A Guide to Choosing Dirt Bike Handlebars
Does your current handlebar need a replacement, or you simply want to upgrade it? You could also be interested in knowing about handlebars before getting a dirt bike for yourself. For those reasons or any other you are still in the right place to learn more about them.
Even though some may think the contrary is true, handlebars go a long way in determining your speed and how long you can ride your dirt bike. Its like saying comfort doesn’t matter during your ride.
Furthermore, your handlebar could be causing fatigue by straining your arm pump. It is therefore obvious that you will need a handlebar that is suitable for you as what works for someone else may not work for you.
Before 1991, all bike riders used the 7/8th inch and it was okay until the 1/1/8th inch was introduced. The truth is that the 7/8th inch has never lost its popularity among bike riders but this new invention generally reduced fatigue and arm pump allowing riders to go for longer rides without getting easily exhausted.
To make your search less hectic, here are five types of handlebars that I have compiled and would highly recommend that you go through as you search for your perfect handlebar:
Top Dirt Bike Handlebars
① Renthal 922-01-BK-07-185 Twinwall Black 1-1/8″ Aluminium Handlebar
Are you looking for a handlebar whose inspiration is that of an aircraft design? Then the Renthal Twinwall Black Aluminum Handlebar might just have been made for you. Some of you could be wondering how this even matters.
The design captures three principles and that is safety which is one of the most important factors to consider, keeping in mind that we are talking about a dirt bike. Secondly, is the lightness of the bar and we all know that a heavy handlebar could drag you behind and lastly is the strength of the handlebar.
With a weak one, you will have to make replacements every once in a while and your money has better use! Furthermore, this still allows you to flex and its specially developed injection molded crossbar pad is still part of the menu.
The most interesting part is that the inner and outer tubes are both made from strong aluminum to prevent mechanical damage. The inner one is anodized to resist corrosion while the outer one is hard anodized to minimize wear from twist grip.
- It is durable
- Its rubber seals cover the joint from any fluids
- It is inspired by the aircraft design
- The oversized diameter may not work for everyone
② Pro Taper SE Series 7/8″ Standard Handlebars
Are you interested in a handlebar that is fitted with a knurled clutch side and a shot peened finish? Well, this Pro Taper SE Series 7/8″ Standard Handlebars could just be your ideal handlebar.
If you are a beginner, you might be wondering how all that could help and there is no need to worry. The knurled clutch side will enhance your hold on the grip and hence give you more control of your ride for that thrilling experience you are looking forward to.
So what about the shot peened finish? This will come in handy by increasing your fatigue life and thus enabling you ride for longer. This handlebar is also made from strong aerospace aluminum and will therefore last longer in its lifespan.
Guess what? The manufacturer of this bar had you in mind as it comes with printed position guides. You might not be a beginner but you may learn something from this.
- It is made from stainless hardware
- Its 5mm wall thickness enhances its strength
- It comes with 1/4″ cut guides to suit your preference
- You may need some guidance from a professional before making this purchase
③ 1-1/8″ Flex Handlebar – APE RACING
If an anti-vibration and shock absorbing handlebar is the top consideration in your list, then we just found the perfect one for you. This 1-1/8″ Flex Handlebar is fitted with elastomer bumpers to eat up shock on any type of terrain.
Guess what? Purchasing this package comes with four pieces of elastomers in the event where you may need to replace the initial one. We all know how uncomfortable it can be to ride a dirt bike that transfers all that vibration to your hands, arms, elbows, or even shoulders thus reducing your ride span.
You may not even enjoy your ride at all. The good news however, is that this handlebar will take care of that for you with its bumpers. These handlebars of 1-1/8″ are oversized to drain away the arm pump and thus reduce fatigue. Its surface is also hard anodized to resist wear.
- It is fitted with bumpers to absorb shock and vibration
- Its oversized handlebars enhance comfort as you ride
- It is durable as it is made from strong aluminum
- Concerns have been brought forward on the actual size of the clamp hence you will need to check it before dipping into your pocket.
④ STONEMEN Motorcycle 28mm Fat Bars
If an attractive handlebar is appealing to your eye and a consideration for you, then this red Stonemen Motorcycle handlebar could just be your ideal choice. Its mounts is also CNC machined and made from aluminum which is hard anodized to minimize wear from its grip.
Lets not forget that it still comes with a bar pad and riser on it and its high quality MX grips will surely come in handy. For those who prefer their handlebars oversized, you can relax as this bar is of 1-1/8″ and definitely good to go.
As for its durability, it is made from high quality materials and is therefore a good value for your money and it couldn’t get any better with its fair price compared to other handlebars on sell and furthermore, you can order it on Amazon from the comfort of your home.
- It is long-lasting
- It is attractive with its red color
- It comes with grips, bar riser, and pad
- Preferred for those motorcycles with a standard 22MM bar clamp
- Concerns have been raised on the shipping time
⑤ Dirt Bike Handlebar Set 1 1/8″ Dirt Bike Handlebars Universal
If the red colour on the handlebar above was not your preferred choice, then maybe this blue one will do the trick after all, most people would go for blue. So what comes with purchasing this handlebar?
For starters, this set constitutes one handlebar, a pad, a clamp adapter and a pair of grips. Its anodized surface is also very gorgeous while still meeting its purpose of minimizing wear due to grip. It is also significantly light in weight to ensure you do not get exhausted easily.
Considering the fact that this handlebar is made from high quality materials, you can be sure about its lifespan and furthermore, who wouldn’t want to save their money in the long- term? The good news is that you can purchase it online from Amazon and get it delivered at your ideal place.
- It is attractive with its universal blue colour
- It is durable
- It is oversized and measures 1-1/8 inches
- It is affordable
- Preferred for motorcycles with standard 28MM rod clamps
- Reports have been brought forward on the rubber being a little stiff and the risers not fitting correctly
Factors to consider while buying a handlebar:
Everyone will always focus on different things to choose a product, and the handlebar is obviously no exception. Here are a few factors that you may be interested in:
Even though this is a very important factor to consider, it should not be the first thing you go for. There are good products that come with affordable prices and there are more expensive ones that do not even meet their value.
It is therefore advisable to look at your selected products, their features, advantages, and disadvantages and if they meet their value before draining your money away.
Any extra features?
Most handlebars have similar features. However, some are fitted with unique characteristics that may be worthwhile for you to deep into your pockets. For example, the Renthal Twinwall Aluminum Handlebar was the only one created out of an aircraft design that considers lightness, safety, and strength as the core principles.
The Stonemen Motorcycle Oversized Handlebars on the other hand was very appealing with its red color. The Pro Taper Handlebar was also the only one with printed position guides and a knurled clutch side to secure a grip hold.
The Flex Handlebar – APE RACING also stood out with its elastomer bumpers that absorb both shock and vibration. With such unique features, you could consider purchasing them.
Is it durable?
This is a very important consideration, you wouldn’t want to buy something that you will have to replace soon. It is therefore necessary to ensure that the handlebar you settle for is made from high quality materials that increase resistance to wear.
How comfortable is it?
We all know that handlebars could be oversized and be 1-1/8th inches, on the other hand, they could be 7/8th inches. Preference will always vary making it important for you to choose a handlebar whose thickness you can easily manage and hence control your ride.
The anti-vibration feature could also fit into this category as it enhances more comfort as you ride making you go for longer.
Therefore, it is clever to outweigh the features, advantages, and disadvantages before settling for any handlebar.
The parts of a Handlebar
If you are an experienced bike rider, then this might not be of interest to you as much. However, it is never too late to learn one or two new things about bikes despite how minor they may seem. As for the beginners, this might be a good place to start.
This is simply the end of the handle part of the bar or the section from the clamp area to the top of the control length. Interestingly, the height can be adjusted either forward or backward to suit the rider’s needs.
How is this possible? This can be done by loosening the bar at the clamp area.
From its name, you might already have an idea about this part. However, it sounds something like the description of the height. Well, don’t get confused. This is the length from the clamp area to the handlebar’s first steep bend.
And just like the height, the rise can also be adjusted to suit a rider’s specifications. This will depend on your height since the taller you are the more you will want to raise the height of your handlebars. To lengthen it, you can use the riser clamps which maximizes the handlebar’s overall height.
This is the end of the left control length to the end of the right control length or simply the part from one end to the other and it is usually about 800mm. However, handlebars may vary in terms of a few millimeters from each other.
New designs of mini handlebars have also been introduced and they are approximately 60mm less than the normal ones.
Does the “pullback” sound familiar to you? Maybe it doesnt, some know the sweep by that name. So where is it on your handlebar? It is the section from the center of the clamp area to the end of the bars, also known as the control length.
It is best viewed by taking a look at the side of your bike and forms the letter “L” shape.
This is the area for your grips that gives you control as you ride your bike.
It is usually 7/8th or 1-1/8th inch thick and therefore varies from one bike to another. It is the most bottom area of your handlebar where it clamps onto the bike or simply, where you can add risers and other equipment to adjust the measurements and feel of your handlebars.
How to properly adjust and tighten dirt bike handlebars
Having learnt about the different parts of a handlebar, this may sound easy but truth be told, you may never know. So how does one adjust and tighten their handlebars? This can be done in one of the following ways:
- Pushing them forward or backward
Using the Allen wrench, which is the most appropriate tool for this, loosen the four bolts that make up the bar clamps. Once they are loose, you can then roll the handlebars forward towards the front or backwards towards the seat based on your preference or simply what makes you most comfortable.
- Increasing the height
This one may be of more interest to tall riders. Well, to increase the height, use taller bar mounts or a taller handlebar bend.
- Adjusting the spacing to make room in the cockpit
For a more simpler language for beginners, this is just about adjusting the handlebar spacing. Why is this significant? It enables you to move the clamp area closer or further away from the rider.
You must be wondering about its difference from just pushing forward or backwards. The thing is that pushing doesn’t change the bar clamp position. Furthermore, you will need the type of bar clamps that will allow you to move the bars.
Therefore, you loosen the bar clamps, adjust accordingly and finally tighten those bolts! Some manufacturers recommend that you tighten the bolts in a specific order to achieve efficient results.
If you always have to tighten the bolts, it is advisable to check the owner’s manual for suggested fastening sequence.
How to deal with an arm pump
Did you know that the arm pump is a condition known as the Chronic Exertional Compartment Syndrome? Am sure that some of you think that’s a little too much for just an arm pump. Sincerely, I couldn’t agree more. If you knew about it, you must be among the few.
This is where blood is made to pool or accumulate in the forearms. Its effects include swelling and loss of strength in the arms thus disabling your grip on the handlebars which can be very dangerous sometimes.
If you are a beginner, the chance of experiencing this condition is very high but with practice you can put all that behind you. Furthermore, there are ways of preventing, stopping, and relieving it which we will look at in a bit.
When this condition is chronic, you may have to go for surgery for relief. That is surely scary! According to Weeck, a holistic life coach, here are a few ways of preventing an arm pump:
- Use less of your upper body and more of your lower body
This is about keeping the upper body relaxed by not applying pressuring to it while still squeezing the bike at the lower point with your legs and feet. He encourages riders to think of how much bigger the leg muscles are to help in grasping the bike and hence reduce the grip stress on the arms.
According to him, that’s the best and most efficient way to prevent an arm pump.
- Ensure a proper posture as you ride
So what is the most appropriate posture for bike riders? First, ensure that you are on your toes, then bend your knees slightly, your hips should be out, and the chest should come forward. With all these, you already look ready to take off with your bike and that’s a step away from the arm pump condition.
- Try to breathe correctly
Not loosening up on the bike means that your breathing is not as it should be and this sums up in a death grip on the handlebars which leads to the condition. Therefore, ensure that you breathe in through your nose and out through the mouth as a proper breathing technique goes a long way in preventing that arm pump.
How to stop arm pump
The truth is that you might not always observe all those things I have mentioned above and maybe, just maybe, the arm pump can hit you minutes into your ride. You should be aware that once it starts, it isnt something you can easily get rid of.
If you were somehow still wondering how proper breathing comes about in all this, here is how. When you stop breathing, lactic acid builds up making your arms tighter and grab even harder. Once this pattern begins, there is nothing much you can do but wait for it to subside on its own.
Normally, the best thing to do in such a situation is to stop riding, but what if you are racing? You might have to squeeze your legs to try and transfer the pressure from your arms while breathing correctly as much as possible.
How to relieve an arm pump
A massage and stretching exercises before a ride might come handy with this one as it will help prevent an injury.
For taking your time to go through my article, I sincerely appreciate and hope that the information I provided will surely be of help as you try to settle for your ideal handlebar. I went through five types of handlebars that I found fit for your liking and would highly recommend their purchase.
However, like I had said at the beginning of this article, handlebars work differently for everyone and with that it might not be clever to go with another person’s liking. You can still go through the features, advantages, and disadvantages of the various handlebars I compiled for you.
For those that may still be interested in my top pick, I choose the Renthal 922-01-BK-07-185 Twinwall Black Aluminium Handlebar. For starters, it has a five star rating on Amazon. Most of you might say that its price is a little higher than some of the other handlebars I selected but come to think of it, price should never be your first consideration even though it should definitely be in the list.
So why would you settle for this handlebar? It is unique as it is inspired by the aircraft design which focuses on strength, lightness and safety and these features are very essential for any bike. It is also oversized to reduce fatigue and arm pump.
Its outer and inner tubes are made from strong aluminum. The outer one minimizes mechanical damage and is anodized to prevent corrosion while the inner one is hard anodized to resist wear from twist grip.
These are not the only features as I had mentioned them earlier. If they match your interests, then you should make an order already!