As a cyclist, you get to experience lots of different bars. It is all up to you on what bar to use; really depends on the type of riding you do. At the end of the day, there are no rules, just preference and practicality.
The straight bar– Old School mountain bikes started out with having straight bars so the rider can basically pull the bike easily and hop over obstacles. The rider’s position is in the center of gravity of the bicycle but slightly higher than the road bike rider’s position. XC riders, 29ers ride the straight bar. For added climbing abilities, some XC boys add a bar end at the tip for extra grip when climbing up steep ascents.
The riser bar– This bar gained popularity due to the adjustment of the mountainbiker’s riding position. Downhill became a priority so the rider became more upright in their bike. There were 1 inch risers, then it became 1.5, and eventually got to 2 inch risers. These bars were paired with short stems to cater to the DH bikes and more aggressive mountain bikes.
Fixed gear freestylers also opt for the riser bar to do some flatland tricks.
The drop bar– Road bikes are sexier and more sleek thanks to the drop bar or droppers. It provides the cyclist more positions than just plain vanilla. He can hold on to the top of the bar, to the side (near the brake lever) or on to the lowest part of the bar. There is a lot to write about the drop bar; its length, width, how far it should be from the frame, the right bike fit, yadda yadda yadda… to make it simple: if you are a racer, drop bars are for you.
The bullhorn– fixed riders go for the bullhorn handle bars because it brings a different allure to the already beautiful fixie. Again, there’s a lot of different geometries for the Bullhorn but one thing stays the same, it is like a curvaceous waist of an already sexy woman, you can not keep your hands off it.
The moustache– This is the handlebar for gentlemen, but gentlewomen also use it. Beach cruisers, upright bikes, comfort bikes, city bikes, whatever you want to call them, this is the bar.
The cruiser– Beach cruisers bicycles were made so that surfers can ride the bike and hold on to their surfboard at the same time. It is usually wide and easy to handle. You can put a basket in front of the bike to transport your picnic goodies.
The apebar– spawned from the easy riders and old skul cruisers, these ape bars are fun to use. If you ride this kind of bar, your armpits shall always be dry. No need for speed, no rushed ride. This handle bar goes well with a bike that aches to be seen. People tend to twist their neck when they see your ape roll by.
The aero bar- This spaceship looking handle bar was primarily designed for use of the triathletes on their attack tri-bike. Their specific attack position makes them go through the course more aerodynamic than your average bear. The brake levers are quite unique plus the position of the rider is aerodynamic to the next level. Wanna go faster? This bar would make your bike look fast, but you need to train to go faster.
The cycleball bar– Like the aerobar, this is a specialized handle bar. Made for Radball, the cycling equivalent of football, this game is slowly gaining popularity because it is a UCI event. U gotta be really good in bike handling if you’re using this bar.
The BMX bar– Only few know that BMX means bicycle moto cross. Coming from the old school 20incher bike, this high rise with topbar is a freestyle icon in itself. The bend, the angle, the geometry all depends on the rider’s preference, but if you are a BMXer, this is for you.
My favorite bar?
The one where you stand to order drinks and say your powerlines.
Photo credit to: enghousebikes.com / rovobikereviews.com / cyclemotive.com / somafab.com / londonbicycleworkshop.com / outopalik-bikes.cz / elitebicycles.com / velogear.com