As we all know, every motorbike comes with a pair of handlebars, but not every manufacturer nails that part of a bike. Luckily there are aftermarket handlebars that can provide you with usually better comfort and grip whilst giving your motorbike a slightly refined but unique personality. There are a lot of different types of handlebars, which makes things tricky as they all offer different benefits and look differently.
These handlebars make the rider lean forward which atones for a more aggressive look but also helps reduce wind resistance and improve acceleration. They are also called cafe racer bars and it’s said that they have originated in London. While these motorbike handlebar controls are featured on most Harley Davidsons, they can also be found on choppers, bobbers, drag bikes and cruisers. Since they are straight, installation is very easy and they usually work with the bike’s stock wiring too.
This type of handlebar is a version of another one called mini apes which I’ll talk about in a bit and due to their similarities in design oftentimes people confuse one for the other. The buckhorn handlebars have their ends angled towards the rider and a slight dip which makes for an awkward experience but yet a stylish one. The style of these motorbike handlebar controls is very taunting which is why three different types of Harley Davidson models have used it consistently – Dyna, Sporter and Softail.
Like Drag handlebars, these ones also make the rider lean forward but there’s a little bit of twist here as clip-on handlebars are attached to the bike’s front forks. These are a two-piece setup which provides the highest amount of flexibility so you can set them up more inwards or outwards to fit your needs. While there are also faux clip-on handlebars that do look like the real deal they aren’t adjustable.
Try to imagine two Z’s opposing each other, well that’s what a z-bar looks like and it comes in two variations – the maynard and zed-bar. The maynard is a low rise bar like the regular z-bar but they have more perpendicular steep-like angles. While the zed-bar has the same type of angles it has a fairly taller rise than the two. These bars are suited for narrow choppers and generally motorbikes that aren’t too wide, as they too aren’t that wide but also relatively straight whilst having no pullback.
Other than dirt bikes these handlebars are also used on other motorbikes that require the handlebars to be as straight as possible. Sometimes they come with a small curve in the middle but even that is supported by a straight cross brace which makes it more rigid.
These handlebars are probably the most versatile since they can fit different types of motorcycles and their installation is a piece of cake too. These are similar to motocross bars as they too are very flat which is where their use lies – flat track racing, hence the name. These also allow you to use the stock wiring and cables.
With this type of bar, you basically get drag bars with added risers which is where they’ve gotten their name from – the risers are welded perpendicularly forming a T shape. Their height ranges between 10cm to 20cm and the riser style can be straight or pullback which is why a lot of people refer to them as drag bars sometimes – still not the same though.
For those of you who want to enjoy riding in the sunset with a more relaxed posture and look too, a beach bar is all you need. This type of bar is quite different than the ones we’ve mentioned so far, as they go way back towards the rider with their long swooping bends positioned a little bit wider than shoulder-width. These also come with little to no rise which means that the two ends come at around low to mid-waist level.
The moustache motorbike handlebar controls serve to make the bend go away from the clamp and pull back with a curve which makes them look like a moustache when viewed from the headlamp. These have a more classy look and they are also narrower and sit lower than most stock handlebars which makes them not very compliant with the wires and cables.
Two things you need to know about clubman handlebars: first, they were really popular with British cafe racers back in the day, which were then known as drops and second they are very similar to clip-on’s except that they are still a single-piece bar. Clubman handlebars have a sporty and aggressive look whilst being able to reduce air resistance.
With a softer and more rounded curve between the horizontal and top vertical sections, the frisco handlebars resemble a lot the design of Zed-bars in regards to their overall shape and rise. However, frisco motorbike handlebar controls don’t have an angular shape when it comes to the top of the inner rise bar.
These types of bars immediately remind me of Steppenwolf’s Born To Be Wild and the choppers in Easy Rider which are the type of bikes that make use of Ape hangers the most. The goal of Ape hangers isn’t to provide you with comfort or control, but to give you a classy and recognizable look. They come at varying heights with the most common ones ranging from 30cm to 40cm whilst the Mini (Baby) Apes ranging from 20cm to 30cm.
Chumps & Breezer Handlebars
Like tracker bars, chumps are also a versatile option since they suit the design of almost every bike due to their medium rise and soft balanced curves. This is not a flashy bar design but rather an easy-going and comfortable handlebar that looks nice and classy. Breezer handlebars are somewhat similar to chumps but they have a more aggressive look since they are more angular at the top of the inner rise and drop towards the rider right after it.
H & Window Bars
H handlebars come with a cross brace which makes them look like the letter H which makes them suitable for motorbikes that have a narrow clamp. Window bars, on the other hand, are a more styled, tall, angular version with its risers angled at 90° which meet at the top at the same angle. The name comes from both the top flat bar and the inner risers which connect and form the shape of a window.