Renthal Recommends 2021
Selecting handlebar bends for you and your modern motocross bike
From Renthal Off-Road Manager, Paul Perebijnos
April 26, 2021
Choosing a handlebar bend that will work best for you can be a daunting task when considering the multitude of optional handlebar bends available. Then when you take all those bends and multiply them by the various handlebar platforms you can choose from, even riders with years of riding and racing experience can become overwhelmed with making the correct choice. Sure, you can pick out your favorite professional rider in which you find similarities in their style and body type to yours and give their chosen bend a try on your machine. But here at Renthal, we believe in applying some science to support our approach in steering our customers to the handlebar bend that will best suit their needs.
Being a competitive rider and racer for over 30 years and spending a decade working in the AMA pro paddock as a factory level technician before joining Renthal; I wanted to share my knowledge and experience of handlebars to give you an inside line to some useful information to help guide you in your journey to confidently find the best handlebar option for you.
Before getting into specific details of handlebar bend dimensions, or “specs”, for those that have experience with multiple bends themselves, I would first direct you to our Renthal WorksFit Handlebar comparison tool. This one of kind tool can be utilized to dissect every detail of the various handlebar measurements and allow you see how they combine to create different handlebar bends and compare.
To use the Renthal WorksFit Handlebar comparison tool, first choose a reference handlebar (under ‘Bar 1’). This can be any Renthal bar or any non-Renthal brand handlebar. For non-Renthal brand bars, start by selecting ‘Custom Dimensions’ from the dropdown filter menu; simply enter the handlebar dims into the corresponding dimension fields and WorksFit will draw a reference handlebar for you. You can also set your OE handlebar as your reference by selecting ‘OE Bike Handlebars’ from the dropdown filter menu and selecting your motorcycle from the optional fields.
Next you will select any of the optional Renthal handlebar bends (under ‘Bar 2’) to compare to your reference handlebar. WorksFit will then overlay images of both handlebars, as well as present the bend specs of each handlebar side by side, taking virtually all the guesswork out of how to select a new handlebar bend…. If you know what you need.
But what if you don’t know what you need? To start, let’s dive into the details of what exactly handlebar bend specs or dimensions are, and why it’s important to understand which of the six measured specifications that make up a Renthal handlebar bend are the most pertinent. Sweep(E), Height(B)and Width(A) are the three most critical specs to take into account when selecting a handlebar bend. Sweep(E) is the amount of ‘pullback’ in a handlebar from the bar mounts. Sweep(E) changes as you adjust your bars in your clamps. Rolling them back increases sweep and rolling them forward decreases sweep. Height(B)is the distance from the center on the clamping area of the bar to the center of the hand hold area of the bar; Height(B) is important when considering how tall you are, how long your legs are and your motorcycles bar mount and seat height. Taller or long-legged riders should consider a bar with more Height(B). Width(A) is the measurement from the left grip end to the right grip end of the handlebar and should correlate to the rider’s shoulder width and/or wingspan. If you have longer than average arms and/or wide shoulders, you should consider a wider handlebar bend.
To help narrow these options down for your body type and apply the three most critical bend specs to each modern motocross bike, I’ve complied the following charts and information to consider in helping get you in the correct vicinity when selecting a new handlebar bend.
Jump to:Gas Gas Honda Husqvarna Kawasaki KTM Suzuki Yamaha
Seat height and bar mount height/position on these bikes lend themselves to fairly low and straight handlebar and are currently being fitted with a handlebar bend identical to our popular Renthal 821 Fatbar, which works quite well. If you are of average or below average height, the ‘suggested’ bends below should work well for you. Depending on your wingspan and/or shoulder width, considering cutting down the Width(A) these ‘suggested’ to 800mm-808mm. TLD RedBull GasGas Factory Racing’s Justin Barcia runs the 827 Fatbar.
For well over a decade these bikes have been OE fitted with Renthal’s 971 7/8” handlebar, but from 2019 models and newer, Honda has switched to equipping these bikes with our Renthal 839 Fatbar. This bar has much less sweep and height than the 7/8” style bar and besides being stronger, it fits the ergos on the Honda’s much better and comes in at a very comfy 802mm in Width(A). Honda HRC Factory Racing’s Ken Roczen uses a 996 Twinwall, while his teammate Chase Sexton uses a 827 Fatbar or a 933 Fatbar36 depending on dirt conditions.
Seat height and bar mount height/position on these bikes lend themselves to fairly low and straight handlebar and are currently being fitted with a non-Renthal bar with a uniquely low bend that that suits this bike, but it is quite wide. If you are of average or below average height, the ‘suggested’ bends below should work well for you. Depending on your wingspan and/or shoulder width, considering cutting down the Width(A) these ‘suggested’ to 800mm-808mm.
Much like Honda, the 7/8” 971 bar has been fitted on the Kawi’s for years, but in 2021 both the 250 and 450 switched to an oversized 1-1/8” bar and now come stock with our Renthal 839 Fatbar. As the Kawi ergos have evolved this lower bar is much better suited to the green machines, but not as drastically as other brands. A little more height on this bike fits it just right. SX and MX Champion, Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Eli Tomac runs a 604 Fatbar and his teammate Adam Cianciarulo uses a 827 Fatbar.
Seat height and bar mount height/position on these bikes lend themselves to fairly low and straight handlebar and are currently being fitted with a handlebar bend identical to our popular Renthal 821 Fatbar, which works quite well. If you are of average or below average height, the ‘suggested’ bends below should work well for you. Depending on your wingspan and/or shoulder width, considering cutting down the Width(A) these ‘suggested’ to 800mm-808mm. Supercross Champion, RedBull KTM Factory Racing’s Cooper Webb runs a 821 Fatbar cut down to 800mm.
The seat, footpeg and bar mount position on the RM-Z’s create a riding position that finds you pretty far forward on the motorcycle and if the handlebar has too much sweep it will create a small and tight cockpit for even average sized riders. Look for a handlebar bend with a little less sweep here to open things up more.
Yamaha’s have what I consider to be the most ‘different’ cockpit of all of today’s modern motocrossers. Very wide shrouds, with a lower seat height that has a defined ‘pocket’ to sit in; combined with a footpeg position much closer to the seat and bars than any of the other bikes and the Yamaha can quickly make an average height rider feel very cramped. I suggest a handlebar with less sweep and/or more height. You can always roll a taller bar back to find the perfect balance for your stature and riding style. Monster Energy Yamaha MXGP Factory rider Jeremy Seewer, who I consider a little shorter than average height, runs a 821 Fatbar.