Which Handlebars are best for Your Bike?
Chances are, your stock handlebars do a decent job. They look okay, are easy to grip, and give you decent control over your bike.
But what if your handlebars made your bike look like the bike of your dreams? One of the cheapest, easiest ways to dramatically change how your bike looks is to swap your stock handlebars out for a different style.
Handlebars are also more than just a style statement. Stock handlebars are ideal if you’re an average-sized rider, and have the same torso and leg measurements that your bike manufacturer expects.
If you’re taller or shorter, your handlebars might make your bike ride less “fun” and more “excruciatingly painful.” And if you suffer from shoulder or back pain, changing your handlebars might help make for a more comfortable ride.
Thinking of swapping out your bars for something more interesting? Read our guide to see which bars are best for you.
Ape Hangers / Monkey Bars
Love them or hate them, ape hangers, or monkey bars, are some of the most popular aftermarket handlebars. As you probably know, ape hangers are tall bars with slight curves to hold on to. When a person rides with ape hangers, their arms are elevated, allowing them to “hang” off of their bars, which results in raised arms while they ride.
Ape hangers definitely make a statement. But are they comfortable? Lemmy of Revzilla weighs in, saying that a little moderation goes a long way. Your ape hangers will still make a statement if you opt for a 12” height over a 20” height. But if your hands are too far above your heart, you may experience numbness and loss of movement as your heart works extra hard to pump blood to your extremities.
Buckhorn handlebars were introduced on Harley’s long-running Sportster model in 1957. While some people admire the distinctive buckhorn shape, other riders feel that the hand positioning is awkward. The way the handlebars curve in slightly means that your elbows will have to rest closer to your body — in general, the handling can be uncomfortable and awkward, unless you have short arms.
A compromise between Ape Hangers and stock, beach bars feature large distinctive bends that pull back towards the rider. You’ll place your hands slightly wider than your shoulders. For lady riders, this might help alleviate crowding in the chest area. These low rising bars mean that hands will sit around the lower or middle waist. Depending on your needs, these bars are undemanding on your arms and won’t strain your shoulders much.
Z-bars have sharp lines and tight angles. They’re smaller than most bars, making them a good choice for skinny bikes or bikes with low profiles. The short width and lack of pull-back means that your hands will sit closer to each other than they would with other bars. Depending on the state of your shoulders, this can result in an uncomfortable tension.
No matter what kind of bars you want for your bike, Two Rivers Customs can help! Our custom bike shop has helped plenty of riders bring their custom bike dreams to life. From metal fabrication to seasonal tune-ups, we help your bike keep running. Let’s talk handlebars — contact us today!
Two Rivers Customs specializes in making old bikes look new, building custom bike frames, and more. If your ride could use a new paintjob or some new accessories, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.