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Best Handlebars For Touring

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What are the best bike handlebars for bike touring?

If you want to take your bike on long trips, then you need to choose the right handlebar. The whole ergonomics of your bike setup depends on it.

Deciding the right handlebar is important because it affects your posture, balance, and comfort.

When it comes to bike touring there are a couple of styles of handlebars that work better, keep reading below to find out which are the best handlebars for touring in 2022. 

Best Handlebars for Touring 2022

The Best Handlebars for Touring in 2022 are:


Best Handlebars for Touring – Overall

Butterfly Bars

Pros:
> Grip Options – With butterfly handlebars, you have various options on where you place your hands.

> Posture – Butterfly handlebars give you a much better posture that reduces back pain.

> Affordable – Butterfly Handlebars are a really popular choice as they are also very affordable.

Cons:
> 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. This is because they help you to sit in a much more upright and comfortable position.

I like using butterfly bars as they give you plenty of hand positions, which allow you to spread your arms while on a long biking trip. 

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 handlebars for long distance bike touring.

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Best Handlebars for Bikepacking

Jones Bars

Jones Bars

Jones Bars

Pros:
> Mounting Accessories – Great handlebars for mounting, GPS computers, Handlebar bags and more.

> Control – Great control on technical trails

> Hand Positions – The Jones Bars will give you plenty of options to change up your grip while you are cycling for long periods of time.

Cons:
> 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 are 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 the shape and design they are great for adding mounts like Cycling Computers or Handlebar bags but some bags may need special mounts.

The Jones bars are a favorite 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.

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Budget Handlebars for Touring

Drop Bars

Pros:
> Speed – These handlebars allow you to have a more sporty ride position and reduce any drag you may create with other handlebars.

> Various Hand Positions – You do have the option to change your hand positions to release pressure off your palms.

> Lightweight – Drop bars are typically quite lightweight, so they won’t add any extra weight to your overall bike.
Cons:
> 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 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.

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Flat Handlebars for Touring Bikes

Flat Bars

Pros:
> Width – Flat handlebars are much wider than other handlebars.

> Posture – You more upright position which relieves pressure off your back, neck and arms.

> Mounting – As these bars are so wide, your brakes are always at your fingertips.

Cons:
> 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, specially 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.

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Other Handlebars for Touring

Moustache Bars

Pros:
> Braking Control – Moustache handlebars offer you good braking control.

> Lightweight – These handlebars add little weight on your bike.

> Hand Position – There are a couple of different hand positions.

Cons:
> 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 goodbraking control with moustache handlebars and the option of a couple of different riding positions.

Alongside also putting you in a more upright position, which relieves stress off certain areas of your body on long biking trips.

Moustache handlebars to 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.

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Buyers Guide

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.

Flat Bars and comfort bars usually need bar ends to make them more comfortable

Comfort

Handlebars 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.


Posture

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. 


Style

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. 


Mounting Accessories

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 rear view 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.

Flat Handlebars and raised comfort bars

Price

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

Best Handlebars For Touring
Flat bars for MTB, Bikepacking and Bike Touring

Conclusion

The Best Bike Touring Handlebars in 2022 are:


Frequently Asked Questions

When Swapping Handlebars Is There Anything To Be Aware Of?

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.

What Is The Most Important Thing To Look For In Handlebars In Touring?

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. 

Should You Be Able To Mount Things Onto Your Handlebars?

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.

Another one of the Best Bike Touring Gear Reviews from BikeHikeSafari.


Read More:

Best Handlebars for Touring and Bikepacking

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About the Author:
Brad is an Australian who has completed the hiking Triple Crown after he hiked the Pacific Crest Trail, Continental Divide Trail and Appalachian Trail. He has hiked on every continent (except Antarctica) and has cycled from Alaska to Ecuador. He is an expert on outdoor gear currently living in Sydney, Australia.