How to measure BMX handlebars is one of the most overlooked factors that can either make or break your riding experience. Size doesn’t matter? Well – whoever told you that, has clearly never attempted a bar spin in mid-air on a BMX bike.
Choosing the incorrect measurements, material and strengthening processes of handlebars could result in a not-so-comfortable riding in experience; and in the worst of cases can result in the rider not being able to control the bike.
So, in order to avoid these issues, here is our definitive guide on how to measure BMX handlebars. It’s quick and easy, and can be done with household materials.
How To Measure BMX Handlebars
You Will Need:
- A tape measure
- A sturdy straight edge
- A flathead screwdriver
- Some penetrating oil
Once all the necessary tools are acquired, follow this simple process:
Loosen the Handbrakes
Firstly, you’ll want to get both sets of handbrakes loosened. In order to do this, you’ll need to use your flathead screwdriver. Gently turn the screw located where the brake clamps onto the handlebars counter-clockwise, and it should come loose.
Once those are out of the way, you’ll want to slide the brakes away from the handlebar grips. Push the tip of the screwdriver between the flared section of one grip facing the loosened brake and the handlebar tube.
If you have the recommended penetrating oil, generously spray some in the gap you’ve created with the screwdriver. It will help to release the part ten times more easily, and prevents damage to the part when you perform the next part, which is twisting the grip back and forth as you pull it straight away from the centre of the handlebars.
Repeat this for each of the two sides.
Measure The Handlebar Width
Now that all the bits and bobs are out of the way, you can put them to the side. Taking your tape measure, ensue it’s straight and place it against the flat edge on the one side of your handlebars.
Then simply pull the tape measure across the handlebar to the opposite end. Read the measurement; this is your handlebar’s width.
Calculate Your True Handlebar Rise
Now, this is quite self-explanatory, but the next aspect of BMX handlebars is often the most overlooked factor that can cause discomfort and awkwardness with handlebars. That is of course the issue of ‘true rise.’
When looking at a handlebars true rise, it’s generally the size that changes the most across different sets of handlebars. In this day and age with modern BMX’s, the popular sizes would be between 8.8″ and 10″ rise.
The rise alters the overall feel for your bike and the first thing to take into account is your height. This will hugely affect the rise, and you’ll want a larger rise value the taller you are.
Of course one cannot entirely base the rise you need off of your height, as there other factors like the rise of your stem and even your frame specs that alter the height of your bike but it’s a good place to start.
The rise is measured from the centre of the knurled tubing up to the centre of the tubing where the grips area flattens out after the curve.
Thus, firstly you’ll need to line up the top of your straightedge with the centre of the open handlebar ends you exposed when you took too your grips off earlier on. Ensure the straightedge aligns with the centre of each tube end, as the grip areas of many handlebars slant down toward the centre of the handlebar.
Now that you’re symmetrically lined up, you’ll take the measurement. Hold the end of the tape measure in the middle of the bottom bar that clamps into the bike stem (this is the bike part the connects the handlebars to your BMX.)
Pull the tape measure up and over the straightedge, holding it firmly so that the measure doesn’t slip. Read the measurement where the tape measure blade crosses the top of the straightedge, and this measurement is the true rise of your handlebars.
Measure The Handlebar Grip Tube
The final significant measurement you should always double-check on, is your handlebars grip tube. It is generally a standardized length, but to check it, stretch your tape measure across one of the two open ends of the handlebars grip tube and read off the measurement across the opening.
You will see it is 22.2 mm or 7/8 inch which is the standard measurement.
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The best handlebar width and rise ultimately depends on the rider. If you have the wrong size, riding is not going to be comfortable. In case it is too big, you can easily trim it as per your requirements.
However, you need to be careful because you can only remove, but you cannot take back the removed part. We would recommend going to a bike shop or a professional though, as you wouldn’t want to ruin your handles. Follow these easy steps to check and make an informed decision on how to measure BMX handlebars to suit you best!