Affordable Bike Handlebar Buying Guide

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Affordable Bike Handlebar Buying Guide

Every bicycle requires a handlebar so a rider can manoeuvre it. Bike handlebars used to be just a simple straight metal rod that cyclists hold on to on their bike to control it. However, since there are many types of bicycles for different purposes, cyclists also need different types of handlebars, depending on their bicycle type and how they ride their bike. Whether buyers are getting a new handlebar to replace a broken one, or to improve their comfort and performance when riding, choosing the right type is essential for a good riding experience.

When choosing an affordable handlebar for their bike, cyclists should first know what kind of bike they have, how they ride the bike, and what their budget is. Besides going to a regular bicycle shop to look for handlebars, it is also helpful for one to know how to search for handlebars on eBay since this website often has affordable handlebars on sale.

Types of Bike Handlebars

There are two main types of bike handlebars, those for road bikes and those for mountain bikes. These two types of bikes are made for different riding environments and offer different riding positions to a cyclist. Road bikes are made for speed and smooth surfaces. Therefore, they have an aerodynamic riding position, where the rider lean forward towards the handlebar. Since cyclists usually bend forward on a road bike, they tend to put a lot of pressure on their hands and wrists. To help alleviate this pressure, road bikes have a variety of dropped handlebars so cyclists can rest their hands in a few positions, while maintaining their aerodynamic position.

Mountain bikes on the other hand, have a more upright riding position, where the weight of the cyclist is placed further back than the weight of a cyclist on a road bike. Being in an upright position reduces the pressure the cyclists place on their hands. Therefore, mountain bikes usually have flat handlebars or raised bars. Mountain bike handlebars are generally simpler in design compared to road bike handlebars, but one can also add bar ends on a mountain bike to allow for more varied hand positions.

Besides road and mountain bikes, there also hybrid bikes and town bikes. Hybrid bikes combine certain features of a mountain bike and road bike, giving it the best of both worlds. Most hybrids have a mountain bike-like riding position, and thus have flat handlebars. Town bikes are suitable for everyday commuting, and have an upright, relaxed riding position. Therefore, they usually have flat or raised handlebars.

Handlebar Type


Handlebar Size


Suitable on mountain bikes

It offers good control in tight spots

Offers just one hand position for riders

Not suitable for road-style handlebar components

25.4mm stem clamp

22.2mm diameter


Used on road bikes

Offers four hand positions

Is suitable for various terrain and riding conditions

Not suitable for mountain-style handlebar components

26.0 or 31.8mm stem clamp

23.8mm diameter

Raised or Riser

Common on mountain, hybrid, and town bikes

Offers two hand positions

Not suitable for long distance riding on the road

25.4mm stem clamp

22.2mm diameter

Butterfly or Trekking

Offers four hand positions including for an upright riding posture

Suitable for long distance touring

25.4mm stem clamp

22.2mm diameter


Offers three hand positions for both upright and low riding postures

Suitable for long distance road riding

25.4 or 26.0mm stem clamp

23.8mm diameter

The most important consideration to make when choosing a bike handlebar is selecting the right type. For mountain bikes, hybrids, and town bikes, straight and riser bars are suitable, whereas drop and moustache handlebars can be used on road bikes. It is important to know the sizes of different types of handlebars as road brake levers and gear shifters cannot fit on mountain-style handlebars and vice versa. Straight, raised, and butterfly handlebars have the same diameter, enabling them all to be fitted with mountain bike components. Drop and moustache bars on the other hand, can be fitted with road bike components.

Choosing a Bike Handlebar

Besides considering the type of bike that a cyclist will use, there are also other considerations one must make when choosing a good affordable bike handlebar. A good handlebar is light but strong, and gives cyclists the proper riding posture that they need. Some important factors that one should consider when buying a bike handlebar are its width, material, shape, and price.

Bike Handlebar Width

A handlebar of the right width enables cyclists to properly manoeuvre their bikes and also provides a good riding posture to alleviate the stress on their hands and backs. When looking at the width of a handlebar, cyclists should choose one that is similar to the width of their shoulders. Sometimes, one can also cut the ends of a handlebar to reduce its width, such as the case with aluminium bars. Drop and other carbon fibre bars however, cannot be cut, so cyclists are stuck with their chosen width.

Bike Handlebar Material

Choosing the material of a handlebar is extremely important for those who want their bikes to perform optimally. Common materials that are used for bike handlebars are aluminium, steel, carbon fibre, and alloy composites. Since the strength and durability of a handlebar is influenced more by its design and manufacturing technique, there is no clear winner on which material makes the best handlebars.

Aluminium handlebars are lightweight but are not the strongest. To increase the strength, the density and weight of the bar have to be increased too. Therefore, many manufacturers use aluminium alloys instead so they can give a handlebar more strength while still keeping it light and affordable. Alloy handlebars are generally very light and strong, but carbon fibre handlebars are even better, which makes them quite pricey. Steel handlebars are cost effective, very strong, and durable but are also heavy, making them more suitable for use on mountain bikes than on road bikes.

Bike Handlebar Shape, Weight, and Size

To further enhance the properties of a bike handlebar, many manufacturers tweak the shapes and dimensions. Common handlebar shapes are the tapered, flared, and butted shape. A tapered handlebar has a thinner wall as the bar moves away from the stem to the hand grip area. In this way, the weight is reduced, while strength is preserved. On a flared bar, manufacturers increase the diameter towards the stem instead of changing the wall width. Doing this also adds weight and strength to a handlebar.

On butted handlebars, manufacturers add more weight on high stress areas while shaving off some weight where the handlebar faces less stress. Riser bars are commonly butted especially if they are used on mountain bikes. Butted bars may have butting at the stem area and at other bends as well. Cyclists can also choose to add bar ends onto their handlebars. This is usually done on flat and riser bars as the added bar ends provide more hand positions for a cyclist.

Finding an Affordable Bike Handlebar

To find affordable handlebars, one can go to bicycle part wholesalers or garage sales. Sometimes, it is also a good idea to buy used handlebars, but one must remember to examine the bar to ensure that it is undamaged and still safe to use, especially when buying carbon handlebars. When considering the material of a handlebar, the most cost effective choices are aluminium and steel. For superior strength, cyclists can choose a carbon handlebar as it can receive great impact forces without breaking, and thus making it long lasting. Another great way to find good deals on handlebars is to shop online on sites such as eBay. eBay has a large selection of handlebars of different types and prices, making it a good place to find affordable bike handlebars, both used and new.

Buying an Affordable Bike Handlebar on eBay

eBay has many handlebars with a wide price range. To search for an affordable bike handlebar, you can start on the eBay home page and type your keywords into the eBay search bar. You can just search for 'bike handlebars' or 'steel bike handlebars'. When looking at the list of handlebars, make sure you read the description of the bars and their prices. You should also take note of the delivery fee as many handlebars are very affordable but may have a high delivery fee. If possible, look for a local eBay seller as sometimes they may not charge you for delivery.

After you have selected your preferred handlebar, you can view all the available details about the item. Do not just select a bike handlebar because it is cheap, but also read its full item description and ensure that it is of good quality. Also be sure to look at the delivery time and return policy of the item. If you have read through all the details on the product and are truly satisfied with your handlebar, you can go ahead and buy it.


Bike handlebars are very important as they are necessary for cyclists to manoeuvre their bikes. Handlebars also help to give cyclists a proper riding posture and reduce the stress placed on their hands and backs. Two main types of bike handlebars are those for road bikes and mountain bikes. They are then further separated into different shapes including the flat, raised, drop, butterfly, and moustache handlebars. Each handlebar has a different shape, which provides cyclists with different positions to rest their hands on.

For mountain biking and town riding, flat and raised handlebars are good choices. For touring and high speed riding on roads, one can use drop, butterfly, and moustache handlebars. Besides choosing the shape of a handlebar, cyclists should also choose a handlebar of a suitable width and material. Those looking for an affordable handlebar can buy an aluminium or steel handlebar for a good price-quality ratio. Cyclists can also visit bicycle part wholesalers and online stores. One such online store selling a wide range of affordable handlebars and bikes for spare parts is eBay.

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