As an adventurous cyclist, nothing is more thrilling than trying out new handlebars. One of the most popular choices for explorers is the bullhorn handlebar. But are bullhorn handlebars good?
Bullhorn handlebars are good because they put you in an aerodynamic posture to enable you to ride against the wind. With the aerodynamic posture comes sprinting and climbing power and better bike control.
It’s also worth noting that bullhorn handlebars are pretty appealing, safer, durable, and affordable.
The only issue is that you have limited brake positions, and the handlebar is not the best for descending.
I’ll explain both sides, the good and the bad, to help you decide if the handlebars are worth getting. And if you choose to get one, I’ll take you through a quick buying guide to help you find the best.
But before that, let me explain what bullhorn handlebars are.
In a rush? Find my most recommended bullhorn bars below.
4 Best Bullhorn Handlebars
- Upanbike Bullhorn Handlebar: Best Budget Bullhorn Handlebar
- Fyxation Rodeo Bullhorn Handlebar: Best for Urban Racing
- Origin8 Bullhorn II: Best EN-Certified Bullhorn Handlebars
- Venzo Fixie Bullhorn Handlebar: Best for Fixies and Road Bike
What Are Bullhorn Handlebars?
Bullhorn handlebars are bicycle handlebars that curve up and then forward like a bull’s horn, thus the name bullhorn.
Unlike the straight bar, a bullhorn bar is more stable and enjoys an aggressive design. As a result, it suits aggressive cyclists more.
You’ll find them either as road bike type or fixed-gear option.
Are Bullhorn Handlebars Good? (Going Into Details)
Here are the things that make bullhorn handlebars worth it:
1. Aerodynamic Advantage
Bullhorn bars allow you to lean forward, a phenomenon known as an aerodynamic position. The position is critical when riding against the wind.
It allows you to maintain your momentum, and this is particularly important when competing.
Unlike flat bars, which suffer wind drag, bullhorn handlebars cut through wind resistance.
Overall, bullhorn handlebars have a 30mmm drop which offers you a more comfortable hold when leaning forward.
2. Climbing Power
It takes an aerodynamic position to ride uphill effectively. That’s what bullhorn handlebars offer you.
Bullhorn bars allow you to lean forward more comfortably and position your feet firmly on the pedals. So, it becomes easy to apply force onto the pedals, enabling you to climb the hills smoothly.
In the long run, you don’t use a lot of effort to pedal uphill.
3. Sprinting Power
It also takes an aerodynamic position to pedal harder and faster on a bike. Given that bullhorn handlebars offer you more pedaling power, they enable you to efficiently pedal and ride faster.
The handlebars offer you more pedaling leverage, and you need that to sprint.
It explains why most pro racers prefer them.
4. Sturdiness and Control
Bullhorn bars provide you with enough room to firmly hold and maneuver the bike. You’ll find them easier to control in tighter spaces.
That’s more important when riding aggressively, especially for competition purposes. Their 40mm drop allows you to have a much steadier ride.
Other Worthy Notes
It’s worth noting that bullhorn bars are pretty aesthetic. Their physical appeal is unbeatable.
The other advantage is that they are affordable. Most of these handlebars cost under $20, and a perfect example is the Upanbike Bike Bullhorn Handlebar.
The handlebar is a budget pick that promises the above advantages.
Bullhorn bars are also durable than most handlebars. They come in more robust materials like aluminum and titanium to offer you long-term service.
Furthermore, the bars are safe. The bar transfers your body weight to the front, which relieves your back from the constant strain.
An option like the Origin8 Bullhorn II comes EN-Certified, thus safe for road cycling.
The Bad (Bullhorn Handlebars Disadvantages)
Bullhorn bars are not perfect. There are a few concerns that may worry you.
For starters, these handlebars are not the best for descending. Since they shift your body weight to the front, it may become unsafe for you to ride downhill.
So, you have to be careful when descending, lest you’ll lose control and topple over.
The other issue is that they don’t offer you enough space for positioning your brakes, as it’s the case with flat bars.
Furthermore, your posture is somehow limited to an aerodynamic one, which can become uncomfortable when riding for long hours.
What Kind of Riding Are Bullhorn Handlebars Best For?
Bullhorn handlebars are not for every cyclist or all cycling. Their aerodynamic design makes them only best for aggressive cycling, mainly off-road, using a road bike like the cyclocross or touring road bike.
Their 40mm drop allows you to bend just enough to be at an aerodynamic position without putting excess pressure on the back.
In that case, not only do you get to ride against the wind, but you also gain pedaling leverage, and as a result, you get to sprint and ride uphill without putting in too much effort.
That’s what every professional road cyclist wants from their handlebars.
Note, however, that bullhorn bars are also best for urban cycling, as it’s the case with the Fyxation Rodeo Bullhorn Handlebar.
The handlebar is perfect for fixed-gear or track bikes, which means you can use it for urban racing.
Just like you do with a regular road bike, a track bike with bullhorn bars enjoys the aerodynamic advantage. That means you can sprint and cut through the wind on normal urban roads.
How to Find Good Bullhorn Handlebars
Generally, the secret to enjoying the advantages of a bullhorn handlebar is getting the purchase right. You can do that by considering the following:
- Construction Material
You’ll discover that most bullhorn bars come in aluminum construction, and there is a reason for that. Aluminum is lightweight and relatively durable, and you need that from your road bike or Fixie.
Note, however, that some handlebars come in carbon or titanium builds. Carbon is lighter than aluminum and thus slightly costlier, while titanium is a more durable option.
- Correct Width
Buying a handlebar with the appropriate width is critical. If you purchase an extra-wide one, it’ll be hard to control the bike. Such a handlebar is likely to cause you to suffer wrist discomfort when turning.
And if it’s too narrow, then it’ll feel quite unstable.
So, look at the width carefully. It should preferably be 38-42cm for the best control.
- Bike Type
As I mentioned, bullhorn bars mostly come in road bike and Fixie options. You have to consider your bike type when making a choice.
So, consider getting a fixed bike bullhorn handlebar if you have a Fixie and road bike option if you have a road bike.
Note, however, that some handlebars work on both road bikes and urban bikes (Fixies). That’s the case with the Venzo Fixie Bullhorn Handlebar.
1. What Are Bullhorn Handlebars Used For?
Bullhorn handlebars are used for aggressive cycling, touring, and off-road adventures. These bars have an aerodynamic posture, giving you more pedaling leverage to sprint and climb with less effort.
2. How Wide Should Bullhorn Bars Be?
Bullhorn handlebars come in different widths, depending on the brand. However, a majority of them measure 37-44cm. So, you can choose anything within the range.
3. Where Do You Put Brakes On A Bullhorn?
The best place to put brakes on a bullhorn handlebar is on the middle part of the bar on either side of the bike stem. Note, however, that you need STI brakes if you are considering fitting bullhorn handlebars brakes.
4. How Do You Wrap Bullhorn Handlebars With Brakes?
Here are the general steps for wrapping bullhorn handlebars with shifters:
- Get a quality handlebars tape to use to cover the handlebar
- Start taping up the handlebar from the bottom end
- Continue wrapping tightly and evenly until you get to the end of the bar
- Once you get to the end, introduce a plug to hold the tape tight
- Once you reach the brake shifters, wrap around it before repeating on the other side.
Are Bullhorn Handlebars Good? Concluding Thoughts
Bullhorn handlebars offer you the same aerodynamic advantage as drop bars. As a result, they improve your pedaling leverage, allowing you to climb and sprint better.
Though they are not the best downhill, they are exceptional uphill, making them worth it.