Mountain Bike Steering

Mountain Bike Steering

We’ve grouped mountain bike steering into those components used in steering the mountain bike. Components we’ve included are:

  • Handlebar: the handlebar is what you grab to steer the mountain bike. There are many different designs, shapes, and weights to consider. Depending on your style of riding, Downhill, Enduro, Fatbike, Freeride, or XC, you probably would want a handlebar designed for that type of riding.  Major considerations are:
    • Handlebar geometry
    • Handlebar width
    • Handlebar shape
    • Handlebar weight
  • Stem: the handlebar attaches to the stem. The stem is a vital piece of equipment whose sole responsibility is to keep a firm grip on the only thing controlling your bike, the handlebar. Usually the focus on higher performing stems revolves on reduced weight while providing superior grip onto the handlebar. They primarily come in two sizes (based on the thickness of your handlebar), which are 31.8mm and 35mm clamp sizes.
  • Grips: the grips are attached to the handlebar. They’re what you’re hands grab and are one of the most important things to upgrade as soon as you get your mountain bike. They’re highly subjective and usually require buying a few sets to find the perfect one for you.
  • Headset: The headset is a set of bearings that install in the headtube. They allow the stem (and handlebar) to rotate the front fork. There are primarily two types of headsets
    • Threaded: the headset attaches to a threaded fork (make sure you buy a fork with the proper length for your frame and headset). They come in two types, loose ball bearing and internal ball bearing.
      • Loose Ball Bearing: commonly used on the typical kids bike. They’re cheap and reliable, but heavy.
      • Internal Ball Bearing: mainly an asthetic thing. The bearings are internal to the headtube providing a cleaner look.threaded-headset
    • Threadless: a recent innovation that brings a big improvement to the headset. It allows the use of a non-threaded fork, allowing manufacturers to make one fork rather than multiple threaded forks for different frame sizes.


All the components that make up steering your mountain bike are highly customizeable. Innovation is happening everywhere, even in something as simple as steering components. We’ve collected several articles we’ve found interesting below.

Mountain Bike Stems Made In America

A nice stem can really class up your cockpit and is often more lightweight than your stock setup. Companies like Moots, Thomson, and Twenty6 Products make their stems in the USA with precision CNC equipment. Check out the wide selection below to find the right angle and length stem you need for your ride.


Mountain Bike Grips Made In America

A good pair of grips is crucial for the proper cockpit feel. Everyone has their personal choice as to which style of grips they like best. You can see my list of my favorite grips in this previous article I wrote on the topic. Fortunately there are a lot of great American grip makers like Oury, ODI, Lizard Skins, and ESI.

Mountain Bike Headsets Made In America

Installing a quality headset on your mountain bike is an important piece of a good bike build. These headsets are made in the USA by Chris King and Cane Creek. They are two of the most highly respected headset makers in all of mountain biking. A high quality headset will last longer because it has better bearings and seals to keep dirt and grime out, have no slop because the tolerances are tighter making the fit better, and they also look better than standard offerings. Make sure you have your headset installed by a professional with the right tools.

Mountain Bike Steering Reviews, News, And Articles

2014 ENVE carbon direct mount downhill stem

2014 ENVE Carbon Downhill Stem Made In Utah

The guys at ENVE are carbon maestro's. They've now taken their talents and created a full carbon direct mount downhill ...
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Profile Racing Helm mountain bike stem

2014 Profile Racing Helm MTB Stem Made In The USA

Profile Racing has been around for a long time. They have always made all of their parts in the USA ...
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Generic Cycles titanium stem

Generic Cycles Handmade Titanium Seatpost And Stem

Generic Cycles has updated their web store with new pictures of their handmade titanium mountain bike stems and seatposts. The ...
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Groovy Luv Handles handlebars

Groovy Cycleworks Luv Handles Finishes

Groovy Cycleworks out of Wooster, OH showed off some finishes he's been doing on his Luv Handles handlebars. I really ...
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Hit N Run Designs AXIS direct mount stem

Hit N Run Direct Mount Single Crown Stem and Jawbone Stem

I ran across a new company called Hit-N-Run featuring some interesting cockpit components. The first product that caught my attention ...
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2014 ENVE MinnaarBar test

Made In USA 2014 ENVE Minnaarbar Stress Tested

MTBR has a nifty little article on the ENVE Minnaarbar carbon downhill handlebar. They went to ENVE's headquarters to see ...
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Black Market Ratted Underboss stem

New Black Market Ratted Underboss 31.8mm Stem

Black Market Bikes has re-upped their inventory of American made Underboss stems. They now are featuring some new colors done ...
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Paul Components GoPro camera mount

Paul Component Engineering Stem Cap GoPro Mount

I missed the release of this nifty new Go Pro mount from Paul Components that mounts your camera right over ...
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Best Mountain Bike Grips

Top 10 Best Mountain Bike Grips

The contact points of your bike are highly based on personal preference when building up your bike. Everyone has their ...
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Thomson Dropper Seatpost

Trade Show Roundup – 2013 Thomson Dropper Seatpost and Handlebars

Thomson of Macon, GA has a few new tricks up their sleeve for 2013. At the trade shows this year ...
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Watson Cycles titanium handlebars

Watson Cycles Titanium Handlebars

If you're looking for some nice new titanium handlebars for your mountain bike Watson Cycles has some models you may ...
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Moots 650B YBB Titanium mountain bike

[2013 NAHBS] Moots YBB 650B and Mount Stem

photos by: Jake Moore Moots had a few other goodies in their booth at the 2013 North American Handmade Bicycle ...
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thomson bike stems

[Factory Tour] Inside LH Thomson

Bike Rumor has a very detailed factory tour article published on LH Thomson's American manufacturing facilities. The tour shows the ...
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Thomson titanium mountain bike handlebar

[Review] Thomson Titanium Handlebar

Singletracks has posted a review article on Thomson's new titanium handlebar. These bars are part of Thomson's latest product venture ...
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Alt handlebar round up

[Round Up] Alternative or “Alt” Mountain Bike Handlebars

Alternative or "Alt" handlebars have been ridden by mountain bikers for many years. A lot of riders have turned to ...
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