Road Bike Handlebars

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Road Bike Handlebars

Road bike handlebars are an essential part of your bike setup, as these are how you steer your bike. At BikeExchange, we have many different styles listed to suit any rider's style. The handlebars you choose for your bike can solely be based on the style you are most comfortable using. It is highly recommended to try out several handlebar styles, especially if you’re interested in road racing events.

With road bike handlebars, the drop bar has been a standard for many years, but many other shapes and designs are available. The handlebars you choose for your bike can rely entirely on what style of riding you do and your personal preference.

How to choose a road bike handlebar?

The best way to choose the best road bike handlebars is to try the different styles and brands. If you’re a club member or ride with others, you can ask people which handlebars are the best and how they feel using them. Another method for choosing the best-designed handlebars is to think about your wrists and hand position when you ride. Do you prefer to have your hands up high or lower on the drop?

Older bikes used a deep drop bar as standard, but many people are leaning towards the compact bar as the cycling handlebars of choice with modern bikes. In reality, the choice of style is totally up to the individual rider, and what may work for some may not work for others.

When installing a new set of road bike handlebars, make sure you are not rotating them too far forward or placing the levers too low on the drop. Having a bad setup on your bike can decrease your comfort, and it can be easy to think that the handlebars are not performing correctly. When installing new handlebars, sit on the bike and check that everything is at a comfortable range before tightening it up. If you’re out riding and need to reach, then the levers or the forward bar rotation may need adjusting. If you’ve made enough adjustments, a replacement set of handlebars may be your best option.

How to install a road bike handlebar?

The way you fit and install road bike handlebars can be slightly different based on your exact bike model and the handlebars you have. However, with some minor adjustments, most handlers can be installed using this method. The tools you’ll need in your kit include measuring devices, scissors (or a sharp knife), Allen keys (or a hex wrench), torque wrench, and thread locker or grease suited for use on any bolts.

Before changing over your handlebars, take some pictures of your bike. These pictures will be used as a reference to get the brake levers into the same position. Next, you can remove any existing bar tape and cut the tape to free your brake cables or hoses. The next stage is to remove the brake levers; these are usually kept in place with a hex bolt. It may be possible to remove the levers without completely undoing the bolt, so loosen it a little bit and see if the levers will come loose. If you need to remove the bolt completely, place the bolts into a cup or bag for safekeeping.

After the levers are removed, you can loosen the stem bolts. Some older bikes may use a compression bolt, and you’ll need to loosen this and slide the handlebars out. Most modern road bikes will use a faceplate, and this has up to four bolts holding it in place. Once the faceplate is clear, you can remove the old handlebars from the frame.

When you replace your new handlebars, place a small amount of assembly compound on the bars and a small dab of thread locker or grease onto the bolts before you insert them. Tighten the bolts in a cross style to even out the pressure; you can tighten them by hand until they are just binding. If you have carbon handlebars, be careful as they can be crushed.

Next, slide on the brake levers and get them into position and tighten the screws, but not all the way. Before tightening down the stem faceplate, ensure the handlebars are aligned and centred correctly. Once you are satisfied that the handlebars are in the correct position (use your reference photo), you can use the torque wrench to tighten the screw to the appropriate amount of torque.

After the handlebars are secured in place, you can make sure the brake levers are centred and level. You can use an old broomstick and check that the levers are level to your handlebars; if everything is good, you can tighten the lever bolts in place. The last step is to tape the brake cables/hoses and replace the handlebar tape for the perfect grip.

At BikeExchange, you can find road bike handlebars of all styles and materials to suit any riding style. You’ll find all types of other cycling gear in our store, including energy gels, bottle cages, and clip-in pedals. We also have a selection of Liv bikes, Lazer helmets, and other biking accessories suited for female and male riders. Shop online today.

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