9 Types of Handlebars on Bikes

The types of handlebars on bikes are pretty diverse; especially if you are new to cycling, it is easy to overlook the importance of the handlebar even though the handlebar is a critical component that determines the character of a bicycle where there are three main points on the bicycle that come into contact with our bodies, namely: pedals, saddles, and handlebars. (handlebar).

As we go over each type of handlebar, there are a few essential things to keep in mind.

  • Each type of handlebar is used for a specific purpose.

The type of cycling you are interested in — racing, mountain biking, cycling, etc. — Will play a significant role in the type of handlebars you are looking for. For example, drop bars — the kind of handlebars you see on race bikes, such as those on the Tour de France — allow you to lean forward and travel at very high speeds, whereas flat-bar handlebars — are the kind you’ll see on bicycles. The mount is just a straight pole with a handle — giving you more control when turning and allowing you to go off-road and over rough roads.

  • Different types of bicycle handlebars change the way you sit on a bicycle.

We just looked at the drop bar vs. flat bar, so let’s stick with it. The drop bar will put you in an “aggressive” position, with your head and shoulders bent forward, and that’s great for speed on the tarmac; a flat bar will give you a more “upright” position, with your shoulders back and your butt more directly in the saddle (seat), which is a good posture for navigating trails and cobblestones. Your posture on the bike determines the type of cycling you can do.

  • Each type of handlebar has its advantages and disadvantages.

Drop bars allow speed (good for racing) but limit cyclists’ view of the world around them (bad for off-road); flat bars don’t allow cyclists to go as fast (bad for racing), but they do allow cyclists to see their entire environment (suitable for off-roading).

We’ll discuss these aspects — specific functions, pros and cons, and so on — in each section below.

List of 9 Types of Handlebars on Bikes

1. Drop Bar: 

This is one of the most recognized types of handlebars. They are most commonly seen on road bikes, and they look like this:

Drop Bar

As you can see, drop bars have a unique three-dimensional shape and allow them to be several types of handlebars. The shape allows you to grip the handlebar using four different hand positions:

  • You can hold the “Top” or the top of the handlebar (this is the highest part of the handlebar);
  • You can hold the handlebar angle (this is where the handlebar bends forward, away from you);
  • You can hold the “hoods” (these are the surfaces on top of the brakes); or
  • You can hold the very bottom of the handlebar.

Each hand position brings you forward and closer to the front wheel — and each hand position lets you go faster.

The ability to use different types of grips on the drop bar makes it a GREAT choice for racing or road bike cyclists:

When you hold the lowest part of the drop bar — you are in the most aerodynamic position, and you will be able to push the pedal more efficiently than when you are in a more upright position.

2. Flat Bar:

If drop bars are a bit fancy, flat bars are much more straightforward. They are also easier to explain: they are flat rods with handles at both ends. It’s not hard to imagine, but if you need a little help, it should look something like this:

Flat Bar

Sometimes, it has little corners, and it’s not 100% flat. But most of the time, they are still referred to as flat rods.

Flat bars are suitable for several reasons:

They are an excellent choice for mountain bikes.

The flat bar keeps your hands in position, giving you more control as you navigate rough terrain, and the width of the bar gives you more control over turns. Traditionally, it was used mainly by cross-country mountain bikers, but in recent years, downhill mountain bikers have also started using it.

The Flat Bar promotes a more upright riding stance.

And it’s great for more relaxed cycling. Flat bars are typical on hybrid bikes and fixies and are even available on some road bikes (known as flat bar road bikes).

They are great for squeaking through tight spaces.

If you’re an urban cyclist and you find yourself squeezing through tight spaces—between the back of a Mac truck and a parked car is widespread—having a comprehensive set of handlebars will get you stuck. Narrow flat bars are a great option if you cycle through tight spaces.

They offer a lot of space.

Install additional accessories such as safety lights, bicycle computers, cell phone holders, speaker holders, and so on. It sounds like a minor problem, but if you use your bike to commute or do errands around town, that handlebar real estate is great.

There are several drawbacks to the Flat Bar:

Your hands and wrists can get tired and sore on flat bar handlebars because you only have one position to use. However, you can add additional equipment (such as a bar tip) if you want more hand positions to be used.

They’re not excellent at moving fast. The flat bar doesn’t allow you to take an aerodynamic posture, and you can’t get an aggressive posture while using it. Remember, however, that’s not what they’re made for.

3. Riser Bar: 

Riser bars are a prevalent choice; you will see them on all mountain bikes, hybrid bikes, and so on. The Riser Bar looks like this:

Riser Bar

Like the flat bar, the risers force you to use one hand position, and they keep your palms facing the ground (a hand position that will help you absorb shocks from a road or rough road), and they will ensure that your hands are one hand apart. Each other (which allows you to spin quickly and effectively).

The riser bar creates an excellent, upright position — again, not great for speed but great for off-road biking and city driving. Riser bars — like flat bars — vary in width.

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4. Cruiser Bar

Cruiser Bar

Of all the types of handlebars, this is probably the most comfortable handlebar you’ll find: a wide handlebar that bends back toward your body, and the handle — instead of pointing outward, like the riser bar and flat bar — it’s pointing backwards. They’re a lot of fun to drive, and they feel like you’re driving a bus. They look like this:

They’re not made for high-performance bikes — you’ll never use them on a mountain bike, hybrid bike, or race bike — and are very difficult to pedal uphill. Still, they are great for comfortable bikes: because the handlebars stretch back, you can sit fully upright and pedal. Pair this handlebar with a padded saddle with multiple springs, and you’ll get a very comfortable cycling ride.

5. Aero Bar

When most people hear the term handlebar or “handlebar,” something that moves from side to side, perpendicular to the cyclist, aero bars are the opposite of that: they move outward and forward in front of the cyclist.

Aero Bar

The aero bar is a type of long, narrow bicycle handlebar that allows you to take a very aggressive stance and that is as aerodynamic as possible so that you can get to the fastest speed possible. They are prevalent in time trial races, where the cyclist tries to “beat the clock.”

The Aero Bar will allow you to break through the wind and speed like a bullet. Still, it can be perilous — because of your tucked posture, it can be complicated to turn or get through obstacles in the way — and because of that added danger, bicycles with aero bars are usually prohibited from racing multiple cyclists (which is why bicycles are commonly used in timed trials, where cyclists usually cycle alone).

6. Bullhorn Bar

Bullhorn bars were once only found on track bikes (the type of bike used in velodrome racing) or time trial bikes but are now fairly common. They got their name because they look like bull’s horns:

Bullhorn Bar

So, why would you want to use it if you are not using velodrome and not in the test of time?

They offer the most significant advantage of drop bars — namely, multiple hand positions — but they allow you to stand up straight a bit more, so you can see the traffic and pedestrians around you (and that’s why they’ve become popular with urban cyclists). ).

This type of bicycle handlebar is like a drop bar, allowing you to lean forward and down into an aggressive tuck position and move at a higher speed. Still, it’s also great for grades — allowing you to pedal more efficiently while in the saddle while allowing you to pedal more efficiently while in the saddle. Pedal aggressively when out of the saddle.

7. Butterfly Bar

Butterfly Bar

The butterfly handlebar or butterfly handlebar has a shape like a butterfly, is symmetrical, and looks like a wing. Like drop bars and bullhorn bars, a significant advantage of butterfly handlebars is that they allow you to use a variety of hand positions. That makes them FANTASTIC for long trips, because:

Long rides will present various terrain (e.g., hills, steep inclines, long and endless plains, etc.), and you will have to use several different cycling postures to suit each type of terrain. During long cycling trips, your hands, wrists, arms, and shoulders will eventually get sore. The ability to shift your handlebar position and systematically rest your various muscle groups is an absolute must.

The Butterfly’s long handlebar gives you many opportunities to add accessories such as smartphones, water bottles, mirrors, flashlights, etc.

This bicycle handlebar can get a little heavy, but it’s worth it if you’re on a long journey. If you’ve ever seen a bicycle tour, you’ve probably seen some people using the butterfly bar.

8. Moustache Bars​

Mustache Bar or handlebar moustache This is a type of handlebar that is quite rarely used. This handlebar is a drop bar but does not have a position that is not too down. The shapes will allow you to change hand positions, but they offer fewer hand positions than drop bars or bullhorn bars.

You won’t see as many people using this handlebar as you would with a drop bar, a flat bar, bullhorns, a riser bar, or an upright bar — but certain people use these types of handlebars.

9. Stang BMX

BMX handlebars are smaller and manufactured to be very sturdy because BMX bikes are widely used for several stressful events, such as racing to street stunts, and BMX handlebars are built to withstand high pressure.

You won’t see BMX handlebars on many non-BMX bikes.

Those are 9 types of handlebars on bikes, so there are many types of bicycle handlebars that you can choose from. My advice is to find out what is most comfortable for you.


Marcelline is a writer and covers several categories thanks to her multidisciplinary expertise.

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