The drop handlebars of a road bike are extra than just a spot to grip they are a essential interface amongst rider and device.

Choosing the ideal handlebars can profoundly impression ease and comfort, regulate, and efficiency on the road. In my profession as a professional bicycle fitter, I have seen firsthand how variables this sort of as fall, arrive at, flare, and far more have an effect on healthy and general performance in highway bike handlebars.

Whether you are a amateur bicycle owner or a seasoned pro, mastering road bike handlebar choice is crucial to optimizing your riding expertise. In this information, we’ll be masking:

Integrated aero handlebars on my road bicycle. © Robbie Ferri/BikeTips

Why Is Having The Appropriate Street Bicycle Handlebars So Significant?

There are a lot of causes why you want the ideal handlebars for your highway bike. Here’s what you have to have to know!


The improper handlebars or the wrong size will bring about you discomfort. It may possibly be in your fingers, shoulders, or even your again. The right size will keep you in a a great deal nicer place and at ease.


The wrong handlebars will intensely have an impact on the way the bike handles. Bars much too small will make it a minimal as well agile, and bars too big will make it truly feel sloppy to journey. You may possibly also take into account flared bars, which are frequently made use of by industry experts. 


It is shocking just how a lot change handlebars make in aerodynamics. The appropriate handlebars on your road bicycle can conserve worthwhile Wattage and minimize your body’s aerodynamic drag on superior-velocity sections. 

6 Essential Road Bicycle Handlebar Sorts

Despite the fact that most folks assume fall bars only arrive in one fashion, they essentially come in numerous unique kinds. Here’s what you are likely to uncover offered.

1. Traditional Drop Handlebars

Traditional road bike drop handlebars.
Credit rating: Deda

Common fall bars are common on road bikes. They are attached to a stem and bend all over 180 levels on themselves, dropping about 5 inches in full. Basic versions are available for older bikes, way too. 

2. Compact Fall Handlebars

Black compact drop handlebars.
Credit score: Model-X

Then, we have compact fall bars. These are just like common bars, but instead of dropping 5 inches, they only fall all over 3 inches. They are excellent if you obtain that standard bars fall you as well significantly and put you in a pretty aggressive place.

For many cyclists, compact drops can in fact be extra aerodynamic than standard deeper drops, as they allow for the rider to decrease their frontal cross-area.

3. Anatomic Fall Handlebars

Black anatomical drop handlebars.
Credit history: Ritchey

In contrast to the clean curve of conventional drop handlebars, anatomical drops have a flat slanted portion just underneath the hoods. This is for a a lot more snug spot on the fall where you have more grip and can use the gears and brakes.

The drop of anatomic handlebars tends to be related to compact drops, and is much less than traditional drops.

4. Riser Drop Handlebars

Black riser drop handlebars.
Credit score: Primary

Even though frequent drop handlebars lengthen outwards in line with the stem clamp, riser fall bars increase upwards a little from the clamp place prior to the bar tops flatten out.

This can make the handlebar place marginally bigger, irrespective of whether you are driving in the drops, the hoods, or the handlebar tops. The using position is as a result a minimal a lot more upright, which can be a lot more comfy for much less versatile riders.

5. Flared Handlebars

Black flared drop handlebars.
Credit score: Deda

Flared bars are usually discovered on gravel bikes but have also been used on street bikes, and tons of execs are making use of them.

Put simply, the bottoms of the drops are broader than the tops, producing it easier to management when low down and supplying extra stability around bumpy terrain or restricted turns. 

6. Aero Drop Handlebars

Black aero drop handlebars for a road bike.
Credit rating: Primary

Not to be mistaken with time trial or triathlon aero bars, aero drop handlebars are primarily the same design as frequent fall handlebars, but rather of getting cylindrical, the tops are flattened to be far more aerodynamic. These bars are made to slice by means of the wind.

Aero fall handlebars are practically often carbon fiber, partly because they are likely to be identified on performance street bikes, but also since carbon fiber is less complicated to mould into aerodynamic shapes.

How To Pick out The Correct Street Bike Handlebar Style

Buying the appropriate handlebars for you can be demanding. Below are the types I would suggest for the kind of street using you could possibly want to do. 

Road Racing

If you are scheduling on racing, then the best handlebars for you are your aero drop bars or some undersized flared bars. This is what quite a few specialists use, and for pace, that is usually the route most riders go down.

This is a terrific performance route mainly because it helps with aerodynamics not just at the bars but also by putting the rider in the appropriate position. It is nice and lower and also extremely tucked up into the bike. 

Lengthy Length Biking

When it will come to lengthy-length cycling, the critical is to be comfy. Many street bike riders will decide for a increased using situation on the arms for excess convenience and to release pressure from the reduce again and off the shoulders and neck. 

I suggest riser bars or compact fall bars. Riser bars are great for giving a marginally better position, which adds extra comfort and ease. Compact bars give a substantial posture on the drops, which provides an factor of comfort and ease when biking.

All Spherical Driving

If you are on the lookout for a blend of functionality and ease and comfort, then you will want to use possibly the regular bars or the Anatomic bars. These present superior general performance and a awesome placement, which is not just speedy but also good with aerodynamics. 

I personally appreciate conventional bars as they are what I am utilised to. Anatomic bars really feel wonderful in the fall position and have excess support on the drops when braking and modifying gears. Both equally will offer you an all-round blended expertise.

Compact handlebars on a road bike.

How To Select The Right Road Bicycle Handlebar Dimension

You want to look at not only handlebar style but also handlebar dimension. Handlebars occur in various dimensions to match various system designs. When it will come to picking the correct bar sizing, this is how I propose heading about it.

Street bicycle handlebars usually measure in between 36 cm and 46 cm and can be calculated slightly in different ways relying on the maker. 

You will have to have a tape evaluate to total this job.

#1. Evaluate Your Shoulder Width

The initially move is to measure your shoulder width. It is measured from the furthest stage the place the shoulder bones sit from every single other. It aids to have a person else there to evaluate and ensure you go horizontally across. 

If you have to have assist with how to do this, call a nearby bike fitter or head to your nearby bike store. Someone there will be in a position to enable you. It’s a very simple measurement most fantastic bicycle stores will fortunately do for you if there is the prospective to make a sale.

Classic bicycle fitting advice is that your handlebars must be the exact width as your shoulder width measurement.

In truth, this is just a start level, as cyclists all have their own tastes. It’s best to experiment with a number of distinctive dimensions to find what is correct for you.

Typically, beginner cyclists might go for handlebars a minor broader than their shoulder width for additional balance, while additional experienced or competitive cyclists may well decide for narrower handlebars to get edge of the aerodynamic benefits.

#2. Assume About The Kind Of Bars You Want

Upcoming, you will want to think about the sort of bars you want. Contemplating about the riding you want to do prior to everything is very good. It’s really worth referring to the portion above to go for bars that match the model you are going for. 

#3. Measure Your Up coming Handlebars

Up coming, you have to have to evaluate your handlebars or the handlebars you approach on buying. You can do this by measuring from the center of the bars the place the shifter sits from one aspect to the other. I recommend measuring from the major, not from the entrance. 

If you are purchasing bars on the internet, it’s worthy of mentioning that some businesses evaluate from the heart of the bars like we have, and other folks evaluate from the outside, which is all over a 4 mm difference. I would not overthink it, but if you’re worried, examine the manufacturer’s web page. 

I recommend tests a friend’s bike or a bicycle at a store with the appropriate size handlebars to make sure they experience correct. I have usually discovered the suitable bars usually sense appropriate.

Significant See: Handlebar Sizing

Diverse types of bars from brands usually size in a different way, and they usually have their personal way of recommending bars for unique shoulder widths. With any one of a kind types, it is worthy of checking to be absolutely sure you will have the suitable dimensions. 

Road bike handlebars on a blue background.

The Proper Highway Bicycle Handlebars For You

Picking the appropriate handlebars for your highway bike is demanding, and the over is the best wager and the most reasonable route to decide on. I also sense there’s a ton to be stated about the way you really feel using different measurements. 

I have observed that 44 cm is frequently proposed for some cyclists, but they a great deal choose a 42 cm bar. It’s the exact for me. I choose lesser bars as they sense a lot better. Though some pros could possibly require 42 cm bars, they may well be on 38 cm for the a lot more aero posture.

Whilst the logic is there, it does appear down to personal choice, but the greatest position to start out is by measuring and applying what companies suggest what road bicycle handlebars you should really be utilizing.