A bicycle handlebar is a basic part of a bicycle that allows the cyclist to maintain balance and control the bicycle. The handlebars, like the saddle and pedals, are the main point of support for the cyclist’s arms.

The handlebar is attached to the steering pin (fork rod) by means of a handlebar stem. The handlebars are vital bike parts that cannot be economized on.

The choice of a bicycle handlebar is determined by the type of bike itself and the style of riding it. When sold, a bicycle is equipped with a handlebar that matches it, but sometimes cyclists naturally want to improve the ride comfort or handling of the bike, and the question of choosing a new handlebar arises.

In this article, we will consider what handlebars are and the main aspects that you need to pay attention to when choosing a new one.

1. Flat bars

Mountain handlebars are well suited for off-road use. It is convenient for them to quickly maneuver in the city or on a narrow mountain path. You can even purchase them quite inexpensively.

You can ride bicycles around the city, but they are absolutely not suitable for long and high-speed trips because in this case, the basic position of the cyclist’s body is vertical and cannot be changed. Just bend down on your arms, and you won’t drive for so long, your back will “feel numb”.

Typically, such handlebars have a stem diameter of 25.4 mm and a diameter at the ends of 22.2 mm.

2. Riser bars

This handlebar has been familiar to us since childhood. He can be considered the ancestor of all other types. Installed on children’s, city, and some road bicycles, designed for leisurely trips on small off-road and asphalt.

Provides high maneuverability when traveling. On bicycles with such a handlebar, a straight fit and a good view of the cyclist are provided. Usually, they also come with a soft, wide seat for a comfortable fit.

Because of their versatile, you will likely find these on mountain bikes quite often.

3. Drop bar, Maes bend handlebars

A very popular and convenient type for long trips and travels. Often used on road bikes.

It has four options for hand positions, which significantly expands the number of cyclist’s body positions compared to previous types. For example, on high-speed sections, you can take an almost horizontal position, and when climbing and slow movement, a vertical landing, like on city bicycles.

These handlebars are also becoming quite popular with the rise of Gravel Bikes! These bicycles mix different aspects of mountain bikes and road bikes to create an awesome all around cycle.

If you are looking to upgrade your drop handlebars, these would be an awesome option!

4. Butterfly

Very popular in European countries. They have a variety of hand positions, fit and grip options. They are installed both by drops to the cyclist and vice versa by drops from the cyclist. Very convenient for long cycling trips and trips, especially at a leisurely pace.

They use soft foam or polyurethane pads or, like on ram’s horns, a special winding. These handlebars require a 25.4mm stem and 22.2mm mountain brake levers and derailleurs.

5. Bullhorns

This type is suitable for cycling on highway travel. The hands, as in the previous type, can be held in three positions. As well as butterfly handlebars (trekking handlebars), on this handlebar, you can stretch forward as much as possible when driving at high speed. Has a variety of hand positions for an upright seating position, especially in the brake levers area.

6. H-type

This handlebar is used in city, road, touring bicycles. Allows for multiple grips, changing the position of the arms and body on long journeys.

Originally designed for use with Shimano Metrea equipment. Especially for this type of handlebar, comfortable brake levers and gearshift levers, mounted on the ends of the handlebar, have been developed for an ergonomic grip.

7. Mustache handlebars

Similar to previous butterfly handlebars, but without the last rounding. Because of this, they have fewer hand positions, but enough to minimize hand problems on long trips. This type is lighter than previous models.

Great for long-distance road trips. It most often requires a stem of 25.4 or 26 mm in diameter and road brake levers and derailleurs with a diameter of 23.8 mm. Tip-style shifters are widely available.

On this type, both grips and a special winding are used. Designed by Grant Petersen, founder of the Bridgestone bicycle company.

Material and weight

The handlebars, as well as the entire bike, are made of:

  • Steels. The most common option for the average cyclist. Quite cheap and durable.
  • Aluminum. They are lighter than steel ones and have quite affordable prices.
  • Titanium alloys. Titanium handlebars incorporate the benefits of both steel and aluminum. Lightweight, do not rust, do not break, but very expensive.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which bike handlebars should I get?

This completely depends on the bicycle you are using! Using a gravel bike or road bike will lead you to getting drop handlebars, while mountain bikes are generally going to be using flat bars.

Are all bike handlebars the same?

Handlebars all essentially do the same thing, however all the different types are completely different. They all allow for a different riding position, whether it be more aerodynamic or more upright, or anywhere in between.

Which bike handlebars are most comfortable?

Most people will find that riser bars will be one of the most comfortable options on the market for the normal bicycle, however the H-Type is also incredibly comfortable as well.


There are many different types of handlebars out there for bicycles . If you are looking for handlebars that provide the best riding experience, then look at handlebars made of titanium alloys. There is no denying that they will probably be a bit more expensive than other handlebars but the benefits make up for it.