How to Buy the Right Handlebars for Your Bike

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How to Buy the Right Handlebars for Your Bike

Bicycling is a form of recreation and transportation that has become quite popular around the world. For many people a bike is really the only way to get around a congested city. However, for others a bike might be a means to escape from the urban landscape and head for the hills and mountains for a breath of fresh air. Regardless of what kind of biker you are, there are few things more important to biking than the right set of handlebars.

Handlebars make it possible not only to steer the bike, but to hold tightly during a potentially bumpy terrain. A good set of handlebars can also make you more comfortable during your ride, as long as they are appropriate to your riding style and body type. Handlebars in all their varieties, are available on eBay as well as in specialty bicycle shops. When buying handlebars, it is important to understand what kind of handlebars are available, as well as the materials they are made from, and how the handlebars are covered. Understanding this information should make it possible to find the right set of handlebars for your bike.

Understanding Handlebar Styles

While bicycle technology is fairly straightforward, bicycles have been made in a number of different styles since they were first invented. The same is true of bicycle handlebars, which are made in a number of different styles, for different purposes and different conditions.

Drop Handlebars

Drop handlebars are those that feature handles dropping towards the ground as opposed to rising from the bar towards the rider. Drop handlebars are quite popular as they allow the rider to create a more aerodynamic form in order to reduce wind resistance. This is a handy feature for bikers who frequently participate in races or who routinely travel on smooth, flat surfaces where high speeds require caution.

Within the category of drop handlebars, there are many variations, particularly in terms of how deep or shallow the drop might be. There are also variations in the shape of the handlebars, some being flat and others being round. In some cases, the brakes are placed within an indentation in order to make the overall shape of the handlebars more streamlined.

Flat Handlebars

Flat handlebars are those that feature a basic, straight shape with only a barely noticeable curve. Flat handlebars are a popular option for mountain bikes. The reason for this being that flat handlebars are more suitable to provide the rider with a greater amount of control and handling. This is especially important when one is riding along a narrow, winding trail. It should be noted that a wider handlebar makes it possible for one to have a greater deal of control, but wider handlebars make it harder to execute rapid turns. Flat handlebars have one significant advantage over other handlebars in that they can be easily trimmed in order to make them smaller.

Pursuit Handlebars

Pursuit handlebars have a flat central bar, and handles that curve forward and upward. These handlebars are typically used in combination with dedicated triathlon bars, and for bicyclists that engage in track racing. Pursuit handlebars are also known by the term, 'bullhorn bars'. These bars are structurally very similar to drop handlebars, and in some cases drop handlebars can be trimmed slightly and even mounted in an upside down position.

North Road Handlebars

North Road handlebars were popular in the mid Twentieth Century, and feature long handles that sweep back toward the rider. This allows the rider to sit upright and maintain a better posture as they ride. North Road Handlebars are generally better suited for casual riding on flat and even surfaces. There is another type of handlebars, known as cruiser handlebars, that are very similar to North Road handlebars, with a similar swept back design.

Touring Handlebars

Touring handlebars are also known as butterfly handlebars. These handlebars feature a figure eight shape that allows the rider to grip in a number of different places in order to find the most comfortable position. Touring handlebars are best suited to long rides where sitting upright is highly advisable.

BMX Handlebars

BMX handlebars were developed for BMX bicycles, and feature a design in some ways similar to flat handlebars, with handles on either side. However, there has been a rise in BMX handlebars that allows for a crossbar to make it possible for the handlebars to be strengthened.

Understanding Handlebar Materials

Riding a bicycle should be a comfortable and rewarding experience. For this reason, it is important to find handlebars that make this possible. Handlebars that are too heavy, or that create too many vibrations are uncomfortable, and make it harder to manipulate the bicycle. There are several different types of materials used for making handlebars that succeed to various degrees, in terms of reducing these problems.

Steel Handlebars

Steel is a popular and traditional material for making handlebars, and while it is very strong and durable, it is also quite heavy, and can make the bicycle more difficult to lift, transport, or ride up an incline.

Aluminium Handlebars

Handlebars made from aluminium alloys are extremely popular, mainly due to their light weight and the way that these alloys can be moulded into unique shapes. Aluminium alloys are also, in many cases, less expensive than other materials.

Carbon Fibre Handlebars

Carbon fibre handlebars are very light, and quite strong as well, making them popular in more expensive models of bicycles. The most significant problem with carbon fibre, is that when it suffers an impact that would likely dent handlebars made out of metal, carbon fibre can break apart and cannot easily be repaired.

Understanding Handlebar Coverings

Since it would be difficult to ride a bicycle while holding onto a metal tube, handlebars usually come with some form of covering. These coverings not only make it more comfortable for the rider, but they reduce vibrations, ensure grip, and help keep hands warm.


Tape is used frequently by bikers to create grips anywhere on their handlebars. These grips make it easier to find a more comfortable position when riding. Since tapes are not the most comfortable hand grips, they are most commonly used on road bikes, or other bikes that are going to be ridden for long distances on relatively smooth and flat surfaces. There are many different types of tape used to cover handlebars, from special tape sold in bicycle shops to regular electrical tape sold anywhere.


Grips are objects made of soft rubber, or foam, that can usually only be placed in one position on a bike's handlebars. That fact makes them less versatile, but their softness and larger build makes them much better at reducing vibrations, thus making hands feel more comfortable.


Plugs are small pieces of plastic that are placed into the ends of the metal tubes that make up a set of handlebars. While these plugs may be unassuming, and you might think of them as little more than decoration, they are actually quite important. They are important, not only in terms of keeping grips and tapes in place, but also in terms of keeping the ends of the handlebars from causing injury or damage.

Buying the Right Handlebars for Your Bike on eBay

Bikes and bike handlebars, in all their many varieties, are available on eBay from sellers all around the globe. Many of these handlebars are new, and have never been used, while some are used and are still perfectly serviceable. After learning about what kind of handlebars are the best fit for you, it is easy to find that particular kind of handlebars on eBay. This is best done by entering a search term into the search bar on the eBay home page.

A simple search term like 'bike handlebars&', should provide a general overview of what items are available for purchase. A more complex search, with more keywords or specific criteria, should provide a narrower range of results. Before making a final purchase, it is helpful to read through any product descriptions and seller feedback, in order to get a better understanding of every factor involved in the purchase process. It is important to remember that those marked as 'Top-Rated Sellers' on eBay, have a longer sales history to browse through.


Bike handlebars are an extremely important part of a bike, and are as varied in design as bicycles themselves. For more casual riders most ordinary handlebars should suffice. Be sure to understand a little bit about what kind of handlebars are available prior to purchase. Drop handlebars are a very popular option, especially for those who want to have more speed as they ride. Flat handlebars are also popular, and are mainly used in mountain bikes due to the high degree of control they allow the rider.

Other options include pursuit handlebars, touring handlebars, BMX handlebars, and North Road handlebars, all of which have different benefits intended for different riders. Almost as important as the design of the handlebars, is the material that they are made from, and what is used for the grip. Stronger materials are helpful in terms of resisting damage, but lighter materials make it easier for riders to travel and move. Grips are also used to make the handlebars more comfortable for the rider. Understanding all of these factors should make it possible to make an informed decision when buying handlebars for your bike.

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