This is a review of the best bike handlebars for bike touring 2023.
If you want to take your bike on long trips, then you need to choose the right bicycle handlebars. The whole ergonomics of your bike setup depends on it.
Deciding on the right handlebar is important because it affects your posture, balance, and comfort. When it comes to bike touring there are a couple of bicycle handlebar styles of that work best.
I’ve spent a couple of years bicycle touring, bikepacking and cycling through many countries. During that time I’ve used and tested several styles of Bicycle Handlebars. Keep reading below to find out which are the best handlebars for touring in 2023.
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Best Handlebars for Touring 2023
The Best Handlebars for Touring in 2023 are:
Best Handlebars for Touring – Overall
> With butterfly handlebars, you have various options on where you place your hands
> Butterfly handlebars give you a much better posture that reduces back pain
> Some cyclists struggle to mount a front light or a handlebar bag to the front of their bike.
Butterfly bars are sometimes also referred to as trekking bars. They are seen as one of the best handlebar options for touring. If you are looking for bicycle handlebars for sitting upright then these are the ones for you.
I like using butterfly bars as they give me plenty of hand positions, which allow me to spread my arms while on a long biking trip. Which is an important feature in bicycle touring handlebars.
These handlebars will give many cyclists a better posture and the ability to change hand positions over the course of a long days riding.
The down side is they are not the best handlebars for tricky technical sections. If your bike tour takes you off road a lot with single trail or technical downhill sections then these are not at their best. If you are cycling from Europe to Asia or From Alaska to Patagonia then these are a great choice.
Overall, these are one of the best touring bicycle handlebars for long-distance bike touring.
Best Handlebars for Bikepacking
> Great handlebars for mounting a GPS computer, Handlebar bags, and more
> Great control on technical trails
> The Jones Bars will give you plenty of options to change up your grip while you are cycling for long periods of time.
> Some cyclists feel really low and can’t get the handlebars high enough
Jones Bars allow you to change your body and hand positions easily yet they give you a much better hand position when on tricky technical sections of trail.
The design of these handlebars is quite simple with a 45 degree sweep, so you can put your wrists in a really natural position.
With these handlebars, they have been designed to be used with longer grips, which helps you with your hand position options. Due to their shape and design, they are great for adding mounts like Cycling Computers, Bike Phone Mounts or Handlebar bags but some bags may need special mounts.
The Jones bars are a favourite of bikepackers due to the comfortable design that allows multiple hand positions, yet the hands are in the perfect position for technical single trails.
Overall, the Jones Bars are the best handlebars for bikepacking.
Budget Handlebars for Touring
> Drop Bars allow you to have a more sporty ride position and reduce any drag you may create with other handlebars
> Options to use multiple different hand positions
> The lower ride position is not for everyone and hands must be in the lower position when needing to brake
> Not very good on dirt roads or technical terrain
Drop Bars have long been a popular choice for touring bikes. This is due to these handlebars allowing you to crouch low and reduce any drag that you may have been building up.
Alongside that, the natural position these handlebars put you in allows you to increase your speed and become much more efficient while riding.
These handlebars for bicycles are really useful when riding into the wind, along long flat areas or when riding downhill.
With this type of bars, you do have the option for various hand positions, which allows you to have much more comfortable palms. But as the brake levers are only in one place you are limited with your hand position when riding on dirt roads or technical terrain.
Overall, these are one of the best handlebars for road bikes. If you looking for bike touring handlebars to ride across the country or continent and you are primarily on good roads then these are a great option.
Flat Handlebars for Touring Bikes
> Wider than most other handlebars
> Upright position which relieves pressure off your back, neck and arms
> Great access to your brakes
> You are limited to only one hand position with these handlebars unless you add bar ends
Flat Bars are typically seen on a lot of mountain bikes, yet you can add them to your touring bike as well. Flat handlebars are comfortable handlebars to use but due to the limited hand positions almost everyone will want to add some bar ends or use handgrips with bar ends.
One big advantage of these handlebars is your hand position is always on the handgrips and in reach of the brakes. So these are great for technical terrain and dirt roads, especially when going downhill.
Flat bars are much wider than some other handlebars I have mentioned in this article. But not many people know they can be cut so they are not as wide, in fact, most flat handlebars have measurements on the bars to allow you to cut them.
Overall, these are good handlebars for bike touring but most cyclists, myself included, need to add bar ends otherwise these bars are limited to only one riding position which is not so good on those long riding days.
Other Handlebars for Touring
> Moustache handlebars offer you good braking control
> Multiple different hand positions
> Moustache bars are known to do well going downhill, but a few customers have noted that they can struggle going uphill and require a lot more effort to be put in
The Moustache Bars have grown in popularity recently. Their unusual shape can sometimes put people off these bars. Yet, you have good braking control with moustache handlebars and the option of a couple of different riding positions.
Alongside also puts you in a more upright position, which relieves stress from certain areas of your body on long biking trips.
Moustache handlebars have great control going downhill, and they work well on flat surfaces. They are typically quite lightweight, and normally very affordable depending on the brand. They share a lot in common with bullhorn handlebars.
Now that we’ve covered all the different types of handlebars, let’s go through what you should look out for when buying your next set of handlebars for your touring bike.
Handlebars for bicycles come in many shapes and sizes. Some are designed to fit into specific bikes, while others are designed to suit any bike. If you swap your handlebars you may need to change the stem to adjust to a new angle of handlebar height.
The type of handlebars you choose will depend on your personal preference. For example, if you prefer a narrow look, then you might opt for skinny bars.
You should take comfort into account when choosing handlebars. Try them on your bike first, and see which ones you feel most comfortable with.
When it comes to touring, you are going to be on your bike for a long period of time, so you may have handlebars that give you the option to switch up your hand position. This will then also allow you to become more comfortable while riding.
Relaxed Riding Position
A more upright position for long tours is a better choice as it will relieve anti stress from your back and neck, which could cause backache over time. I have an old neck and back injury so I am very biased towards a relaxed riding position. But the relaxed riding position bring with it some challenges.
The relaxed riding position which is more upright mat offer your less stress on your neck and back but it increases the weight on your butt. This makes it super important to have one of the best Bike Seats for Touring. But sometimes that isn’t enough. A Suspension Seat Post can assist a lot with comfort, specially if you handlebars have you riding in a relaxed upright position.
Sporty Riding Position
Some handlebars will have you riding in a lower body position, sometimes called a sporty riding position. This position will allow for better aerodynamics and will take pressure off your butt as there will be slightly more pressure on your hands. When cycling into a headwind you will be thankful when riding like this. For some people it can be painful to ride in this position for hours on end.
The handlebars you choose will affect your posture. The posture that the handlebars you pick puts you in will impact how comfortable you find riding your bike for long periods of time. Therefore, the posture of the handlebars is something to consider as well.
As you will be riding for so long, you need to think about any way to make you as comfortable as possible.
Handlebars come in many styles, shapes, and designs. It’s important to select a design that suits your personality. Do you like a traditional look?
Then maybe you’d prefer a classic-looking pair of handlebars. Or perhaps you’d rather go for something a little edgy? Perhaps you’d prefer a modern look?
Whatever your style, there’s bound to be a pair of handlebars out there that fits your needs. Although, sometimes practicality outweighs style. Try to find a balance, of a style you like that will still give you great benefits.
Almost everyone who is cycle touring or bikepacking will want to mount accessories on the handlebars.
We all use some for of Handlebar Bag and all the handlebars in this review will accomodate them very well.
Nowadays almost everyone uses some for of GPS Bike Computer to record locations and get directions. Others may use their smartphone and a Cycling App. You will need to mount them on your handlebars.
Mounting a bike light on the handlebars is a good option for many people, although I must admit that I have never done it.
Some people, myself included are a strong advocate for using a rearview mirror when bike touring. You will need to mount them on the handlebars or on the bar ends depending on what type of handlebars you are using.
Overall, keep in mind just how many accessories you will be mounting on your handlebars as they all take up a bit of room.
You may think that it makes sense to spend a bit more money on good quality handlebars, but you shouldn’t always pay extra just because you want the best. In fact, it’s often better to save up a bit of cash and buy cheaper handlebars.
After all, you won’t be able to tell much difference between cheap and expensive handlebars. Sure, some handlebars are made from higher quality materials than others, but you’ll still be able to ride comfortably no matter what you choose.
Of course, if you do decide to splash out a bit more money, then you should make sure that you get the right size and shape for your bike. Don’t buy too big or small, and try to avoid getting handlebars that are too wide or too thin.
They may look great on paper, but they could cause problems once you start riding. This is why it is important to always do your research when it comes to buying anything for your touring bike.
You want to get it right the first time, so you don’t waste any money
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The Best Bike Touring Handlebars in 2023 are:
Frequently Asked Questions
When changing your handlebars on any bike, you need to be aware of the stem and handlebar clamp. These two things need to match in diameter.
The most common and standard size is 25.4 mm. You need to make sure that these two components are compatible for one another, otherwise you may have issues changing your handlebars over.
Comfort is the most essential thing when it comes to touring. This is because you will be spending extended periods of time on your bike, so you want to be as comfortable as possible.
Thus, your handlebars need to most importantly give you comfort, so that you don’t dread getting back on your back every day. Comfort can come from padding, hand positions or the sitting position the handlebars give you.
Each style of handlebar is different and can meet your needs in different ways. So, trail different styles to see which one you find the most comfortable.
It will make life easier if you can mount things to your handlebars, as it gives you more room. Also, by being able to mount things onto your handlebars, you are able to disturb your weight a lot more easily.
Not all styles of handlebars allow you to do this, so this is something you need to check. Most types of handlebars will allow you to mount onto them, yet some styles like the moustache bars may be more tricky.
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The author, Brad McCartney from BikeHikeSafari is a small independent adventurer and outdoor gear tester who owns and runs BikeHikeSafari.com.
BikeHikeSafari is not part of a large blog network and is proudly independent. All reviews on this site are independent and honest gear reviews of outdoor products by the author.
The author, Brad McCartney is a very experienced triple crown thru-hiker, adventurer, and bike tourer having spent 1000s of nights sleeping in a tent and sleeping bag (Read more). He was a manager of an outdoor retail store and is very experienced in what is important when using and testing gear for reviews like this.
BikeHikeSafari will never receive any money for reviews and they do not accept sponsored reviews on this website. All the comments about the gear reviews are from the author based on his years of experience. Hope this independent review was helpful for you.