Types of Motorcycle Handlebars: A Beginner’s Guide

What are the different types of motorcycle handlebars? Is it the question that has brought you to this page? Well, I’m going to answer your query in this article.

In this post, I’m going to show you many types of motorcycle handlebars used by the motorcyclist apart from the custom handlebar. I’m also going to cover a guide on how to choose the right motorcycle handlebar for your motorcycle.

And at the last part of the article, I have also added some FAQ to answer the questions you might see popping in your mind. Let’s dive in.

Drag Handlebars

Drag Bars are types of straight handlebars that come with an aerodynamic design. It makes sure that the rider can enjoy better speed.

Zero drag, high drag, and low drag are some of the variations of it.

Featuring a slight backward bend, it requires the rider to be down or lean forward a little bit. Choppers, bobbers, and cruisers like them. You are likely to find them on street races.

Drag bars have come to existence from London. They are a good choice when it comes to resisting the wind.

Installing drag bars are pretty easy. You can comfortably use the stock wiring of the bike to get your work done.

Moustache Handlebars

Mustache Handlebars

Moustache handlebar resembles twirled moustache and that’s why it has got this name. Just look at it from the headlamp and you will see the shape of a moustache in this handlebar.

To make sure a classy look, the bend of the moustache handlebar goes away from clamp while pulls it back in a curved manner.

If you compare a moustache handlebar with any stock handlebars, you will find that moustache bars are quite narrow and low compared to others.

So, if you are looking to have a narrow handlebars motorcycle, you can go for it. Note that, you do not need to change any cables or wires you got by default to get the moustache handlebar installed.

Ape Hangers Handlebars

ape hangers handlebars motorcycle

Thinking about the bizarre name of this handlebar? Ape hangers are named so because you have to hang on to them as an ape does in the branch of a tree. They are the tallest type of handlebars till now.

Starting from 12 inches in height, they can be up to 16 inches. In some cases, you might even find some handlebars with a height of 24 inches.

Being style-oriented, they are not so focused on control, ergonomics, and comfort much.

Ape hangers are generally more popular with the cruiser or chopper fans. They use it to characterize their motorcycles differently. Mini Apes or Baby Apes hangers are also favorite to the modifiers. Baby Apes has a shorter variation named Buckhorn.

Clip-on Handlebars

Clip-On Handlebars

Let’s now know about what are Clip-on handlebars. Clip-on handlebars are one of the most common handlebars you will see in the racer bikes. Most of the modern sportbikes keep Clip-on handlebars by default. It does not mean that you can’t use them for cafe racer projects.

Due to being low, the riders are supposed to lean forward while driving with this handlebar. Clip-on handlebars are generally attached to the front forks of the motorcycles below or above the triple tree. If you mount them straight on the triple tree, they will be non-adjustable.

One great advantage of clip-on handlebars is that they come in two parts. They let the rider adjust the handlebars from close to the far as per the requirement.

Note that, clip-on handlebars are great for racing, but not for longer rides.

However, Clip-on handlebars have some varieties as well. Faux clip-on bars are not adjustable though they might look like a true clip-on handlebar.

Beach Handlebars

beach handlebars motorcycle

Beach hangers have many things in common with ape hangers handlebars. However, one thing is different. Beach handlebars come with no rise or very little rise height. Instead of going up, it is curved towards the rider.

It features a long and wide-sweeping pullback. You can ride your motorbike comfortably laying back. It also lets you keep your hands relaxed on the bars.

Tracker Handlebars

tracker motorcycle handlebars

Both the motocross and the tracker handlebars are quite flat. Still, Tracker handlebars are often used on a taller riser.

They differ from the stock handlebars in the sense that they feature a lower rise.

You can install tracker handlebars easily as it will work with stock cables and wiring. On top of that, they fit perfectly on many models of motorcycles from different brands.

Frisco Handlebars

frisco motorcycle handlebars

When it comes to the rise and the shape, you can see that Frisco handlebars have some similarities with Z handlebars.

However, one difference is that they come without any angular shape at the inner rise top.

On the horizontal section and the top vertical, Frisco handlebars feature a more rounded and softer curve.

Chumps Handlebars

chumps motorcycle handlebars

Chumps handlebars are one of the most comfortable motorcycle handlebars for motorcycles. Though it is most appropriate for the cruiser bike, you are at liberty to install it at other models as well.

Chumps handlebars are widely popular for their versatile nature. They offer soft and balanced curves with a little medium rise. They go perfectly with custom motorbikes. 

You should choose chumps handlebars if you hate flashy rides. It is one of the best choices for regular riders with comfortable and easy-going handlebars.

Clubman Handlebars

Clubman Handlebars

Though Clubman handlebars are not as highly adjustable as clip-on handlebars, you will find them equally effective. The aggressive look is one of the factors that contributed to making these handlebars popular. You are supposed to mount it one the triple of your motorbike. While the ends of these bars angle backward, their body leans forward. While you ride with this handlebar, you need to lean forward a bit while sitting on a crouched or low position.

Keystone Handlebars

keystone motorcycle handlebars

Keystone Handlebars are great choices for shorter bikes. Coming with a relatively mild sweep at the back, it will not take over your bike. Except for the top part of the Keystone handlebars, it has many things in common with Z handlebars.

While the top portion of the Z bars is straight, it is different for the Keystone handlebars. The top part of Keystone handlebars is generally angled inward. It gives the rider an aggressive and imposing position.

Touring/Dresser Handlebars

Touring/Dresser Handlebars

As hinted by the name, Touring handlebars are one of the best handlebars for touring. You can easily trace or recognize the touring/dresser handlebars due to their size. They are quite larger from other kinds of handlebars available out there. They come with a rise height of about 12″-20″.

They have a wider base to make sure that it can accommodate the size and shape of the fairing of your motorcycle.

Z Handlebars

z handlebars motorcycle

Z handlebars look-alike opposing Zs at both the ends of the inner rise. Being not much tall or wide, they are angular in shape. These handlebars are quite straight and will not pull back towards you. At the base and the peak, they have 90-degree angle bends.

Two common variations of Z handlebars are the Zed bar and Maynard. While the Maynard features a low rise bar where you will see that a perpendicular and step type of angle replace the z-angle, things are different for Zed bar.

Though the Zed bar shares the perpendicular angle with the former, it comes with a taller rise.

Coming with a low inner rise, Z handlebars are widely used for narrower motorbikes. They have many varieties made for custom motorcycles.

Motocross Handlebars

Motocross Handlebars

Motocross Handlebars are designed for dirt bikes. Still, it is possible to use them on other types of motorbikes as well. You can use them for off-road and dual-sports.

Motocross drivers love straight handlebars. Keeping their demand in mind, motocross handlebars come straight with a curve along with cross-brace in the middle of them.

You will easily recognize the cross-brace in the middle part of the handles. It adds rigidity to your bike.

Breezer Handlebars

Breezer handlebars are somewhat similar to Chumps handlebars. But, Breezer handlebars differ from them in the sense that at the top of the inner rise, these are comparatively more angular.

After the inner rise, the Breezer handlebars are low towards the bike rider.

Coming with an aggressive look, Breezer handlebars are not made of soft curves. They are not so easy-going as Chumps. They differ also in attitude.

Cruiser Handlebars

Cruiser handlebar is tall and lets the rider ride sitting in an upright position. They have got a rear slope and a long size. It is comfortable to use these handlebars. On top of that, you are at liberty to adjust the height of Cruiser handlebars as per your need and demand.


These handlebars can come in a variety of shapes and sizes. One thing that differentiates T-Handlebars/H-Handlebars is that they can be attached straight on the triple trees.

As these handlebars feature built-in risers, you can easily bolt them on the triple trees without requiring any clamp.

Motorcycle Handlebar Guide: Things to Remember Before Choosing Motorcycle Handlebars

Now that you know about different types of motorcycle handlebars, it’s time to spend your money on buying your cherished one. However, there are some important things to remember before you go for buying the handlebar such as motorcycle handlebar diameter, motorcycle handlebar price, motorcycle handlebar styles, motorcycle handlebar looks, and other measurements. Here’s our guide on how to choose the right motorcycle handlebar for you.

Look at the Look Once Again

Though many handlebars are a universal fit for most of the motorcycles, it does not mean that all the bars will look perfect with your bike. While some bars may look elegant with your bike, some might look silly or ludicrous. So, double-check the look of the bar you have decided to buy and think about how well that will match with your bike.

Double Check the Comfort Factors and Fit

First of all, check the diameter of the bars. Most of the common handlebars have a diameter of 7/8 or 1-inch. However, some oversized bars are also available out there with a diameter of 1.5 inches to 2 inches.

Do not buy oversized bars unless you need to or they fit perfectly. Take help from a friend and use a tape to measure the following to understand how well the bar you are going to buy will fit:

Overall Width: Measure the overall width first. Overall width is the measurement from one end to the other end of the bar.

Center Width: Center width can be determined by measuring the straight part of the handlebar that is situated in the middle. Clamps are also situated here. The bend on either side will give you a perfect measurement in this respect.

Pullback Length: You can get an idea of the pullback length by measuring from the top center of the handlebars to the back end of it.

Inside rise: Inside rise is another important factor to keep into account while determining the perfect fit. It is measured from the central base width to the bar top.

End rise: It is measure at the bar end. You have to map it from the bar base to the top.


After-market bars feature a wide range of sizes and shapes. You have to make sure that the new bar can accommodate the switch housings you have.

Cables and Wiring

Height and width are the two very important factors you should keep in mind while buying new after-market handlebars. If you are going to bring any big changes in the bar size, the cable and wires may not suit perfectly either because of being too long or too short.

How do I choose motorcycle handlebars?

Choosing motorcycle handlebars depends on the type of motorcycle and the rider’s preference. Some handles are so ordinary in look but provide super comfort. Again, some are best for style. Here you will see some handlebars types and why you should choose them.

  • Aftermarket handlebars on Harley-Davidson® bikes are often known as “ape hangers.” These bars are long, curved handlebars that enable riders to maintain their arms at shoulder height. Some riders install a drop-seat for effect. Mini or “baby ape” hangers are similar but shorter.
  • Drag bar is a popular handle that is reverse to ape hangers. If you want a pullback without rising height, these bars are great. T-bars are similar in that they have a low height, but they might also be different in terms of form and size. 
  • If you have a cruiser motorcycle, you may like the beach bars. The pulled-back look of beach bars is often linked with cruiser motorcycles. A lengthy, curving bend in the handlebars creates a U-shape. They provide a more comfortable riding posture and are popular with long-distance cyclists. 
  • Buckhorn handlebars feature small climbs that are reminiscent of those seen on little apes. Instead of being flat and parallel, the buckhorn’s bars are inclined slightly inwards toward the rider. For many riders, the initial adjustment period is worth it in the long term.

So, choose your preferred style, but remember, safety is always the prior!

How do you measure pullbacks on motorcycle handlebars? 

To measure the pullbacks on motorcycle handlebars.

  • Sit on the bike first.
  • Then attach a string to either end of your grips, and then measure the distance with a tape measure between the bars adjacent to the speedometer and the string you have attached. The space that you measured is your pullback.
  • Now, determine the string’s length by measuring it end to end. 
  • Then, determine your bars’ height by measuring the size from where it begins to rise to the highest point.

Why are Ape Hangers illegal?

In different regions in the USA, high ape hangers are declared unlawful. For example: in California, these ape hangers bar-equipped bikes are forbidden to move on the highway. 
According to Section 2780 of the California Vehicle Code, any two-wheel motorcycle rider’s hands must be no higher than six inches over his or her shoulders while seated on the seat when operating the bike. The reason is to avoid accidents and ensure a safe ride.

What are dimples on motorcycle handlebars?

Wiring clearance is provided by dimpled bars on 1982-up Harley models. Because of this, they’re essential for keeping hand-control cables from becoming snagged. “Dimple” is an indentation in the handlebars instead of a hole in it, which serves as a conduit for the electrical cables.

How do you center motorcycle handlebars?

If your handlebars are not in the center or straight, you can easily fix this issue.
The clamp that holds the handlebars is always bolted through the top yoke. Under the top yoke, there are 2 nuts. Loosen these nuts slightly by turning them back for half a turn. Then hold the bars and straighten them easily. 

It will also help to loosen the handlebar clamp so that the handles can shift inside the clamp. Simply loosen them and place the handlebars in the center. Then tighten all the attachments, and it’s done.

Final Thoughts

Choosing the wrong handlebar from the after-market is worse than using the custom handlebar provided with the motorcycle. You should make sure that you choose the right types of motorcycle handlebars from the ones mentioned above.

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