Are you unsure of which fixie handlebars to use or switch to? Fixies, or single speed bikes, are easy bicycles to ride for beginners and advanced riders alike.
But like any bike, fixed gear bicycles can be made a lot better with small upgrades like changing to one of the many fixie handlebar types out there.
When it comes to fixie bullhorn, riser, straight, drop, or pursuit handlebars for sale, it can be difficult to decide on which handlebars are best for your ride, so we decided to create this guide to help you make the right decision when it comes to upgrading this important part of your bicycle.
Also, if you're looking to make a decision based on style check out these bike messenger movies that feature all the above handlebar styles in action!
fyi: The personal favorite here at the store tends to be the most versatile riser bars, but there are those of us that prefer the more stylish bullhorn bar look and feel.
At the end of the day it's all relative to what you prefer. Hope this helps!
Why Handlebars Matter
Other Factors of Bike Handlebars
Other Niche Type Handlebars
Choosing the Right Fixie Handlebars
Why Handlebars Matter
Bike handlebars play an important part in the way you ride your fixed gear bicycle just as much as flip flip hubs do. There are several types of handlebars you can outfit on your ride and each of them will offer different levels of comfort, versatility, leverage, aerodynamics, and control.
- Comfort is defined by how comfortable your fixie handlebars feel and how they affect your joints, muscles, and back.
- Versatility is defined by how your handlebars adapt to the different styles of biking.
- Leverage is best defined by the amount of power that you transfer to your pedals as you ride
- Aerodynamics relates to how aerodynamic your handlebars are.
- Control is related to how well you can turn and handle your ride.
If you want a comfortable handlebar, you may consider a set of cruiser handlebars.
In contrast, the classic aerodynamic bar is more suited for sprinting and high-speed rides on long, drawn out roads.
Other Factors of Bike Handlebars
There are several other factors you will need to consider when choosing bike handlebars for your ride. Other important factors to consider are the width, drop, rise, reach, materials, and bend of the handlebars.
The importance of these factors will depend on the type of bike that you are riding.
- Width is most important if you require leverage and want better control over your ride. Mountain bikes and BMX bikes usually require more width than say a traditional road bike.
- Drop influences the level of drop from the center of the bar to the top center of the lowest part of the handlebars grip tube. However, drop is an important comfort factor as it influences the way your hands rest on your handlebars.
- Rise provides more control up to a certain threshold by making the handlebars more responsive. However, handlebars that have too much rise will turn into ape handlebars and actually decrease control and comfort.
- Reach refers to the distance from the center of the handlebar top to the furthest point of the handlebars bend. However, this factor influences your comfort on the ride by dictating how wide and far you have to reach on your handlebars.
- Materials deals with what your handlebars are made of. Bike handlebars come in a wide variety of materials. Some common ones include steel, aluminum, and carbon fiber. The material you choose will depend on what you are using your bike for.
- Typical carbon handlebars are designed to be lightweight and for going fast.
- In contrast, a steel handlebar is more durable and suited for rougher trail riding.
- Bend refers to the bend of a set of bike handlebars. It measures the degree to which the handlebar sweeps back from the center line. Bars with no back sweep are considered straight, while those with back sweep will be curved.
Still unsure? Here is a basic outline of the most popular fixie handlebars and where they fit in.
Handlebars in the comfort class are designed to make your fixie bike more comfortable and suited for casual or longer rides.
These types of handlebars are commonly found on bikes that value comfort above all. Some examples include cruiser bikes, hybrid bikes, and commuter bikes.
This are the best fixie handlebars to consider if you are looking for a casual handlebar. These handlebars tend to offer one of the highest levels of comfort, they look cool, and they pair well with a basket.
However, that extra comfort comes with a price. You will require a comfortable seat due to the way they force you to sit in an upright position. This tradeoff will also make hills extremely difficult to conquer.
You should choose a cruiser handlebar if you:
- Want comfort
- Value that cruiser handlebar style
- Plan to ride casually and outfit your fixed gear bicycle with a front basket
The butterfly handlebar, from Dutch Bike Bits, is most common on touring or trekking bikes. The overall design of these handlebars makes them great for long rides and their large surface area allows you to customize them as you see fit.
Also, butterfly handlebars tend to be a little heavier because they are considered a utility handlebar. For some, this extra weight isn’t a big deal, but for performance junkies, this may not be the ideal handlebar for you.
You should choose a butterfly handlebar if you:
- Value a handlebar that is easy on your wrists
- If long rides are something you want to do
- If shifters are something you may add to your bicycle one day
Sometimes you just want to go fast and the only way to accomplish this is to outfit your fixed gear bicycle with a set of performance fixie handlebars.
Handlebars in this category are designed to be lightweight and speedy. Commonly, these types of handlebars are found on track bikes, road bikes, and other lightweight cruising bikes.
You have probably seen drop handlebars if you are familiar with fixies. This is one of the most popular types of fixie handlebars and is something that the their community is very big on.
Additionally, drop handlebars are great because they provide reliable aerodynamics, are decently versatile, provide solid leverage when it comes to pedaling, and they will make you feel like a true member of the fixie community.
However, they often struggle to handle tight turns and the struggle on rough trails.
You should choose a drop handlebar if you:
- Want to use a handlebar that can handle most biking situations
- Value aerodynamics and performance without committing to an aero handlebar
- Want to look like a true fixie rider
- Are interested in trying out a performance handlebar for your first time
Aero handlebars, like the one above from Wiggle, are rarely seen in cities because they aren’t suited for casual rides in busy areas. These types of handlebars are often outfitted on road bikes and are more suited to long, uninterrupted trails.
Additionally, this is one of the best handlebars you can get if you want an aerodynamic ride because they require the rider to tuck into an aerodynamic riding position to properly use them.
Also, you can purchase clip-on aero handlebars that can attach to most types of handlebars on the market.
However, riding in a tucked in position requires a lot of experience and can be rough on your body if you aren’t used to riding like that. They are also extremely dangerous in the city if you are inexperienced with tucked in riding, or if you are riding a fixie that doesn’t have dedicated brakes. Hills are also challenging with aero handlebars because of the position they require you to be in when using them.
You should choose an aero handlebar if you:
- Want to reach the highest top speeds you can
- Plan to ride on long trails or in less busy areas where you can ride in a tucked in position without fear of crashing
- Want to be as aerodynamic as possible
Versatility is important to riders that want their fixed gear bicycle to be able to handle all types of situations. Whether you are riding on a trail, on the city street, or taking on hills, versatile handlebars are the jack of all trades when it comes to fixie handlebars.
These types of handlebars are often found on bikes that require versatility. Some examples include fixies, hybrids, and commuter bikes.
There is a good chance you have seen a commuter or two rocking the bullhorn handlebar if you live in the city.
The bullhorn handlebars, like these above from Bontrager, provide a reasonable level of aerodynamics, excel at hills, provide an average top speed, and just generally look cool.
Also, bullhorn handlebars tend to struggle in the control department. They do not handle tight turns well.
You should choose a bullhorn handlebar if you:
- Require a versatile handlebar option that can handle hills and general biking
- Want a fixie handlebar that will make your bicycle look pretty cool
Flat handlebars, like these above Flat Top RDO Carbons from Niner, are the most common type of handlebar on the market. They come standard on many bicycles and they provide the best all-around ride of any of the major types of handlebars.
Also, if you are new to riding and want something to learn on, flat handlebars are the best way to go. Their simple design lets them handle turns well, they can handle climbing, tight spaces, they are lighter and cheaper due to their simplicity, and they reduce the amount of pressure you put on your back.
However, the major downside of the flat handlebar is the reduced top speed. Because they aren’t as aerodynamic, you will suffer a speed loss when comparing them to some of the performance class handlebars.
You should choose a flat handlebar if you:
- Are new to cycling and fixed gear bicycles
- Want an all-around handlebar found on a fixie or a road bike
- Are unsure of what handlebar to choose for your bicycle
Another type of popular fixie handlebars are Riser's. These are also popular on bikes that you see being ridden on trails and on rough terrain.
Also, riser handlebars provide you with a lot of control, a strong upright position, and they make turning easier. This handlebar can also be flipped upside down, making it better for climbing.
However, riser handlebars tend to be more expensive and they are heavier than flat bars. If you are trying to cut down the weight of your bike, they aren't the best choice. Also, the fact that you can flip them for hills doesn't mean they are the best handlebar type for climbing. Lastly, they are not aerodynamic at all and this is something to consider if that's important to you.
You should choose a riser handlebar if you:
- Plan to ride off-road or on trails
- Care about proper posture
- Want a handlebar that provides you with better control
- Are interested in a handlebar that is good for your wrists
Other Niche Bike Handlebars
As you've learned, there are many different types of handlebars, like the Moto BMX bars above by Renthal Cycling, and they all perform in different ways. Listed below are several niche bike handlebars that do not fit into any of the main categories above.
As the name suggests, BMX handlebars, like these sweet sets from Vital BMX, are usually found on BMX bikes. These types of handlebars excel at taking abuse. Typically, BMX riders put a lot of abuse on their handlebars as they do tricks, jumps, and other rough and sudden moves. We've seen these outfitted on fixies before and it's definitely an acquired taste, but with all the customization going on in the fixie market more power to it.
Recumbent handlebars are extremely niche and only found on recumbent bikes. If you find yourself scratching your head and wondering what that is, no problem. Recumbent bikes are defined by their large seats that allow you to ride in a horizontal position. Riders pedal the bike with their legs fully extended horizontally. Why did we include these? Well to spice it up silly!
Mustache handlebars are another niche bike handlebar type. In short, they resemble drop bars, but lack the drop. They are designed to be ridden on the curves and resemble trekking handlebars, but lack the tucked in position.
The ape handlebar is the perfect choice for you if you are a fan of the cruiser handlebar. This handlebar takes the cruiser handlebar to the next level. Ape handlebars extend well past the riders shoulders and keep them in a constant upright position.
Likewise, there are many bike handlebars and they all serve different purposes.
Moreover, the majority of the niche handlebar types listed above may not suit your riding style.
Choosing the Right Fixie Handlebars
Overall, it is important that you choose bike handlebars as well as other cool fixie bike parts that suit your riding style. We've included both fixie handlebars and a few other random styles too because status quo isn't always the way to go. Yes, that rhymes!
If this is your first fixie, make sure to pick handlebars that fit your needs. However, if you tackle a lot of hills on a daily basis, you will not want to use an aero handlebar. In this case, bullhorn or flat handlebars may work for you.
Moreover, if you have any questions about fixie handlebars, please leave a comment below. There are many options to choose from and Peace Bicycles is here to help.