Best Handlebars For Touring [Review] in 2021

Last Updated on May 25, 2021

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Have you been looking for ways to upgrade your road bike, so you get ultimate comfort and performance while touring? You may notice hundreds of different handlebars amongst tourers, but which one is best?

If you have been wondering about any of these questions, then good news, my friend, you’re at the right place.

Comfort while touring is of utmost importance, and the handlebar is one of the main contact points on your bike for stability and control; if it’s not right, you’ll know if after the first hour. 

Sadly, finding yourself the right handlebar for touring is no easy task as not everyone’s the same (which is why you’ll notice hundreds of different ones to choose from). The geometry needs to be comfortable for you to provide stability, control, and comfort you need. 

But it’s not all doom and gloom; I’m here to help. 

I have spent 8 hours researching and tracking down a range of different yet high-quality touring handlebars to meet the needs of a range of riders; I can guarantee you’ll find one that will suit all your needs. 

Here’s a cool tip before we get started: Although the main factor that comes into play when choosing a bike handlebar is personal preference, I would highly recommend getting a handlebar with multiple hand positions; this really helps with comfort when riding on long tours. 

Let’s jump into my top recommendations! 

We’ve spent the time so you don’t have to:

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My Top Picks Of The Best Handlebars For Touring

1.

UPANBIKE Trekking Cycling Butterfly Handlebar

best handlebar for comfort while touring

Coming in at the number one spot is the UPANBIKE Butterfly Handlebar; this bad boy was built for versatility and offers a wide range of hand positions to help reduce hand fatigue, numbness and keep you comfortable on longer rides. 

But having this wide range of hand position not only prevents hand fatigue but also helps ease the shoulders, arms, and back during intense rides; if you haven’t tried butterfly handlebars before, you absolutely need to now! 

Over the years, I have tried more drop-style road bike handlebars than I can shake a stick at, but this one is the very best for comfort and ergonomics. Let’s face it, it’s not the best-looking handlebar, but it will be sure to keep you comfortable for hours on end, so who cares?

Here’s more:

Customers have raved about this product, saying that this butterfly handlebar trumps any drop bar when it comes down to stiffness and comfort on long rides; it can be used on mountain bikes as well as your touring bike!

It is also super easy to install; just rub some dish soap and water down the drop bars, and it should do the trick. It will keep you in a more upright position, but you can always change your hand position to be in a lower position too. 

Your hands, arms, and shoulders will love you for this one.

Pros
R
Lightweight yet sturdy
R
Multiple hand positions
R
Reduces hand fatigue, arm and shoulder soreness
R
Super versatile, can be used on touring and mountain bikes
Cons
Q
Not the best looking bar but definitely most comfortable

Latest deal: UPANBIKE Trekking Butterfly Handlebar

2.

FSA Omega

best riser handlebars for touring

Here’s another super versatile touring handlebar hitting it at number two; FSA’s new road handlebars are available in multiple widths and shapes. Whether you want to spend time on the tops, the hood, or in the drops, FSA has a hand position for every style. 

FSA Omega is made from aluminum, making it super strong, durable as well as lightweight. It utilizes 6000 series aluminum making it super comfortable and durable for years of riding; it also helps with the balance and overall feel of the handlebar. 

But that’s not all. 

The Omega Compact brings a new short drop, short-reach compact handlebar at an affordable price; it also maintains a race look and weight making it ideal for long touring rides. 

Aluminum is brilliant for touring as it also makes the handlebars rust-free, making washing completely hassle-free and requiring little maintenance. The overall weight of this handlebar is only 300g which is impressive for the price point. 

In terms of grip, weight, and price, this handlebar is a real hidden gem. 

Pros
R
6066-series aluminium
R
Lightweight and durable
R
Rust-free
R
Good reach of 125mm
Cons
Q
Width might be slightly small

Latest deal: FSA Omega

3.

RXL SL handlebar

The number three spot has to go to the RXL Sl; this sleek design is definitely an eyecatcher. This touring handlebar is super lightweight and works wonders for shock absorption. 

It has a very minimalist approach and gives an understated vibe; it is also made of carbon fiber which is extremely lightweight and very strong. It helps keep the bike light while balancing it perfectly for the ride.

The material is also rust-free, which allows you to wash the bike with no worries.

But it’s not just about the clean looks that do it for me; the extra hand positions make this bike handlebar super comfortable for long rides and especially touring– no more hand fatigue! 

To top it all, these handlebars are super lightweight and very sturdy, so you’ll have ultimate control and comfort in every ride. For under 50 bucks, you cannot argue with the quality you get. 

Pros
R
Lightweight carbon fiber
R
Rust-free and durable
R
Unique designs and colors
R
Good price
Cons
Q
Aluminium alloy stem will rupture the handlebar

Latest deal: RXL SL handlebar

4.

UPANBIKE

Here’s another personal favorite of mine by UPANBIKE; this all-aluminum handlebar is made from 6000 series aluminum which is extremely durable and tackles rough beating during your touring adventures with no problem. 

Aluminum is also lightweight and rust-free, making it easy to shed weight from the bike and wash it without issue. The handlebar is suitable for road bikes, BMX and cruisers, but not to be used on mountain bikes so that you will be guaranteed comfort.

As if that was enough.

The lowest hand position is super comfortable; leaning forward and putting more weight on the front wheel resulted in less saddle pressure which really eased aches and pains after a couple of hours of riding. 

The price is also very impressive, considering the quality of material you get in the handlebar. It will catch a lot of attention and is an easy buy.

Pros
R
6061 T6 aluminium alloy
R
Lightweight and rust-free
R
Ergonomic shape for proper posture
R
Works on BMX, road bikes and cruisers
Cons
Q
Center taper takes too much of the bar

Latest deal: UPANBIKE

5.

SRAM Zipp handlebar

Here’s another all-aluminum constructed handlebar that is well built and designed for comfort on long rides. The aluminum used is 6000 series like all the other bars, which is super strong and durable. 

It is super lightweight but allows you to reach high speeds with ease, and in less time, it is also well-balanced thanks to the even distribution of weight. 

The shape of the drops is where SRAM does best; the profile is super easy to adjust, so you can adjust your stance further forward or back, making the length of the drop best for long tours. This handlebar is also brilliant for comfort during climbs. 

But wait, there’s more. 

The pocket provides a brilliant wrist angle compared to other road bike bars; there’s no need to grip onto the handlebars for dear life and distribute the weight onto your shoulders– the feel is super comfortable. 

For the price, this handlebar is out of this world. 

Pros
R
6000 series aluminium construction
R
Durable and lightweight
R
Rust-free
R
Good weight distribution for balance
Cons
Q
No end caps with the bar

Latest deal: SRAM Zipp handlebar

Best Touring Handlebars– A Buyer’s Guide: 

When touring, we all want handlebars that provide us with comfort and complete control. After a couple of hours of riding, our hands become slightly numb, tingly, and fatigue with handlebars that only offer one hand position. This is the absolute worst.

When touring, I prefer to switch hand positions as it really helps combat this issue and helps me push for longer and feel comfortable for the long hours of riding. Even if the handlebar has one to two hand positions, it massively helps, even for leverage during climbs.

The next thing you should consider is body posture; if you think about it, your body will be in the same or similar position for hours on end. You will want it to be comfortable and not cause backache after hours of riding.

In this guide, I’m here to break down everything you need to know to ensure you’re getting the best and most comfortable handlebar for you. You want to be sure it suits all your personal preferences as well as suit your bike frame.

Let’s get down to all the nitty-gritty details.

Types of handlebars:

There are a few different types of touring handlebars you’ll find on the market; now, while these are all down to personal preference, personally, I feel some are more comfortable than others. 

Flat bars:

Flat bars, as the name suggests, are generally more upright and straight. They do not have a curvature to their shape and do not go below the neck of the bike frame.

This makes them relatively simple to ride. They can also not be used well when it comes to racing since a low posture is required while racing on bikes, which cannot be achieved with flat bars.

But since they have a more upright structure, this makes the riding experience more comfortable and casual. Since flat bars do not offer more than one hand position, they can become uncomfortable to ride over long terrains.

Drop bars:

On the other hand, drop bars provide you with a more ergonomic shape that enables you to ride low. This facilitates racing as you can assume a low posture while riding, reducing wind resistance and enabling you to reach higher speeds rather quickly.

Drop bars also provide you with more than one riding position so that you can cycle between racing positions and normal riding positions. Being able to grab the handlebar in various positions helps you to alleviate pain on extended riding sessions.

Advantages of drop-bar handlebars: Drop bar handlebars provide you with aerodynamic advantages when it comes to high-speed riding. Help you utilize less energy at higher speeds. These bars are also narrower than flat bars, which helps in riding through narrow and tight spaces.

You can also fairly easily shift your body weight to the front while climbing hills due to the various positions you can hold the handlebar. You can get leverage from the bar to put more power into pedaling.

Trekking/Butterfly bars: 

Trekking or Butterfly style handlebars have always been popular in Europe, but they have become increasingly popular in the states due to the comfort and possible hand positions. Unlike regular bars, trekking bars offer four hand positions ideal for long rides and reduce hand fatigue. 

Touring is mainly done in an upright position, and the butterfly offers three possible upright hand positions, plus the fourth one allows you to switch up your posture to prevent back achiness. Butterfly handlebars are massively popular for touring because of this very reason. 

You can change position with ease and suit your body’s needs in terms of comfort. I am a personal fan of trekking bars because of the versatility and ability to change hand and posture positions. 

Mustache handlebars: 

Mustache handlebars are another bar similar to trekking style bars, but instead of offering four possible hand positions, mustache handlebars only offer three. With trekking handlebars, you’re more prone to the headwind, so handlebars that offer 2-3 hand positions are ideal for long-distance riding. 

Mustache handlebars still offer plenty of locations to vary your hand positions and relieve hand fatigue and muscle numbness, but it avoids that potential headwind; this is a worthy competitor for long-distance road riding and touring. 

Factors To Consider When Searching For The Best Handlebars For Touring:

When determining the best handlebars for touring, you should have the following in mind:

Body posture:  You may require to use different body postures for different touring conditions. When moving against the wind, you are likely to get exhausted when cycling in an upright position. This means that you may need to lower your head down to prevent discomfort.

Therefore, you need a handlebar that will allow you to bend. The handlebars should also be flexible enough to give you plenty of leverage when climbing and when doing quick turns.

Stem compatibility: Another thing you need to think of is bike compatibility. A hybrid mountain stem has a diameter of 24.5mm, while a regular road bike has a clamp diameter of 26.0 mm.

You should also consider the stem length and height. In case the shape of your handlebar is different from that of your bar, you can shorten the length of your stem to give your arms a comfortable stretch.

Hand positions available: When touring, you may frequently change your hand positions to prevent discomfort. Placing your hands in one position for a long time can lead to pain. Therefore, a handlebar that allows multiple hand positions will be the most suitable.

Personally, I like being able to switch my hand positions every half an hour or so to relieve hand fatigue and soreness in my wrists; keeping your hands in the same position for too long can become very uncomfortable.

Bicycle handlebars with at least 2 hand positions are recommended, but I would advise 3 or 4. Hand positions also make climbs much easier and more comfortable as it provides more hand leverage.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are handlebars for touring expensive?
Touring handlebars are available at different prices, which vary according to the material and type. However, you can still get a good handlebar for your touring bike, irrespective of the price.

Why are do I need the best handlebars for touring?
If you have a touring bike, you will require handlebars that are very strong to give you maximum control and stability. This means that not all handlebars will be suitable for your bike.

What bike handlebars are good for touring?
This is very much down to personal preference, but I would recommend getting yourself a road bike handlebar that offers multiple hand positions as an unbiased opinion.

This will prevent hand fatigue and wrist problems and allow you to ride comfortably for the long hours of touring. It also improves posture as you’re not stuck in the same position for a long time.

Final Verdict: 

A touring bicycle is a bike that is modified to carry heavy loads. These bikes are also comfortable and robust.  They may also have special features such as a long wheelbase to enhance stability. Another important part of these bikes is the handlebar.

You need to look for strong handlebars to give you excellent stability when riding on different terrains. Again, handlebars are also important because they allow you to control your bike, even on challenging surfaces. 

There are different types of handlebars, but butterfly handlebars are the because they are comfortable, affordable and they also allow you to change your riding positions frequently. Apart from that, they provide a better posture and control on rough surfaces.

Happy touring! 

Alex Bristol

Content Manager at Pedallers

ABOUT

Alex is a cycling expert at Pedallers and focuses on reviewing bikes, accessories, and general cycling. He searches for the most up to date products that match the needs of cyclists across the world. Whether it's recent news or the best bike set-ups, Alex is a trusted source for anything around cycling.