Do you know that 48.8% of professional cyclists suffer from neck pain and 30.3% from lower back pain? One cause of neck and lower back pain is not using the correct handlebars. That’s why many people prefer to replace bike handlebars to get enough comfort and avoid these chronic pains.
As every cyclist knows the handlebar is an essential component of a bike that plays the most prominent role in comfort and bike control. So the question is if you put upright handlebars on a road bike, will it provide the necessary control and comfort?
In this article, I will answer all of your queries based on the handlebars of road bikes such as types of Road Bike Handlebars, differences from other bikes’ handle bars, putting upright handlebars on the Road bicycle, also selecting the right one for your road bike as well in detail.
Whether you are a professional or amateur cyclist, this article will aid you to choose the right handlebars for safer cycling. So, let’s get started.
What Kind Of Handlebars Do Road Bikes Have?
Drop handlebars have long been the most popular choice for road bikes. These handlebars are the first choice of riders for adventure and racing.
But apart from drop bars, you may notice several other types of handlebars on road bikes. Below I am detailing many road bike handlebars, including drop bars.
❖ Drop Bars
These handlebars reduce drag by allowing riders to crouch down, which helps in saving energy and riding faster.
👉 Drop bars have a straight center section and curved forward ends that point back towards the rider. They offer three distinct hand positions-
- The flat section on top of the bars,
- The brake hoods,
- And the drops.
👉 And generally, 3 measurements define drop handlebar styles: reach, drop, and width.
There are many types of drop bars available in the market, including standard drop bars, tracks, drop-in bars, dirt drops, anatomical drop bars, etc. But on road bikes, riders use standard drop bars more.
Benefits & Drawbacks:
- A drop handlebar can provide many benefits. It gives your bike an iconic and classic look as well as helps maintain high speed during riding. These handlebars are less wide, making it easier to navigate through narrow gaps in the crowd.
- Besides, handlebars also bring some disadvantages. Notably, they cost more, provide relatively less control over the bike, less space for mounting accessories, etc.
❖ Flat Handlebars
Flat handlebars are the most commonly used handlebars on road bikes after drop bars.
These handlebars are almost straight, mostly leaning between 2 and 10 degrees towards the rider. Although they have an average width of 580 to 600 mm, flat handlebars of various widths are available in the market.
Advantages & Disadvantages:
- These handlebars allow you to establish much better control over the bike.
- Brakes are easily accessible on flat handlebars and parts are readily available.
- They are the best for comfort while riding.
- Flat handlebars have plenty of space for mounting accessories and allow easy replacing of brake and shifter cables.
- But these handlebars incorporate some disadvantages like you need to be in an upright riding position. Because of this, it is difficult to ride fast and the wind will hinder your speed.
- As they are relatively wide, it will be a problem to pass through crowds or narrow spaces.
❖ H Bars
The 45-degree sweepback is one of the key features of the H bars. These handlebars have an exceptional loop design with a .5-inch rise in the middle. But very few road bikes use this type of handlebar. Apart from road bikes, these handlebars are also used in gravel bikes, mountain bikes, touring bikes, etc.
Privilege & Adversity:
- These bars keep your wrists in a neutral and ergonomic position, which prevents problems like wrist pain.
- They also facilitate plenty of space for mounting accessories. So that you can use these handlebars if you want to establish better control over the bike.
- Some disadvantages of handlebars are their price; they are quite expensive.
- These handlebars are not aerodynamic and are relatively wide (660 to 710 mm on average). So they are not great at riding in crowds.
❖ Aero Bars
If you prefer an aggressive or aerodynamic riding position, aero bars may be ideal for you. The design of these handlebars helps you to stay in the most aerodynamic riding position. And we already know that Aero handlebars consist of two parallel bars mounted together. Also, they attached pads to the bars providing rest to the rider’s arms.
Surplus & Shortfall:
- You don’t have to suffer from wrist pain when using aero bars because you don’t need to grip the handlebars most of the time.
- One more advantage of these is that you can attach arrow bars to existing handlebars.
- Although these bars are unique for fast bike riding, they also include some issues. These will keep your hand slightly away from the brake, which makes the bike have a longer stopping distance.
- These bars will add extra weight to your bike and can make it difficult to turn the bike quickly.
❖ Riser Bars
If you want to ride your bike in an upright and comfortable manner, then riser handlebars may be perfect for you.
Riser bars look a bit like flat handlebars, but they can be raised more (from 15 to 50 mm) which is more comfortable for the rider. Although these bars are mostly used in mountain, hybrid, or comfort bikes, we also see them on some road bikes.
Convenience & Shortcoming:
- Riser bars allow you to establish better control over the bike.
- These bars provide you with a more comfortable riding position rather than an aggressive riding position.
- Accessories for these handlebars are relatively inexpensive.
- The significant problem is that the handlebars are too wide, so it’s difficult to ride the bike on crowded roads.
- These bars are not very suitable for fast bike riding.
Why Road Bike Handlebars Are Different From Other Bikes?
You may have noticed that road bike handlebars differ slightly from other bike handlebars. Most road bikes usually use drop or aero bars that are quite low. So, the biker has to ride with a lot of leaning towards the front of the bike.
- This is because road bikes are more preferred to be ridden by youngsters who expect high speed from the bike.
- On the other hand, low handlebars help the rider maintain an aerodynamic riding position. So, the rider can easily maintain the high speed of the bike.
Another reason is that the forward-leaning position ensures effective use of the gluteal muscles. As a result, the rider gets a lot more power while pedaling. It can also absorb better bumps because part of the body weight is on the handlebars.
Can You Put Upright Handlebars On A Road Bike?
Yes, of course, you can have upright handlebars on your road bike. But it might require some new accessories. Although drop handlebars help maintain speed, they also cause discomfort and fatigue. That’s why many people want to attach upright comfortable handlebars to road bikes.
- Furthermore, the Upright handlebars allow you to sit upright on the bike. And, this is relatively comfortable and very useful for long bike rides.
- These handlebars cause much fewer problems like neck or lower back pain.
- An upright handlebar such as a riser handlebar helps you control the bike better.
But these handlebars are not so convenient for fast bike riding.
How Do You Choose Road Bike handlebars?
Since handlebars are an important part of a bike’s control and a comfortable ride, there are many things you need to consider while choosing them. Below I’ll explain the key points in choosing a good handlebar.
As I discussed above, there are many styles of handlebars available for road bikes. Each type of handlebar has advantages and disadvantages. But if you want to give your road bike an iconic and classic look, then drop bars are definitely the best.
And, Drop-style handlebars are most commonly used on road bikes because they allow the rider to sit in an aerodynamic riding position. Also, it helps the cyclist at fast speed, hill climbing, or moving in a crowd.
Handlebars that are too wide or too narrow can affect steering control and cause wasted power.
So the Experts recommend handlebar width should be equal to or 4 cm wider than the rider’s shoulder.
Although narrow handlebars are preferred by racers, they are best avoided by novice or inexperienced riders. Besides, the Narrow handlebars can cause problems in controlling the bike.
There are some features of the handlebars that you need to look out for. For example:
- Reach: This refers to the length of the brake mounting from the center of the top. We consider this distance to be 80 mm short, 80 to 85 mm medium, and greater than 85 mm large.
- Drop: This is the distance from the top of the handlebar to the end of the drop. We generally consider this distance of less than 125 mm to be a shallow drop and over 128 mm to be a deep drop.
- Rise: If you want to use riser bars or flat bars on your bike, then you need to consider the size of the riser. The riser should be between 10 and 40 mm.
Handlebars made of various materials are available in the market. Notable, among which are aluminum, carbon fiber, titanium, steel, etc.
Among these, aluminum is the most helpful because it is durable and cheap. Although carbon fibers are much stiffer, they are more expensive and prone to cracking.
Road bike handlebars need to be lightweight. Because a heavy or over-weight handlebar adds weight to the bike and affects handling. So that some road bike handlebars weigh as little as 180 grams only.
The Bottom Lines
Many of us prefer to put upright handlebars on road bikes for a more comfortable ride. Although you can do this, it can detract from the true beauty and functionality of the road bike. But an upright handlebar can help you have a comfortable and safe ride as well as free from various chronic pains.
But the road bike is the epitome of youth. With these bikes, bikers are more habituated to seeing the aggressive or aerodynamic riding position that drop handlebars can offer. In this article, I have discussed the handlebars used in road bikes, their types, differences from others, and upright handlebars so that any cyclist will not suffers a bit while choosing a perfect handlebar for his/her Road Bike handlebars to replace or change. So I hope this blog post will help you in choosing the correct handlebar and the next biking voyage with your sweet Road Beast.