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The handlebar plays a pivotal role in how your bike performs and how comfortable you are when pulling stunts or taking part in other types of BMX. In my 4 Piece vs 2 Piece BMX bars comparison guide, I will look at the differences between these two handlebar types.
If you have ever wondered if either a two-piece or four-piece handlebars would suit you best, I have all the information you need. I’ll look through the features of these two handlebar types, show you their differences and similarities, and I’ll also review the best four-piece and two-piece handlebars.
If you want to quickly find out the differences between a two-piece and four-piece bar, have a look below.
Bottom Line Up Front – I recommend opting for a four-piece BMX bar, and the best model you can buy is the ODYSSEY 49er. While this handlebar is a little expensive, it provides fantastic performance. With two rise heights, a classical BMX design, and durable and robust construction, this four-piece bar would suit most types of BMX riding.
Main Differences Between 4 Piece vs 2 Piece BMX Bars
The main differences between two-piece and four-piece BMX bars are:
- A four-piece BMX bar has a stiffer construction, whereas two-piece bars provide more flex.
- Four-piece bars have a traditional BMX design, whereas two-piece bars provide a more modern aesthetic.
- Four-piece BMX bars are often stronger than two-piece bars, whereas two-piece bars won’t snap as easy due to having fewer welding points
- Four-piece bars have an average upsweep angle of 2.6°, whereas two-piece bars have an average upsweep angle of 1.7°.
Exploring 4 Piece and 2 Piece BMX Bars – Features
4 and 2 piece BMX handlebars offer different construction and design, impacting performance and comfort. So, let’s explore the different features of these two types of handlebars that you can buy for your BMX bike.
One of the significant differences between a two-piece and a four-piece bar is flexibility.
Two-piece bars provide more flex than a four-piece bar, and this is due to the construction. A 2 piece BMX bar has a single tube which allows them to be more flexible, and this design can offer more forgiveness when landing. If you have pain or a feeling of discomfort in your wrists when pulling off stunts on your BMX, a two-piece bar with more flexibility often helps.
Four-piece BMX bars tend to be less flexible; however, some people prefer a stiffer bar, so the bar design you choose often comes down to personal preference.
Although there can be some differences, modern two-piece and four-piece BMX bars don’t have much difference in their knee clearance.
Some four-piece BMX bar models do offer a bit more knee clearance as they can accommodate more extreme angles. In addition, the two arms can be welded to the crossbars, which means a four-piece bar doesn’t stick out as much and can provide more knee clearance, whereas a two-piece bar is wider at the stem.
Having more knee clearance can allow you to perform certain tricks and stunts a bit easier. However, as the difference between modern four-piece and two-piece bars is minimal with their knee clearance, this shouldn’t impact what type of bar you purchase.
One feature that sets a two-piece BMX bar apart from a four-piece model is the design.
Four-piece handlebars have a classic BMX design, so they are often seen as a more traditional style choice. This is ideal for anyone who wants to ride a bike with a classic BMX aesthetic, especially if you complement your bike with a classically styled pair of BMX shoes.
However, if you want to opt for a more modern style, a two-piece bar has a cleaner look. As two-piece bars have fewer parts than a four-piece model and don’t have as many welds, these handlebars are better for a modern aesthetic.
Strength and durability are perhaps the biggest areas where a four-piece and two-piece bar differ.
Four-piece bars tend to be stronger than two-piece bars; however, like knee clearance, this isn’t as big of a difference as it used to be. The arms on a 4-piece bar have a larger vertical angle, which can help increase strength.
A two-piece bar is less likely to break if it suffers a strong impact. This is because there are fewer welding points on a two-piece bar, so if the handlebar suffers a particularly severe blow, it is more likely to bend, whereas a four-piece bar could snap.
There are also slight differences in the weight between a two-piece bar and a four-piece bar.
Four-piece BMX bars tend to be slightly heavier than a two-piece BMX bar. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as the heavier weight can be beneficial for pulling off certain stunts and providing a high level of control.
However, certain types of BMX require a lighter bar (for example, BMX racing), but you might prefer a different weight for street riding.
The difference in weight between a two-piece and a four-piece BMX bar isn’t huge, but it can impact performance. On average, two-piece BMX bars weigh around 850g, whereas four-piece BMX bars weigh about 890g – although this does depend on the model.
Upsweep and Backsweep
The upsweep and backsweep are essential to consider when buying any type of handlebar.
The upsweep is the angle of the handlebar to the grip area. The angle can have a significant impact on absorbing shocks while protecting your wrists.
There isn’t a massive difference in the upsweep angle of four-piece and two-piece bars in general; however, on average, a two-piece bar will have an upsweep degree angle of 1.7°, whereas a four-piece bar will have an average upsweep angle of 2.6°.
A slightly higher upsweep angle will suit some riders, especially with reducing wrist strain and if you ride with your hands far apart.
The backsweep on a BMX bar refers to the backward angle of the grip section. There isn’t much difference between a two-piece bar and a four-piece bar with the backsweep, and again, this will come down to each individual handlebar model.
Comparing 4 Piece and 2 Piece BMX Bars – Pricing
Even though there are many differences between a two-piece and a four-piece BMX bar (with many of them subtle), pricing isn’t one.
One type of BMX bar doesn’t cost more than another just because it has a two-piece or a four-piece construction. Instead, price differences will depend on the specific model and will take into consideration things such as the material, advanced features, and the brand.
4 Piece and 2 Piece BMX Bars – Performance
There shouldn’t be a lot of difference between a two-piece and four-piece bar regarding performance, although some aspects will impact how well you pull off stunts or ride your BMX.
Four-piece bars used to have a more extensive knee clearance, but that generally isn’t the case anymore. On average, a four-piece bar has a larger upsweep angle which, depending on the way your cycle, can impact performance by absorbing impacts and promoting greater comfort.
Some people prefer using four-piece bars for performing certain tricks such as lookbacks and turndowns, although there isn’t anything in the basic construction of a two-piece bar that would impact this performance.
Pros and Cons
Four Piece BMX Bars Pros
- They provide a stiffer design
- Some four-piece bars will have better knee clearance
- Offer a higher upsweep angle on average
- They have an old-school, traditional BMX design
- Some four-piece are stronger
Four Piece BMX Bars Cons
- These bars don’t have the same flexibility as two-pieces bars
- Not ideal if you want a cleaner and modern design
- Can snap easier due to having more welding points
Two-Piece BMX Bars Pros
- These handlebars have more flex, which can be better for performing tricks
- They are less likely to snap as they have more flexibility
- Offer a cleaner and more modern style
Two-Piece BMX Bars Cons
- Don’t have the same stiffness as a four-piece bar
- On average, offer a lower upsweep angle
- Potentially less knee clearance
Best 4 Piece and 2 Piece BMX bars
Now that I have gone through the differences and similarities between a two-piece BMX bar and a four-piece BMX bar, what are the best models on the market you can buy?
ODYSSEY 49er – Best 4 Piece Handlebar
The best four-piece BMX bar you can buy is the ODYSSEY 49er Handlebar.
This is a solid handlebar if you want to go down the four-piece route, and I really like this bar for several reasons. For a start, ODYSSEY offers a fantastic range of BMX components and parts, and their handlebars consistently rank at the top end of the market.
The 49er is available in either a 9″ or 9.5″ rise, and I like the two options as it provides a decent choice to help with your comfort levels and performance. This handlebar also has a multi-butted construction alongside large radius bends to increase its overall durability and strength.
Four-piece bars are generally stiffer, and the welded end caps also help to reduce flex if that is what you want from a BMX handlebar.
I like the traditional design of this handlebar, and it would suit anyone looking for a more classic style. The downside to this four-piece handlebar is that it does cost a bit more money than some other models; however, I do think that you get what you pay for, and ODYSSEY is an excellent brand.
If you are looking for a quality four-piece bar to suit a range of BMX disciplines, go for the ODYSSEY 49er Handlebar.
Black Ops MX – Best 2 Piece Handlebar
My choice for the best two-piece BMX handlebar is the Black Ops MX.
The first thing that stood out to me with this bar is still steel and clean design, so if you are looking for something that gives off an air of modernity with a sleek aesthetic, this is a perfect bar.
The other thing that I like about this two-piece model is the price. While I don’t base my decision for any BMX gear or components solely on price alone, having a cost-effective bar that still offers good performance is never bad.
The steel construction and overall design of this bar ensure that it has a good level of durability, and as it is a two-piece bar, it won’t snap easily either. For freestyle BMX in particular, this bar performs really well and is suited to pulling off many tricks and stunts.
The rise is a little on the short side at 8.25″, and you don’t get any additional options for the handlebar height. It is a slight drawback if this rise isn’t going to suit you.
Overall, as far as two-piece BMX bars go, there isn’t anything bad to say about this model. It offers good performance, a robust steel construction, and you can pick one up for a relatively budget price.
Are There Any Alternatives?
If neither of these bars are suitable for what you need, there are a couple of two-piece and four-piece alternatives.
SE Bikes Power Wing Bar
The SE Bikes Power Wing Bar is a fantastic two-piece BMX bar that would suit a cruiser bike.
This handlebar has a stylish design, and its durability is assured due to the Chromoly construction. The oversized style with a standard 9″ rise and the backsweep of 10° with a 1° upsweep will suit most people.
This is one of the more expensive BMX handlebars, although it is a bit cheaper than the ODYSSEY 49er. However, if you’re after a cruiser style two-piece BMX bar with a sleek design and all-around good construction, you can do worse than the SE Bikes Power Wing Bar.
ODYSSEY Ten-Four Bar
Another alternative you can consider is the ODYSSEY Ten-Four Bar, which is a bit cheaper than the ODYSSEY 49er.
The design and construction are pretty similar. This handlebar has a multi-butted design, and it is reinforced by being post-weld heat-treated. So, this is a very durable and robust handlebar that can cope with even extreme forms of BMX.
The 30-inch width makes it ideal for taller riders, and if you find another of the other handlebars here a bit short, this is a good option to consider.
For freestyle, the ODYSSEY Ten-Four Bar is a solid choice that can help you save a bit of money compared to some other ODYSSEY models.
Frequently Asked Questions
Answer: Not necessarily. Four-piece bars are traditionally viewed as stronger as they have a larger vertical angle. However, this does depend on the model and how it has been constructed.
Answer: Yes. If you find that the four-piece or two-piece BMX bar is too long for your bike, it can be easily cut down to size with a pipe cutter.
Answer: This largely depends on personal preference. However, some people prefer the additional flexibility with a two-piece BMX bar, as it can provide more forgiveness on harsh lands. Although, some people want a stiffer bar to pull off certain tricks that you get with a four-piece construction.
Answer: On average, four-piece BMX bars have a bigger upsweep angle. Two-piece bars have an average upsweep angle of 1.7°, whereas four-piece bars have an average upsweep angle of 2.6°
Answer: Historically, four-piece bars had a better knee clearance than a two-piece handlebar because they didn’t have extreme angles, while a two-piece bar was wider at the stem. This isn’t so much the case these days, and there isn’t much difference in knee clearance between the two bar types.
Verdict – Pick a 4 Piece handlebar and choose the ODYSSEY 49er
While the differences between a two-piece and four-piece handlebar are a lot more minimal than they used to be, I still like four-piece bars overall.
This is why I recommend choosing the ODYSSEY 49er Handlebar.
Aside from a higher price (which isn’t that much compared to some other BMX components), this bar has nothing wrong. The ODYSSEY 49er offers two heights with a 9″ or 9.5″ rise, and this is enough to suit the vast majority of BMX riders.
Also, I like the traditional design, and even though this won’t suit everyone, it gives off a real classic BMX style. The four-piece construction alongside the welded end caps provides this for anyone who wants a stiffer bar. A multi-butted construction alongside large radius bends enhances its strength and durability.
If you have a few extra dollars to spare on a new high-quality BMX handlebar, the ODYSSEY 49er Handlebar is the perfect addition to your bike.