BMX Parts / BMX Tips

How Long A BMX Bar Lasts?

how long a bmx bar lasts

Are you wondering how long a BMX bar lasts?

You’re NOT the only one.

I kept wondering, too, but luckily, after 20+ years of riding BMX, I can confidently say that a BMX handlebar can last you a very long time.

But how long?

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There are two major factors that contribute to the lifespan of a bar: 1) material and 2) your riding style.

Just by picking the right material and taking care of the bar, you can EXTEND its life even by a year or more.

However, I don’t recommend you ride a bar “forever,” thinking, “Hey, it looks like new!”

This post covers:

I’ve seen what it means to crack your handlebar.

My dude broke the bar and cut himself on the inside of the upper arm REALLY badly. And I don’t want that to happen to you (nor does he!).

Okay, I’m not here to frighten you, I just want to emphasize how important replacing your bar is.

Find the best BMX bars here.

BMX Bar Lifespan

Multiple factors influence the lifespan of a handlebar.

Here are the main ones which you should pay close attention to:

  • Material: Aftermarket BMX bar are made out of Chromoly – AND THAT’S the only material you’d want your bar to be made of. Usually, the cheaper complete bikes come with high-tensile steel bars and those aren’t reliable and don’t last long. I’d stay away from those all day, everyday – especially if you want to do/learn tricks. (I’d keep high-tensile bars on ONLY for cruising around.)
  • Riding style: As mentioned earlier, your riding style is the second KEY factor that impacts a bar’s lifespan. Do you go hard and burly or smooth and flowy? Your bar will need replacement way sooner in the case of the former than the latte because of WAY more stress it needs to go through.
  • Frequency of use: This is pretty self-explanatory – A regularly used BMX bike will experience more wear and tear on its handlebars than a rarely used bike.
  • Accidents & impacts: A major crash or even a minor accident can compromise the integrity of the handlebar, especially if it’s made of high-tensile steel (but you don’t want this kind of bar anyway). However, after significant impacts, I recommend you inspect your bars carefully for any signs of damage or wear (I always do!).
  • Modifications: Do you have an idea of drilling holes in your bar to make it lighter? This can weaken the bar and reduce its lifespan. (Remember, cutting it to the right width won’t have any impact. Check what’s the ideal BMX bar width.)
  • Age: Over time, repeated stress from riding can lead to metal fatigue in handlebars. Generally, older bar, especially those on a frequently used bike, might be closer to their end-of-life. (But you don’t want to use your bar – if shredding regularly and progressing – for too long anyway.)

Some other factors that contribute to the bar’s lifespan are bike storage (outside (don’t make the bar go rusty) or inside) and manufacturing defects.

It’s crucial for safety reasons to inspect your handlebars (and the rest of your bike) regularly and replace them if you notice significant wear, damage, or any other issues.

If in DOUBT, have a professional at a bike shop inspect them for you.

But you can also hit me up and send me an image of the bar – I can help you decide whether it’s time for a new bar or the current one is still OK.

Don’t forget to check my comprehensive guide on BMX bike maintenance.

When To Replace Your BMX Bar

Generally, I’d recommend replacing your bar at least every year, but it all depends on how often and hard you shred.

Pro riders usually replace bars more than once a year, but those who ride their bikes occasionally replace them only every two or three years.

Some even ride them longer, but I wouldn’t recommend that.

You want to be safe, feel confident when riding your bike and not worry about when something will break.

And you don’t want your bar to break because it can go horribly wrong.

Here are some key indicators and scenarios when you should consider replacing your handlebar:

  • Visible damage: This includes cracks, dents, deep scratches, or any other type of deformity.
  • After a significant crash: Even if there’s no visible damage, the structural integrity of the handlebar can be compromised after a heavy impact. It’s always safer to replace than to risk it.
  • Stress areas: Check around areas where components like brake levers and stems are clamped. These are common stress points and can be the first areas to show signs of wear or damage.
  • Change in riding feel: If your handlebars feel different or if you hear creaking or popping noises while riding, it might be an indicator of an internal compromise in the handlebar’s structure. (But it can also be that your stem bolts loosened.)
  • Doubt or uncertainty: If you’re ever in doubt about the condition or safety of your handlebars (“Something just doesn’t feel right” situation), it’s better to err on the side of caution and replace them.

Most importantly: Inspect your bar regularly!

Conclusion: How To Make Your BMX Bar Last Longer

It’s essential that you know how to care for your BMX bar, so you don’t destroy it too quickly.

Here are my essential tips to make your bar last longer:

  • Regular inspection: Check your handlebar frequently for any signs of wear, tear, or damage, especially after rough rides or crashes. Look for dents, cracks, corrosion, or any other visible issues. This is THE MOST important step!
  • Clean regularly: Cleaning your BMX bar regularly keeps your bike looking good and allows you to spot potential problems.
  • Storage: Avoid storing your bike in humid places. And if rain catches you, wipe your bike with a dry cloth ASAP.
  • Use bar ends: If you don’t use bar end, you better install them for your and your bar’s safety. (I crashed and stabbed myself in the ribs once with a bar without bar end – luckily I didn’t cut myself open, but it left a nasty bruise.)
  • Don’t throw your bike (!):: I’ll say it again – DON’T THROW YOUR BIKE!
  • Listen & feel: Sometimes, before visible damage appears, you might feel a change in the handlebar’s behavior or hear creaking noises. Don’t ignore these signs.

By following these tips and always keeping safety in mind, you can extend the life of your BMX handlebar.

However, remember that all components have a finite lifespan, so always be prepared to replace them when necessary.

Better be safe than sorry.

Find the best BMX bars here.

FAQs About BMX Bar Lifespan

Is a dent in a BMX bar bad?

Usually, a small dent in a BMX bar isn’t bad (unless it’s on the corners). However, if you have a dent for some time (say months), replacing the bar is better.

Is rust on a BMX bar bad?

Yes, rust on a BMX bar can be bad and can weaken welds to the point of cracking and, eventually your bar breaking. Still, you don’t necessarily have to replace it immediately, but carefully inspect it during and after every ride.

Does cutting my BMX bar impact its lifespan?

No, cutting your BMX bar to the right width does not affect its lifespan. I cut every bar and it never caused any issues.

How often BMX pros replace bars?

Professional BMX riders replace their bars more than once a year. (They may even replace it every three to four months, depending on how much stress they put it through.)

Further reading:

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About Author

Rok has been riding BMX for 20+ years, and when he's not having a session, he binges on videos, new product drops and works on creating the best content (sharing tips, tricks & more to make riding bikes easier for you) for The BMX Dude.