Your contact points on the bike, handlebars, saddle, and pedals, all play a huge part in your ride-comfort and can make all the difference between “Let’s head back.” and “Woo, only 5 more miles to the best burritos ever!”. In today’s post, we’ll take a look at different handlebar designs, and help you decide which pair is right for you!
Riser bars are the standard on our Original Series models, and they’re probably the same bars you rode as a kid. Straight across with a little rise, these bars give you one hand position and help elevate your hands a bit for a slightly more upright riding position. While they’re not the most aerodynamic, they’re a ton of fun and great at bringing out your “bike-y” side. The width of the bars gives you control of your bike’s handling over sketchy terrain, potholes, etc… and the rise keeps your head up so you’re always looking at the road ahead. These bars are perfect for someone looking to get back into riding after some time away or anyone who just wants to relive their childhood freedom. Simple, straightforward, just hop on and ride.
Ready to get racey or heading out on tour? Drops are the king when it comes to aerodynamics and variety of hand positions. Also, as the only bars that are drome-legal, if you’re going to hit the track you better have some drops in your arsenal. Drop bars can be ridden just like risers, with your hands on either end. Or, if the wind’s howling or you’re sprinting for the finish, dropping down “into the drops” (holding the bars where the curl back under) will lower your profile to be more aerodynamic and let you pull the bike back into your legs to produce even more power.
Adding hooded brake levers gives you a third position up and out on the bars where you can stretch out, get more weight over the front wheel, and still grab the brakes when you need to. You’ll probably also find yourself riding with your hands resting on the “corner bends”, right next to the stem, and everywhere else you can get your mitts. Drop bars basically let you ride with your hands anywhere, and when you’re really stacking up the mileage, you’ll appreciate the variety.
And if you’re somewhere in between risers and drops, bullhorns might be just what you’re looking for! Besides looking the coolest (that’s just a fact), bullhorns give you the same position you’d get riding the hoods on your drop bars, stretched out and over the front wheel to get a bit more aerodynamic while still keeping your head fairly upright. Or you can ride with your hands on either end to simulate riser bars or riding the “corners” on drops. You won’t be able to race with these as they won’t want you spearing any other competitors, but if you’re choosing some new bars for your commuter or everyday bike, they’re a great pickup.
And if you really need to get aero but don’t want to make the move to drops, a set of pursuit bullhorns will lower your hands and get you out of the wind too. While they don’t have all the versatility of drops, they’re a nice blend of performance and aesthetics, letting you ride in a more aggressive position but maintaining the minimalist style that made you fall in love with your bike in the first place.
So now you know! If you’ve got friends with different bar set-ups, try ‘em out and feel the difference first hand, or grab a new set of bars and give your bike a Spring face lift. It’s amazing how far you can go when your hands are happy. We’ll see you out there!