How to Measure Handlebars – The Steps to Follow

There are many people out there who after buying a new bike, find that either their arms are hurting or their hands are becoming numb after riding for a while. In addition, there are people who find a lot of difficulties in reaching the brakes. The bike could be the right size but the real culprit here might be the handlebars. It could either be too large or too small for your size.

Handlebars are steering handles that are used to control a bicycle. In addition, they hold other control parts such as brakes, gear changers, bell, speedometer and others in place. However, before getting a handlebars for your bicycle, it is important to measure it to ensure that it fits your size, height and riding needs. Therefore, it is important to learn how to measure handlebars so that you can be able to identify the right product from the stores. In this post, we are going to look at the parameters that you should consider when measuring handlebars.

Before you learn how to measure handlebars, it is important to understand how to measure your own shoulder width first. You can then use this measurement to determine the right handlebars width to go for. And once you have the right handlebars measurement, you can use it to shop for different types of handlebars. The idea is to have a good guide that will direct you into finding the right product.

The History

Over the past 20 years, handlebars have played a very important role in biking. It primary role is to give cyclists something to hold so that they can control the bike while at the same time providing a strong support for the brake system. However, as biking technology developed, there have been introduction of different types of handlebars with various sizes, shapes and materials. Therefore, it is important to learn today how to measure handlebars. The size of the handlebars determines the comfort, handling and how well we are compatible with bicycles.

Why You Need the Right Handlebar?

It is important to learn how to measure handlebars because choosing the right one will enable cyclists to support their upper bodies easily, minimize stress on your shoulders and neck and keep you well balanced for proper handling. Modern handlebars shapes are aimed at enhancing ergonomics and improving bike control.

With more and more handlebar styles in the market, more and more people are seeing the need to try out new designs. Besides adding to the beauty of the bike, the new handlebars play an important role in determining the ride quality. It is as a result of this that more and more people prefer newer designs.

Many modern handlebars designs were inspired by the technological advances of the 1990s. And while these handlebars are still popular even for today, their design was general and simple. This however brought a limit to the number of designs that the handlebars came in. it is as a result of this that the need for new designs arose and modern technology was available to lend a hand. Most manufacturers in the 90s only made handlebars that suit the general cyclist's needs. This took into account the average cyclist’s height, saddle position, frame size and others. As a result, cyclists at the time had very limited options when it came to the choice of bike to ride as they could only adjust the saddle height to meet their desired needs. However, the rest of the settings remained largely the same.

The Changes

As cyclists begun clamoring for new handlebars designs and shapes, manufacturers started looking for better materials and new designs to make handlebars. As a result, wider and bending handlebars emerged into the market. This development resulted in:

  • Various handlebars choices.
  • Complex shapes.
  • Greater combinations.
  • Larger clamp diameters.
  • More stiffness.
  • And better ergonomics.

With these improvements, bike handlebars have become an important tool to help cyclists find comfort and ideal riding position.

Handlebars’ shape and size continues to change as time goes on. Therefore, it is important to learn how to measure handlebars as this will help you in choosing the right handlebar. If the bike size is right for you, the handlebars should allow you to reach the brakes without bending your elbows too much. Also, when you are holding any part of the handlebars - be it the hook or the hood, your hands should be comfortable with the position. In addition, you should be able to reach the brakes from the hook with ease.

Changing your handlebars however will not make up for a frame that does not fit but rather, will make the bike more comfortable and easier to control. It is also important to note that handlebars are one of the few places where your body comes into contact with the bike. Therefore, it can have a big impact on your overall bike experience.

What Your Teed to Consider to Measure the Handlebars?

1. The terms used

When looking for a handlebars, there are terms that you will encounter in the market. This includes:

  • The reach. This is the distance from the center of handlebars to the furthest extension of the bend where brakes are mounted. The reach is normally between 80 and 90mm wide. A longer reach can increase your handling and thus make riding more stable.
  • Width. As you learn how to measure handlebars, it is important to understand how the placement of your hands can affect your steering. The most common width measurements are 38, 40, 42, and 44cm.
  • Drop. This refers to the distance between the center of the top bar and the deepest part of the bend.
  • Hooks. This is a part of the drop that is either used during sharp cornering or when descending down a hill.

2. How to do the measurement

If you are already at the store, you can pick a handlebars and place it over your shoulders to see how well it fits. Although this is a crude method of measuring handlebars, it is often used to test if it fits on the buyer. However, to get more accurate measurements, it is that you take measurements in the right manner.

For a more precise measurement, it is advisable to have a friend measure the bony protrusions on the side of your shoulders. He can use a tape measure to establish the exact length in centimeters. After doing so, he can add about two centimeters to account for the natural radiation of your arms. This helps in getting the right measurement that reflects a true riding position.

3. How to find the right handlebars

If you are looking for handlebars to use on your bike, it is important to go for the ones that suits your needs best. Finding a handlebars of the right shape and size will do you a lot of good as it will not only make riding easier but also, more flexible. The steps below will come handy in finding handlebars that suits your needs.

  • Proper reach. You should ensure that you can reach the handlebar with ease. It is advisable to start first with an easy to reach bar before moving to wider bars.
  • Find the right width. To find the right handlebar width, you need to hold a bar with your arms open and have someone look at it from the front. Your arms should stretch in a straight manner.
  • Hands feeling. No matter the type of handlebar you choose, you should be able to curl your fingers around it and reach the brakes. This ensures that you can ride the bike with much more comfort.
  • Consider the price. If you are concerned about the cost, you should opt for more affordable aluminum handlebars. However, there are other expensive carbon options that cost three times as much. Carbon handlebars however offer better vibration damping capabilities.

4. How do you measure handlebars for different types of bikes? 

The method for measuring handlebars length is the same for different types of bikes. This also applies to the measurement units and dimensions.

5. Is measuring handlebars the same for a man or a woman?

 Yes, the method for measuring handlebars is the same for both men and women bikes.


It is important to learn how to measure handlebars so that you can make the right purchase decision. When going out to buy handlebars, you can use that knowledge to choose a handlebar that meets your needs best.

Your comments and a SHARE click from you are very helpful for us. We are glad to get your ideas to improve our post.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 2 comments
%d bloggers like this: