Bike handlebars & grips – great selection at Bikester.co.uk
As they provide all-important bike contact points, having the right handlebars and grips makes all the difference for a cyclist. Of course, manufacturers such as KCNC, Profile Design et al. offer a large variety of each, but the correct models for you will widely depend on a mix of factors: what type of bike you have, your riding style and your common ride conditions.
There are many types of handlebar designs, all optimised for specific types of usage. But we’ll just look at the pros and cons of the three most common ones available.
As the name suggests, flat bars are made from a near-flat hollow tube that run straight. They are considered the standard type of handlebar.
A wider grip gives you better steering leverage – and enhanced control
Brake and gear levers are easy to reach
Upright position means you can make sure that traffic stays in your eyeline at all times
Cheaper and lighter
Flat bars can irritate the ulnar and median nerves – causing numb fingers
The upright riding position isn't very aerodynamic, so long-distance rides become more of a struggle with flat bars
Drop bars have a straight middle, but curve downwards and towards the rider on the handle ends. They are more commonly associated with road cycling and racing.
Allow the rider to assume a position that offers better aerodynamics
Offers a variety of positions for the hands so you can relieve pressure
Provides better ergonomic positioning of shoulders than their flat counterparts
Provide less steerage control
Having your head down limits your awareness of traffic and your surroundings
Makes it harder to reach the brake levers
Aero or tri-bars
This handlebar form is used mainly in competitive tri or time trial events and is designed to put the rider in the most aero position possible – with armpads to rest their forearms upon and bar extensions to grip.
Pros and cons
Aero and Tri-bars offer similar pros and cons to drop handlebars. However they provide an even more aero position for faster times – and in events where every split second counts, this difference is the most important.
Once you’ve chosen the perfect handlebars for you, you’ll also need to consider the type of grips that will suit you best.
Bicycle grip types
Foam & silicone grips
Brooks, Race Face and others all offer the classic round grip type most riders will be familiar with. However, the different materials used in these grips all naturally offer different advantages. Both foam and silicon types are light, grippy and comfortable in all weather conditions. However, the silicone version are easier to clean than most and offer good vibration dampening.
Designed with a winged shape that’s kinder on your hands and forearms, and prevent discomfort and damage over time. Ergon are the big name in the production of this type of grip.
Bar ends from the likes of Ritchey, BBB and Lizard Skins are an extra option on top of your grips – and although they aren’t necessary they do offer many worthwhile advantages:
Extra positioning options are easier on your muscles and nerves