The best bike handlebars for improved comfort and safety
There are bike handlebars to suit every bike, for all conditions and requirements. Whether you want to go for steel, aluminium, or carbon, you’ll be able to choose the perfect handlebars for you from a wide variety of designs and materials.
Unfortunately, the importance of good handlebars is often forgotten. Decent handlebars have a positive impact on your comfort and performance. The two main functions of your handlebars are allowing you to steer your bike in a controlled manner and offering you support.
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The right handlebars for every bike
There are so many different types of cycle handlebars out there that it can be difficult to choose the right ones for you. When choosing handlebars, consider how you use your bike, your personal requirements, and the comfort the handlebars offer by relieving the stress on your joints.
City bike handlebars
With a city bike, for example, it’s all about riding comfort, and the position of your handlebars should encourage an upright sitting position.
Handlebars for city bikes are curved and are also known as cruiser bars or upright handlebars. Their main function is to offer your arms and hands a comfortable and pleasant position. Their height and inclination can also be adjusted individually.
Road bike handlebars
Road cyclists, on the other hand, prefer a completely different handlebar shape. On a road bike, the handlebars influence not only the rider’s body position, but also riding performance. For a competitive road cyclist, aerodynamics is particularly important, and road bike handlebars should be versatile because the rider must be able to ride in different positions.
The appropriate handlebar width is always based on the rider’s shoulder width. A cycle handlebar that is too narrow can restrict the rider, and this also has a negative impact on the steering of the bike.
No matter what bike you ride, a road bike or a classic city bike, it is important that your body position is as relaxed as possible and doesn’t cause any discomfort.
Mountain bike handlebars
Handlebars for mountain bikes are usually wider, as they offer increased safety and control. Once again, it’s important that the handlebars fit the shoulder width and the personal preferences and requirements of the rider.
A mountain biker is usually looking for a somewhat more upright but still athletic sitting position. Therefore, a flat, wide and straight handlebar shape is what they prefer. This makes steering predictable and precise and offers optimal control on difficult terrain.
Handlebar ends, sometimes called bar ends, are often mounted onto the flat handlebars to allow allow the rider to change his or her grip position more frequently. This can help to successfully conquer long climbs.
Bicycle handlebars should suit the rider
When choosing new handlebars, the basic rule is that the handlebar width should correspond to the shoulder width of the rider. Good handlebars should be comfortable and should not make you feel cramped or like you’re driving a truck.
In addition, you should take existing physical complaints into account when making your choice – for example, you might pay special attention to ergonomics or inclination.
When you buy a bike at your local bike dealer, the first step is to determine the right frame size, taking into account the height of the handlebars, the distance from the saddle to the handlebars, and the width and shape of the handlebars.
Which accessories to buy for your bike handlebars
There is a wide range of handlebar accessories – everything your cycling heart desires.
Most bicycles come equipped with a bike bell, gear shifters, handlebar grips (or bar ends) and brake levers at purchase. Of course, you can adapt or add some extra accessories according to your own wishes and requirements. If you don’t like the current handlebar grips or bar ends, you can easily remove or replace them.
Bicycle mirrors are becoming increasingly popular. They allow you to keep a better eye on traffic behind you, without needing to turn your head.
Those who take longer bike tours – but also road cyclists – often have bike computers with a range of features and functionalities. Nowadays, a bicycle computer is also a standard accessory on an e-bike.
Another accessory is a mobile phone holder or mount, which can be used to mount your mobile phone onto your handlebars. The phone is then often used as a GPS.
For transporting luggage such as valuables or glasses, there are small and very practical handlebar bags that can be easily and securely attached to the handlebars with straps or other attachment systems. Handlebar bags are practical to carry with you. When you want to take a break, you can just take the bag off the handlebars and take it with you. Easy peasy!
Bike handlebars are available in different materials
Bike handlebars are available in steel, aluminium and carbon. Each material has its advantages and disadvantages, so which one to choose depends on your personal requirements.
Most of the time, handlebars are made of high-quality aluminium, because it’s very light and robust, and therefore very suitable for everyday use.
Competitive racing handlebars are often made of carbon. Carbon is a high-quality material that has a significant advantage in weight, since carbon fibres are lighter than aluminium. Moreover, carbon does a better job of absorbing vibrations when riding on rough trail sections or cobblestones.
Steel handlebars are the preferred option when you’re planning to put more weight on the handlebars (for example, heavy handlebar bags). In the past, steel handlebars were used a lot in road cycling, but lately carbon has clearly taken over this dominant position. Previously, steel was very susceptible to rust. Nowadays the material is chrome-plated, so it’s more durable and rust-resistant.