If you are in the market for upgrading your dirt bike, or maybe just in the mood to spend a little money, why not check out our dirt bike handlebar guide. Proper dirt bike handlebars can make your dirt bike look better!
Why change your dirt bike handlebars?
As your dirt bike skills improve, you will be looking for ways to enhance your control over your bike. When starting out, you may have found it quite easy to adapt to your bike. There is so much going on when you first start riding a dirt bike, that your brain processes the most important information first. You are not worried about little details like front end feedback, turning response and handlebar flex, as you have no comparison. As you master the basics and ride faster, you start to notice more things about your dirt bike.
It is easier to understand how personal a dirt bike can be by jumping on a friends machine. Very often, their bike will feel utterly alien to you, and yet they ride it just fine. What is right for one rider, is not right for another. This raises an interesting question. Is it likely that your dirt bike was set up exactly right for your tastes when you bought it? It is most likely not.
You have simply learned to ride it as it is. When you have reached a basic level of competence on a dirt bike, it is time to start looking into the finer details. Upgrading key components is part of that process, and handlebars are a crucial component. Your bars will give you feedback from the front end, control the steering and manoeuvrability
Which Motocross Handlebars should I choose?
With a myriad of sweep, height and rise options where do you start? And just how do you begin to balance considerations like weight, strength, flex and fatigue? What about your budget? In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the basics and point you in the right direction as you consider your options.
Best Dirt Bike Handlebars 2021
1. Fly Racing Aero Tapered Handlebars
This braceless design offers excellent strength and maximum flexibility with a premium feel. The Aero Tapered bar is constructed from heat-treated taper-walled 7075 T6 aluminium, is shot-peened, bead-blasted and comes with a fully anodized finish. That’s aerospace-grade construction, so in a severe impact, this handlebar would have the edge over regular 7000 series aluminium.
The Aero tapered handlebar is 1 1/8″ at the clamp, tapers to the industry-standard 7/8″ at the ends and incorporates a molded honeycomb impact-dispersion design which gives just enough flex to dissipate shock and will also contribute to reducing rider fatigue. At a relatively modest 652 grams, this handlebar is lightweight without compromising on strength. The manufacturer’s boasts of “laser-accurate adjustment line-markings” and “laser-accurate steering” are backed up by online user reviews. This product is offered in around a half dozen bend configurations and comes with a durable TPR cover.
Fly Racing handlebars are known for their wide range of bends, styles and colour availabilities, and the Aero Tapered bar is offered in silver, black or gunmetal with a matching bar pad. The affordable price and popularity of Fly Racing Handlebars is a recommendation in itself. Fly Racing “Aero” have been on the market for years, and their reputation is not waning.
This is a great entry-level handlebar with a strong focus on lasting durability and really looks like living up to Fly Racing’s claims to be “Inspired by racing, driven by adventure and crafted for performance”.
2. Pro Taper Bars – Evo
The EVO Pro is the flagship unbraced handlebar from Pro Taper. Pro Taper was founded in 1991 when they revolutionized the motorcycle industry with the introduction of 28.6mm Taperwall handlebars. These are the guys who invented and patented oversized diameter handlebars without crossbars.
The EVO represents an affordable option that makes no compromise on quality or performance. It uses a premium 7000 series aluminium alloy construction and computer-profiled 4mm-thick wall design which claims to be up to 25% lighter and 45% stronger than the standard competition. It seeks to strike a balance between fatigue life, impact strength, impact-absorbing flex and of course, price.
At 635 grams total weight, this is indeed quite light but does not feel fragile. It’s big on durability with a high-tech shot-peened, stress-relieved anodized finish, the inside is epoxy coated, scratch and peel-resistant, and plastic bar end plugs keep out the dirt and moisture. Even the graphics are chemically applied instead of stickered on, and Pro Taper is keen to point out that Independent Lab tests have shown the EVO dirt bike handlebars to outlast every other motocross handlebar on the market in fatigue life.
Evo Pro bars are premium-priced products; however, they are superb value for money. If you are looking beyond dirt-track riding, Pro Taper offers the EVO Adventure High-Bend handlebar. The adventure model is designed to give touring riders increased comfort and control, offering a choice of bends and over 8 inches of “straight section” in the control areas for ease of mounting vital components.
The Pro Taper Evo design yields increased flex and impact absorption over conventional dirt bike handlebars with improved comfort and reduced fatigue. It is worth remembering that this is a premium professional product used by riders and race teams including Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing, GEICO Honda and JGR Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing.
3. ODI CFT Podium Motocross Handlebars
The Patent Pending Podium CFT crossbar system is a 1 1/8″ oversized bar that has been engineered to take advantage of structural reinforcement in high-stress areas. It uses 6061 aluminium for a “softer feel which absorbs impact and reduces fatigue”. As well as offering superior strength it is lighter too, and the main bar is crafted in 2014-T6 aluminium alloy. This could be an ideal choice for riders who are looking to shave weight, as well as add flex to their front end.
CFT stands for Controlled Flex Technology, and the design of the crossbar incorporates an innovative elastomer dampening system which combines shock absorption with controlled flex capability. This allows the bar to telescope in and out by an additional 2mm.
The resulting performance can really offer a compromise to customers who like the look of a crossbar but also want the flex and feel of one without. But don’t let this raise any undue concerns about limited housing space on the handlebar, the ODI Podium bar is 200mm wide which should leave plenty of room to mount all your controls without having to sacrifice that perfect lever placement.
With ODI usually specializing in grip technology you would be right to expect the dirt bike handlebars they manufacture to be designed to integrate seamlessly with their very own Lock-On Grip system which innovated how dirt bike grips are installed and secured to the handlebars. They feature a knurled clutch side for positive grip adhesion if using glue-on grips. The knurl is not too aggressive so will perfectly accommodate an ODI Lock-On as well. If you’re worried about spinning grips developing, it seems like Pro Taper bars have got you covered.
The mid-range price includes a bar pad delivers improved performance balanced with superior comfort. It has pretty cool stealth black graphics and 7 pad colour choices, plus there are multiple bend options which offer real versatility to match your bike and your own riding preferences. For a slight premium, you could opt for the Ricky Carmichael RC4 bend developed in partnership with the man himself, which is straighter and flatter than any “RC replica” bends you might find elsewhere. The RC4 also includes those all-important signature edition graphics.
4. Renthal Handlebars – Fatbar 36
The guys at Renthal have applied logic, science and their own 50+ years of experience and technical expertise in coming up with the R-Works Fatbar 36. This product is all about weight reduction, “every time you accelerate, brake, corner, jump you work against the weight of the motorcycle”, so a decrease in weight is clearly going to improve performance. Presented as the ultimate in lightweight motocross handlebars, the Fatbar 36 is a whopping 36% lighter than their previous lightest motocross handlebar, the standard 28mm Fatbar. It is all designed to give the highest strength at the lowest possible weight.
There are a few innovations and engineering principles that have been employed to achieve these results. Firstly, the handlebar is constructed using Renthal’s 36Tech handlebar standard and exclusively developed proprietary material Zarilium (a unique and improved chemical composition of zinc, copper and magnesium) which has a 20% greater textile strength than previous materials while retaining the same elongation properties.
Using advanced wall geometry to maximize material efficiencies along the entire length of the bar to reduce weight the 36mm clamping diameter tapers down to a conventional 22mm control section at each end so is still suitable for industry-standard grips and controls. Add in Renthal’s extensive in-house testing with data acquisition, and it is easy to see how this product benefits from the company’s championship-winning race experience. “A fraction of a second. A few grams. A couple of millimetres. It all counts.” Their website says as they claim to offer the “ultimate in lightweight motocross handlebars”.
Renthal acknowledges that this product, as part of its innovative R-Works range, does not have to be compromised by what it calls “industry expectations and price”. This is a high-end option for the serious racer. It’s not cheap, but if your upgrade is going to be about all-round performance, weight saving, customization and professional improvement, you may consider this a price worth paying.
5. Fasst Flexx Dirt Bike Handlebars
If you are looking for genuinely high-tech performance, here is a handlebar designed to absorb high-frequency abuse and catastrophic impacts. The Flexx handlebar isolates your upper body from impact and vibration, allowing you to ride longer and harder, even under extreme motocross conditions. Fasst focuses on ergonomic design, and this is as close as you will get to a bespoke bar without sending the budget sky-rocketing.
With this in mind, there really are multiple bends available to suit the small, tall, wide or low rider, and each bar comes equipped with a range of three different elastometers. If you can’t select the fit for you from the multitude of options available, the friendly team at Fasst Customer Service will be only too happy to advise you over the phone.
Made exclusively in the USA from 7000 series aluminium, these bars use the latest technology in CNC machining and extrusion methods. They weigh in at just 430 grams with a carbon center and ends and have titanium hardware. Central to the Fasst design, vibration is drastically reduced as the pivot pin is wrapped in a proprietary bushing that isolates the handles from any metal to metal contact.
Fasst believes that by concentrating on both abuse absorption and a customized fit their handlebars naturally achieve a level of comfort that will surprise you. These bars offer super-stiff strength which is often regarded as the be-all and end-all of everything for the bike industry. But it can go too far, and these Flexxbars are about retaining that strength and safety while allowing back in a little more managed flex capability. And with that flex comes added traction and reduced fatigue.
All of this comes at a price of course, and the Flexx handlebar is unashamedly high end. Fasst will always offer a monthly installment payment plan. Think carefully about what you are getting for your money here though, and weigh things up to balance quality, innovation, build and specification, against your own level of riding ability and the dirt bike you ride.
Whatever your preferences and priorities, these options represent some of the best bars available today. Whether this is an upgrade or a replacement, if it’s for professional reasons or solely for fun, if it’s more about what is desired than what is required, think carefully, choose wisely and enjoy.
If you are looking for nice Hand Guards to keep your fingers safe and clean, check out our ultimate guide to the best Dirt Bike Hand Guards 2021.
We will back with more Motocross Advice soon. Have fun out there!