List of Comfort MTB Handlebars (Alt Bars) –

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Below is the list of Mountain bike handlebars Check out our top products that you can purchase.
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Updated January 2022

Modern mountain bikes are often stocked with relatively wide and straight handlebars, typically with a 9-degree sweep or less, and a subtle rise at best. Whilst this style of handlebar may well suit a trail rider’s needs, it’s not necessarily the best option for big backcountry rides and long-distance bikepacking. After all, a comfortable setup allows you to cover more miles, recover more easily, and enjoy the scenery whilst riding.

For those looking at alternatives to their stock handlebars – be it ones with more backsweep, more rise, or more width – we’ve collated our favorite “alt bars” and “comfort mountain bike bars,” for want of a better term. By “comfort MTB,” we’re referring to handlebars that are rated for mountain bike use and suited to riding challenging terrain, be it on trails or dirt roads – rather than comfort bars in a more traditional touring sense, like the butterfly or trekking bars favoured by many long-distance road tourers. Alt bars is another term that’s developed when describing these handlebars.

  • Jones SG Loop H-bar, bikepacking
  • Surly Moloko Handlebar
  • Tumbleweed Persuader Bar, handlebar

Exactly what rise, width, and sweep you prefer will boil down to personal preference, the geometry of your bike, the terrain you ride, your body type, and even your age. Just remember that muscle memory is a powerful thing, so however you experiment, allow yourself time with a new setup before deciding if it’s the right one for you. For instance, your sense of control and steering will initially feel markedly different. Bear in mind too that changing handlebars will also affect weight distribution across your contact points, cranks, and front wheel. Reach is likely to also be affected, which may require a change in stem length. This can have a knock-on effect on the position and angle of your wrists, arms, and shoulders. Bike fit is a topic in itself and will be saved for another guide, within which saddles and grips also play a role. This page by the biomechanic experts at SQ Lab is a good place to start your research.

But still, handlebars are a good place to begin. With so many variables to consider, nothing beats sampling different models over a series of long rides. Try and borrow as many as you can so you can nail down the best one for you and your setup.

Full List of Alt Bars (Comfort Handlebars)

Here’s the list of comfort bars, specifically, bars for mountain biking, bikepacking, and dirt touring. These are all of the MTB variety; you can find our list of gravel bars in another Gear Index. For the purposes of this guide, we’re keeping to bars those with a 15˚ backsweep or more. Note that some of the gear listed hasn’t been reviewed on this site. Look out for the “T” symbol, which denotes items we’ve tested and can happily recommend. Also, be sure to scroll beyond the list to find additional thoughts and considerations.

  • Corvus Sweet 16° Barcontract Close
  • Defiance Frameworks Arise! Barscontract Close
  • Doom Bars Lucky Risercontract Close
  • Hunter Smooth Move Barscontract Close
  • Jones Loop H-Barcontract Close
  • Jones Loop H-Bar SG 2.5contract Close
  • Moonmen Moonriser Barcontract Close
  • Oddity Razorbarcontract Close
  • Passchier Gumpcontract Close
  • Salsa Bend Deluxecontract Close
  • SQ Labs 30X16contract Close
  • Surly Corner Barcontract Close
  • Surly Moloko Handlebarcontract Close
  • Surly Sunrise Barcontract Close
  • Tumbleweed Persuader Bar (Alloy)contract Close
  • Tumbleweed Persuader Bar (Steel)contract Close
  • Velo Orange Crazy Barcontract Close
  • Whisky Milhouse Handlebarcontract Close
  • Alpkit Love Mud Confuciuscontract Close
  • BLB Hobo Loop Barcontract Close
  • Bontrager Crivitzcontract Close
  • Carver MyTi Carboncontract Close
  • Carver MyTi Handlebarcontract Close
  • Crust Jungle Runnercontract Close
  • Crust x Nitto Loose Barcontract Close
  • Doom Bars Bikepacker’s Delightcontract Close
  • Ergotec Space Barcontract Close
  • Farr Supa-Moto Riser Barcontract Close
  • Forager Cycles Oyster Barcontract Close
  • Groovy Cycleworks Luv Handlescontract Close
  • Koga Denham Barcontract Close
  • Meriwether Double Bend Sweeper Barcontract Close
  • MONē Oddmonē Barcontract Close
  • On-One Geoff Handlebarcontract Close
  • On-One Mary Barcontract Close
  • On-One OG V2 Barcontract Close
  • Origin8 Space Bar Off Road 2 Barcontract Close
  • Origin8 Strongbowcontract Close
  • Protaper 20/20 Carbon Barcontract Close
  • Ritchey Kyotecontract Close
  • SimWorks Fun 3 Stealth Barcontract Close
  • SimWorks Getaround Barcontract Close
  • Soma Clarence Barcontract Close
  • Soma Dream Riser Barcontract Close
  • Soma Osprey Barcontract Close
  • Stooge Moto Barcontract Close
  • Surly Open Barcontract Close
  • Velo Orange Seine Barcontract Close
  • Whisky Winston Barcontract Close
  • Wren Perseverance Barcontract Close

Bags and bars

Other factors to consider are the general shape of the bar, with regards to how your bikepacking bags will fit. Handlebars with shapes that sweep forward before it sweeps back can especially create an issue with wider bags. Similarly, the angle of your brake levers – and even the brand of the brake – will affect cable routing. In some cases, you may need to change your cables out for longer ones, especially for wide bars with a significant rise. Look for loops and prongs as ways of fixing bags and navigational aids, too. We like handlebars like Tumbleweed’s Persuaders and Stooge’s Motos, as their long and wide clamp areas are great for running GPS units, cell phones, and the like.

Inner Bar Ends

Swept back bars tend to rule out the use of traditional bar ends, as favoured by many cross country riders in the past for added long-distance comfort. However, positioning them inboard can be a creative way of adding usable hand positions and adjusting reach or helping position your body in a way that feels more efficient on windy days. The latter is especially the case if you’re making the move to wider handlebars. SQ Lab’s Inner Barends 411 are a great place to start, as they can be easily added to your favourite handlebar. We’ve fitted them to SQ Lab’s excellent 30×16 handlebars and seen them on Tumbleweed’s Persuaders too. If you’re making the move from a drop handlebar setup, this style of inner bar end, whether added or integrated into the actual bar – as per the Koga Denham Bar, Velo Orange Crazy Bar, or Surly Moloko Bar – can also mimic the position of riding on the hoods.

Variations on a theme (wrap-up)

There are simply too many models to cover every permutation on the market. Note that Soma, Velo Orange, On-One/Planet X, Rivendell, Origin 8 (recommended for budget-priced options), and SQ Lab have a wide range of handlebars, in addition to the ones we’ve selected. Nitto make many bars for other brands and are always a good mark of quality. If you’re more of a gravel and forest road rider, you may want to check out the classic Albatross, which has seen a number of imitations over the years.

As mentioned, check out What Bars for more options and use its clever overlay, allowing you to compare how a handlebar sweeps forward and backward. When choosing a bar, be sure to check their intended uses, as some are designed for urban commuting and gravel riding rather than off-road touring.

These guides are subject to changes and updates. Please let us know if you’ve come across any related products that are standout options, and we’ll add them in!