I've been doing a Handle Bar comparison on my bike.

biknut

Active Member
Handle bars come in all kinds of styles, and sizes. Nothing has more impact on the appearance, and feel of a bike than it's handle bars. Personally I don't like to reach very far to my bars, because it puts too much pressure on my wrists, but at the same time I want an alert riding position, and good looks.

I've just tried 4 different bars on my bike with varying degree of likability to find the ones I like the best. My expectation is comfort, style, and function, not necessarily in that order. These are some of the things I learned. First, it's not easy to tell how a set of bars will look, and work without trying them first. Next, there's no one perfect bar for every situation. Cruiser bars are great for cruising, but not as good at higher speed. Some bars are comfortable, but may look funny on your bike. Some bars are alert, but uncomfortable. It seems like I always have to try at least 3 pairs to find the right combination of looks, feel, and function.

These are todays victims.



First up we have the stock bars. These look good, and have a very alert riding position. Their main problem is they're kind of low for me, which puts a lot of weight on my wrists, which gets old fast when riding bike trails at ultra low speeds. They work well when going fast though, and allow fast reaction time, and good leverage for hard braking. So I rate them as very safe, but generally uncomfortable.

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What that tells me is, I need higher bars. The stock bars have about 2 inch rise, and feel pretty low to me, so I'm thinking 4 or 5 inch rise should be about right. I found this pair on Amazon with 5 inch rise, and about the same sweep back, and width was the stock bars. In other words, about the same as the stock bars except 3 inch higher. These bars turned out to be very comfortable. The riding position is almost straight up, with only very slight reach forward.

The problem with these bars is mainly in the looks department. I just don't like the look they have going on, and what it does to the overall look of my bike. The bend just doesn't get it for me. A lesser complaint is about the sit up and beg riding position. It's fine at low speed, but I kind of feel like a sail at higher speed, and against the wind, and there's really no way to duck down out of the way. If that was all it was, I could probably put up with it though, but not combined with the funky looks.



So moving on, I start digging through my huge pile of rejected woe parts, and find something completely different. a set of beach cruiser bars that look just weird enough that they might work, plus they have the right 31.8 clamp size so here we go.

These bars believe it or not were a near miss. They have a weird funky look that almost has something going on. For me, really good looks can overcome other deficiency's. Close but no cigar. Although they do have a certain charm in their appearance, they turned up lacking. With about 4 inch of rise, and 60 degrees of sweep back, they have the most comfortable riding position of them all. With no reach at all, my hands fall perfectly on the grips. Riding position is straight up, but they're high enough that they don't tangle with my knees when turning and pedaling at the same time. you are a sail though and you can't do anything about it.

That's not the biggest problem though. The killer has to do with the 60 degree sweep. You don't twist the throttle back, you have to kind of screw it sideways. That's not a problem for low speed cruising, but it feels dangerous at high speed. My bike just goes to fast for these bars.



I'm now thinking the stock bars were the best so far. They just need a little more rise. I found a set made by Atomlab that are very similar to the stock bars, but have 3 inch rise instead of 2. Everything else is about the same. Looks like the factory had the best idea, they just didn't know how long my arms are. These bars reduce the weight on my wrists by about 50% compared to stock. I still have to reach for them some, but that's a good thing. They're riding position is alert, and pretty comfortable. They look as good as the stock bars, so they have it all. I'll take these.

 
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biknut

Active Member
Another important thing to consider when buying new handle bars is the clamp size. There's 3 main sizes. 22.2 (7/8 inch) 25.4 (1 inch), 31.8 (1 1/4 inch)

The most common is 25.4 mm
 

Brian(J)

Active Member
I rigged up a jig that allowed me to set bars at any angle of sweep to determine what would be most comfortable and it was close to 45 degrees. I ended up with Jones H-bars and a 2" riser, it's perfect for me.
Pictures here.
 

biknut

Active Member
I rigged up a jig that allowed me to set bars at any angle of sweep to determine what would be most comfortable and it was close to 45 degrees. I ended up with Jones H-bars and a 2" riser, it's perfect for me.
Pictures here.

Those are interesting bars. I actually have a pair very similar to them, but I couldn't use them on my bike without an adapter, because they're a different clamp size.

I think they're very spacey looking though, and thought something like that might look good on my bike too.
 

JoePah

Well-Known Member
Personally love my bull horn handle bars for forward position and comfort.. But its a personal thinkg.

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