Do you want to learn why bigger bars are better for BMX? Or are they really?
The short answer is: Yes and no.
The trend in BMX is to raise your front end either with a top load stem or with a 10 inch bar (or even higher) or both. (I also have a list of the tallest BMX bars that go beyond 10″.)
But even a 9.5″ bar is considered tall compared to what we were used to riding not that long ago.
However, is a bigger, taller handlebar really better?
In most cases, YES.
What Is The Benefit Of Taller Bars BMX?
Even though taller riders first adopted the idea of riding high-rise bars because they made their sessions more comfortable due to a lot less hunching over (read lower back pain), the majority soon followed them.
Including myself. And I love it!
(By the way, I’m 5’11”, and I ride a 10″ bar – it feels the best!)
On the other hand, smaller riders also benefit from bigger bars because of the extra leverage. Surprisingly, it’s even better for bunnyhops, which was one of my biggest theory-busters.
Yup, I always thought that a taller bar would ruin my hops – BUT it didn’t!
A taller and wider bar also makes the bike feel much more stable. However, if you’re doing a lot of barspins, you might want to cut it so you don’t keep hitting your knees.
My BSD Raider bars came 29.5″ wide, but I cut it approximately half an inch on each side.
And since we’re on the topic of handlebars, you may also be interested in a pair of new BMX grips.
FAQs About Taller BMX Bars
Do higher bars make manuals easier?
Yes, you will get into a manual a lot easier. Here’s a catch, if you have an extremely short chainstay and opt for taller bars, you may need to get used to it because there’s a chance you’ll be looping out at the beginning.
How does handlebar height affect handling?
Because you’ll be standing/sitting higher, your weight will shift backwards, putting more pressure on the rear wheel and less on the front. This will help you get in the manual easier and also pull spins and bunnyhops more effortlessly.
How does handlebar width affect handling?
The width of a wider handlebar gives your bike more stability and makes you steer easier because of the extra leverage.
However, you’ll need to turn more, which might be a downside if you’re smaller. Also, you might be hitting your knees with that extra width when doing barspins.
Luckily, you can always cut the bars to any desired width you want. Just don’t do it immediately – go for a session with the out-of-the-box bar first and then decide.
Note: Once you cut the bar, there’s no turning back.
Does raising handlebars shorten reach?
Yes, raising the bars or getting a bigger one will shorten the reach because it’ll be closer to you.
Conclusion: Do You Need A Bigger BMX Bar?
If you’re already riding a top load stem and use spacers but still don’t feel the height is right, then yes, get a bigger bar.
For all the rest, it’s worth testing spacers first to see how a higher stack feels. You can also get a top load stem if you think the bigger and wider bar won’t feel right for your riding style.
Another trick you can do is to ask a friend who has a higher front end than you and try it to see if this will improve your riding.
Do you need a new BMX bar?
Take a peek at my lists of the best: