Bike handlebars, other than kids’ models, typically look about the same because only a couple of standard diameters are used. This is because they fit well in most human hands and are diameters of metal tubing widely produced commercially.
Custom bikes and some older models, especially foreign bikes, have slightly varying bar diameters. What is the average handlebar grip diameter?
There are only two average bike handlebar diameters that are used. Road bars, known as drop bars, are 23.8 mm (15/16″) in diameter at the grip area. Meanwhile, flat or riser bars, which include all the styles except downward curving road bars, have a 22.2 mm (7/8″) diameter grip area.
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Bicycle Handlebar Grip Diameter
Bicycle handlebar grip diameter can refer to more than one thing. Typically, it refers to the diameter of the metal tubing at your handlebars’ ends or ‘grip area.’
However, grip diameter can also be used to describe the diameter of the grips you put on your bike to cover that area.
However, I’m talking about the former bar diameter, not the distance around various silicone, foam and rubber grips which varies wildly.
Are All Handlebar Grips The Same Size
Although all modern handlebar grip diameter is standardized at the bar, the diameter of your grips, the pieces you put on to cover them, vary widely. Some grips are as thin as 2 to 3 millimeters.
However, ergonomic grips have a much broader style that allows riders to hold the handlebar in a more hands-open position that relieves most of the tension and offers accessibility to those who might otherwise have problems with holding on to their bicycles.
What Is The Standard Handlebar Grip Diameter
Standard handlebar grip diameter varies slightly based on what type of handlebars you use.
Road bikes have a distinctive downward curving handlebar style that looks a little like sheep horns and is known as a drop bar.
In all modern bikes, this style is 23.8 mm (15/16″) in diameter. Bikes sporting flat or riser bars are 22.2 mm (7/8″) in diameter.
“Oversized” flat handlebars are also sold, and they are also 23.8 mm (15/16″), like the road bars.
Most bicycles ever manufactured share the same two standards.
Notably, certain older style French bikes used a different hollow tube that was 23.5 mm, but this is considered obsolete, so you are unlikely to encounter it unless you are outfitting a vintage bicycle.
How Do I Know What Size Bike Grips To Buy
There are 3 important dimensions to consider when buying bicycle grips.
So long as you get the right style (road, riser, or flat), you can get slightly smaller diameter grips for a tighter fit or larger for a looser hold, but what matters most is how the outer diameter fits your hand.
To determine the best option, you need 3 measurements.
First, measure the grip area of your handlebars. You don’t want to go over this length by more than a few millimeters, or your grips will hang off your handlebars.
Likewise, if you choose a very short set, they will look funny and may not accommodate your hands adequately, which can lead to discomfort and cramping.
Second, measure across the widest part of your palm. Add at least a centimeter to that distance to determine how wide you need the grips to be at a minimum.
Third and finally, measure from the top of your middle finger to the line at the base of your palm. The last number is the minimum outer diameter you need to hold your grips comfortably.
Go up a size or two or opt for ergonomic grips for a looser hand position to prevent cramping.
Mountain Bike Handlebar Grip Diameter
Mountain bike handlebar grip diameter is a standard 22.2 mm (7/8″) in diameter, whether flat or risers, no matter where the handlebars are manufactured.
However, there is some variation in the clamps at the base of the handlebars. Older style MTBs may still sport 1″ (25.4mm), but the modern standard is 31.8mm (1-1/4″).
It is vital to check your clamp width if you have an older mountain bike, as the modern clamps are far too large to fit.
Similarly, when buying used or vintage bars, you need to be aware of that difference if you want to get a part that fits.
Road Bike Handlebar Diameter
Most flat or riser bar bikes have grips on them. These can be foam, silicone, or rubber, but they add to the diameter where your hand grips around the bar.
Road bike enthusiasts are most likely to seek out aerodynamic components. This often means using grip tape for a lower profile.
By adding almost two millimeters, a road bike makes up some size around the bar, so it doesn’t need the higher-profile, wind-catching grips of other bikes.
BMX Handlebar Diameter
BMX handlebars are riser bar style. Like other modern riser bars, the BMX handlebar diameter is 22.2 mm (7/8″).
On average, these excellent trick and race bikes’ grip area varies from 10 to 25 centimeters, but some highly customized bikes will have a much larger hand area.
If you are unsure how to measure the dimensions of your BMX handlebars, I strongly recommend watching this video from Development Division.
They show you a very straightforward technique for getting the measurements you need.
Helpful Tips To Know About Bike Handlebar Grip Diameter
Since it is relatively standard, you don’t need to worry much about choosing your bike handlebar diameter.
However, it’s always best to measure anyway, as older, foreign, and custom bikes may have nonstandard handlebar widths.
Here are a few more helpful tips to know about bike handlebar grip diameter.
- There is a rare third handlebar style known as ‘butterfly handlebars,’ which form a nearly complete loop on either side for more available hand positions on long trips. As Cycle Travel Overload explains, “They are a type of bicycle handlebar that are often referred to as trekking bars. They are commonly found on touring bikes, designed for comfort and efficiency on long rides. Offering a multitude of different hand positions. And many other great advantages.” These usually are only found on customized bikes and cannot accommodate grips because of their shape. Butterfly handlebars are 22.2 mm at the ends, but the whole shape is meant to be the ‘grip.’
- It is possible to modify your grip diameter to almost any size. However, to do so, you must either order or weld your own custom handlebars. Additionally, when you change the handlebar grip diameter, you may not be able to fit a standard set of grips over it, so it pays to look into grip tape and other alternatives if you go this route.
- Most bike grips are interchangeable, which is not the same as universal. The sizes, lengths, and inner diameters change, but they are flexible enough to fit on most modern bikes. However, that doesn’t mean the fit will be great, only that they’ll probably go on the bar with more or less pressure and stretching.
- Children’s bicycle handlebars are usually a 19-inch diameter. You can easily find specialized kids’ bike grips for their smaller hands in most shops and online.
Although it is vital to be familiar with all the parts of your bicycle, grip diameter isn’t something you need to worry about.
If you have road bars that curve down, then they are 23.8 mm in diameter. Otherwise, they are 22.2 mm diameter bars unless your bike is custom or an older foreign model.
Choosing the proper grips, tape, or other covering is mostly a matter of taste and fit.
If you need them, get flat or riser bar grips for most bikes and road bar grips for road bikes in a style and shape that fits your hands comfortably.