Handlebars 101: rise, sweep, etc.

Hey Lee,
I am looking at handle bars and I was wondering what bar rise is and what the advantages of a bar with more rise rather than less rise. What would the difference between a 19mm. rise vs. a 38mm. rise?

Hey Zach,

Looks like it’s time to explain a few things about handlebars.

Rise: The vertical distance between the center of the bar at the stem clamp and the center of the bar at the grip. More rise puts your hands higher. Your ideal rise depends on your bike, your stem, your body and your riding style.

Sweep: Most bars have two kinds of sweep. Both are measured with the rise going vertically. Upsweep is the angle the bars sweep upward, and backsweep is the angle the bars sweep backward (duh). When you install the bar at the proper angle, the bar usually sweeps backward and is near level with the ground. Check out this action:

I used a BMX bar because it has more space to show stuff. This is the setup on my Intense cruiser. www.sinz-racing.com

You want the angle of your grips to match the natural angle of your hands. This is purely personal preference. When you find a bar with a sweep you like, run that bar (or others from that company) for the rest of your life.

Width: That one’s pretty obvious. Your ideal width depends on your body and riding style. Read this: DH bars: How wide is too wide?

Difference between 19mm and 38mm rise: You do the math!

OK, I hope that helps.


— Lee