Are all the different types of bicycle handlebars confusing you? This choice can be difficult, but I can help you narrow it down with the help of a detailed list. Every biker knows handlebars are essential parts of a bike that enable the rider to control and steer it.
However, handlebars come with various features that impact the riders’ positioning and comfort. Thus, you may face some difficulty choosing the ideal handlebar for your bike.
Here are all the best bicycle handlebars for your bike:
- Drop handlebars
- Flat handlebars
- Riser handlebars
- Bullhorn handlebars
- Cruiser handlebars
- Butterfly Handlebars
- BMX Handlebars
- Mustache Handlebars
- Aero Handlebars
- Carbon Fiber Handlebars
- H-Bar Handlebars
- Bullmoose Handlebars
- Condorino Handlebars
- Drag Handlebar
- Ape Hanger Handlebars
- Porteur Handlebars
- Whatton Handlebars
- Recumbent Handlebars
- Keystone Handlebars
- Window Handlebars
Let me tell you all about different types of handlebars so that you can choose the right one for your bike!
20 Types Of Bicycle Handlebars
Bicycle handlebars play a huge role in your riding experience. Your comfort and control on your bike matter the most, and bicycle handlebars help you achieve exactly that.
In this list below, I have narrowed down and given a brief summary of all the types of bicycle handlebars.
#1 Drop Handlebars
Drop handlebars are one of the most common handlebars that have been used for quite some time. They exit the stem horizontally and then curve lower towards the rider.
Their ability to provide multiple hand positions and ideal aerodynamics have made them the top choice of many bikers.
Drop handlebars are not only excellent for going uphill (since they provide a good position for pedaling), but they are ideal for your exploratory trips and adventures too.
Even though the drop handlebars are a great option out there, they do have certain cons.
Since the bar curves downwards and sideways by the end, you will have to increase your reach to strengthen your group. This puts more pressure on your spine and hands, imposing a time limit on your new adventures.
#2 Flat Handlebars
Flat handlebars are the most common handlebars that you will see present in almost any other bike. Their simplicity is what makes them stand out among others.
They provide easy uphill movement, correct weight distributions, and plenty of space for you to attach your accessories.
Since this handlebar is flat, it makes it easier for you to navigate in high-traffic or crowded situations. Moreover, since there is a limit to the hand positions, you can easily access the brake on your bike.
Flat handlebars are probably the oldest and simplest handlebars out there.
They do have some prominent cons, such as poor aerodynamics when it comes to uphill movements or a reduced number of hand positions that may lead to some discomfort for the rider.
» Read my blog post about: Disc Brakes vs. Rim Brakes in Cycling
#3 Riser Handlebars
Riser bars are a mix of flat and drop handlebars. They are flat from the middle but curve slightly upwards on each end.
The riser handlebars provide a very comfortable grip since they cause the least exertion on your hands and wrists. They provide sufficient space to hang any accessories and help increase efficiency in the uphill movements of the cycle.
Though this grip allows you to stay upright and focused, it also increases saddle pressure on your crotch.
Moreover, due to this upright position, the bike overall provides poor aerodynamics and also limits your navigation through the traffic.
#4 Bullhorn Handlebars
Bullhorn handlebars are exactly how they sound. They exit the stem horizontally, bend away from the rider, and then move upwards.
The shape of this handlebar comes to be exactly like the horns of a bull. This handlebar is specifically helpful in providing an aggressive position, due to which the cyclists can increase their speed and efficiency.
Bullhorn handlebars provide multiple handlebar positions, better aerodynamics in the tucked position, and an overall narrow profile that makes it easier to navigate through the traffic.
In the bullhorn handlebars, the ideal position is to tuck low. Though this position enables you to increase your speed, it also puts some strain on your spine.
Moreover, your hands are further from the brake levers, so you may face some difficulty over there as well.
#5 Cruiser Handlebars
Cruiser handlebars are quite old and they have been mainly used in comfort bikes, city bikes as well as cruiser bikes.
One of the greatest advantages of cruiser handlebars is that it provides you with a strong and wide grip that allows you greater control of your bike and its direction. It also helps you sit in a comfortable, upright position.
Besides providing all the above-mentioned advantages, the cruiser handlebars provide plenty of space for mounting any accessories that you may have.
However, some new users may struggle with the cruiser handlebars simply because a wider grip can be a little bit trickier to manage.
Cruiser handlebars also make it difficult to ride uphill because they allow poor pedaling leverage and a lower aerodynamic competence.
» I have also written this post about: How to Remove & Install Bike Pedals?
#6 Butterfly Handlebars
Do you want to go trekking? Butterfly handlebars are just the right companion for you.
The butterfly handlebars are kind of shaped like an eight and are usually present on trekking or touring cycles. The butterfly handlebars offer multiple hand positions and thus make the perfect handlebars for your long-distance journeys.
Though the butterfly handlebars offer great benefits, they also bring some disadvantages to the table.
The butterfly handlebars are very heavy due to their increased length and that may cause slight difficulties in turning or steering.
Moreover, since they have an increased length, the brakes will not be near your grip, and you will have to reach out to the brake.
#7 BMX Handlebars
The BMX bikes are used for an entirely different unusual purpose i.e. performing stunts and tricks. Hence, you would not find any BMX bars to be present on any other bike than a BMX.
They increase the leverage on the front wheel of the bike and allow the riders to perform different stunts with it. The BMX handlebars are rigid, strong, and have the capability to handle any extra pressure.
BMX handlebars make the best fit for stunting bikes, but they often lack flexibility due to the rigid structure.
In addition to that, the BMX handlebars don’t really provide a good outlook because of their rugged appearance.
#8 Mustache Handlebars
Mustache handlebars look like drop handlebars that have been squashed flat. They derive their name because of their shape, which resembles a mustache.
Mustache handlebars were introduced in the early 90s and gained popularity back then too.
The main features of mustache handlebars are the style and multiple hand positions that they offer. They also have brakes fitted at the peak of their M-shape, making it difficult for you to brake.
Because the mustache handlebars offer a tricky grip position, the riders’ hands have to stretch out to reach the brakes.
#9 Aero Handlebars
Aero handlebars are somewhat unique because they themselves attach to other handlebars with a detachable clamp or are integrated within the main handlebar.
Aero bars function in hunching you down and positioning you to lower the wind resistance and increase the speed by at least 1-2mph.
Because these bars are made from hydroformed aluminum, they are super light and provide ideal aerodynamics for your biking activities.
Since the aero bars themselves attach to the middle of a handlebar, the steering capability of the cycle is reduced.
Even though aero handlebars may have some flaws, the advantages outweigh them for sure, and because of that reason, they are pricey.
#10 Carbon Fiber Handlebars
Carbon fiber handlebars are high-end bars that can be ideal for your biking activities. They offer greater damping (shock absorption) performance than other bars.
Another obvious benefit of carbon fiber handlebars is that they are lightweight yet equally strong as other metal bars.
Carbon fiber handlebars have some useful features that make them the top choice for many bikers.
Even though the carbon fiber handlebars are not as durable and have a higher than-the-usual price tag attached to them, the real pro bikers don’t want to compromise on their ride quality and prefer it over any other handlebar.
#11 H-Bar Handlebars
H-bar handlebars have a lot of variety in their models. Some people find the H-bars to be comparable with the cruiser handlebars based on the similar upright riding position that they offer.
H-bar handlebars also have a front loop feature which is also called a ‘loop bar’.
This loop bar is one of the most prominent features of the H-bars since it makes the bar aerodynamically stable.
The H-bar handlebars allow your hands to be positioned in a wider grip and that may put some strain on your wrists and spines.
Additionally, you may face difficulty while braking because the position of the brakes might not be aligned with your grip on the bar.
#12 Bullmoose Handlebars
Bullmoose handlebars are somewhat a mixture of flat and riser handlebars.
The special feature of the Bullmoose bars is that they remove the need for the stem and directly attach to the fork steerer tube of your bike.
The stem clamp attaches the two small bars to the main handlebar that is attached to the fork steerer tube. This overall forms a V-shaped triangle in the center.
Bullmoose bars are a good option to be used for mountain biking because of the strong grip positions that they offer.
However, their usage has become less popular simply because they are too heavy and aren’t worth the investment that they require.
#13 Condorino Handlebars
The Condorino handlebars derive their name from a ‘Condor’ which is a popular bird of prey. These handlebars have a very unique and interesting shape, and the side handles certainly resemble the wings of a bird. Their curved angles and sharp hoods only add to their likeness with the bird.
These handlebars are usually used for town bikes that are mainly used for riding around and just exploring.
These handlebars aren’t stretched out laterally and thus make it easier to navigate in large crowds or traffic.
The Condorino handlebars are narrow and thus limit the room for steering the cycle. Thus, they provide a challenge when it comes to stability and control of the cycle for longer periods of time.
» Read my blog post: How to Fix Flat Bike Tire (with NO Tools)
#14 Drag Handlebar
Drag handlebars mainly originated in London. These handlebars are quite popular because of their common usage and the advantages that they offer.
Drag handlebars allow the rider to lean forward and reduce wind resistance. This has the effect of improving acceleration.
These handlebars are easy to install because they are straight and allow you to use the stock wiring of the bike. They have some variants, such as zero drag, low drag, and high drag.
#15 Ape Hanger Handlebars
Ape hanger handlebars provide an excessive rise to the rider and usually stretch to the shoulder height of the rider.
The rider has to be positioned upright, arms stretched forwards, and parallel to the ground.
Though a little unusual, the ape hanger handlebars have caught on and are usually present on Harley Davidson motorbikes, and now are getting popular in bicycles too.
Ape hanger handlebars are difficult to manage. They put a strain on your neck as well as your back. They also put excessive pressure on the crotch.
Thus, if you want to use ape hanger handlebars, then maybe getting a more comfortable saddle would be a good idea.
#16 Porteur Handlebars
Porteur handlebars are more aesthetically pleasing rather than have different functionality. They look similar to a cruiser handlebar but are used with a front basket.
These handlebars form a curved W shape handlebar that also provides more surface for multiple hand positions. This is particularly helpful in maintaining an upright position while cycling.
The brakes on the Porteur handlebars are usually fitted on the bar ends, while the levers usually point upwards, near the underside of the handlebar.
#17 Whatton Handlebars
Whatton handlebars are unique handlebars commonly found in recumbent and penny-farthing bikes.
The Whatton handlebars have a very different design, and their underlegs are designed to allow any cyclist to dismount quickly if they anticipate facing a crash or an accident.
Though the Whatton handlebars have become much less common after the safety cycle was invented, nonetheless, Whatton handlebars make up for a pretty fancy and unique option if you choose it.
#18 Recumbent Handlebars
Recumbent handlebars are similar to the ape handlebar, except they are positioned in front of the rider rather than behind them.
Recumbent bikes are mainly made to provide support and strength to the rider, and these recumbent handlebars play the main role in that.
Recumbent handlebars are generally more expensive because they are made according to a very specific model, and they have gotten very less popular with time.
#19 Keystone Handlebars
The keystone handlebars are more prominently found in shorter bikes. The handlebar moves horizontally from the stem and makes an opposite Z shape at both ends.
The top portion of this handlebar is angled slightly inward. This allows the rider to form a more imposing and aggressive stance.
The keystone handlebars also present with a tricky grip and may put a strain on your back and spine. Usually, people prefer keystone handlebars for their sleek design.
#20 Window Handlebars
The window handlebars are classic angular handlebars. The risers of the window handlebars are tall, and they are angled at 90 degrees.
They meet the top bar again and make a 90-degree angle. The top bars are usually flat and connect the inner risers, making the shape of a window, hence the name.
And that’s a wrap! I have finally discussed all the types of bicycle handlebars, their pros and cons, and their usability in different types of bikes. Depending on the activity you wish to use your bike for, you can make an informed decision and invest your money in the right place.
Being an avid biker, you should know about different types of handlebars and how you can use them to increase your efficiency as a rider. With all this information, the only step left for you to do is to finally decide and make the right choice for your bike’s handlebar.