Traditional BMX handlebars should be roughly the same width as the rider’s shoulders, so proper measurements are vital. Replacing old or poorly sized stock handlebars can make a world of difference in how your BMX handles and how you ride.
Using undersize or oversize handlebars can interfere with control or turning and make it difficult to do tricks. How do you measure BMX handlebars?
BMX handlebars use a standard tube diameter of 22.2 millimeters, so you need to measure the width and rise of your BMX handlebars using a tape measure. For the width, measure across the widest part of the handlebars. However, the rise is how long it is from the bottom of the bar, where it clamps onto your stem to the top of the straightedge.
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How Do You Measure For Handlebars On BMX
BMX handlebars have three essential measurements. The three relevant things you need to measure are diameter, width, and rise.
While it is okay to vary from the recommendations for your bike size and height, it’s still vital to have well-fitting and correctly measured parts.
Below I’ve explained what each is and where to check it.
The diameter is almost always going to be the exact same size; 22.2 millimeters or 7/8 of an inch.
However, it’s always a good idea to double-check this. Additionally, custom BMX bikes may use different tube diameters. You can check your handlebar diameter using calipers.
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The width of BMX handlebars is typically the same as the width of your shoulders.
You can quickly get this measurement with sewing tape, which is a flexible tape measure made for taking clothing size measurements.
Simply stretch the tap from shoulder to shoulder and note this number down. Then when you check the handlebar size, the bars should be the same width from grip to grip at the widest point.
Rise is how tall your handlebars come up from the stem. You mark an imaginary line across the tallest point on your handlebars, and the rise is how high that is from the point where the bars meet the stem.
The best rise for each rider is the one that feels right, gives them the control they need to steer, and doesn’t cause unnecessary pain, especially in the shoulders and back, due to the angle a rider assumes when holding the bars.
How High Should My Handlebars Be On BMX
Bar height and bar rise are the same thing on a BMX. Rise is the proper term for how high your handlebars are.
As for how high they should be, it is a matter of personal preference and comfort.
There is a chart below that offers a general recommendation for beginners but choosing a lower or higher handlebar is more comfortable for some riders.
The thing to keep in mind is that the correct fit should never leave your arms, back, or shoulders in pain after riding normally.
A little tension and muscle soreness after a long day on a bike are normal but pain, especially when it’s unusual and new, is never a good sign.
BMX Handlebar Rise Measurement
Because of the unique style of BMX handlebars, it’s easy to get confused over how and where to measure the rise.
There is a connecting bar between the two branches of BMX handlebars. This is not where you measure the rise, but it’s a common mistake.
Instead, you want to find the imaginary line across the bars at their highest point, which is always higher than that crossbar.
What Does Rise Mean On Handlebars
The rise on BMX handlebars is height measurement. This measurement is how tall your handlebars are from the point where they attach to the stem.
However, the stem also has a rise measurement. I strongly recommend watching this video for a superb explanation of how stem measurements work and why they matter.
How Is Handlebar Rise Measured
Rise is the distance from the place where the bars clamp onto the stem to the highest point on your handlebars.
To get an accurate rise measurement, you need to draw a straight line across the highest point of your handlebars.
You can use a yardstick and simply lay the handlebars face down on a flat, level surface and place the yardstick along the top of both sides to get this line.
Then measure from the point where the handlebars meet the stem to the middle of the line across the high point of the handlebars. This number is your handlebar rise.
BMX Handlebar Rise Chart
Although every rider needs to choose their handlebars based on what works best for them, there are general guidelines for getting started.
Below I have created a basic chart to help you find the right handlebar rise for your BMX.
BMX Handlebar Rise Chart By Rider Height & Frame Size
|Rider Height||Frame Size||Handlebar Rise|
|4’4″ or less||Micro||2″ – 2.5″|
|4’6″ – 5’1″||Junior||3″-5″|
|5’0″ – 5’4″||Expert||5″-7″|
|5’2″ – 5’6″||Expert XL||6″-7″|
|5’3″ – 5’8″||Pro||7″-8″|
|5’7″ – 6″||Pro XL||8″+|
Helpful Tips To Know About How To Measure BMX Handlebars
Understanding how to measure your handlebars’ rise, width, and diameter will allow you to swap them out with ease as you customize and upgrade your BMX.
Over time, most riders choose to replace the stock handlebars for more comfort, stability, or style.
Here are more helpful tips to know about how to measure BMX handlebars.
- Lower handlebars can be harder on your back and shoulders. While you get excellent stability and control from too-low bars, they can be problematic by causing pain for the rider. Hunching ver your bike isn’t comfortable, and it’s important to remember to keep your back straight as you ride, even when leaning forward.
- Higher handlebars are generally easier to pull up, but the tradeoff is stability and height on your hops. However, the most important thing for any rider is to use handlebars that feel comfortable to you. It is entirely okay to choose shorter or taller handlebars if that’s what you need to feel ‘right’ on your BMX.
- Just as you can opt for taller or shorter than the standard recommended size handlebars, you can also get wider or narrower styles. After all, it is your BMX. Some riders prefer a slightly broader or narrower set.
Measuring BMX bike handlebars isn’t tricky. You only need to know the diameter, width, and rise to find the perfect set for you.
Depending on your height, there are standard sizes that give a good balance of control and comfort for most riders.
However, so long as the diameter matches, you can swap out stock BMX handlebars for alternate widths and rises. Your BMX bike handlebar measurements are all about comfort and how you ride.