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How to choose the right handlebar for your road bike

How to choose the right handlebar for your road bike

The handlebar of a road bike has a special shape, combining a straight section or bar and another curve (hook), to give the cyclist several support options depending on the use or the land where it is. In recent years, in addition, designs have been diversified to personalize even more, depending on the cyclist's profile. Recently, special designs have also emerged, such as carbon handlers that make up the power and handlebar bar to gain weight, rigidity, aerodynamics and thus increase performance. If you go to Buy a road bike Or you want to change the handlebars to win in comfort or aerodynamics, you have to take into account this series of basic concepts or characteristics when acquiring one.

How to choose the width of the handlebar

The width in the road handlebar is measured from the center of the tube of the left curve (hook) to the center of the right curve. That is the measure that most brands use, although there are others that measure it from end to end. You must check this aspect before comparing.
Road bicycle handlebars usually have 42 cm or 44 cm width. Choose a narrower or narrower depending on your shoulder width.
Currently, there are several width standards in the market, ranging from 36 cm to 46 cm. The most frequent measures are as follows: 36 cm, 38 cm, 40 cm, 42 cm, 44 cm and 46 cm. The most used are as a general rule of 42 cm and the 44 cm, but you can choose one narrower or a wider one depending on your shoulder width, use and handling. A wider handlebar will offer greater stability and control in the turns, although it will add extra weight and aerodynamics will be more compromised. A narrower road bike handlebar is more indicated to enhance performance and improve aerodynamics. They are the most recommended if you are only going to call and climb short ports with little technical descents.

Types of handlebars according to their form

Classic bicycle handlebar It is, together with the width, the other essential characteristic when choosing a road bike handlebar. In the market it is determined by the shape of the curve or hook. Although attention will also be paid to the physiognomy of the horizontal bar, which can be round (classic) or flattened (lighter and aerodynamics). According to the type of hook, these are the four most used types:

Classic or round handlebar

It has a more pronounced curvature, with a large height or fall (drop) around 13 cm, as well as its reach (depth of the curve), close to 9 cm. It is a handlebar that enhances the handling in the low zone, both to roll coupled and to sprint, but does not stand out for its comfort.

Compact handlebar

It is the most widespread today. Ideal for long distance routes and the one that best suits the middle cycling. Its fall (13 cm) and depth (8 cm) is lower, which translates into greater comfort in low positions (descent and sprint). But in return it allows faster positions of position and favors a more upright posture.

Super compact handlebar

Super compact type handlebars are an evolution of the previous ones, which further reduce their drop or drop, around 1 cm (12 cm) with respect to the first. This compact form increases the speed of change of the position, avoiding moving the back as little as possible. At the same time, it is more manageable if we grab it by the ramp or upper part of the hook, due to its greater proximity to the brake handle, without compromising comfort.

Anatomical or ergonomic handlebar

This is a type of handlebar that has evolved from the classic and that it is possible to define it as a mixture of that with the compact. This fusion is based on the curvature of the hook introduce a straight central section, to offer a more stable intermediate position and thus increase grip and control when descending or sprinting.

Handlebar diameter

Today the diameter of the new handlebars is practically the same in most models, 31.8 mm in its central part, so it is not a factor as to take into account as width or shape. We say in its central part because in recent years, in medium or high -end models, and especially carbon, models with flat sections have been launched in the horizontal bar to better support the hands and win aerodynamics. A design that modifies this standard. However, in its central part it must always be cylindrical and it is where the measure will be taken, unless it is an integrated handlebar-power set.

Materials

The handlebars for road bicycles are usually made of aluminum or carbon, the first being more widespread. The carbon handlebar is more limited to high -end bicycles, especially Aero, high -performance oriented. Actually, if you are a low or medium -level cyclist, wearing an aluminum handlebar will be the most recommended option, due to the great balance between weight, rigidity and price. It is currently possible to find aluminum models with flat sections to increase aerodynamic coefficient, such as carbon.

Aerodynamics

For many road cyclists, whether professionals or not, it is increasingly important to reduce friction with the wind. Therefore, aerodynamic components such as flat tube or integrated handlebar are an option to contemplate for cyclists who take their bicycle outings very seriously.
Integrated handlebars have the disadvantage that their inclination or position cannot be adjusted and neither can the power be changed to another longer or shorter.
The handlebar is one of the elements of the bike most exposed to the action of the wind, for being one of the first parts of the bike with which it clashes. Therefore, an integrated model next to the power or flat bar will exercise lower wind resistance, while saving some weight and increases the stiffness of the set. Integrated handlebars, however, have an important disadvantage: not being able to adjust their inclination or position with respect to power. Nor change the power to a shorter or longer one. That is why some brands have in their catalogs with semi -integrated handlebars, with aerodynamic power and handlebar design, but already separated to facilitate this adjustment.

Conclusions

To find the appropriate handlebar for you you will have to assess these characteristics depending on your physique, type of bicycle, handling and use. Thus, if you are a rookie in road cycling or salts without pretensions to compete or squeeze physically, a compact and wide handlebar will be the most recommended profile. On the other hand, if you have experience training or leaving the road on the road, you may have to opt for a more sophisticated product, such as a super compact, anatomical or integrated. These are guidelines that should serve as a starting point, but you must also assess other aspects, such as your position on the bicycle (erect or coupled), geometry, the weight of the bike or your ability in the descents. [IRP posts = "9359" name = "How to adjust the geometry of your bicycle to your measures to turn it into an extension of your body"]
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