Best Bike Handlebars
Whether you are an experienced biker or simply someone who enjoys getting out and riding every so often, the importance of high-quality handlebars can’t be understated. Even if you think your current bike has a solid pair, there is always an upgrade out there and it may be worth the price of admission. After all, besides providing you with the ability to steer, an elite-level pair of handlebars can have serious implications on your ride. For example, they can enhance the overall comfort and allow for convenient mounting options. Simply put, they are of the most important for bikers and after today, you will have the skill and forethought to buy them.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 12 hrs of research
It is very easy to center them
It is comfortable on long and grueling rides
Can be cut down precisely and accurately
- RaceFace R 35
- Renthal FatBar
- Race Face Atlas FR
- RaceFace Next Riser
- Ritchey Superlogic
- Cinelli Bullhorn
- Control Tech Anatomic
- Soma Oxford
- Upanbike Drop Bar
- Origin8 Urban-Pro
- Criteria Used for Evaluation
- Other Factors to Consider
- Frequently Asked Questions
Top 10 Picks
1. RaceFace R 35
It is very easy to center them
It is comfortable on long and grueling rides
Can be cut down precisely and accurately
Could be considered a bit heavy
With the RaceFace Next R 35, you are getting one of the best carbon handlebars on the market today. In addition, although it comes in an 800-millimeter width, it can easily be cut down.Read more
As this is comprised of carbon, it is going to offer superior vibration dampening of that from aluminum. But, even on long rides, carbon will also deliver long-lasting comfort.
Size and Width
If the 800-millimeter width is too great for you, this bar can easily be cut down accurately to 750 millimeters. In addition, the stem is a stiff 35 millimeters.
Thanks to the moderate sweep, it is never going to be difficult for you to find the perfect hand position for comfortability. Plus, the bar and stem combination is never too extreme in terms of comfort.
Due to the fact that this can be shortened down if need be, there is a strong amount of versatility at your disposal.
As this essentially is a straight black model, it could actually end up sticking out like a sore thumb depending on your bike. But, the graphics are definitely stellar.
The elegant combination of strength and comfortability makes the Next R 35 Riser the top model on this list. Anyone looking to splurge, here is the way to go.
2. Renthal FatBar
The quality is not sacrificed due to the lighter weight
Offers a very comfortable sweep
Will improve the ergonomics on your bike
One user noted the paint job was poor
May not match your bike’s décor well
Thanks to the unidirectional carbon fiber makeup and the extremely comfortable sweep of the FatBar, it is not a surprise to see it receive acclaim from nearly everyone who has commented on its brilliance.Read more
Renthal designed their FatBar with the presence of mind knowing that the unidirectional carbon fiber would allow them to add just the right amount of flex they would need. The result is superior control and vibration dampening.
Size and Width
The choice is yours from either a 20-millimeter rise or a 40-millimeter one. As for the width, the bar measures 780 millimeters and weighs only 225 grams.
Due to the five-degree upsweep and the seven-degree back sweep, the angles are practically perfect for this bar. No doubt, you can find comfortability with ease.
Renthal claims that their FatBar is actually aimed at XC, Enduro and Trail riders. This is mostly due to its combination of weight, ride-feel, and stiffness.
While one user did point out the poor paint job, the black and gold exterior is striking. That said, it will only match certain bike styles well.
What is amazing about the FatBar is it is able to provide such great amounts of strength and comfort without feeling too heavy. Besides the color, it is hard to go wrong here.
3. Race Face Atlas FR
Comes in a variety of colors
It is internally tapered
You can run it in one of two rise settings
Some may prefer a higher rise
While this next model is not comprised of carbon, it is made from aluminum instead, it has been internally tapered. In addition to this, the sweep places your hands in very comfortable positions while riding.Read more
Again, as was just mentioned, this is crafted of aluminum but it also has been internally tapered. What this does is offer a superb combination of weight, flexibility, and strength.
Size and Width
Being 785 millimeters in width, this is one of the widest models on this list. But, you can either run the Atlas FR Riser in a 30-millimeter rise or a 50-millimeter rise.
As the Atlas FR Riser is engineered with a four-degree upsweep and an eight-degree back sweep, your hands are placed in a comfortable position every time.
Even though this is one of the widest options available, you can always cut them down if you needed them to be a little shorter.
Both the graphical style of this handlebar and the vast array of color options are top-notch. Everyone is sure to find a style that suits their ride the best.
This is one of the most elite bike handlebars in the world, there is no doubting that. But, it is made of aluminum and yes, carbon does have advantages over it.
4. RaceFace Next Riser
Has a lower rise but is still comfortable
It is made of unidirectional carbon
At 189 grams, it is very lightweight
May not be the best for downhill rides
The Next Riser has been compared to another highly popular model, the SixC 35 bar. But, what most sets it apart is it incorporates many of the same elements while being significantly lighter.Read more
This is another model that is made from unidirectional carbon. On top of its excellent combination of strength and flexibility, it is covered in a matte clear coat for protection.
Size and Width
What is astounding about this model is that it only weighs 189 grams. Additionally, it measures 760 millimeters in width and has a 35-millimeter clamp diameter.
An eight-degree sweep is in order here and this greatly resembles the profile of the SixC 35. But, again, without the extra weight which could add to the comfort.
This handlebar is quite similar to the models that have preceded it on this list and as such, you should not have too much trouble with the compatibility.
With the black coating and the blue graphics, for the right bike, this is going to shine through. Truthfully, the only way this is not beautiful is if it does not blend with your bike’s color scheme.
Even though this happens to be one of the lighter handlebars on this list, it is also one of the best-built thanks to the unidirectional carbon makeup.
5. Ritchey Superlogic
It is reinforced internally at the clamp area
Made of state-of-the-art composite material
The jet-black appeal is quite appealing
It can take some time to adjust to
The lack of trim marks make cutting awkward
The Superlogic Rizer is going to offer more control over standard handlebars thanks to its wider width. However, one drawback is the lack of trim marks meaning it can be awkward to cut symmetrically.Read more
No one can question the construction of the Superlogic Rizer, let’s just say that. It is both internally reinforced and made of unidirectional carbon composite.
Size and Width
At 26 inches in width (which works out to around 660 millimeters), this can offer superior control. But, the 31.8-millimeter center section also adds increased strength.
Based on feedback from consumers, the shape of the Superlogic Rizer can be hit or miss. While some will adjust to its upswept style, others will never.
One buyer noted how they easily added these handlebars to their Merida 120 3000D and that all the ancillaries transferred over easily.
This is mainly just an all-black design. However, the clearly see the graphics and they are stellar for the most part.
Be aware that some riders in the world were never able to handle this model. Due to its low rise and style, you may or may not end up liking this particular handlebar.
6. Cinelli Bullhorn
The metallic silver finish is fantastic
Engineered with an ergonomic grip
It is both easy to use and incredibly comfortable
It can be difficult to wrap the tape around the curve
One of the better aspects of this next model is it is engineered to offer you multiple comfortable hand positions while you are riding. On top of its solid construction, that is a solid combination.Read more
Unlike most of the other models so far, the Bullhorn is made of a familiar 6061 aluminum. Plus, it is black anodized for increased thickness and strength.
Size and Width
This is advertised with a width of 40 centimeters, which works out to 400 millimeters. That is quite a drop in width as compared to the other models, so keep that in mind.
Whether for track riding or urban riding, this is outfitted to offer multiple comfortable hand positions due to the ergonomic grip on the shaped underside.
This has a 31.8-millimeter clamp diameter so keep that in mind when you are mounting this on your current bike.
If you are a not a fan of black, then you may appeal even more to this model as it is metallic silver. At the end of the day, few colors can compete with metallic silver.
Style and ergonomics are what the Bullhorn is all about. Of course, its increased strength from the black anodized aluminum is also a nice selling point.
7. Control Tech Anatomic
Made of hydroformed aluminum
Ideal for long-day rides
Equipped with carbon fiber housing guides
The shine can be excessive
Does require more tape than a typical model
If you are a fan of day-long bike rides or at least ones that last a significant amount of time, then you need to look long and hard at this next model. Engineered for comfort, the Formidable is just that, highly formidable.Read more
The Formidable has been comprised of hydroformed aluminum. Besides offering solid construction, this also greatly reduces the cost of manufacturing.
Size and Width
Control Tech provides you with a few options for the size. The choice is yours as you can either opt for a 400, 420 or 440-millimeter width handlebar.
As you can see from the photos, these are not straight handlebars. Instead, the wide wing-shaped tops and the palm flats allow for a multitude of comfortable hand positions.
One thing to note about the Formidable is it is dubbed as a road bike handlebar. Also, make note of the 31.8-millimeter diameter.
There are actually three color options available. You can choose either black, polished silver or white. But, note that one buyer felt the polished silver was much too shiny.
Indeed, due to the wide range of hand positions for optimal comfortability, these are tailored for longer rides. But, you may want to stay away from the polished silver unless you really enjoy shiny objects.
8. Soma Oxford
Designed with a very stylish finish
The forward area allows for an aggressive position
Compatible with MTB-style levers
A long stem may need to be run for optimal comfort
For women, it could be too wide
Generosity is the best word to describe the Oxford. Perhaps not in the way you are used to hearing this term, the Oxford is engineered with a generous sweep angle and a very high rise.Read more
If you are familiar with the Torrington North Road, this is designed similarly. But, it all starts with its 6061-T6 polished aluminum construction.
Size and Width
The center measures 25.4 millimeters and the rise if quite the massive 52 millimeters. In addition, from center to center, this measures 540 millimeters.
Even though you may need to run a long stem to get comfortable, the generous sweep angle of these handlebars does move your hands back considerably as compared to straight bars.
Per the description on Amazon, these bars are compatible with MTB-style levers and grips. However, they are not compatible with bar end shifters.
Either way, you go, whether with the polished black or the polished silver, the finish is beautiful. But, the option to pick is ideal and one that many will appreciate.
On top of all of its quality, this actually lands in the middle of the spectrum in terms of price. But, as said, its quality is far from middle-class making this an excellent bang for your buck.
9. Upanbike Drop Bar
It is both sturdy and lightweight
Improves the speed of your bike
Very stylish appeal
The center taper takes up too much of the bar
Could be more choices for width
It is understandable if you are on a tight budget and if that happens to be the case, this drop bar is a superb choice. But, make no mistake about it, this bad boy can hang.Read more
Yet again, this is another model that is comprised of 6061-T6 aluminum. On top of being lightweight, this is also a very sturdy handlebar that appears to be well-made.
Size and Width
At just 420 millimeters in width, these may be too narrow for some riders. But, you do have the option for either a 25.4-millimeter model or a 31.8-millimeter one.
Without a doubt, this is an ergo style handlebar. But, one buyer did make mention that it can be difficult to mount anything due to the center taper.
Whether you have a road bike, a cruiser, or even a mountain bike, these drop bars should fit just fine. After all, these sport the standard grip diameter of most BMX bars.
The photos almost give the impression that this is a metallic blue. No matter, the finish is incredibly appealing and one that many bikers will be fond of.
Although the center taper may take away some of your mounting options, which could be a deal breaker for some of you, this remains a sturdy and lightweight option.
10. Origin8 Urban-Pro
They are quite narrow for those looking for such
Will improve the ride of your bike
Built with quality in mind
They slide a little too easily
There is a lot to like about these bars but there are the naysayers out there that will point out the flaws. That is okay, that is why this is landing at the number 10 spot.Read more
The 6061-T6 aluminum construction is nothing to scoff about. But, some consumers have complained that the grooves in the center and that they slide too easily.
Size and Width
For the Urban-Pro Riser, the specs read as follows. They measure 560 millimeters in width, have a 40-millimeter rise and come with a 25.4-millimeter bar clamp.
Even though looks can be deceiving, as one buyer alluded to, this could have a larger sweep angle than you expect. Be wary of that before you buy.
While all you get is the handlebar, if you use a few simple tools and adjust everything accordingly, you should not run into any issues when installing.
The black finish is actually quite glossy, perhaps too glossy. As one buyer noted, this allows the handlebar to move easier than it should.
For landing at the number 10 spot on this list, these are quite impressive. While they can’t compete with top-end models, their price tag shows that was never the goal.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
If this is your first time buying a brand-new set of handlebars, one of the leading head-scratchers that you have to deal with is what type of material you want. As you have seen throughout this guide thus far, it really comes down to two. You are realistically either going to invest in an aluminum model or a carbon one. However, the question is which material is superior? Well, that is a tough question to answer because they each have their distinct advantages. Let’s begin by addressing carbon.
First off, carbon tends to be much lighter than aluminum alloys (upward to 40 percent lighter, as a matter of fact). But, carbon can also easily be molded to any shape, which makes them ideal for ergonomics. This also makes it an excellent combination of comfort and strength. However, aluminum does have advantages of its own. For one, it is actually more durable and is more likely to survive the damage. Yet, ironically, it is also cheaper than carbon as it is much cheaper to produce. As you can see, both materials are stellar and it really comes down to your preference.
One of the most critically important dimensions for you to pay attention to when looking for a new handlebar is the width. All manufacturers will provide you with this measurement and they typically will measure the width from the center of each drop. Whether in centimeters, millimeters or in inches, the width is an essential measurement. The reason it is so important is you need to tailor the width to best suit you (and not all people are built the same). If the bars are too wide, it can make the ride unsettling and put stress on your neck and arms. But, bars that are too narrow will be a pain as well as you will feel cramped and uncomfortable.
What you should do is measure the distance between your AC joints and use that as a reference. So, if that distance is around 45 centimeters, then look for a width around that same distance. Then again, preference comes into play so it is ultimately up to your style. But, also pay attention to the rise. There are low, mid, and high rises available. While this also has a lot to do with preference, higher rises can make the steering feel more precise.
The size was already documented and now, it is time to discuss the shape and. Indeed, the shape of your handlebars is going to play a critical role in many things, especially comfort. But, what is nice is nine times out of ten, it really comes down to your personal preference. However, the main point is for you to be comfortable when you are riding. With so many different shape and configurations, though, how do you know if it is?
Well, let’s address some of the more popular types. You have traditional models that will sport gently rounded curves for a deeper drop. Of course, there are also models with a straighter shape that sport ergonomic bars in the middle. If you prefer a relaxed ride, you may want the latter. But, for speed, the traditional models may be more ideal. Oh, and do not forget about the back sweep. With just a little back sweep, the comfort can be amplified for your shoulders and wrists.
In terms of worrying if the model you invest in will fit your current bike, there is not much concern. But, it does not mean that you are out of the woods just yet. Why else would this be a point of emphasis? It really all comes down to the diameter of the handlebar. This number (which will typically either be 25.4 millimeters or 31.8 millimeters) will refer to the center point where the stem will attach. If you do not know what the stem of a bike is, it basically serves the purpose of securing the handlebars to the fork steerer.
But, you need to pay close attention to this measurement because you will need a stem with a matching clamp size. As such, you could run into a scenario where the model you pick will not fit. No one wants that so ensure that your stem will be compatible.
More or less, all of the main stuff has been covered. But, it is worth mentioning that the visual style of the model can actually have a profound effect on how much you like it. In specific, the normal individual will at least want the bars to somewhat match the overall style of the rest of the bike. Would you really want to install shiny metallic silver handlebars onto a jet-black bike (or the other way around)?
For most people, the answer to this question will be no and rightfully so. As such, look for a model that will naturally fit onto your bike. Trust us; you will end up regretting it if you think that eventually, you will get used to the oddball color.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
Many riders like the addition of handlebar weights. These tiny devices are inserted through the end of your bars and help keep the vibration to a minimum. This creates a more peaceful and quiet ride, as well as a more comfortable one. If you have ever endured the discomfort of your hands going numb halfway into your ride, handlebar weights may become your new best friend.
Before investing in a new set of handlebars, think about what type of rides you are looking to enjoy. If you are new to biking, upright bars will be more comfortable and give you more stability. If you are looking to gain speed, drop bars would be the best fit for you, as they make you more aerodynamic. Knowing how and in which terrains your plan to ride can help you make a smarter investment.
Other Factors to Consider
We all know that bikes are a big investment, especially if you are hand selecting each piece. While each piece is in important, the handlebars are arguably one of the top three most important pieces of your bike. They affect the position of your body, your turning capabilities, speed, and comfort. By considering the materials, size, compatibility, and style, we were able to assess the value and durability of each product. Even if something has a high price tag, if it shines in all of these categories, it is well worth it.
Frequently Asked Questions
From time to time, this can happen. If you notice that your handlebars are looser than they should be, you may need to make a quick fix. If the problem is derived from the stem, here is what you can do. To begin, locate the stem of your bike (hint, it is the piece that connects the headset to the bars). You should see an Allen bolt (it's head almost looking like a polygon) and chances are, this has simply become loosened. Before you tighten it, though, ensure the bars are in the correct position so you do not end up wasting your time.
With a standard Allen wrench, tighten the bolt until it is secured. After which, check the bars and see if they are still loose. If not, the problem is solved.
Whether you are a serious biker or not, you may be a bit anal on the quality of your bike’s components. That is perfectly fine as there is nothing wrong with wanting things up-to-date. So, you may be worried about how frequently the handlebars should be replaced. But, you should just take a breath and relax as these babies are designed for the long haul. That is if you use them correctly and they do not get damaged.
It seems like a brainless answer but you should only replace them if you have crashed and they are damaged beyond repair, simple. No matter if they are made of carbon or aluminum, there is really no reason to periodically change them unless you feel they do not perform as you desire anymore.
As was alluded to a few times, you can actually cut these products shorter if you desire. Sometimes, there will be indicator markers on them already. But, if there is not (or if you want them shorter than the marks go) you can still get around it. Before you begin, though, ensure that you remove the levers, grips, and bar ends. You will need to measure the distance from the center of the headset to each mark. To do so, sit on the bike seat and grip them to the width you want them. When this is established, take a felt tip marker and evenly mark the ends.
For a more precise cut, attach a clamp to be used as a cutting guide. From there, take a hacksaw and begin slowly cutting on the lines that you marked. Do so slowly for the best results. To finish, take a flat file to round off the edges.
This is probably one of the more popular questions whenever you talk about metal. Those ignorant about the subject may assume that all metal rusts and that simply is not true. The reality is rust only refers to steel and iron corrosion. So, aluminum actually can’t rust. However, while it can’t rust, it can surely corrode and that is probably what you notice with aluminum. A lot of the time, it becomes overrun with calcium, lime, grease, hard water stains, and even brake dust. Thus, aluminum will become dull from corrosion.
When this does occur, simply washing it off is not going to slice it. Instead, you will have to invest in some special cleaner to remove the corrosion build up. But, hey, at least it is not going to rust, right?
Alright, so this question is coming back to the issue of longevity. So, let’s say that you do wind up in an accident (not severe). What are some “warning signs” that you can look for to see if the bars will be compromised? For the record, for severe accidents, it can only be assumed that damage will be inevitable. Anyway, if you are talking about carbon, the warning signs should be painfully obvious. Due to the integrity of the material, the damage will probably end up being broken fibers or even exposed layers.
But, no matter, always look for damage at the exterior as that is typically where you will find it. If everything looks ordinary, then the accident was probably not severe enough to warrant any considerable amounts of damage.
For this last question, the focus is going to be kept on carbon. One of the other advantages to the material, which was not touched on earlier, is that it is remarkably easy to care for as it is fairly resistant to damage. What is even nicer is to clean and maintain it, you really are okay with resorting to simply soap and water. While you should keep the soap mild, this is going to be efficient nine times out of 10.
But, it is also worth noting that carbon does hold up well to other solvents. But, many experts will tell you that it is simple and good practice to resort to mild soap and water. In addition, this is only going to be necessary every so often (unless you enjoy trail riding and your bars are always exposed to dirt and grime).