The most honest and in-depth reviews of outdoor sports equipment on the planet.

Best Mountain Bike Handlebars

Products: Handlebars from ENVE, Crankbrothers, SPANK, and Race Face

ENVE DH Handlebars, Blister Gear ReviewENVE DH bars

  • Carbon
  • 800mm / 31.5” wide
  • 23mm rise
  • 245g uncut (225g at 30.7” wide)
  • 9° sweep, 5° rise
  • MSRP: $200

 

 

Crankbrothers iodine 11

Crankbrothers iodine 11 handlebars, Blister Gear Review

  • Carbon
  • 780mm / 30.7” wide
  • 30mm rise
  • 225g
  • 9° sweep, 5° rise
  • MSRP: $120

Spank Spike 777 Evo, Blister Gear Review

 

Spank Spike 777 Evo

  • Aluminum
  • 777mm / 30.5” wide
  • 30mm rise
  • 300g
  • 8° sweep, 4° rise
  • MSRP: $75

 

Race Face Atlas Riser FRRace Face Atlas Handlebars, Blister Gear Review

  • Aluminum
  • 785mm / 31” wide
  • 13mm rise
  • 340g
  • 8° sweep, 4° rise
  • MSRP: $70

 

You would be hard-pressed to find a bar out there these days that strays from the 8-9° sweep and 4-5° rise formula (other than some goofy 29’er mary bar contraption), and both trail bikes and downhill bikes have settled into a width between 30.5″ and 31.5” wide. Wide bars and short stems give you more control and increased leverage against the wheel for counter-steering, though all these bars can be easily cut down width-wise should one want something narrower.

I selected four bars to compare—all high-end bars with good reputation—based on their ability to cross over and function at a high level for both trail and DH bikes. I am 6’2’’ and prefer bars with about a 1” rise, so I don’t have to run a super long steertube with a grip of spacers. All four selections have been ridden on both my Trail bikes (Knolly Endorphin, Specialized Stumpjumper FSR Expert) and DH bikes (Transition TR250, Morewood Makulu).

I picked the Crankbrothers iodine 11 bar ($120) as a budget-priced carbon bar to compare directly with the ENVE DH bar ($200). I also selected the Spank Spike 777 Evo bars ($75) as a lighter-weight alternative to the Race Face Atlas bars ($70). At equivalent rises, the Spike 777 Evo bars are 50g lighter than the Atlas bars.

I then evaluated the bars in four areas:

  • Their perceived stiffness and precision while riding at speed
  • The amount of hand pump that I generated after numerous long descents in a day
  • The durability of the finish
  • The long term durability of the bars.

I realize, as I hope the reader does also, that these criteria are all fairly subjective, but they at least provide a bit of a framework to discuss each bar’s properties.

 

NEXT: STIFFNESS ON TRAIL

1 Comment

  1. Michael October 31, 2013 Reply

    Great write up. Given the significant performance differences between the ENVE and the CB bars, I would love to see this revisited to touch on more carbon bar options. Unlike aluminum bars, there aren’t a ton of carbon options so an expanded review shouldn’t be too exhaustive.
    What I’m trying to say is, I’m looking for a cheaper carbon option for my old arthritic wrists that doesn’t suck! :P

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