To many commuters, the bike handlebar is an afterthought. A simple, insignificant detail that doesn’t warrant much thought. But it does! This small part of your bike can make a huge difference in how you commute and enjoy yourself during the ride. Conversely, the wrong handlebars will make it difficult to balance or maneuver around obstacles, leading to a more stressful commute or bike tour.
To find the right bike handlebars for commuting or touring, you first need to understand what’s out there. There are handlebars with a variety of diameters and shapes and even different heights.
If you’re looking for some good advice on how best to choose handles bars that suit your needs, then this is the blog post for you! I’ll go over everything from how they differ in shape and size, as well as their width (and why that matters), so keep reading!
Why should you get the right bike handlebars for commuting?
Commuting is all about comfort, and your handlebars play an important role in this. You don’t want to be uncomfortable on your way to work or school. No one does! In order to make commuting better, you need the right bike handlebars that allow you a more comfortable ride and control.
If you have the wrong bike handlebars, it will affect your posture while riding. This can cause unnecessary pain and fatigue and make your commute more of a struggle. With the right kind of commuter handlebars, you can reduce these problems because they will be tailored to your exact preference. They’ll also be ergonomically designed to put less strain on your back, neck, hands, and wrists based on your commuting needs.
What are the different types of handlebars used for commuting?
There are a variety of bike handlebars for commuting that you can choose from to add to your bike. However, the two main factors that set them apart are their form(design) and size(width).
The form of the handlebar dictates how many hand positions you’ll have while riding. Multiple hand positions will make it easier for your hands and wrists to rest as you commute. You can also adjust your hand position as you go, so if one hand position becomes uncomfortable, you can move your hand and try a new, more comfortable one.
Unfortunately, some handlebars don’t offer multiple hand positions, which might reduce the comfort you have throughout your rides. So you have to make sure that you are selecting the right bike handlebars for commuting based on your comfort needs in addition to the performance offered by a particle style of the handlebar.
As far as size goes, the larger the handlebar diameter, the more comfortable it is, generally. This is because a larger diameter handlebar provides increased leverage and control, making it easier for you to ride around obstacles like other riders or potholes. But there’s also a tradeoff of having larger handlebars in that they take up more space which might make getting through tight spaces (between cars) harder to do.
Here’s a list of the main types of handlebars for commuting:
- Flat Handles Bars
- Riser Handlebars
- Drop Handlebars
- Bullhorn Handlebars
- Swept Back Handlebars
- Cruiser Handlebars
Each of the handlebars above offers different levels of comfort due to the hand positions they make possible. Depending on your riding preferences and the terrain of your commute, you should choose a handlebar that works best for you. Here’s a quick rundown on what they are and what situations they are best for:
What are Flat Handles Bars?
Flat Handlebars are best suited for anyone looking to ride around town or take a bike tour casually. As such, they’ve been the standard handlebar style found on most bikes. They also offer better hand control than the other types of handlebars available if you’re cruising around.
What situations are Flat Handles Bars best for
Flat handlebars are great for commuters because they offer the best combination of control and comfort out of all the handlebar types. Since they are not as aggressive as other handlebars, flat bars also won’t put much strain on your back or neck like drop handles bars might. This makes them ideal for anyone looking to take their computing experience up a notch and enjoy a more comfortable commute without
- Allows you to enjoy a relaxed commute.
- Flat bars are among the best handlebar types for people who are looking for casual riding.
- A Flat bar allows you to have more control and offer higher levels of comfort in leisurely situations.
- Less strain on the back or neck because they’re not as aggressive.
- They are not as aggressive or recreational as drop bars, which makes them less versatile than other options.
- Flat bars only offer one hand position, which may make them a bad option long term.
What are Riser Handlebars?
A riser bar is the best option for anyone looking to commute on a mountain bike and ride over rough terrain. Riders require more control when using these handlebars, but they’re also perfect for riding in the city.
What situations are Riser Handlebars best for?
These handlebars give you more precise control over your bike since they allow you to ride in an upright position, especially at higher speeds, so it’s recommended you use them if you will be riding on mountainous terrains. If not, then there is no reason to choose riser bars over any of the other types of commuter handlebars.
- The riser bar allows you to sit in an upright riding position that offers relief for your back and wrist.
- Riser bars offer good handling.
- Like flat bars, a riser bar also doesn’t offer the ability to ride with a variety of hand positions
What are Drop Handlebars?
Drop Handlebars are typically found on a road bike, and they offer riders the ability to ride in a more aerodynamic posture that allows them to travel long distances faster. Drop Bars are also the most aggressive of all commuter handlebars. However, their design also makes them uncomfortable for anyone not used to riding like this, and they can put a lot of strain on your hands, shoulders, arms, and back.
What situations are Drop Handlebars best for?
Riding with drop bars is very efficient and allows you to cover longer distances without feeling fatigued. As such, they are widely used for commuting purposes. The only downside is that they require more hand and upper body strength to hold onto the handlebars while riding. With time you will become accustomed to the position and find them much easier to use, but it might be best to avoid drop bars if you’re newer to bike commuting.
- Drop bars are great when your commutes require you to complete long distances as fast as possible with less effort.
- Drop handles bars allow you to ride in an extremely aerodynamic position which can make riding easier.
- They allow you more hand positions that can improve your riding comfort.
- They require more strength and skill than other types of handlebars.
What are Bullhorn Handlebars?
Bullhorn Handlebars offer a mix between a straight handlebar and a drop bar with a slight upward curve instead of a downward curve. They allow riders to lean forward and put down more power in an aerodynamic riding position, allowing you to ride at higher speeds.
What situations are Bullhorn Handlebars best for
Bullhorn handlebars are great for people looking for a mix of the performance offered from a drop bar while still having great comfort in the form of a variety of hand positions. They are also perfect for people looking to improve their performance when commuting.
- Bullhorn handlebars offer an aerodynamic riding position like drop bars while still offering variety in hand positions.
- They are perfect for commuting since you can ride more aggressively compared to other commuter handlebars.
- Bullhorn handles fit well between narrow spaces, so they are great for riding in the city and through traffic.
- You can mount your brake levers in multiple places.
- They require good upper body strength and endurance.
- They might be harder to stair since they are narrow.
What are Swept Back Handlebars?
A swept-back handlebar allows commuters to achieve a more relaxed hand position while riding. Since the handlebar is swept back towards the rider, you will be able to relax your wrists and ride in an upright position.
What Is Swept Back Handlebar Best for?
A swept-back handlebar may be new to you if you’re a beginner, but it is perhaps the best commuter bike handlebar for comfort. So if you will mostly be commuting a lot over short distances that don’t require speed or maneuverability, then these handlebars might be perfect.
- Swept-back handlebars allow you to ride in a comfortable upright position.
- They are great for shorter commutes when comfort is more important than performance.
- Swept back handlebars lack versatility like other commuter handles bars since they don’t offer hand positions that support power, speed, or endurance riding.
What are Cruiser Handlebars?
Cruiser handlebars are very similar to swept-back handlebars, except that they have a good curve in the handle before bending towards the rider. These handlebars are mostly used on beach cruisers and comfort bikes. As such, they are very comfortable to use for commuting.
What situations are Cruiser handlebars best for?
A cruiser handle is best for commuters that mostly use their bike for grocery trips or commutes that mostly involve low-speed riding. They are also great if you will be riding mostly in the city or on light trails.
- Cruiser handlebars are great for comfortable, relaxed riding.
- They will make your bike look a bit more like a beach cruiser with the upright position of the handlebar.
- Cruiser handlebars aren’t super versatile since they lack hand positions that support speed and power riding.
What is the best type of handlebars to choose for commuting?
The best type of bike handlebar for commuting is one that provides the most comfort and control for you. To choose handlebars that best suit your needs, you need first to consider if you will be riding mostly in the city or commuting long distances and the type of terrain. Once you’ve figured out which type of commuter handlebars best suit your needs, you will be able to choose between the various designs such as drop bars, swept-back handlebars, or cruiser handlebars.
Just remember that the most important thing for commuting is comfort!