Can You Put a BMX Stem On a Dirt Jumper?

Condensed answer: A BMX stem can be installed on a dirt jumper but can only be used with handlebars that have a 22.2mm clamp-on diameter.

Requirements For Installing a BMX Stem On a Dirt Jumper

22.2mm Handlebar Diameter

BMX stems are designed for handlebars that have a 22.2mm diameter at the clamping area.

However, most MTBs and dirt jumpers use riser handlebars with 25.4mm, 31.8mm, and 35mm diameters.

If you have one of those, you will have to replace them with 22.2mm risers. Given that quality handlebars aren’t cheap, it could be more cost-effective to buy an MTB/dirt jumper stem instead.

The smaller diameter of 22.2mm bars is why most are made of Chromoly steel instead of aluminum or carbon.

Why?

Tubes with smaller circumferences are weaker when all parameters (material, build quality…etc.) are equal. For example, 22.2mm handlebars will be much weaker than 31.8mm bars when both are the same thickness and made of the same material.

Since steel is much denser than aluminum and has a higher tensile strength, it’s possible to manufacture very strong steel tubing that’s fairly small in circumference.

For aluminum tubing to match that strength, its diameter will have to be greater. For the same reason, aluminum frames are much wider in diameter than steel.

The downside?

22.2mm bars add extra weight, although it’s questionable to what degree that matters. After all, in the world of dirt jumpers strength is more important than weight.

Below is a table containing many 22.2mm handlebars and their weight.

BarMaterialCrossbarWeight In GramsWeight In Oz
NS DistrictChromoly SteelNo550g19.40oz
DMR WingbarChromoly SteelYes700g24.69oz
Nemesis ProjectChromoly SteelNo655g23.07oz
Gusset 3″ Open Prison 750 BarsChromoly SteelNo580g23.07oz
Gusset 2″ Open Prison 750 BarsChromoly SteelNo560g19.75oz
CTN Eastwood BarChromoly SteelNo590g20.81oz 
Atomlab GI Riser BarChromoly SteelNo590g20.81oz
Renthal Jump Bar7010 T6 Aluminium AlloyNo380g13.40oz
Black Market Molly Hatchet BarsChromoly SteelNo455g16.05oz
Dartmoor Toxic v.2Chromoly SteelNo415g14.64oz
Fireeye FIRE BARChromoly SteelYes790g27.87oz
Surly SunriseChromoly SteelYes778g27.43oz
Norther Cycles Custom Steel Sweepy Riser BarChromoly SteelNo485g17.11oz
Fairdale MX 28″ HandlebarChromoly SteelYes453g15.98oz 
Dobermann BikesChromoly SteelNo645g22.75oz
Average:Average:575g20.28 oz
22.2mm Risers

Conclusion: The average weight of 22.2mm risers is about 575g or 20.28oz.


BarMaterialCrossbarWeight In GramsWeight In Oz
Spank Spoon BarAluminumNo400g14.1oz
Spank Spike 800MGR Super 6 AlloyNo350g12.35oz
Truvativ Hussefelt Comp DJAluminum 6061No348g12.28oz
NS ProofAL7050-T6No373g13.12oz
Chromag 35 OSX 7000 Series AlloyNo312g11.05oz
Spank Spike 35Zirconium Doped 7-Series AlloyNo335g11.08oz
Truvativ Descendant Aluminum 7050No330g11.6oz
Average:349.71g12.34oz
Weight of Aluminum Dirt Jump Handlebars

Conclusion: The average weight of aluminum dirt jump handlebars is approximately 349.71g or 39.15% less than that of steel models. The difference is pretty large in percentages but when it comes to performance, it’s negligible.

 The fork clamp diameter should match the diameter of the fork’s steerer tube.

Most dirt jumper bikes have suspension forks with a steerer that’s either 1 1/8″ from top to bottom or tapers from 1 1/8″ to 1 1/2″.

In both cases, a standard BMX stem would work because it has a fork clamp diameter of 1 1/8″.


The Advantages of Running a BMX Stem On a Dirt Jumper

  • Appearance

The main motivation to use BMX stems on non-BMX bikes is appearance. Some people put them on MTBs and fixies to gain style points for uniqueness.

  • Compatibility with BMX Bars

Another incentive to install a BMX stem on a dirt jumper would be the ability to use standard and low-rise BMX handlebars.

BMX bars have three major advantages:

  1. Looks
  2. High rise that standard bars can’t match (good for taller people in some cases)
  3. Strength

That said, the extra strength comes with extra weight. The average weight of a BMX bar is about 800-900 grams. This is 61% more than what an aluminum dirt jumper bar weighs. At this point, the weight starts to climb up a lot.

The Disadvantages of Installing a BMX Stem On a Dirt Jumper

Fewer Handlebar Choices

A BMX stem restricts you to bars with a 22.2mm clamp area. And while there’s a decent number of them on the market, the volume is nowhere near close to that of dedicated 25.4mm and 31.8mm MTB bars.

That said, if you count the dedicated BMX handlebars, the number of options increases greatly. But as already mentioned, those add an appreciable amount of weight.

Heavy Bars

Most 22.2mm handlebars are made of Chromoly and some have a crossbar/brace for extra support. The material and the construction add extra weight.

Heavy Stems

BMX stems tend to be heavier than what we find on MTBs and dirt jumpers.

The table below contains the weight of popular BMX stems.

ModelWeight In GramsWeight In Ounces
Sunday Freeze298g10.51oz
Odyssey Nord354g12.49oz
BSD Dropped320g11.29oz
United Purge382g13.47oz
Fit High Top V2344g12.13oz
BSD Levelled320g11.29oz
Cinema Martinez286g10.10oz
Animal Inverse Stem382g13.47oz
Profile Acoustic272g9.60oz
Fly Volcano 2281g9.92oz
Average:323.9g11.393oz
BMX Stems

The table below contains the weight of popular MTB stems.

ModelWeight In GramsWeight In Ounces
Thomson Elite X4 Stem165g5.82oz
Renthal Apex Stem146g5.15oz
NEWMEN Evolution 318.4167g5.89oz
LEVELNINE Team AM Stealth 35 Stem135g4.76oz
Hope FR/AM 31.8 134g4.73oz
Syntace MegaForce3 97g3.42oz
Race Face Chester 35 Stem170g6.00oz
Race Face Turbine 35150g5.29oz
Chromag HIFI V2 200g7.05oz
Chromag BZA 35 Stem165g5.82oz
Average:152.9g5.39oz
MTB Stems

Conclusion: MTB/dirt jump stems are two times lighter than BMX stems.

Thus, it’s safe to say that the biggest downside of using a BMX stem, and potentially BMX handlebars, on a dirt jumper is the added weight to the bike.

In extreme cases, the stem and the bars will add 500-600 grams.

Are BMX Stems Stronger?

Ultimately, it depends on the model. Both dirt jump and BMX stems are strong enough to handle the stress that a stunt bike faces.

Summary: What You Need To Know

A BMX stem can be installed on a dirt jumper only when the handlebars have a 22.2mm clamp area.

22.2mm MTB/dirt jump bars are made out of steel and are therefore thinner and heavier.

On average, BMX stems are two times heavier than MTB/dirt jump models.

A classic MTB/dirt stem is plenty strong and allows you to choose between more handlebar models that are also a lot lighter than the 22.2mm options.

The only incentives to use a BMX stem on a dirt jumper are looks and the ability to combine them with high or low BMX bars.

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