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Bike Handlebar Buying Guide

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Bike Handlebar Buying Guide
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Bike Handlebar Buying Guide

An essential component on any bicycle, bike handlebars allow riders to control the steering of their bikes. In some cases, handlebars also act as the mounting for a bike's brakes if the bike features hand-controlled brake levers. Although bike manufacturers include handlebars as part of a bike's installation when a bike is initially purchased, bike riders often need to change their handlebars. This necessity can be due to the handlebars sustaining damage or providing an inadequate fit for a rider. A poorly-fitting handlebar causes riders to maintain an unnatural posture or hyperextend their arms, leading to rider fatigue and injuries. Luckily, a variety of handlebars are available in local sporting goods and bike specialty shops as well as online at large retailers like eBay, so riders can modify their bikes easily. Before purchasing bike handlebars, however, buyers should have a solid understanding of their typical riding style, the types of handlebars available, how to choose handlebar sizes, and the accessories that can improve the performance of handlebars.

Riding Styles

Cyclists ride on a variety of surfaces, like dirt trails or paved roads, which require bikes to have different design elements. Because of the variations within bike models, bikes can generally be subdivided into three categories: racing bikes, mountain bikes, and town bikes. Each type of bike is better suited to particular styles of handlebars, which buyers should keep in mind before choosing a new set of handlebars.

Riding Style

Appropriate Handlebar Choices

Race biking

Drop

Cowhorn

Moustache

Mountain biking

Straight

Town biking

Standard

Raised

Drop

Moustache

Although certain bikes are traditionally paired with a particular style of handlebar, adventurous bike owners have been known to break with custom. If buyers want to pursue a non-traditional approach when purchasing their handlebars, they should make sure the handlebars can accommodate other parts of their bike, like the brakes and front fork.

Types of Bike Handlebars

The differences between bike handlebar types are not only aesthetic, but functional as well. The various riding styles demand that participants assume specific postures to match the performance and endurance levels required by each riding style. Handlebars play a large role in helping riders to rise to the challenge of their biking disciplines, so buyers should choose their handlebar purchases based on form and function.

Standard Handlebars

The most classic type of handlebars, standard-style handlebars, extend forward slightly from their centre before arching back towards a rider. This design of handlebar permits riders to assume a comfortable posture, which bends slightly forward, while keeping their grip on the handlebars.

Raised Handlebars

Raised bike handlebars permit riders to sit more upright when they cycle. This is made possible by the unique design of raised handlebars. The centre of a set of raised handlebars is narrow and is positioned on a bike's stem at the top of the bike's front fork. From the centre, the handlebars rise significantly and angle outward, providing riders with a handgrip area. This type of handlebar is best suited for short cycling trips, however, because riders must hold their arms out from their shoulders to grip the handlebars, a fatiguing position to maintain over a long period of time.

Straight Handlebars

Straight handlebars provide the most levelled silhouette of handlebar types because straight handlebars extend out from their centre on a relatively horizontal plane. This positioning allows riders maximum control when steering and turning. To control straight handlebars, riders must assume an elbows-out posture, however, which can cause muscle strain if held too long.

Drop Handlebars

The silhouette of drop handlebars resembles the shape of a ram's horns. A highly-curved style of handlebars, this style extends downward and forward from the top of a bike's front fork, before bending down and backward. The unique design of drop handlebars provides riders with a number of areas to place their hands while riding, which helps to prevent fatigue and cramping. This flexibility also allows riders to change their postures to speed up more efficiently or retain a steady speed for long stretches of road.

Cowhorn Handlebars

Cowhorn handlebars extend out in a curve over a bike's front tyres. This design allows riders to lean fully forward and rest their forearms securely on the handlebars as they ride. Appropriate for short, fast cycling courses, cowhorn handlebars are generally used in time trial riding, but can also be utilised in road biking. When riding with cowhorn handlebars over longer terrains, riders can change their positions by leaning upright and gripping the base of the handlebars for support.

Moustache Handlebars

Moustache handlebars also allow riders to rest their forearms along the length of the bars, but do not require riders to lean forward as deeply as cowhorn handlebars. To achieve this, the style of handlebar limits how far it extends over the front tyres of a bike. Riders using moustache handlebars typically lean deeply forward only when they are accelerating or pedalling up an incline. For the rest of the time, riders can assume a more comfortable upright position, thereby increasing their endurance.

Handlebar Sizes

To accommodate the different statures of riders, manufacturers produce handlebars in various sizes. The general rule within the cycling world is to use the width of a rider's shoulders to determine the width of a set of handlebars. Before shopping for handlebars, buyers should take some time to take accurate measurements by employing a simple measuring technique.

Measuring Shoulders

The materials needed for taking shoulder measurements are a cloth tape measure, a pencil, and a piece of paper. Taking body measurements is always easier when a second person helps because he or she can make sure the tape measure remains level. If buyers take their own measurements, a mirror should be used so they can check the placement of the tape measure themselves.

Starting from the right shoulder, place the end of the tape measure in front of the shoulder joint. Next, lead the tape across the collarbones to the left shoulder joint. It is important to avoid stretching the tape measure too tightly when taking measurements, so allow the tape to simply lie across the body. Lastly, check the measurement of the tape in front of the left shoulder joint to determine the shoulder width.

Choosing a Handlebar Size

When purchasing a handlebar, buyers should look for handlebar models that are the closest to their actual shoulder measurements. In some cases, an exact match may be difficult to locate. To make the most of this situation, buyers should consider how wider or narrower handlebar lengths can affect their cycling performance. Handlebars that are slightly wider than a rider's shoulder width tend to offer the rider increased control and handling power. Additionally, holding arms slightly outward to grip wider handlebars relieves pressure on a rider's chest, which aids breathing. Narrower handlebars, on the other hand, take pressure off of a rider's back and promote a higher level of endurance. Riders with frequent neck or shoulder pain can also benefit from a narrower handlebar.

Handlebar Accessories

To boost the usability of handlebars, buyers can purchase accessories that make riding safer and more comfortable. Handlebars are manufactured using metal, so it is difficult for riders to maintain a steady grip without the traction that handlebar grips provide. When replacing a handlebar, buyers should consider changing their brake levers as well. Since bikers often ride in poor weather conditions and at night, buyers can purchase handlebar lights when they shop for their handlebars. Lights for handlebars can include reflectors, headlights, and light sets.

Buying Bike Handlebars on eBay

eBay offers bicycle enthusiasts a wide selection of handlebars and accessories from famous manufacturers like Deda, Ritchey, Savage, ODI, Orange, and more. To locate handlebars on eBay, buyers should utilise the search field which is accessed from any eBay page. Buyers type in relevant keywords, like "hybrid handlebar", to narrow the focus of their eBay search. In response to these search qualifiers, eBay's search function selects items that match this description and creates a list of appropriate items. Once buyers find a potential handlebar purchase, they should register to establish an eBay account. Having an eBay account permits buyers to purchase items and manage their activity with eBay's user-friendly tools. Before initialising a purchase, however, buyers should read an item's product listing thoroughly to learn about the item's details. Checking the size of the handlebars is a primary concern for buyers that want to get long-term use from their handlebars. Additionally, buyers should take the opportunity to review a seller's policies and feedback rating score, which rates a seller based on the level of customer satisfaction the seller has achieved in the past.

Conclusion

Handlebars are a critical component on a bike, and vary according to a bike's intended use. To allow riders to operate their bikes as needed, handlebars provide both steering capabilities and support for bikers as they change posture throughout a ride. Changing handlebars is often motivated by a rider's need to replace a damaged handlebar or retrofit a bike with a handlebar that matches a rider's stature. To be the most effective, handlebar types need to match the type of cycling that a rider typically enjoys because different biking disciplines challenge a rider's endurance and performance in particular ways, which affects how long a rider can adequately manoeuvre a bike's handlebars. Since handlebars are manufactured in a range of sizes, which correlate to the shoulder width of a rider, buyers should take proper measurements before they choose their new handlebar purchase. Fortunately for buyers, eBay offers a large assortment of handlebars and accessories that match a buyer's needs, regardless of the type of biking a buyer enjoys.

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