Types of Bike Handlebars

Bike Handlebars and 11 Types of Bike Handlebars

Do you know about what are the different types of bike handlebars? A trusty handlebar is necessary, whether it is the road bike, mountain bike, or fixed gear bike. There are a variety of handlebars: riser bars, flat bars, bullhorns, aero bars, cruisers, drop bars, butterfly bars, and others. Each of these handlebars has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. 

The considerable range of handlebars makes it inevitable to understand their workings. Since every type would not surpass your expectation, knowing about them in detail can be a good choice. However, while buying a bicycle, you need to check the handlebars. It has a significant influence on stability, reliability, and handling. So, you have to pick the right style to ride comfortably. 

This article is created with the only plan of offering an easy guide. Here we will focus on the fundamental difference between the different bike handlebars types. This unbiased review of the kinds of bike handlebars will make you a guru in choosing a proper handlebar. So without any further ado, let us find out straight how many types of handlebars are there?

How do you choose bike handlebars?

Most riders know about the way a handlebar is rated. A lot goes to personal preference. However, there are again some significant aspects that you must not ignore. It will help you to choose the best bike handlebars

  • A versatile handlebar is a type for biking styles that riders can use
  • A comfortable handlebar means the way you can keep your body and hand
  • Aerodynamics implies the way it will allow to reduce wind drag
  • Leverage means the power that the rider can transfer using pedals
  • A controlled bike means its turning ability and the lift it offers you

So, to your question about how do I choose bike handlebar, you must make sure of these features. If you find a bicycle that can match these needs, you can proceed further. 

What are the different types of handlebars on a bike? 

RISER BARS:

Riser handlebars are most commonly found on mountain bikes and fixed gear bikes. The most significant advantage of these mountain bike handlebars is that it facilitates the upright position. It becomes beneficial in the urban movement. Riser handlebars are an excellent choice to add comfort to the ride. 

riser handlebars

Mountain bikes have different degrees of rise, allowing the rider to fit it to perfection. These can be said as semi-raised. Handlebars that have 40mm, 30mm, 20mm of rising are also available. With this handlebar, the rider can leverage a 180-degree turn. It would offer more stability. 

Advantages:

  • Suitable for your wrists

Apart from the back sweep, which adds to the comfort, riser handlebars also offer riders to sit back. It enables less weight on its front. People who suffer from wrist issues can feel relief with this handlebar. 

  • Better control

If you have a question about are wider handlebars better, then yes. These types of handlebars offer more leverage. When this handlebar is installed, your bike turning becomes simpler and needs less energy. If you have to pass along a winding road covered with debris every day, riser bars are the best match. 

  • Good for free-riding and trail 

It offers more control when you have a wider grip and a better weight distribution on its back. Thus, this type of handlebar is a good choice for rough terrains and challenging courses. You will mostly find them on a mountain bike

  • Customize for climbing

Higher handlebars are not suitable for climbing. However, some riders flip their handles upside down to ensure that the handlebar suits best for climbing. 

 Disadvantages: 

  • Expensive choice

It needs more material to offer more rise to this bar. It would keep the bar strong and offer stability. Thus, the riser bars come with an expensive price tag compared to the standard handlebars. 

  • Heavier

If you have the racks for bike transport, you might need to put on extra ounces. These riser bars are commonly heavier compared to other flat bars. 

  • Not suitable for climbing

Riser bars and a normal setup are not a good combination for the uphill rides. 

  • Wider choice

Even when it offers more control, wider bars have some difficulties. It can eventually make it hard to store your bike as it would not fit properly in the corridors and doors. 

  • A lot of improvement is needed in aerodynamics

Like the flat bars, it can be challenging to tuck the bicycle. It results in destructive aerodynamic abilities when moving at higher speeds. 

FLAT BARS: 

In fixed gear and mountain bikes, flat bars are the most common types of bike handlebars. Most commonly, these handlebars consist of alloy frames. 

flat handlebars

The width of the flat bar is something that offers the extra stability which is needed to get better performance. It can also be a good choice for cross country and downhill trails. For riders who want to ride at a higher speed, a combination of flat and drop handlebars can be the right fit. 

Advantages: 

  • Versatile choice

If you wish, you can attach lights, phone holders, brake levers, and other bike equipment. It also makes it easy to fit in a range of bat ends to offer better functioning. 

  • Suitable for climbing

One of the most common reasons for using flat bars is it offers forward-leaning. It is one of the most popular choices among cross-country riders. Leaning towards the front of the bike provides more leverage and improves grip. 

  • Cheaper choice

Every single ounce matters if you want to carry the bike around. The flat bars come in a simple shape which offers strength. This also makes it cheaper as fewer materials are required to manufacture. 

  • Suitable for tight spaces

These bars are primarily narrow in shape. It is why it becomes easy to get through the corridor and doors seamlessly. 

  • Less low backload

If you predominantly suffer from back problems, you need a bike that can properly distribute the weight. Flat handlebars ensure proper weight distribution and put low pressure on the spine. However, if you have a query about do all handlebars fit all bikes, then it is a no. It depends on the design as well. 

These are to name a few advantages. Since it is one of the most common types, people widely choose it. 

 Disadvantages: 

  • It is not a good choice for risky trails

If you want to go on a dangerous path on your bike with a flat handlebar, it is not a good choice. Riding in terrains needs a more upright position as it offers leverage. 

  • Not great to obtaining speed

It can be challenging for a rider to increase speed on a bike with a flat bar. 

BULLHORNS: 

It is an old choice. In your childhood days, you must have found the previous cruiser bars. These are the ones that can rotate to 180 degrees. 

bullhorns

Bullhorn bars are undeniably an excellent choice to acquire that kind of look. They can be said to be an alternative to riser bars or flat bars. This is a suitable model for the rider to choose a forward-leaning and dynamic position. 

It comes with the handgrip section that goes down to various degrees, and the end is up. It has been intentionally provided to prevent slipping. A typical bullhorn handlebar comes with a simple curve that leans forward and goes up at the end. 

Advantages:

  • Great for climbing

Flat handlebars are the type that moves your body forward. When it is uphill climbing, the bullhorn not only offers the room, but the horns allow it to move further up. Moreover, forward meaning offers the leverage required for uphill climbing. 

  • Improved aerodynamics

Bullhorns can be said similar to the flat bars that offer you to go lower when moving fast. It provides better than the risers and flat bar when it comes to speed. 

  • Pursuit bullhorns offer better speed

Pursuit bullhorns are undoubtedly a better choice for providing more momentum. 

  • They look freaking great

As the name goes, bullhorns look similar to them. 

Disadvantages: 

  • Not an excellent choice for frequent turns

Even when bullhorns are functionally flat bars, it has the exception of horns. They are also shorter and offer the leverage required while turning the handlebars. It also has the additional clearance needed when going through challenging paths. 

AERO BARS: 

Aero bars or triathlon bars have a range of styles. It makes them a good choice for time-trial bicycles and racing bicycles. These come with bolt-on narrow extensions which bring the body forward. Pursuit bars help to spread the rider’s arm and drop their torso. This design allows them to acquire better speed. 

aerohandlebars

Triathlon bars are mostly used for time trial events on track and roads. However, in most parts, these bikes are considered illegal. Since they have the aerodynamic advantage, they mainly improve the speed and keep the hands away from the brakes. So, an aero bicycle handlebar in urban areas can be a wrong choice as it becomes prone to accidents. 

The bar-end shifters can be installed. It is specially done to prevent the rider’s hand from moving away. It can be beneficial for the riders and ensures safety. 

Advantages: 

  • Superb aerodynamics

Despite the narrow position of these handlebars that might look uncomfortable, it is not. When riding against the wind, its aerodynamics feature can work like wonders.  

  • Rest your hands

Many riders get the aero bars not only for aerodynamics but also for resting wrists and arms. It is also known as the praying mastic position. 

  • Clip-on

You will not have to ride on the aero bars. You can add the aero kits on the bullhorns and drop bars if you wish. It is one of the most common ways of incorporating it for a better biking experience. 

Disadvantages: 

  • It is dangerous

These bars can put the riders into some challenging positions. They need to react to road obstacles and unexpected turns. Even when these are improved aerodynamically, it draws the rider’s hands away from the brakes. This is the reason why it is illegal in racing events. 

  • Not suitable for climbing

This is one of the bike handlebars that make it challenging for riders to apply power while pedaling. This is why it can be great for climbing. 

DROP BARS: 

Drop bars are one of the most common choices among bike lovers. The versatility and looks of these handlebars offer make it a common choice. Most commonly, the drop bars come in a straight midsection that looks similar to the flat bar. However, it has a downward curve at its end, which faces towards the rider. 

drop handlebars

You can find a range of drop bars that are defined by reach. Their reach, the drop, and the handlebars’ width are commonly taken into account. 

  • Most classic handlebars have deep drops and long reach 
  • Compact bars have shallow drops and short-reach
  • Depending on the drop shape, anatomic drop bars feel comfortable on the hand
  • Track drop bars come with big radius curves
  • Randonneur bars have a shallow rise on the mid position, and its drop snags out. It makes it a good choice for longer rides
  • Drop-in bars are the ones where the curve goes back in the head

Advantages: 

  • Improved aerodynamics

Drop bars are the type of handlebars that enable riders to tuck the same as bullhorns. It can be a good choice if you plan to spend time racing. These handlebars are worth your effort and time. 

  • More leverage while pedaling

Several riders feel they can give more power without pedaling much in the tuck position. 

  • A versatile choice

Many riders add brake hoods on the drop bars. It can work as an additional bullhorn to acquire more hand positions. Many riders find the brake hood comfortable compared to flat bars as it maintains a neutral position. Including hood enables miniature bull horns, making the bike suitable for climbing. 

  • They look amazing

Despite bullhorns being very attractive, drop bars can be a good choice as well. The look can cheer everyone up. 

  • Better for bike lovers

If you are a bike lover who is mostly into biking on flat or city roads, this can be a great choice. However, if you want to go for occasional biking, this would not go wrong. 

Disadvantages: 

  • Not a good choice for trails

Even when using this handlebar for some road trails, you must take proper caution when riding in touch terrains. There are other bike handlebars as well that can be suitable for this purpose. Riding challenging terrains can result in showing some wrist issues. 

  • Not great for tight turns

Drop bars are similar to the bullhorn bars that are not great for consistent tight turns. It has the hand positioned to make your hand hit debris first.

CRUISER BARS:

You will be able to find a range of handlebars available on the cruiser bicycle. It can be a great choice to ensure its style and comfort. 

cruiser handlebars

Advantages: 

  • Outstanding comfort

This handlebar position will keep your wrist in a regular place during the ride. 

  • Good choice for baskets

Since it has a swept-back design, it leaves a lot of space. On its front, you will get a room and keep baskets. Thus, look for this handlebar if you are a family man; you need a bike to ease the job. 

  • Improved looks

This handlebar offers a homely look that goes very quickly on the eyes. You will not find your mom getting worried riding on these bikes. 

Disadvantages: 

  • Not good for hills

Cruiser handlebar is not suitable for climbing. If you find a cliff while riding on a cruiser cycle, you might need to walk. These handlebars are not appropriate for climbing. 

  • Need more padding on the seat

As the handlebars are created for the upright position, the seat also has to bear more weight. These seats with little padding are not a great choice. Look for more padding to get more support. 

BUTTERFLY BARS: 

Butterfly handlebars are the best choice to improve grip. The different types of the hand resting position make it often a great choice. It can be chosen by raiders who are primarily into mountain biking. It can be a good choice of rugged and uneasy terrains. 

butterfly handlebars

These handlebars can be a good choice as they can provide you with the control you need while trekking. It feels similar to the steering wheels.  

You can get a higher level of comfort. These bike handlebars have a foam grip. However, you might need to practice before you go for a trial. Initially, it can be slower to respond. 

It also has an excellent weight factor. Even when this handlebar type is perfect as a touring bike, it is also great for home. Take in your trekking time, and you can understand that its weight is not at all an issue. 

Advantages: 

  • Suited for your wrist

Due to the irregular shape, this bar offers you a multitude of hand positions. Thus, it makes sure that you maintain your comfort while you are on a long ride. 

  • Suitable for shifters

Butterfly handlebars are considered better by the riders using shifters. It offers you the space to position the shifter in front of you. 

  • Best for long rides

This has an eight-figured handlebar, which acts like a shelf. This will help you place the items you require accessing while on a longer ride. 

Disadvantages: 

  • These are heavy

They come in irregular curves, which are mostly used for utility. It makes them heavier compared to other handlebars. It can become a big deal to carry these extra pounds, especially for riders who keep traveling. So you might need to look for different bike handlebars

Other Handlebars: 

MOUSTACHE BARS: This elegantly styled handlebar is convenient in use. You can use this handlebar style as a substitute for butterfly bars. You will find the surface area in abundance to reposition the hands. However, you don’t have to worry about compromising stability. 

BMX HANDLEBARS: This is one of the handlebar types that offer the perfect support to you. It is 9% out of the saddle. It provides the ability to withstand torque levels. 

APE HANGERS: This is another type of handlebar with a steep U shape. It rises from its base to give rest to the rider above its waist level. It gained popularity in 1960, and after that, it became a favorite among bike riders. 

RECUMBENT: Recumbent bicycles are one of the most common varieties of handlebars. These are similar to ape hangers, however, vertically mounted. 

FAQs

Are all the bike handlebars similar in size? 

If you have knowledge of the standards, you might find in Wikipedia the handlebar must be 25.4mm. You can also find the oversize, which is 31.8mmm as well. 

How do I measure bike handlebars

You can measure the height of the handlebars. It is measured from its top center to the center where the handle ends. 

You can ensure the handlebar’s width from the handle part tube’s center. 

What is the purpose of the bar ends? 

Bar ends are accessories of the handlebars. Some of the major purposes are mentioned below: 

– Change the hand position that ensures relaxing your arms
– Become a great choice while climbing
– It gives an excellent choice to lift

However, if you race a lot, it would not be necessary. 

Types of Bike Handlebars Summary

Biking is one of the healthiest and most cost-effective ways of moving around from one place to another. This also works as an individual’s opinion and style. No doubt, you will be able to guess a person’s personality by watching their bike style. With a range of biking styles available, it can become easy to choose the handlebar as per your needs. 

Since there are different types of bike handlebars available in the market, understanding is a must. This information will help riders choose a bike that can fulfill their unique needs. So from this article, you have got complete detail about how many types of handlebars are there? 

Hopefully, after reading this guide, you will be able to enjoy your biking experience. 

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