Comfort is a key consideration when riding a bicycle. The main contact points with the bike must be stable. Comfortable and accommodating for the miles you'll be covering. Best bikepacking handlebars are the most important areas of bike touring. This article will discuss what you should look for in handlebars that are suitable for touring. What are the best handlebars for bike touring? We hope you are able to come up with enough information to be able to buy some awesome handlebars.
My handlebars are changing every time I ride my bike on new adventures. Although I have a few favorites, I am always open to trying new bars.
The trekking bar and butterfly bars are my two favorite, along with some flared dropbars.
You have to choose what is most comfortable for you. I recommend that you try many handlebars. You never know what one will work for you.
This article was compiled by bikepackers and bike tourers who shared their opinions on which handlebars they use and what they would recommend to friends. All my results have been compiled and I will share them later.
Let's first take a look at the key aspects before we go and get handlebars for our touring bikes.
Wrist comfort has been a big one. This applies to all comfort levels on the bike. When touring, you will be riding your bike for many days, months, or even years. Your joints should be relieved by the handlebars. The best touring handlebars allow you to move your hand around.
My favorite for multiple hands is the butterfly handlebars. Your hands are moved around in five or more positions. This allows you to stretch your arms and move them around to avoid soreness. You may experience nerve pain and even damage if you use other generic handlebars, such as a flat bar.
Your overall bike fit and posture can be affected by your handlebar selection. I've ridden with all-road handlebars before, and found that I was leaning forward in a more aero race position. This caused my back pain after about 20 days of touring. Recently, however, I purchased flared dropbars with hoods that are higher and it immediately felt like they had improved my posture.
The type of handlebar will determine the type of mounting area that you have for gadgets. The 500 mm flared, butterfly, and 500 mm flared bars, as well as many others on this list, provide plenty of space for mounting a phone, cycle computer, or bell to your handlebar. The result is a cockpit that looks almost like a spaceship.
Handlebar bag compatibility should also be considered when selecting handlebars. To ensure that your handlebar bags and bar are compatible, make sure you measure the length of the handlebars. Some handlebar bags for bikepacking are too long to fit on narrow dropbars. Double-check your Rando bag, if you're looking for one.
Different sizes of handlebars and stem clamp compatibility. Different bars have different stem clamp sizes. Standard size for MTB handlebars is 25.4mm. The butterfly bars I bought were this size. Then there is 31.8mm, which is an oversize or (OS) in diameter. This size is becoming increasingly popular because of the strength and stiffness that it provides.
All Road / Drop Handlebars
This refers to the standard dropbar handlebars that you find on road bikes. These handlebars are better for experienced riders. They are not recommended for touring, as they can be too narrow. They can be difficult to handle for beginners because they are too narrow.
Pros To Standard Road Dropbars
- For riding through traffic, narrow
- You can turn faster and more quickly, which makes it easier to maneuver around hazards.
- Multiple hand positions, drops and hoods are possible.
- Flats should be viewed from a straight back position
- Ability to lower in aero position to fight head winds and to be more efficient
Cons to Standard Road Dropbars
- Comfortable on rough terrain is not as important
- These bars are not very long, so it is difficult to fit handlebar rolls/packs for bikepacking with enough space.
- Less experienced riders will find it more difficult
- Bad posture can lead to sore backs for long trips.
- It is harder to reach break levers
I will be truthful and not recommend specific handlebar options for these types of handlebars. They are not the best choice for touring bars. These bars are not the best. However, they should not be the only bars that you have. These handlebars should be used with traditional bar-end shifting touring bikes. They are fine. I'm referring to the handlebars from road bikes, which are extremely narrow.
Profile Designs T4+ Carbon Aerobars
Some bikers have dropped bars and an aero bar combination. Drop bars with aerobars are a better option for aerodynamics. They free up more space on the handlebars and allow you to mount gear and other gadgets. They also allow for more movement and hand positions, which can stretch the body. You can also lift your bum from the saddle. My mate rode round Australia on an aero-set fixie bike. Read more.
Flat / Riser Handlebars
Flat handlebars are a common feature on many expedition touring bikes. They are my second favorite type of handlebars. They are still very good depending on your preference. MTB Riser Handlebars With Ergon Grips are a recommendation of some tour operators.
Pros To Flat / Riser Bars
- Flat bars are easier to control than most.
- They give you leverage when you're out of the saddle
- Swapping grips is easy
- There are many mounting options available for accessories
- This is a great choice for beginners on a bike tour.
Cons To Flat / Riser Bars
- These bars are not recommended unless you have bar-ends such as Ergon Grips.
- It can be challenging to navigate tight spaces with the handlebars depending on their width.
- They are not ergonomic for your wrists on standard flat handlebars
MTB Riser Bars with Ergon Grips
Flat bars can be used in a way that is similar to the about combination. The Ergon Grips provide additional hand positions. This is a very popular option for bike tourers. The BioKork Grip is used by the two of them in the above photo.
These handlebars are my favorite. There are many options. I'm still trying to find the best option for me.
Butterfly Bars Or Trekking Handlebars
These handlebars are the most commonly used for expedition touring bikes. These bars are most commonly used for multi-year tours all over the globe. These bars are highly recommended, from my personal experience with them.
MonkeyJack Trekking Butterfly
Price: $15.98 (Cheapest Amazon)
There are many hand positions available. The review is linked. (also linked in paragraph above).
Why choose butterflies bars?
- Position upright
- Better posture
- You have many options for hand positions and the ability to spread your arms.
- You should change your overall riding position often
- Bars are less expensive than other bars
- This allows for great control and leverage on uneven surfaces thanks to its wide grip.
These handlebars are my favorite at the moment. Funn G Wide 500mm Bars were recently installed on my Surly Long Haul Trucker. Flared dropbars provide extra stability and cushioning for rough terrain riding.
These bikes are very popular in gravel racing and cycle-cross, where it is crucial to have control of off-road surfaces. They can also be used for touring, offering a variety of hand positions to reduce fatigue.
The extra length of the bar means that you have a lot of options for mounting anything. This allows you to fit handlebar bags in a much smaller space. Flared drops feel natural and more natural than traditional drops.
Flare drops are a good idea to use. They make it difficult to mount your bike against a wall.
Funn G Wide Gravel Handlebars
These bars are more expensive than the 480mm. It is a good idea to buy the 500mm length. You get more bang for your buck. It is personal preference. I love how smart they are.
These were originally made for hardcore gravel riding. They are made with a high-grade 6069 alloy that has been heat treated and triple butted. It has a clamp diameter of 31.8mm. With a 6deg back sweep, 25deg flare. This bar is wide enough to accommodate large bags, making it ideal for long bike rides.
These drops surprised me when I first got them. I was pleasantly surprised at how far the reach is, and how deep they are. This is a far better option than a standard road drop bar that is short and shallow. A shorter stem may be an option.
Crust Towel Rack
Price: $195 AUD, $130 USD
Other bike tourers and bikepackers trust this handlebar option. This handlebar option is a little more costly than most touring handlebars. They are made from an Aussie brand with a cool ethos that is well worth it.
Price: $50 USD
Woodchippers are lightweight at 375g and made of strong 6061-T6 aluminium alloy. The unique shape of the Woodchippers allows for comfort and control over rough terrain. The ergonomic design is compatible with integrated brake levers/road shift/brake levers, or bar end shifters. With a 114mm drop and a 56mm reach, a 25deg flare angle and a 38deg drop angle, the drop is 115mm. For maximum comfort, Salsa Woodchippers need a special setup. The brake/shifter position should be slightly canted down, which will result in a 20-25deg drop angle.
Other Touring Handlebars
Jones SG 2.5 Aluminum Loop H-Bar
Price: $79 USD
Like most other bars, the Jones H Bar offers many hand positions. These bars allow your arms more freedom to move in the direction that they were designed. Standard flat bars can reduce strain.
Tourers complain about how difficult it is to use these 660mm bars on very rough terrain. It might not be able to maneuver on single tracks or other technical riding conditions.
Surly Moloko Bar
Price - $100 USD
You can adjust the Moloko Bar to suit your hand position and keep you in control during long days of riding on different terrain. There are many places to mount accessories. Surly has provided cut marks to allow you to modify the bar's width. This bar is made from Chromoly Steel with a 31.8mm clam diameter.
Geoff Bar -
Price - Limited offer - PS21 or $26 US
This bar is optimized for long distances over difficult terrain. The clamp diameter is 31.8mm. It measures 720mm in length with a backsweep at 45 degrees, grip length of 215mm, and an increase of 13mm.
Orange Velo Crazy Bar
Price: $59.99 USD
These bars have been a dream of mine since I was a teenager. It may be a while before I get the handlebars. This is my next set of handlebars. They might even be a Santa gift.
They're just as crazy as their name implies. You can see all the possibilities for different hand positions while touring by just looking at them. They are half bull horns and half alf cruiser bars. There are a number of clamp sizes available, which can make it a bit confusing. MTB grips, levers, and shifters will fit the main bar at 22.2mm. Bull horns measure 23.8mm, so road levers/bar-end shifters will fit. 25.4mm clamping area.
This is an unusual design, but it works. There are two major hand positions on the bars. The handgrips are the most prominent, as well as the horns. They are so comfortable that tourers who used them have reported feeling more energy and less soreness during their rides.
These bars give you the best of both. You can be comfortable in an upright or aero position.
Koga Denham Bar
Price - / PS70.00 or $86.00 US
Alee is someone I admire greatly. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to interview him. You don't need to know his name. Cycling About.com is his website. It aims to help people learn everything they need about bicycle touring and bikepacking. I was partly inspired by him to create this blog, which you are currently reading.
It seems like a dream come to life. It was a dream come true to partner with Koga to create some cool bars. These bars combine all the characteristics of the Moloko, Jones Loop H-Bar, and Velo Crazy bars into one handlebar. Alee has written a detailed review of these bars.
State Bicycle Co. (various brand names)
Amazon Price: $26.99
These bars are cheaper than the others. These bars are a better choice than The Koga Denham, which have bull horn bars and lots of other hand positions. A Butterflybar offers more hand positions, but at a lower price.
However, depending on your preference, some bike tourers suggest the bull horn bar as a setup for bike touring.
UPANBIKE (various brands)
Amazon Price: $23.99
Some bike tourers also recommend mustache handlebars. These bars provide a comfortable, upright ride that reduces wrist strain. The only problem is that you don't have many hand positions. This is important for long tours.