There are a number of reasons why you should put bullhorn bars on mountain bikes, and in this article I’m going to give them.
I’ve recently finished restoring my Cannondale Super V 1000. And during the restoration project I was lucky enough to find a set of CODA XYZ Superlight bullhorn bars.
The bike itself is from 1994 and it’s in that year that these bars also came out. Actually it’s the only year these bars came onto the market, which makes putting bullhorn bars on mountain bikes a very distinctive choice, even for the nineties.
1. The best alternative to bar ends
Bicycle bar ends were all the rage in the nineties and bullhorn bars are basically handlebars with bar ends rolled into one.
However, because bullhorn bars are made from a single piece of aluminum, they are much lighter and are more ergonomic than your standard bar ends and handlebars combination. Especially where the bar ends. That’s because bullhorn bars are curved in that particular area.
This makes bullhorn bars for mountain bikes the best alternative to bar ends, while maintaining the benefits that bar ends provide. Which is adding different hand positions to your ride and reducing the risk of palm fatigue.
2. Great for riding cross country, hardpack and gravel
Bullhorn bars on mountain bikes are an awesome choice if you ride gravel, hardpack and/or cross country, where control is outweighed by comfort in terms of importance.
Bullhorn bars have always found their way onto touring bicycles and, more recently, gravel bikes. That’s because the ability to change your hand position while remaining fairly upright adds comfort to your ride.
3. Provides a certain uniqueness
The reason I bought these bullhorn bars was because I thought they looked cool. The vintage mountain bike scene is awash with bikes running very narrow straight bars. But these handlebars add a really unique touch to this build. Especially since it’s a mountain bike.
4. Adds comfort
The level of comfort has significantly increased. Because of the size of the bars I’ve been able to ride more upright, even though a bit of tuning was necessary to find the correct angle to set the bars
I’ve put 440mm. Ergotec foam grips on the handlebars, which was actually a bit longer than intended. I simply pushed it onto the bars, making the high-density foam even more dense. All in all it feels much better than the ESI Racer’s Edge grips they replaced.
Concluding remarks about bullhorn bars on mountain bikes
The Superlight bullhorn bars are a classic 56 cm. wide. That’s far removed from todays standard of running 70 to 80 cm. wide bars.
So while they look right at home on my vintage Cannondale Super V with 26″ wheels, I’m not sure if the same goes for a mountain bike with today’s geometry and 29″ wheels. And the answer is “probably not”.
But nobody makes up the rules for what’s best for you, so why not do what I did and decide for yourself if the advantages of bullhorn bars on mountain bikes are worth experimenting with.
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