What are the best handlebars for your fixed gear?
People often wonder what are the best handlebars for your single speed or fixed gear bike. This guide will help you decide which handlebars you should be using.
When it comes to handlebars there are many different types of bars. Drop bars, riser bars, bullhorn bars, pursuit bullhorns, moustache handlebars, straight handlebars and swept back handlebars. I will focus on the main handlebar types you are likely to encounter.
Main Handlebar Types
The main types of handlebars are bullhorns, drop bars, riser bars and pursuit bars.
Drop bars provide your single speed bike or fixed gear bike with a true track bike look. You will find these typical drop bars on bikes such as the State Bicycle Co Black Label range. Drop handlebars without hooded brake levers can be a bit uncomfortable for longer rides so are best suited for sprinting in the velodrome or short commutes. The problem is that hooded brake levers just don’t look right on an aero track bike. To maintain the track bike look you will have to use brake levers like these that mount across the top of the bar.
Drop bars with hooded brake levers like those on road bikes are one of the most comfortable setups you can find. The brake hoods extend the reach of the bars providing excellent leverage for going up hills and sprinting. Riding in the drops allows you adopt a more aerodynamic position for descending hills and producing maximum power whilst sprinting.
Riser bars are the original handlebar choice for fixie bikes. Before fixie specific riser bars were available riders would cut down old mountain bike handlebars to a smaller width. The riser bar is still very popular as it offers a more upright position and fast responsive handling, which is favourable when weaving in and out of traffic.
Riser bars are not great if you commute long distances as they offer only one hand position. They are also not the best for going up hills.
Bullhorn handlebars are my personal favourite for a fixie or single speed bike. They offer multiple hand positions and an extended reach similar to that of drop bars with brake hoods. This extra reach forward provides excellent leverage for climbing hills and offers a different position for your hands. Bullhorn handlebars often have the brake levers across the top of the bars but some like to use time trial style bar end levers.
Bullhorn bars also come in the form of ‘Pursuit Bullhorns’ which are often used on time trial bikes. This style of bullhorn bar adds some drop in furthest position making them best suited for fast riding and sprinting. The top of the bar is generally quite narrow and sometimes doesn’t offer enough space for your hands. Most single speed bike brands who offer pursuit bullhorn bars have extended the area around the stem clamp to make space for your hands and to fit brake levers.
If you are using your bike for short commutes and like a more upright riding position then riser bars would be a good choice.
If you will be riding long distances and prefer practicality over looks then go for drop bars with hooded brake levers because this combination will provide the most comfort.
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