a wide bar

Weight: 239g | Width: 820mm | Rise: 20, 35mm | Dimensions: 8° back, 4° up | Rating: 9/10

Reasons to buy:

  • Plenty of precision
  • Great vertical compliance
  • Full 820mm width
  • Light

Reasons to avoid:

  • Minimum cut length is 770mm

Wide bars feel great on big DH bikes and heavy e-bikes, when you’re riding 30mph moto jump lines and wide-open DH tracks. Obviously they’re not so good for tight, tree-lined singletrack. But if you only ride the former, then the expansive Race Face SixC could be just the ticket. At 820mm wide it’s a beast. Yes, you can cut it down, but only to 770mm. Which might be too wide for some.

Despite the width, it’s pretty light. And really comfortable. In fact it’s almost as compliant as the OneUp Aluminium bar. Even if cutting it down will reduce this.

Read our full review of the Race Face SixC handlebar


Hope Carbon Handlebars 35mm

Hope’s Carbon Handlebar is a work of art

5. Hope Carbon Handlebars 35mm

Most attractive carbon handlebar

Weight: 224g | Width: 800mm | Rise: 20mm | Dimensions: 7° back, 5° up | Rating: 9/10

Reasons to buy:

  • UK-made
  • Beautiful exposed weave finish
  • Muted ride sensation

Reasons to avoid:

  • Lacks back sweep
  • Only one rise option

Hope is a rare breed in this day and age in that it actually makes its bars in-house, here in the UK. And what a work of art it is, with a stunning exposed weave that matches its artisan carbon frames. It’s the same facility that builds the ultra-exotic GB Olympic track bikes.

While a full 800mm wide, the backsweep is less than average, so might not suit some riders. But we found that the wider bar with the 35mm clamp diameter is actually more comfortable than the 31.8mm version. Expensive, but exotic.

Read our full review of the Hope Carbon Handlebar 35mm


race face atlas handlebar

The Race Face Atlas is built tough

6. Race Face Atlas

Best ultra-wide alloy bar

Weight: 318g | Width: 820mm | Rise: 20 or 35mm | Dimensions: 8° back, 5° up | Rating: 9/10

Reasons to buy:

  • Super strong with long life expectancy
  • Wide enough for all tastes

Reasons to avoid:

  • Super gloss finish requires careful brake/shifter/dropper clamping
  • Lacks angle-dangle markings for controls

Ultra-strong, but wafer-thin, the Race Face Atlas bar is perfect for anyone that shuns carbon and prioritises durability. At 820mm, there’s no skimping on width, either, even if we can’t think of many riders who want to run a bar this broad.

Still, all that extra leverage comes in handy on a burly e-bike. Available in a load of colours, we were impressed by the durability of the finish. Even if we’d like to see some more gradients in the control zones for setting up your brake levers.

Read our full review of Race Face Atlas handlebar


Best 31.8mm diameter handlebars


best mountain bike handlebars

A little bit of moto-inspired coolness: The Renthal FatBar V2

1. Renthal FatBar V2

Best 31.8mm alloy handlebar

Weight: 364g | Width: 800mm | Rise: 10, 20, 30 or 40mm | Dimensions: 7° back, 5° up | Rating: 9/10

Reasons to buy:

  • Modern classic that still cuts it
  • Loads of rise options

Reasons to avoid:

  • Not as wide as more modern offerings.

A modern classic handlebar. The blend of stiffness-to-flex is spot-on for all types of mountain biking. You don’t have to be railing World Cup downhills to get the benefits. And the iconic colour and logos make the perfect finishing touch to any custom build.

The Fatbar is not exactly light, but it’s beautifully made and really durable. You can also get it in a 35mm clamp version, and both diameters now come in a full 800mm width. Pair it with the Apex stem for a really solid and good-looking cockpit.

Read our full review of the Renthal FatBar handlebar


best mountain bike handlebars

The Spank Spike 800 Vibrocore is not your regular hollow handlebar

2. Spank Spike 800 Vibrocore

Best for vibration reducing tech

Weight: 330g | Width: 800mm | Rise: 15, 30, 50mm | Dimensions: 8° back, 4° up | Rating: 10/10

Reasons to buy:

  • Ideal for those looking for flatter grip angle
  • Unique Vibrocore ‘filling’ genuinely reduces discomfort

Reasons to avoid:

  • Graphics are a bit dated
  • Shallow up-sweep can feel odd to some riders

In terms of stiffness, the Spike is solid and steers precisely, but there’s a distinctly deadened, dull sensation that’s similar, yet somehow different, to the feeling you get from the best-damped carbon bars. High frequency trail chatter was noticeably more muted, leaving our hands fresher and less sore at the bottom of tough descents.

How is this feeling achieved? Essentially by pumping the bar full of foam. No really. The essential idea here is that the foam can dissipate tiny vibration and chatter, leaving the metal handlebar being able to be made really stiff and inflexible. This Vibrocore foam buzz killing technology has since found its way into Spank’s other components (principally its wheel rims). And the Vibrocore filling only adds around 25g.

Read our full review of the Spank Spike 800 Vibrocore Race handlebar


Hope Carbon Handlebar

Hope’s Carbon Handlebars are made right here in the UK

3. Hope Carbon Handlebar 31.8mm

Looks good and feels great

Weight: 225g | Width: 780mm | Rise: 20mm | Dimensions: 7° back, 5° up | Rating: 8/10

Reasons to buy:

  • Rides even better than it looks
  • UK made classy carbon

Reasons to avoid:

  • Expensive
  • One size only

No, you’re not seeing double. We did already list a Hope handlebar above in the shortlist of the best 35mm diameter handlebars. This bar here is the original 31.8mm version.

Carbon handlebars in the ‘old’ 31.8mm clamp size appear to be something of a dying breed, but this one is a good choice. For the money, a carbon bar isn’t the most costs effective way to save weight, but it’s a nice addition because it’s something you’re going to be looking at every time you ride. In that department, Hope’s Carbon riser is tough to beat. It looks stunning, but the high price (and lack of rise options) does count against it.

Read our full review of the Hope Carbon handlebars


What do I look for in the best mountain bike handlebars?

We’ve come a long way from the shoulder-width steerers of the nineties and modern geometry theorists will tell you that wide bars are the way to go. It’s always a question of personal preference though, and other factors include things like where you ride. Tight and twisty trails with loads of trees close together? You may prefer to go a little narrower…though still wider than the old days of mountain biking!

Photo of the handlebars on the Canyon Strive CFR

The perfect bar width varies depending on your build and the terrain you’re riding. Most people end up somewhere between 760mm and 800mm.

Width

We think you should be aiming for at least 760mm. While this may seem extreme, in the majority of cases they will add a level of control and stability that can transform the way your bike rides. Plus, a wider bar doesn’t cost any extra and you can always cut it down.

Rise

The shape of a bar is dictated by three key measurements: rise, backsweep and upsweep. Rise is typical measured in millimetres — hence 20 or 30mm rise — and basically indicates the bar’s height.

If you’re tall and/or you’ve not changed your bar rise for several years but have moved on to longer and longer reach bikes, we’d strongly recommend going for a higher rise bar than you’ve used previously i.e. 35mm rise or higher.

best mountain bike handlebars

Clamp diameters come in 31.8mm or 35mm

Clamp diameter

The majority of handlebars are 35mm or 31.8mm stem clamp diameter ie. they fit in a 31.8mm stem. You will need to also have/buy a stem to go with them so don’t forget to budget for that too when buying new bars, unless you already have one the right size.

best mountain bike handlebars

Material choices

Carbon or aluminium

Aluminium or carbon is the choice. Aluminium is cheaper. Carbon is lighter. Carbon bars can be stiffer – some can even be uncomfortably stiff.

Obviously there is a spread of prices and materials here, which means there is something for every pocket. Carbon bars are pricy, but they are superbly made and you’re looking at roughly a 150 gram weight saving over the aluminium alternatives

What you’re looking for is a perfect balance between stiffness, comfort and resilience. If you can also get a bar that’s light and wide enough, then you’re probably looking at a winner.

best mountain bike handlebars

The red lines indicate the upsweep (height) of the handlebars and the green lines the backsweep (depth) of them

Sweep angles

Backsweep and upsweep are measured in degrees and they affect the angle of the bit you hold.

Not all manufacturers produce bars in multiple rises, and you need to consider stem angle and bar rise together to achieve your perfect bar height. All of our favourite bars combine upsweep and backsweep, so we’d avoid any that are too flat or angled too far back.

best mountain bike handlebars

Trim to width

Cut marks and reference marks

You should know how to get your controls at the same angle by eye, but to reduce the guesswork several manufacturers print reference marks on the bar.

Cut marks are a handy addition if you want to trim the bar and don’t own a tape measure. They also allow you to ignore the old maxim ‘measure twice, cut once.’