The biggest challenge with aerodynamic handlebars like drop bars, aero bars, and bullhorn bars is that they can be uncomfortable and often interfere with road visibility. That’s, however, not the case with bicycle handlebars for sitting upright.
Upright handlebars are good for your posture and hand comfort as they allow you to ride more relaxed. Moreover, they don’t interfere with your road visibility and offer you more control.
The only major issue is that they are not aerodynamic. So, you cannot count on them to ride against the headwind, pedal uphill, or sprint.
The other issue, though, not a major one, is that they are slightly heavy. I’ll discuss the pros and cons to help you decide if upright bars are worth it.
In a rush? Find my most recommended upright handlebars for different bike types below.
5 Best Upright Bicycle Handlebars
- Satori NOIRETTE Plus: Best for Road Bike
- UPANBIKE Bike Handlebar: Best for Mountain Bike
- SUNLITE D-Cruiser Handlebar: Best for Cruiser Bike
- Wald 803BL Steel Handlebar: Best for Hybrid Bike
- SUNLITE Northroad Handlebar: Best for Touring Bike
Are Bicycle Handlebars For Sitting Upright Worth It?
Upright bike handlebars generally come with these advantages:
1. Good Posture
The problem with drop bars, aero bars, and bullhorn bars is that they force you to take a lean-forward (aerodynamic) stance.
The problem with the body stance is that it can stress your back when you ride long-distance.
That’s, however, not the case with upright handlebars. They allow you to cycle upright, relieving your back from strain.
2. Arm and Wrist Comfort
Upright handlebars don’t just relieve your back but your arms and wrists too. The bars are pretty long, and that allows them to take your extra weight off your arms and wrists.
So, you get to relax your arms and wrists when cycling casually. As a result, they are a perfect choice for guys with wrist and arm issues.
3. Low Impact Workout
Since upright handlebars don’t stress your back, arms, and wrist, they generally have a low impact on your body. So, if you prefer a low-impact cycling workout, switching to upright handlebars is advisable.
The bars allow you to cycle without straining your joints and muscles. That’s unlike the aerodynamic handlebars.
4. Good Visibility
Another challenge facing aerodynamic bars is that they sometimes tempt you to fix your eyes on the ground and not the front. As a result, they interfere with your road visibility and safety.
That, however, is not the case with a handlebar attachment for upright riding position. Since you sit upright, you naturally look ahead, and that gives you better road visibility.
For that reason, they are much safer on busier roads, especially urban roads.
5. More Control
Upright handlebars offer you more room to hold, and that gives you better control. They offer you more leverage when cycling on different terrains, especially challenging ones.
Their brakes are easily accessible for easy speed control. The same goes for the gear shifters, which allow you to seamless shift.
These bars are perfect for off-road cycling because of this advantage.
Here are the issues that come with upright bars:
1. Poor Aerodynamic
Since you cycle upright, these bars are not aerodynamic. That means that you are likely to slow down and use extra effort when riding against the wind.
You’ll also have a less comfortable experience cycling uphill.
2. Slightly Heavier
Upright handlebars are not just longer but heavier too. They are heavier than their aerodynamic counterparts, and that somehow adds a little weight to the bike.
Types of Upright Bicycle Handlebars For Comfort
Upright handlebars come in different forms or types, depending on the bike type they are intended for.
That brings us to the following four handlebar types:
1. Flat Bicycle Handlebars For Sitting Upright
Flat handlebars are just what the name suggests. These handlebars are characterized by a simple flat tube that bends about 2-10 degrees towards you.
The degree of bend is known as a sweep.
Flat bars come in varying widths, ranging about 520-620mm. Their massive weight allows you to hold them freely without bending, thus an excellent choice for upright cycling.
Overall, these handlebars are common on mountain bikes, Fixies, and hybrids, with a few options available for road bikes.
One such option is the UPANBIKE Mountain Bike Road Bike Handlebar.
This flat-bar fits mountain bikes, road bikes, and other standard bicycles. It’s 620mm wide and enjoys a 6-degree back-sweep, which is perfect for casual riding.
2. Riser Upright Bike Handlebars
Riser bars are an advanced type of flat bars. The primary difference is that they have a slight rise (about 15-50mm), thus their name.
The other difference is that they are slightly wide than their flat counterparts. They usually average 650-800mm in width to offer you more room for attachments and better control.
Overall, these handlebars put you in a more upright posture than flat bars. They are, however, heavier than flat options and more inefficient against the wind.
Riser bars are common on mountain bikes, comfort bicycles, and hybrids. One such option is the Wald 803BL Steel Handlebar.
Its 5.25-inch rise offers you pure comfort when casually riding on the streets.
3. Sweep-Back/Cruiser Bicycle Handlebars For Upright Riding
Sweep-back handlebars have a swept-back design, thus the name sweep-back. The design favors cruiser bikes more, and that’s why these handlebars are popularly known as cruiser handlebars.
The handlebars sweep towards you so that you can sit more upright and hold them. They are usually longer for a more relaxed sitting and ride.
These handlebars take the weight of the arms so that you can sit more comfortably. You can even mount a front basket on the handlebar if you want to run errands.
One such handlebar is the SUNLITE D-Cruiser Handlebar that’s perfect for cruiser bikes. But if you want an option for your road bike, you cannot go wrong with the Satori NOIRETTE Plus.
4. Touring/Butterfly/Trekking Bicycle Handlebars For Upright Position
Touring/butterfly-trekking handlebars are designed to offer you multiple positions, thus perfect for long rides.
With their multiple hand positions, you can sit upright or lean forward slightly if you want to sprint or go uphill.
The handlebars also offer you more room to attach several accessories such as a cycling computer, bell, GPS tracker, phone, and feed bag.
The other advantage is that the bar offers you more control, which is essential off-road.
You can fit these handlebars on any long-ride bike, such as a trekking bike or touring bike.
One such bar is the SUNLITE Northroad Handlebar.
This steel handlebar offers you lots of room to cycle upright on a long off-road ride.
FAQs on Bicycle Handlebars for Sitting Upright
1. Can I Put Upright Handlebars On A Mountain Bike?
Naturally, mountain bikes have flat bars, which put you in an upright cycling position. But still, you can fit riser bars on the mountain bike, which are a unique type of upright handlebars.
2. Should You Sit Upright On A Bike?
If you plan to ride casually at a slow speed, especially on a flat road, you can sit upright on a bike. But again, it depends on the handlebar type on your bike.
You can ride upright if you have a flat bar, riser bar, butterfly bar, or cruiser/sweep-back handlebar.
3. Can You Sit More Upright On A Road Bike?
If you fit flat bars onto your road bike, you can sit upright. However, it’ll be difficult if the road bike has drop bars, aero bars, or bullhorn bars as they put you in an aerodynamic posture.
4. How Do I Raise The Height Of My Bicycle Handlebars?
The easiest way to raise your bike handlebars is to move the headset spacers. The spacers rest on the steerer tube. Most bicycles have 26-30mmm of spacers that you can shift.
5. Should Bike Handlebars Be Higher Than The Seat?
Bike handlebars should be at the same height as the bike seat or slightly higher, depending on preference.
Overall, setting the handlebar higher than the seat favors sporty riders who prefer to ride faster and aggressively.
6. Are Upright Bikes Good For Weight Loss?
The amount of weight loss from cycling depends on the workout intensity. If you cycle more intensely with an upright bicycle, you can lose as much weight as possible.
On average, you can lose up to 600 calories each hour.
7. What Is The Correct Height For Bicycle Handlebars?
Generally, your bicycle handlebars should be higher than your seat or at least the same level. That’ll save you from stressing your back, wrist, and arms.
Closing Thought on Bicycle Handlebars for Sitting Upright:
Generally, upright bicycle handlebars are a fantastic option for casual riders and those with back and wrist issues. They have a low impact on your body and do not interfere with your visibility, thus safer.
So, as long as you are fine going slowly, they are worth getting.