Your Guide to Picking The Best Fixie Handlebars

Part of the fun of a fixed gear bike is customizing and upgrading your bike. But all that fun comes with some hard decisions, like picking the best fixie handlebars. Between the different fixie handlebar styles and brands, combinations can seem limitless. 

The best fixie handlebars for you depend on your bike frame, your body, and your riding style. Ok, maybe style plays a small role, too. 

This guide will help you familiarize yourself with the best fixie handlebars – from bullhorns & risers to moustache and BMX bars. By the end you’ll be equipped to pick out the best fixie handlebars for you whether you bought a cheap fixie that needs upgrading or deciding whether to build up a new one from scratch. 

You can use the links below to jump to a specific section to help you on your quest to find the best handlebars for you.

Fixie Handlebars

Why It’s Important To Choose Handlebars Correctly

The Details You Should Consider

Comfortable Handlebars (Category)

Cruiser Handlebars

Butterfly Handlebars

High-Performance Handlebars (Category)

Drop Handlebars

Track Drop Handlebars

Aero Handlebars

Versatile Handlebars (Category)

Bullhorn Handlebars

Flat Bars

Riser Bars

Other Handlebars

Why Is It Important To Pick The Right Handlebars for Your Fixie?

Why is it important to pick the right handlebars? For starters, handlebars are how you steer your bike. 

Different handlebars provide different hand positions, and in turn different body positions. You can get low and aerodynamic on drop bars, but they’re not as comfortable for relaxed cruising. 

Depending on your riding style and fixie bike, different types of handlebars will effect your control, responsiveness, comfort, leverage, aerodynamics, and of course the key factor: style. 

  • Style is how sweet your fixie looks. Ok, so it’s not super important for most people, but it’s paramount for some. Right now, the dominant trend for trendy fixies are wide riser bars or flat bars. 
  • Control determines how easy it is to turn your handlebars.
  • Responsiveness refers to how quickly the force you apply to your handlebars translates to a change of direction. 
  • Comfort is how comfortable you feel on the bike when your handlebars are set up properly.
  • Leverage determines how your handlebars help you put force on the pedals
  • Aerodynamics define how well your handlebars cut through the air. Unless you’re taking your fixie on the track, this factor is not a big concern

Picking the best set of fixie handlebars for you starts with deciding which factors matter for you. You can’t have it all though, so get your priorities straight before you buy. 

Comfort is on one side of the continuum, aerodynamics is on the other. 

If you’re looking for performance, consider aero time trial bars. For comfort, consider butterfly or moustache bars. 

Factors You Need to Consider When Choosing Your Fixie Handlebars

The handlebar construction is one thing, but there’s more to consider. The dimensions of your new handlebars, for one. Diameter, width, rise, reach, and drop all play a role in the factors we went over above. 

Aside from dimensions you also have material to consider. Do you want a stiff, responsive ride or a softer, more laid back set-up?

Let’s take a closer look at these factors and how they might impact your buying decision. Note that the importance of each factor depends on the type of fixie you ride.

The Details

  • Diameter determines “thick” the handlebars are. If they’re too thin, you may not be able to get a good grip. Same goes for if they’re too wide.  
  • Width is how far out the handlebars reach. If you need very responsive steering, the wider the better. As mentioned, wide risers are in right now and they’re a lot of fun to ride. Year ago the trend was for ultra-thin flat bars which gave much less responsive control (although they were ideal for fitting in tight gaps).
  • Rise refers to how far up from the stem, where the handlebars are attached to the fork, your grips will be. They higher the rise, the less you’ll have to lean forward. 
  • Bend is how far the bars sweep from the stem. Bars with no bend are flat. Bend can refer to different shapes including drop bars and bullhorns. 
  • Reach determines how far out you have to place your hands. It can affect your capacity to turn because you’ll have to engage your core the farther out you reach. Some fixie handlebars, like bullhorns, provide multiple levels of reach where you can grab on. 
  • Drop applies mostly to drop & track handlebars and refers to the distance from the stem to the centre of the lowest point of the bars where they curve down. 
  • Material describes what your bars are made of and affects price and the feel of the handlebars. Most handlebars are made from steel or aluminum alloy, but the pricier bars are made of carbon. High performance bars are lighter and stiffer, steel bars are more durable for urban riding. 

The information we’ve gone over may be enough for you to make your selection. Otherwise you can read on about each type of handlebar and its specifications.

I’ve organized them into different sections, one for each type of handlebar. Comfortable, High Performance, Versatile, & Other Handlebars.

Comfortable Fixie Handlebars

The more comfortable fixie handlebars are well suited for casual riders and commuters. They’ll make your fixed gear comfortable and enjoyable to ride. 

Comfortable handlebars include cruisers and butterfly bars. Let’s take a look.

Cruiser Handlebars

Handlebars don’t get more casual than cruiser bars. If you’re looking for a laid-back ride, these may be for you. 

An image depicting someone grasping the best fixie cruiser handlebars they have found for their bike.

The first bikes as we know them featured these bars. Recently, they’ve had a resurgence and you’ll often find them on cruiser bikes rocking a basket and a bell. 

To use these bars, you’ll have to have an appropriate cruiser frame and proper seat. These handles require you to sit up straight, so most of your weight will be on your seat. Just bear in mind that this position makes climbing hills tougher because you’ll have less leverage. 

It’s also much harder to skid on these handlebars. That’s a big problem if you’re running brakeless. 

These Handlebar May Be For You If:Potential Issues With These Handlebars:
• Value comfort over performance
• Prefer a casual, laid-back ride
• Don’t mind sitting up straight
• Poor leverage for hills & skids
• Not suitable for all frames

Butterfly Handlebars

Butterfly handlebars are the touring rider’s dream. They’re popular with long-distance riders for the variety of hand positions they provide. 

A bike leaning against a tree meant to show the butterfly fixie handlebars

The variety of hand positions can take the strain on your wrists. Plus, that extra handlebar real estate means there’s plenty of room for other hardware like shifters and brakes. 

Those different grips come in handy on longer rides, but all that utility comes at a price. More handlebar means more weight. You can also forget about aerodynamics with butterfly bars. 

These Handlebar May Be For You If:Potential Issues With These Handlebars:
• You like a variety of hand positions
• Comfortable cruising is your thing
• Long distance rides are common
• Your hands/wrists get strained
• A bit heavier than other handlebars
• Not aerodynamic 
• Not so pretty

High-Performance Fixie Handlebars

Does every ounce of weight matter to you? Do you obsessively improve your bike’s aerodynamics? Or maybe you just like to be the fastest thing on the road?

High-performance fixie handlebars might be for you. We’re looking at drop bars, track drops, and aero bars, but those last ones really aren’t practical outside of the velodrome. 

These handlebars work best with track or road frames. You can make them work on other types of frames as well. 

Drop Bars

The quintessential road and fixie bike handlebars. Drops. 

An image showing the best fixie drop handlebars on a teal bike leaning against a wall.

These handlebars provide a nice balance between comfort and performance. You can sit up and hold them hear the stem or drop down for a sprint in a more aerodynamic position.

Potential leverage is substantial with drop handlebars. They come in so many different shapes and sizes you can find the perfectly shaped fixie drop handlebars for you. 

Personally I prefer drop bars which straighten out at the bottom of the drop. That way you can comfortably rest your wrists on the bars and cruise.

These Handlebar May Be For You If:Potential Issues With These Handlebars:
• Iconic fixie style
• Balance between performance & comfort
• Decently aerodynamic
• Require you to lean forward
• Can be less comfortable on long rides

Track Drop Handlebars

For the fixie purists, there’s no substitute. These handlebars are designed for track bikes and the velodrome. That doesn’t mean you won’t see them on the street. 

A white fixie fitted with the best fixie track drop handlebars

The big difference between track drops (or pista bars as they’re sometimes called) is the slope from the stem. Unlike regular drops, which allow you to comfortably hold the bars right next to the stem, track drops are designed for riding in the downward position.

In the velodrome, you would normally be holding the ends of the handlebars to maximize aerodynamics.

These Handlebar May Be For You If:Potential Issues With These Handlebars:
• You’re a speed demon
• Fixie style is important
• Leaning over the bike is comfortable
• Not comfy for longer rides
• Specialized design

Aero Handlebars

When you need to maximize your performance on the bike, you need aero bars. These aren’t too common outside of the velodrome, and for good reason. 

A time trial rider using the best fixie aerodynamic handlebars.

They’re expensive, stiff, and impractical in an urban setting. Climbing can be a nightmare. Unless you’re doing time trials or hitting the track I wouldn’t recommend aero bars for your fixie. 

Just picture how awkward it would be to move in traffic with these handlebars. They’re literally designed for environments where there are zero obstacles & no traffic. 

Fortunately, these can clip onto most other handlebars. You can simply mount them to your current handlebars. 

Another thing to note is that you need to train proper aero position to get the benefits these bars offer. It’s not easy.

These handlebars are for you if:

These Handlebar May Be For You If:Potential Issues With These Handlebars:
• Your fixie lives at the velodrome
• Aerodynamics matter
• You’re experienced with the aero position
• Not safe if you’re inexperienced
• Climbs & urban riding become challenging
• Dangerous in traffic

Versatile Fixie Handlebars

Many fixie riders are looking for a handlebar that’s suitable for a variety of environments. The next batch of handlebars we’ll review are a fit for most types of riding. 

They’re also the most common handlebars you’ll see on street fixies. 

City streets, trail riding, touring, and climbing are all possible and comfortable with these versatile handlebars. They include bullhorns, flat bars, & risers. 

Bullhorn Fixie Handlebars

Second only to riser and flat bars, bullhorns are the most popular versatile fixie handlebars. They provide a comfortable grip near the stem for cruising and a great hold farther out when you want to get out of the saddle for a climb or a sprint. 

A bike with the best bullhorn fixie handlebars.

One shortcoming is that even the best bullhorn handlebars don’t handle turns well. Especially tighter turns. They’re especially rough when you’re on the upper hold. 

For the fixie trick fanatics, these handlebars provide plenty of clearance for over-the-handlebar skids. They also provide bar-spin clearance, depending on your set-up.

These Handlebar May Be For You If:Potential Issues With These Handlebars:
• You like to get out of the saddle
• Hills & sprints are a challenge
• Your riding style is aggressive 
• You enjoy doing tricks
• Tight turns can be challenging

Flat Bars

A blue fixie with the best fixie flat handlebars

Flat bars are some of the most popular fixie handlebars currently on the market. More specifically, wide bars. 

You’ll also see a lot of wide riser bars, but there’s a reason these fixie handlebars are so popular. They’re perhaps the most versatile handlebars you can get for your fixie. 

Another reason they’re popular is how suitable they are for tricks. They provide barspin clearance, plus they’re a great grip for other tricks and skids. 

Flat bars provide good control on turns and can be very responsive, especially if you get wide bars. 

They’re good for beginners, decent on sprints, and comfortable for climbs. The only drawback is that they’re not aero and your top speed may be slightly limited. 

These Handlebar May Be For You If:Potential Issues With These Handlebars:
• Want to be a part of the current trend
• Want an all-around handlebar
• Are a beginner
• LOVE doing tricks
• Reduced top speed
• Wider bars can make some gaps obstacles

Riser Handlebars

Riser bars are flat bars with higher grips. They’re most common on trail and mountain bikes, but a good deal of fixie riders use these. 

They’re comfortable and encourage a good straight posture. What’s more, you can sprint and climb pretty well on them.

Fixie riser bars are decently comfortable at the expensive of aerodynamics. These are definitely recommended for urban fixie riders that love skidding and tricking. 

Risers tend to be inexpensive although they’re slightly heavier than flats and other handlebars. You can easily repurpose mountain bike or hybrid riser bars for your fixie, too.  

These Handlebar May Be For You If:Potential Issues With These Handlebars:
• You like doing tricks & skidding 
• Like sitting upright on your fixie
• Need an all around handlebar
• Don’t want to spend a fortune
• Enjoy solid control
• No aero position
• Only one position to hold
• Can get uncomfortable on longer rides

All Other Handlebars

This next batch of fixie handlebars are not commonly used, especially by casual riders. Each one is really its own category. Either their purpose is specific to a niche type of riding or they’re just meant for style.

We’ll look at BMX/Freestyle fixie handlebars, mustache handlebars, ape grip handlebars, and recumbent bars. 

Since none of these are practical to use for ordinary riding or commuting, we’ll forgo the rating system I used above. Instead, consider that you really have to like a certain style of riding to use these bars. Often you’ll even need a purpose-built bike to use them. 

BMX Handlebars On A Fixie

Rugged & tough, BMX bars are meant to take a beating. They’re higher than riser bars, and that usually makes the grip uncomfortably high on the right sized frame for you. 

BMX handlebars on a bmx bike

You’ll usually see BMX bars on fixed gear freestyle bikes if they’re on a fixie. Fixed gear freestyle amounts to BMX tricks on a fixed gear. The rise of the BMX bars works on these types of bikes since the frames are smaller to allow for tricking. 

Recumbent Handlebars On A Fixie

You’re not likely to see recumbent bars on a fixie unless it’s a recumbent fixie. Somehow, that seems even less likely. 

These handlebars are designed specifically for recumbent bikes. Unless you want to score the ultimate in fixie style points, steer clear of these handlebars for your fixie. 

Mustache Handlebars On A Fixie

I was tempted to put moustache handlebars in the  “comfortable” category, but they just aren’t that comfortable on a fixie. Since fixie’s can’t coast, these handlebars become incredibly awkward. 

That awkwardness is mostly because of the lack of leverage you get on the pedals. Skidding is out of the question. 

Since you won’t have a lower gear, that lack of leverage can make starting a challenge too. 

Ape Handlebars

Unless your fixie is a cruiser bike, you’ll have trouble steering with these handlebars on your bike. It can also be awkward running brake lines up to the grips.

You’ll definitely not be getting much performance out of your bike with these handlebars, but if cruising if for you these handlebars may be too. 

Making Your Selection From The Best Fixie Handlebars

So there you have it. All the basic knowledge about fixie handlebars you need to pick the best fixie handlebars for you. 

If you’re more performance oriented, I recommend drop bars. 

For those of you who like a street fixie, try flat bars or riser bars. 

Bullhorns are good for utility or pain free commuting.  

I’ve personally run all three of those handlebars on my bike and my favourites are drop bars, although risers/flat bars are really fun too.

Hit me with a comment if you have any questions of suggestions. Or, maybe there’s some type of handlebar I’ve missed? 

Happy riding. Hopefully this helped. 


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