Are you searching to learn all the ins and outs of BMX bar dimensions and specs?
I created an in-depth overview because I put a lot of research and testing into handlebars over the years.
In other words, I’m very picky about them. And although I have tried 10+ already, I still haven’t fully found the PERFECT one.
Thus, I’m sure learning about the bar rise, width, upsweep and backsweep will help you find the right one more easily.
Here’s the thing: A BMX bar has a massive impact on riding. It can make pulling some tricks easier and keep you enjoying long sessions without facing fatigue (hey, lower back pain!) too early.
This post covers:
- BMX Bar Dimensions & Specs
- Conclusion: BMX Bar Dimensions Matter!
Join me as I unveil the must-know handlebar dimensions, providing a comprehensive understanding of how they influence riders’ comfort, control and overall riding experience.
Life behind bars ROCKS!
BMX Bar Dimensions & Specs
One of the first things everyone checks is the handlebar’s rise. And with the latest “craze,” everyone wants to go big.
That’s great, but do not go too big because it’ll do more harm than good. (Don’t make too big of a leap, make incremental steps.)
The rise of the bar is pretty straightforward; it tells you how tall the bar is.
Rise is measured from the center of the clamping area to the center of the top tube, where the grips go.
Lately, the standard rise is anywhere between 9″ and 10″.
There are those that still ride bars under 9″, but there are more and more of those who ride bars taller than 10″ (I’m actually flirting with a 10.5″ or 11″, too – hey, I would really like to see how it feels).
A higher handlebar gives you more leverage, so pulling becomes easier. Plus, it gives more overall bike control.
Also, a taller bar does affect your bunnyhop – but it’ll be easier and you may even POP HIGHER (unless you get a REALLY high bar to the point of hitting your chest on the pull).
Another thing worth mentioning is that you’ll be a lot less hunched over with a taller bar. Because the more hunched over you are, the more you’ll feel it in the lower back.
So if you’re experiencing back pain, you might just need to rise your front end (which you can also do with a top load stem and spacers if you aren’t already using them).
If you are curious if bigger bars are better for BMX, I also have an entire article on the topic.
The width of the BMX bar is the measurement from one end to the other.
Stock bars are anywhere from around 28″ to 32″ wide, with a few exceptions. For instance, Garrett Reynolds‘s signature Fiend bar comes at 27.25″ width.
But you will mostly see riders ride their bars between 28″ and 29″. Mine are at around 28.25″.
So yes, in most cases, you will likely need to cut (big props to all the brands that create cut marks!) your bars to the desired width.
Why then do brands create so wide bars? They want to cater to a broader audience.
Some like it wider and others like it narrower – depending on the riding style.
In short, WIDER bars give you more stability (you’ll see wider bar on bikes of dudes who like to ride fast, leaning more toward flow and riding transitions than anything else) and NARROWER more responsiveness (read better for barspins).
But if you want to go nitty-gritty, check my article on the ideal BMX bar width.
Now let’s move forward to two BMX bar specs that are highly rider-oriented and subjective, upsweep and backsweep.
The upsweep is the measurement of how much are your bars (grip area) bend upward. So if the bar has a 0-degree upsweep, it’s parallel to the ground.
The angle goes from 1 to 5 degrees (with an average between 2 and 3 degrees).
Usually, a heavily street-oriented bar will have more upsweep than a non-street-oriented one, which helps with drops, making your wrists hurt less.
But again, it depends on the rider.
The backsweep is the measurement of how much are your bars (grip area) bend backward. A 0-degree backsweep bar would be completely flat
But the average angles go from 10 to 12 degrees.
The backsweep plays a pretty significant role in how your handlebars feel, especially nowadays, when bars are getting taller and taller.
Usually, the taller the bar, the more backsweep it will have (but that’s not always the case), which makes it more WRIST-FRIENDLY.
Also, backsweep gives you more control in turning. Heck, even when it comes to throwing handlebars. But too much of it can make you feel squashed and uncomfortable.
Moreover, if you are holding your bars more towards the ends, you’ll feel more comfortable with more backsweep. And if you hold your bars closer to the bends, less backsweep is likely to be better.
Remember, upsweep and backsweep are really a personal choice. So it’s more about testing and trying to see what feels best.
The talk about the clamp area size is only getting more common as of late.
In the not-far past, you could only get a BMX handlebar with 7/8″ (22.2mm) clamping.
But more and more brands are offering bars with “OS” or oversized clamping, which measures 1″ (25.4mm).
A bigger clamping area means the stem has more surface to grip around the handlebar to prevent the bar from slipping. This is getting particularly important with larger bars.
Attention: You need to have a matching bar and a matching stem for the OS clamping to work. For example, an OS bar and a non-OS stem are not compatible!
Conclusion: BMX Bar Dimensions Matter!
There you have it, all the insights into the handlebar’s dimensions and specifications explained.
While the rise and the width are the most crucial specs, upsweep and backsweep contribute to how your bars feel greatly.
Even myself, I didn’t bother too much about the up and backsweep up until a few months ago.
And I’m still testing different variations to see what feels best on my wrists (and hopefully make barspins even easier).
Finally, check out my comprehensive guide on how to choose a BMX bar to avoid the inconvenience.