Types of Handle Bars

Grasping the Right Bars: A Guide to Cycling Handlebar Types

Your handlebars are your primary point of contact with your bike, and the style you choose can significantly impact comfort, control, and even speed. But with a vast array of shapes and bends available, selecting the right handlebar can feel overwhelming. This guide dives into the most common handlebar types for road, mountain, time trial, and cruising bikes.

Road Bikes: The Classic Drop Bar

Drop Handle Bars Road Bike

The iconic drop bar reigns supreme on road bikes. These handlebars feature a curved design with grip positions at the top, on the brakes (hoods), and below the brakes (drops). This versatility allows for multiple hand placements, catering to different riding situations:

  • Top position: Offers an upright posture for relaxed cruising and better visibility in traffic.
  • Hoods position: Provides a comfortable and secure grip for everyday riding.
  • Drops position: Lowers your body for a more aerodynamic tuck, ideal for maintaining speed on flats and descents. The drops also offer increased leverage for braking and manoeuvring.

Finding the Perfect Drop: Drop bars come in various widths, typically ranging from 36cm to 46cm. A wider bar provides more stability and leverage, while a narrower bar allows for a more aggressive, aerodynamic tuck. The ideal width generally matches your shoulder width for a natural and comfortable grip.

Mountain Bikes: Flat Bars for Control and Comfort


Flat Handle Bars Mountain Biking

Mountain bike handlebars prioritize control and manoeuvrability over aerodynamics. These flat bars, with minimal sweep or rise, allow for a more upright riding posture, offering better visibility on technical trails and improved leverage for navigating obstacles. The wider width (compared to road bars) also enhances stability on rough terrain.

Mountain Bike Variations: Riser Bars for Extra Upright Comfort

Some mountain bike handlebars, particularly on comfort-oriented models, feature a slight upward bend or "rise" in the centre. These riser bars provide an even more upright riding position, promoting comfort for casual riding and improved visibility in traffic. This design can be a good option for riders with back problems or those who prefer a more relaxed posture.

Time Trialing: Aerobars for Ultimate Speed

Aero Handle Bars Time Trial Bike

Time trial bikes prioritize pure speed, and their handlebars reflect this focus. These bikes often incorporate aerobars, which extend from the base of the base bar and feature integrated armrests and rest pads. The low, forward position created by aerobars minimizes wind resistance, allowing riders to achieve maximum speed in time trial competitions.

Cruising: Comfort Reigns Supreme

Cruising Handle Bars

Cruiser bikes prioritize a relaxed and comfortable riding experience. Their handlebars reflect this focus, featuring a variety of shapes that promote an upright posture for easy pedalling and sightseeing. These handlebars can be:

  • Swept-back: These bars angle back towards the rider, creating a relaxed grip position for the wrists.
  • Beach cruiser bars: These wide, high bars offer a very upright posture with a laid-back feel.
  • North Road bars: These upright bars feature a slight curve at the ends, providing a comfortable hand position.

Choosing the Right Handlebar for You

The best handlebar for you depends on your riding style and priorities. Consider these factors:

  • Riding style: Are you a road racer seeking maximum speed, a mountain biker conquering technical trails, or a casual cruiser enjoying the scenery?
  • Comfort: Prioritize a handlebar that allows for a comfortable and pain-free riding posture.
  • Control: For technical riding or navigating busy streets, a handlebar that offers good control is essential.
  • Personal preference: Don't be afraid to experiment with different handlebar shapes and sizes to find what feels most natural for you.

Head to our website and browse the selection of handlebars we have available.


Handle barsProduct guide

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