Trekking Bars, Butterfly Bars

Trekking bars, aka butterfly bars, is a type of handlebars for bicycles. Its most useful feature is the multitude of hand positions. This is especially important to you if you have a hybrid or a mountain bike with flat bars.

Road bikes have drop bars, which also offer different hand positions. If you have flat handlebars, you might have thought about switching to drop bars. But that would be expensive, because you'll have to buy new road shifters, cables, brakes along with drop bar and a new stem. Road bike components are generally more expensive than their MTB/hybrid counterparts.

Switching from a flat bar to a trekking bar is very easy and cheap. You will only need to buy the following:

  1. The trekking bar of your choice.
  2. Some bar tape or long foam grips.
  3. Depending on your bike's fit, you might need a longer stem when you switch to a trekking bar. If your bike is slightly too large for you now, you might get a good fit with the current stem.

There are different butterfly bar manufacturers. They're all almost the same, though their width slightly varies, usually from 56 to 60 cm. Oh, and they're available in either silver or black.

You can use your current flat bar grips. To be able to take advantage of the trekking bars' different hand positions, you should also order some quality bar tape. With this tape you'll have to wrap (or double wrap) the rest of the bars. Without the grips, just (double-)wrap the entire bars with bar tape. I prefer bar tape, as it's more comfortable than grips. If you can find 400 mm foam grips (US link, UK link), try them.

Try the trekking bars with your current stem first. Depending on your bike's size and the angle of the installed butterfly bars, you might not need a new, shorter stem. The angle of the bars can be changed by rotating the handlebars at the stem. This way you'll be able to customize their height and reach.

Here's some good news for those of you who love gadgets. With butterfly bars, you'll have plenty of room to mount your stuff!

Butterfly/trekking bars are available at a good price on Amazon. Amazon.co.uk also sells them.

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