Do you know that there are only three points of contact between your body and also the bicycle: the seat, the pedals, and the handlebars?
Fitting the bike with modern handlebars might be one of the greatest and worst—improvements you make since they have such a profound effect on your comfort, power, stability, & efficiency.
Where’s the catch? how to raise handlebars on a bike? Since most of us now buy our riding gear online, trying out a new set of handlebars before buying them is a rarity.
What’s the good news? Bicycle fit experts, physiologists, & biomechanists helped us boil down the process of choosing a handlebar to just five simple actions. You’ll know to adjust your configuration as your requirements and tastes evolve.
- First, decide which type of handlebars you want.
Handlebars for bicycles can be found in a bewildering variety of designs, including road bike (MTB), road, sand, & comfort. Then there are the specialized groups and permutations, including the cruiser, aero, megaphones, butterfly, and moustache.
Accordingly, there has been a dramatic increase in the blurring of boundaries between formerly distinct types of bikers. With this in mind, we could retrofit mountain bikes with road bars, fixed gear bikes with flat bars, & road cycles with cruiser bars. A mindset where “there is no one proper approach” has fueled significant advancement in the sector.
However, there are still several constraints you should keep in mind while selecting the perfect set of handlebars. The key, says Gina Poertner, CHES, director of Life Balance Sports & Wellness in Kansas City, Kansas, and an endurance cyclist, is to strike a balance between flexibility and strength.
You would like the best of all worlds, Gina explains. Selecting the best gear ensures your protection, boosts your efficiency and reduces the risk of harm.
For example, you may be the only person in the world who has ever installed track-oriented deep-drop bars on their downhill full-suspension bike. Because you would be shifting your body’s position on the bike, the bike’s geometry & handling qualities would change, potentially making the ride much less comfortable and increasing the risk of injury.
- Second, Determine the Width of Your Handlebars
Stock handlebars on motorcycles are typically sized according to the average rider of that frame size (e.g., small, medium, large, etc.).
However, if your body is significantly larger or smaller than the norm, the handlebars may not be as sensitive or as easy to turn as they may be. In addition, it may increase the likelihood of arm, neck, & back pain, and in extreme cases, may cause permanent nerve damage.
- Third, Determine the Size, Shape, and Adjustments of Your Handlebars by Reach, Dip, Rise, Flare, Sweep, & Diameter
Let’s simply define these words before we move forward. You’ll see not all of them apply to all varieties of handlebars.
Chris explains that this is the “distance from the centre of the handlebar at the stem, and also the place for fitting brakes and shifters,” but only applies to drop handlebars.
‘Drop’ refers to the vertical “distance from the top of the bar to the drop, as calculated from the bar top to the centre of the lowest portion of the bend. Or, in certain rare situations, from the centre of the top to the centre of the bar’s bottom,” Chris explains. It is termed a short drop if it is 125mm or less, medium if it is 125mm to 128mm, and deep if it is more than 128mm.
how steeply the handlebars drop away from the top of the bar to the bar ends; expressed in degrees. In contrast to gravel-specific bars such as the Salsa Cowchippers, which have a 24-degree flare, most road handlebars get tiny or zero flares.
Handlebars that rise in height from the middle to the ends of a mountain bike are called “riser” bars. The rise of a typical mountain bike bar is between 0 and 40 millimetres.
The upward and rearward arcs of your handlebars concerning the stem. These two dimensions, along with the rise, are the most critical in establishing the form of a handlebar.
When looking for a new set of bicycle handlebars, it may seem like you have a limitless amount of options. What we’ve gleaned from Gina Poertner and Chris Balser boils down to choosing between the following options:
- Adjust the handlebars so that they fit your riding style and the design of your bike.
- The ideal width of the handlebars will increase your comfort and safety while riding.
- Reach, rise, flare, sweeps, diameter, & differential are all examples of dimensions.
- The best way to determine these dimensions without the aid of a professional is through trial and error.
- In other words, you probably shouldn’t expect to succeed perfectly from the get-go.
Common blunders include buying on price alone, going with the improper handlebar length and diameter, as well as selecting a layout that doesn’t allow for ideal adjustment.