Bike handlebars most used types
Bike handlebars are one of three points of contact with a bicycle and the one we steer with, enough said about its importance. As we mentioned before, there are quite a lot different types of handlebars and they all have traits necessary for a specific kind of ride. But three types are most commonly used and available, and let’s take a closer look at them:
Flat bars – Flat bars are, well, flat, or they almost are. They may be slightly bent towards the cyclist. They are a golden standard for most types of bicycles, very dear to mountain bike lovers.
- Very precise steering. Their shape brings very predictable and precise steering.
- Spacious and simple. You can attach many things to them, bike accessories of all kinds.
- Good for your lower back, they don’t strain your spine
- They are cheaper and lighter
- Provide better visibility of the surroundings by keeping the body in an upright position
- Brake and gear levers are easily reachable
- Bad aerodynamics, they are not made for racing or long distances
- They can cause numbness in the fingers
Drop bars – They own their name to the dropped and curved ends towards the cyclist. They are mostly used on road bikes and their variations, cyclocross and gravel. Their shape helps the cyclist assume the bent position, ideal for achieving less wind resistance
- Offer the best aerodynamics
- Tuck position gives more power to the pedaling
- They offer different positions for hands and shoulders, which adds a lot to comfort
- They just look great
- Bad maneuverability in tight turns
- Not for the city riding. Keeping your head down makes it difficult to pay attention to the traffic of the city and be aware of the surroundings
- Not good for tough terrain, they transfer too much strain on the wrists
Aerobars or triathlon bars – Aerobars or tri-bars are a type of handlebars used mainly in competitive tri or time trial events. These are types of sports events where a rider competes against the clock. Aerobars are two extended bars put close together, designed like that to accommodate the cyclist to assume a narrow tuck position to reduce the air drag to the minimum. They are equipped with arm pads for better comfort.
- Unbeatable aerodynamics. With the tuck position, air drag is minimal and the results are phenomenal.
- Clip-on bars. They can be added on demand unto drop bars or bullhorn bars when there is a need for them. They are mostly used this way so that the rest of the time you have your bike without them.
- Resting aid. They can even be used as a resting aid despite the uncomfortable impression that a “praying mantis” position gives, which is a name for the position when cyclist just rests their arms and wrists on the aero bars.
- Not for inclines. The position takes away the power from pedaling, so one shouldn’t head for the hills.
- Dangerous on the roads. They are best used under controlled conditions. Due to the position of the body, the cyclist may be oblivious to the surroundings and obstacles in traffic and on the road. Also, the brake and gear levers are not easily reachable, so the reaction time is prolonged.
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