Can you put a BMX stem on a mountain bike?

Do you want to increase your mountain bike reach? Then replacing your BTB bars with BMX handlebars seems like a great option. The problem is how to swap your MTB bars out for BMX bars and, if possible. Still, why is putting BMX handlebars a great alternative to use? Today we are going to help answer all these questions.

Pros and Cons

Okay, firstly, what makes BMX handlebars so unique compared to the MTB bar? Well, the BMX provides you with some distinctive qualities, and the first one is height. A BMX has an 8-inch to 8.75-inch handlebar rise. The elevation, therefore, compensates for the small BMX frame to keep you as a rider remaining in an aggressive position. This, in turn, helps to facilitate your performance to do tricks and stunts on your mountain bike. Stunt pegs are available too if you want to use your bike in this way.

Compared to mountain bike bars, the BMX handlebars can handle loads of abuse. This helps with failures as manufacturers use reinforced steel to provide a stable structure. Yet while these are positives, there are some downsides as well.

So check them out to make sure you want to place a BMX handlebar on your mountain bike.

Here are some of the disadvantages of using BMX bars:

Changing Original Geometry

When you use a mountain bike handlebar, you travel over trails comfortably. Yet replacing it with a BMX bar, you start reaching unhealthy heights. So you will be in an upright position when riding which is unnatural for mountain bike cycling, and you may find it tricky doing things like wheelies and other tricks.

So you will pedal with a vertical back and not aerodynamic placing stress on your sit bones. This makes cycling difficult as an extra drag is found in the center of gravity to shift towards the back sprocket. Even climbing uphill becomes difficult, and the handlebars are very close to your chest.

So the taller your handlebar, the closer it sits to your chest. So your landings or jumps on rough terrains result in the handlebars making contact with your ribs and can be painful. So even your out of saddle riding is uncomfortable.

You drag it up towards you when you ride out of your saddle using your MTB stems and handlebars. But if replaced with the BMX handlebar, it sits higher, and you cannot pull them towards you as you sit below them. The only way to achieve this is to pull them back.

So you will not have a boost in your pedaling as it is horizontal instead of vertical, leading to weird handling. The other downside is if you are a tall rider, your hip extension lessens. So you will need to stand up with your hips close or fully extended, not leading to calm commuting on trails.

bmx stem

You Get Added Weight

When replacing your MTB handlebars with a BMX one, you need to consider the weight as well. The problem is that MTB handlebars are lighter compared to the BMX with their higher rise and weight.

So for mountain biking, it might not be the best choice unless you find one that compares to your existing stem to prevent painful injury in the end. For example, you may want to consider a BMX race bar compared to a freestyle one.

The handlebar provides a low rise and is made of lighter aluminum. But on average, they are as till more in weight than your MBT.

Things To Consider

Okay, now we can see your jaw-dropping from a smile to a frown with the information provided. But there is good news to enable the transition. Using a low-rise bar that is smaller with an elevation between three to five inches will work. Or you can consider a racing BMX handlebar instead.

When you install BMX handlebars, you find it has a 22.2mm diameter located in the clamp section. While your mountain bike gooseneck is 31.8mm made of aluminum. So to help increase the strength, it is thicker near the clamp area. Here are ways you can make your bike compatible to work with handlebars from a BMX.

  1. Look for a handlebar that fits your current gooseneck of 31.8mm.
  2. Or substitute the gooseneck with one designed to work with 22.2mm handlebars.
  3. Alternatively, you can replace it with BMX stems.
  4. Another way is to take your 31.8mm stem and place a shim around it, but it is not very stable.

Next, with your gooseneck and handlebars, remove the brake levers and shifters from your old handlebars. You can do this by unscrewing the nuts on the faceplate using an Allen key. If you do not plan to replace the stem, mount the new handlebars on the faceplate with the bolts.

A note is that when you replace your stem, remove the nuts and the star nut bolt. Then, mount the new one to the fork steerer tube and prevent unpacking the headset. Lastly, make sure the stem runs in alignment with your front wheel and tighten the bolts securely.

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