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How to Cut MTB Handlebars

Find the Right Width, and then Cut Your Bars!

How do you know if your bars are the right width? It will just feel right! But the thing is, you don’t know what will work until you give it a try. Handlebars that are too narrow can be unstable and squirrely on the trail, but bars that are too wide can cause shoulder pain and inefficiency while riding. Handlebars that are a good width will enable you to have a relaxed bend in the elbow and ride with confidence and control, usually a bit wider than your shoulders. For most female riders, this will be between 700-760mm wide.

What You'll Need: 

  • Measuring Tape
  • Masking Tape
  • Hacksaw w/ carbon blade
  • Lock-on Grips
  • Allen Wrenches
  • T25 Wrench
  • File
  • Pipe Cutter
  • Marker

How To Cut Your Bars:

To determine the best width handlebars for you, start wide and trim 10 mm at a time (5 mm from each side of the bar). Remember, you can always take more off, but you can’t add it back on!

  1. Remove your handlebars from the bike and remove all accessories from the handlebars. Leaving the bars on the bike is a bad idea because small metal flakes can make their way into the fork stanchions or carbon dust can get on your bike.
  2. Place the bars on a countertop.
  3. Measure the appropriate width and put a piece of tape where you will cut. For example, if trimming your bars down 20mm, it will be 10 mm on each side. Make sure the tape is even.
  4. For an ALUMINUM BAR, use a pipe cutter to make an even trim on both sides. File sharp edges. Pipe cleaners make for a simple cut without having to use a hacksaw.
  5. For a CARBON BAR, use a hacksaw with a tungsten carbide blade. Place masking tape over the cut mark and make a mark on top of the masking tape. This will prevent the carbon from fraying.
  6. Place the handlebars in a bike stand and clamp down so they are parallel with the floor.
  7. Use a lock-on grip as a guide if using a hacksaw to ensure a straight cut. Use smooth strokes for a clean cut using a hacksaw and file any sharp edges.
  8. Put your bars back on your bike, add grips and accessories.
  9. If you’re not comfortable doing this yourself or don’t have the right supplies, a bike shop will be happy to help you out.
  10. Now get your shred on!