The Basics of Bike Handlebar Width and Length

Learn how to find the right size handlebars for your ride with this quick and easy trick.

Your handlebars are one of the main points of contact you’ll have with your bike. They can influence your grip, your riding position and, ultimately, how comfortable and confident you may feel on the road or the trail.

But handlebars aren’t one-size-fits-all. The wrong size bars on your bike can make a big difference in your ride.

“If the bars are way too big, you’re going to be losing strength,” GT Bikes athlete Rachel Strait says. “But if the bars are too narrow, it’s going to feel slightly twitchy and you’re not going to be as supported underneath.”

To make the most of your handlebars, you need to find the right fit. This might mean swapping out the bars that came with your bike.

“A lot of times when you buy a stock bike straight from the store, the bar length will not match you as a rider,” Strait says. “So, it’s really important that you figure out the exact bar length for yourself.”

But how do you know the best handlebar length for you?  It’s simple. Start by getting into a pushup position, with your arms placed where you feel the strongest. Have a friend measure the distance between your hands. This is your bar length.

Switch your stock handlebars for ones that fit you and you might notice you feel stronger and more comfortable as you ride.

Want to feel even more confident out on the road or trail? Learn how to change a flat tire and your ride won’t be derailed by a popped inner tube.

For help with tune-ups, installations, adjustments and repairs, visit our bike service PROS at your local DICK’S Sporting Goods.