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How to choose motocross handlebars: Way back in the day, it used to be that the stock handlebars on a new bike were a great place to hang the controls, and not much else. They were usually steel, would bend easily, and would get replaced after the first crash. Fortunately, in the modern era, manufacturers have been better about providing higher-quality bars as standard equipment. But...they're still set up for the average consumer. If you're much taller or shorter than average, or are looking to customize your rider compartment for maximum comfort and performance, you've got lots of choices to make.

Among the various manufacturers, there are a ton of different designs, and plenty of aspects to a bar that can make one exactly what you're looking for, or not quite what you needed. Our guide should provide a little clarity for what's available, what each bar is intended for, and if they're worth their cost. That will help to narrow down your list of options.

Things To Look For

The most important thing to look for when shopping for a new bar is a bend and height that fits with your body type and riding style. The flex/feel you're looking for is also a prime consideration. You also need to consider the proper bar to fit your bike, to match the handlebar bar clamp size...though you have the option of changing clamps if you're looking for a particular diameter bar.

Understanding handlebar specs (height, width, sweep, and clamp area) will help you make better choices. Blanket recommendations are a bit hard to hand out when it comes to bars because in addition to the height making a difference, but also your arm length, shoulder width, and riding style. The wider your shoulders are and the longer your arms, you'll typically want a straighter and wider bar to help open your arms and give you more room to move about the bike. The shorter your arms, the more helpful added sweep can be to get the bars back to you without being so far over the front of the bike. As for the actual height, this really comes down to personal preference and riding style. If the handlebars feel too wide for you, you can always cut them evenly on both side to decrease the width.


Handlebar sizing depends on four main measurements; bar width, rise, sweep, and bar-mount clamp diameter. Full-size motocross bars range in width from 800-815mm, and height from 70mm to over 130mm (with the average height being between 80mm and 120mm). The two available clamp diameters are 7/8" (22.2mm) and 1-1/8" (28.6mm).


The majority of quality motocross handlebars are made from various grades of aluminum, with the more expensive models using higher grades that offer improved strength and durability, and engineered flex for comfort. There are some specialty brands that produce a carbon/composite handlebar or even bars that have moving sections and dampers to reduce vibration and impacts to the hands. These, however, are quite a bit higher in price than even the top-of-the-line aluminum choices.


The majority of handlebars are produced with full-sized bikes in mind, although there are a few mini-bike sized options out there. Most of these can be spotted by their shorter than average overall width to accommodate little groms.

The most common handlebar is the 7/8" aluminum bar, and for years was the most common handlebar to be found on stock bikes (with Honda and Kawasaki still using them on their motocross range today). These bars are fairly inexpensive, come from a wide range of brands, and in a multitude of bends. They're still loved by many for their flexible feel, but aren't quite as tough as their larger-diameter brethren.

Next up is the tapered 1-1/8" crossbar-less handlebar. These bars have a larger diameter clamping surface of 1-1/8", which tapers down to 7/8" as the bar extends outwards, but they're not equipped with a crossbar. These bars offer a good amount of flex due to the lack of a crossbar, but are still stronger than a standard 7/8" bar.

Near the top of the range is a 1-1/8" crossbar style handlebar. There are a few different options here; from Renthal's Twinwall design (a bar within a bar), to a range of tapered designs. Between the larger sizing and the crossbar, these handlebars are quite a bit more rigid than many others on the market. The added rigidity offers increased strength and more feedback from the bike, which some riders prefer. The increased feedback, however, can be a negative for some riders, as they can feel harsh and promote numb hands, or cause arm pump from a lack of comfort. To combat this, some of the higher-end options have features in the crossbar to allow more flex, or to help reduce vibration.

Finally, are a few unique options in the market. One is a composite/carbon-based handlebars, which are much more common in mountain biking but haven't really found a market in motocross. There are an option or two out there, and these bars offer great flex characteristics along with being quite light. The negative side is the doubt in strength some have for these types of bars and a large price tag. Also available are FASST Flexx bars, which use pivoting sections and rubber dampers to reduce vibration and soak up large hits. Once again, the large price tag can be a deterrent, along with the overall bulk of these bars. Then for the mini-riders out there is a speciality bar that features a smaller diameter around the grip area for the hands of the youth riders out there. This bar is produced by Pro Taper and is called the Micro Bar.

How Much To Spend

There are still a few steel options on the market for absolute budget-minded riders at $20-$30. The average 7/8" aluminum handlebar will come in between $35 and $70. Moving up into the tapered 1-1/8" crossbar-less arena, you'll be at $75-$90, and a 1-1/8" handlebar with a crossbar will run you between $100 and $130. At the absolute top-end of the scale are some unique carbon/composite bars at about $300 and FASST's Flexx bars for $360.

Product Reviews

Before buying, be sure to do your research and read product reviews. Reviews are a great way to find out specifics about a particular brand and style of bar, to get user impressions, and for things to watch out for. After you've purchased a product and had enough time to thoroughly test it, we encourage you to leave a review for other Vital MX visitors to check out when they're researching bikes and parts on the web. To do so, click on any item in our product guide, scroll down the page and click "Review this Product", then leave your thoughts.

We hope you've found this information to be helpful. If you have a question that isn't answered in this guide, the Vital MX Forum is a great place to get advice from knowledgeable riders.

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