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Q&A: What kind of handlebars should I use?

by Commute by Bike

I have commuted by bike for awhile, but always with a flat handlebar. It works great and I have no issues with it. I, however, am purchasing a new bike and I am trying to decide whether to keep the drop bars it comes with or change them to bull horns. I was just wondering if you have any opinions as to which is better or if another ( e.g. moustache bars) are the best for commuting.

– RC

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Burley nomad 229

13 Responses to “Q&A: What kind of handlebars should I use?”

  1. nathan says:

    not that drops are the end all be all, but drops are fun once you get used to them, give em a try, you might like.

  2. Jerome says:

    I’ve been trying to figure the same thing out myself. I built a fixie last year and put on some bull-horns just because it seems to be the thing to do with a fixie. I’ve found them to be so great. I just finished building up a Bianchi geared bike and opted for bull-horns with it, as the shifters are mounted on the down tubes. It’s all personal preference. I have found bull-horns to be very comfortable, still a little racy-feeling, but give a lot of control while maneuvering in traffic. I do have a road bike with drop bars and personally I don’t find them that comfy for commuting; they are better for non-commuting rides. Hope you find what works best for you! If you do get mustache bars, let us know. That’s one style I’ve never tried, but always wanted too. Cheers.

  3. John says:

    I bought a set of used extensions. That allows me to try them out. If they don’t work out, I haven’t spent the rent money.

    http://bp3.blogger.com/_w0pPtKqUAbE/RfyfaCAJ6KI/AAAAAAAAAao/vkOR7V2v4-4/s1600-h/IMG_0348.jpg

  4. Drew says:

    I commute on a road bike with drops. I love them, especially when the wind picks up.

    For comfort put on some thick bar tape and they are nice and soft.

  5. John says:

    I run a set of moustache bars on my old Fuji commuter. They have been great. They offer tons of different hand positions. A nice wide stance for getting some leverage when climbing. And a solid flat bar like position when your looking for control under braking in the corners. Plus they look cool.

    My ride:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/duganj/163193576/in/set-72157594206188173/

    A nice page with general information on the bars:
    http://www.stanford.edu/~dru/moustache.html

  6. Fritz says:

    Here are a couple photos of a bike with literal bullhorns!

    Drop bars are fine, IMO. If you want to drop a couple $$ to be a little more stylish with bullhorns, though, go knock yourself out. If you want to sit upright, raise your handlebars by adjusting/replacing the stem.

  7. Val says:

    As mentioned, bar choice is a very personal matter, and no style can really be said to be “better”. One important factor with any style of bar is the bar position. I have found that in most cases where the rider dislikes “drop” bars, the bars are too low and/or too far forward. If you have a bar with multiple positions, make sure that the stem puts it in a location that allows you to reach all the positions easily. On a bar with only one position (straight/rise mountain bike bars, bullhorns) this is even more important, but maladjustment is much more obvious from the start.

  8. Phil says:

    I’ve had Moustache bars and they are very comfy. An excellent resource for sourcing and setting them up is Rivendell Bike’s web site. http://www.rivbike.com/webalog/handlebars_stems_tape/16027.html
    Their catalog has a tech article on them. They are great for a modified cruising position but lack a lot of room for your lights coffee cup holder, mojo etc.
    Personally I like drops, specifically wide bars with deep cut back curves. Currently I am using a Salsa Bell Lap Cyclocross bar. There is plenty of room across the tops for lights or even a cyclo cross auxiliary brake lever set. I don’t have them but lots of cell phone yakking latte drinking commuters do. Wide bars make it easier to breath and you don’t hit your knees if you are using a shorterand taller stem. A handlebar has less to do with fit and comfort than your stem. A great bar with the wrong stem is worse than a lousy bar with the right stem.

  9. Mike in Florida says:

    I suppose it depends on what sort of commute. I have a bike with a riser bar which I use for errands and short trips. My commute is longish so I like the extra hand positions the drop bar gives, and the ability to get in the drops for extra speed downhill. As for which drop bar—I will never ride anything other than a Nitto Model 177 “Noodle” bar. 44cm or wider. It’s the most comfortable I’ve ever been.

  10. Evan says:

    I use trekking bars on my commuter. Lots of hand positions and lots of room to mount lights and stuff.

  11. brian says:

    I have bullhorns (drop bars turned over and cut) on one bike and mustache on another. I personally prefer the bullhorns for city riding. I find myself fighting for space in between cars so prefer the narrowness of the bullhorns. If I didn’t have to fight the cars so much I might opt for the mustache. The do offer a lot of hand positions and are quite comfortable.

  12. optimuscrime says:

    I used to have moustache bars on my old ride, which, alas, was thieved away by the bicycle trolls. Dammit.

    So, my new bike has flat handlebars, and I’m not so sure what I think. I’ve been considering adding bar ends rather than replacing the handlebars altogether with bullhorns.

    John — looks like this is what you did. How’d you like it?

  13. One of the oldest type of handlebars, this type of bar was named after the North Road Cycling Club in Londo

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