Can You Put BMX Handlebars On a Mountain Bike?

If you are wondering whether it’s possible to put BMX handlebars on a mountain bike; well, the answer is yes, you can, but it does come with certain consequences. 

If you are racing with your bike and using it for different types of cycling, before you replace the handlebars, first consider the effects that the rise of different handlebars and shifters will have on your riding style. 

New handlebars are more than just a higher-rise look. They affect the way your bike rides. 

What Happens When You Add BMX Handlebars on a Mountain Bike?

You might think that adding a BMX handlebar to a mountain bike is no big deal, but it can have a big effect on your riding and how your bike performs. Mountain bikes have not been designed for “calm commuting,” and they are ridden differently than BMX bikes. 

Before you decide to add new bars to your bike stem, you should consider what happens to a low-rise bike when you replace the handlebars.

Comfort levels are affected

Anytime you change the style or design of a bike, it will interfere with the comfort levels. Mountain bikes are designed to be comfortable to ride, but when you mount different handlebars onto an existing stem, it changes things. 

You may be sitting in a more upright position and the higher rise of the handlebars on the stem could cause back or shoulder pain and put more pressure on your sit bones. Higher bars can also make the mountain bike a little less aerodynamic, so you won’t be able to go as fast or steer as easily. 

Having to reach up higher to account for the position of the handlebars on the bike stem might cause pain and fatigue while riding. The higher the bars, the higher you have to reach up.

Control is affected

Because the BMX bars will sit higher on the mountain bike stem, they can make it harder to steer and change the way you control it. Adding new BMX bars essentially changes the bike’s original geometry. 

An MTB frame is made for the bars that were installed on it, but if you prefer higher-rise BMX bars, know that it will affect your shifters, brakes, and how you sit when you ride. You should also think about how the different bars will affect your reflexes and how you turn and maneuver the bike.

If you are riding your bike regularly for exercise and you switch the post or decide to mount new bars to the bike, you will likely have to work a little harder to make the wheel spin. As a result, you’ll get a lot more exercise due to the added effort required to control the bike.

Safety is affected

Most people assume their MTB will be safe no matter what type of bars they put on it. However, BMX bars are meant to be attached to a BMX stem and MTB handlebars are made to be attached to MTB stems. 

This might not seem like a big deal, but because they change the design of the bike, the BMX bars can change the weight of the bike, how it rides, and how it brakes, among other things. 

If you aren’t used to steering an MTB with BMX handlebars, you could find it more difficult and it will take some time to get used to it. You could end up being in an accident and suffering a painful injury. 

When you install a new stem or BMX handlebars, give yourself time to get used to the feeling before you go out on a serious trail.

The Bike Will Be Heavier

BMX handlebars are much heavier than MTB bars, so you can expect to feel a big difference whether your bike is geared or single-speed. The BMX bars are larger and contain more materials, which makes them heavier. 

There are a few things that happen when you have a heavier MTB—the BMX bars themselves can be more difficult to maneuver because of the weight. The bars can also make the bike heavier in the front, which means it will ride completely differently uphill and downhill. 

The weight will also make it less aerodynamic and affect the way it jumps. Heavier bikes don’t make jumps as easily and the high rise and higher reach on the handlebars can make it harder to pull up on the shims to get the bike to jump. 

If you’re planning to swap your MTB handlebars for BMX handlebars, be sure you are ready to deal with the added weight.

How Can You Add BMX Handlebars to a Bike Without Messing It Up?

If you really want to add BMX handlebars to your MTB, or your MTB bars need to be replaced and you think BMX bars might be a good option, then do it carefully. 

Here are some things you can do to install the BMX bars safely so your mountain bike will still function properly.

Get the Right Size

Even though the BMX bars might not be made for a mountain bike, it’s still possible to  find ones that will fit. It’s important to choose the right size so the BMX bars will safely attach to the MTB stem. 

If you are planning to convert your bike further, you may want to consider getting a BMX stem as well. You’ll need to do more work to attach the stem, but it will hold the BMX handlebars more easily.

Go for a Smaller Rise

The risk associated with adding BMX bars to a mountain bike is how far the BMX bars rise up. If you can reduce the height of the BMX handlebars, you can make the bike a little safer and reduce the risks of an accident. 

When possible, look for BMX handlebars that have a rise of less than 3.5 inches.

Have Them Installed by a Professional

If you don’t know much about working on your mountain bike or are unsure of how to go about putting BMX handlebars on your bike, take the MTB to a professional. This will reduce your risk of having an accident due to improperly installed handlebars.

What Are the Benefits of Adding BMX Handlebars to a Mountain Bike?

If you are nervous about adding BMX handlebars to your mountain bike, know that there are some benefits to it.

These are some of the benefits of installing different bars:

Better Rise

When you install BMX handlebars on MTB stems, you will get a much better rise. Some people prefer a high rise and actually find it more comfortable than traditional MTB bars. 

It can reduce the strain on your wrists and elbows so you can cycle for longer, more comfortably. 

More Room for Accessories

If you install BMX handlebars on an MTB, it will give you plenty of room to clamp on more accessories because the handlebars are taller and the post is often thicker. 

This means you can clamp on water bottles, towels, and lights. You can even clamp on a headset and clamp on any other accessories you need. 

You will have a higher reach to the grips of the handlebars, but more space on the tall post to clamp on everything you might need on a mountain bike ride. 

A Cool Look

Another reason riders switch out their MTB handlebars is because they want a more unique look. Since MTB bars all look alike, when you see a bike with a BMX handlebar, it gets noticed.

Installing BMX handlebars changes the location and look of the brake levers and the distance between the front wheel and your handlebars. And you can even add a unique shim if you choose. 

Do BMX Bikes Work As Mountain Bikes?

If you are tired of your MTB bars and prefer the look of a BMX bar, you might have considered simply replacing your mountain bike with a BMX bike. However, although you may prefer the BMX bar look, they are not suitable for most types of mountain biking

If you don’t mind a single-speed mountain bike, you can use a BMX bike to replace your mountain bike. But since BMX bikes only have one gear, they do not do well if you are racing or biking on rough terrain. 

If you love the look of a BMX handlebar, but want all the other benefits of a mountain bike, you are better off installing BMX handlebars on your mountain bike.

Conclusion

If you are considering putting BMX handlebars on your mountain bike because you prefer the look of a dirt bike or just think the higher bars would make your cycling experience better, be sure to first consider all the points above. 

The truth is, you can replace your MTB bar with BMX handlebars, but that doesn’t mean that you should.