Ask MBAction: Handlebar Trimming
I see that my handlebars have measurements on them, which leads me to believe that my handlebars can be cut down. Can you teach me how I can do that?
East Burke, Vermont
You are correct. Those marks are put in place to make sure you get your handlebars cut evenly. Since handlebars can only be trimmed down, companies often offer a wider-than-necessary bar so riders can trim them to their desired width after purchase. Aluminum bars are quite easy to cut with either a bench-mounted vise and a saw or a pipe cutter. Carbon handlebars require a more careful cut.
This is a Park Tool SGI-7 jig that is used to cut angles if needed or a guaranteed straight cut.
If you plan to use a saw and a bench-mounted vise, you will find it easier to remove the handlebars from the bike. Using a pipe cutter, you can make your cuts with the bars attached, but make sure your bike is secure. Check twice before you cut and, if needed, use a file (on aluminum bars) to smooth out the bar ends. Install your grips and go hit the trails.
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Mountain Bike Action is a monthly magazine devoted to all things mountain biking (yes, that’s 12 times a year because we never take a month off of mountain biking). It has been around since 1986 and we’re still having fun.