I'm shopping around for a new set of handlebars, I want to give trekking bars (aka butterfly bars) a try. They're reasonably cheap so I'm willing to dive in as an experiment. I'm wondering though, mountain bike handlebars have a greater diameter than road bike bars do from what I read.

Should I be concerned whether or not a new set of handlebars I buy will fit in the handlebar stem of my bike frame properly?

If it helps anyone, I have a windsor tourist touring bicycle, and the handlebars I'm looking at are these.

Thanks everyone!

1 Answer 1


This article and Sheldon Brown are good links to look at for the dimensions associated with handlebars.

In particular, you have to worry about where the stem clamps on, as well as the rest of the bar (where your brake levers & shifters are attached, that is, the grip area) - thus, there are two diameters. The clamp is usually 1 inch for most bikes now (contrary to the first link), but they can differ (older road and MTB bars often use different clamp sizes). Most MTB type components (riser, flat, butterfly, etc.) have a 7/8" rest of the bar while most drop bars (excluding the Walmart ones) are 15/16". So, you can't clamp road shifters/brakes to MTB bars and vice versa.

To summarize the relevant measurements and their applications, see Sheldon Brown's Handlebar Crib Sheet.

In this case, the clamp is right (25.4 mm), but the rest of the bar is 7/8". Your shifters are designed for 15/16" bars. This means new shifters (probably thumb shifters or trigger shifters) and brake levers if you switch to this bar, since you can't really bend STI levers to fit. Also, even if you did manage to get them mounted (with some small shimming or something), the shifting action would be pretty unnatural.

If you want to use trekking bars, I'd probably go with thumb shifters and some short pull brake levers. Note that if you choose to use trigger shifters, they have to be from the Shimano road group (i.e. the Sora flat bar shifters) due to the different cable pull of the road front derailleurs and mountain front derailleurs. Alternatively, you could try a mountain front derailleur with possibly a different crankset (50T/52T rings are big) and use any Shimano mountain bike shifter set, or grip shifts like the SRAM Attack.

  • So the bars I linked would fit the stem that came with my bicycle? I am open to the idea of getting new shifters and brake levers, I was gonna go to a local bike shop if I needed them! As long as the handlebars will fit with the stem, I'm ready to order them to get the ball rolling for the conversion :D
    – Julian
    Jan 15, 2014 at 23:28
  • They would fit the stem, but they may not give you the right bike fit for you. For example, they could be too narrow in width for you (unlikely, but you may want to consult the LBS on which trekking bar to buy), or the change from drop bars to trekking bars may require a different length stem. When you change the bars, you change your riding position and thus the bike fit. Note that Sora trigger (Shimano SL-3500) shifters are about 100 dollars, and short pull levers will be another 20, plus the cost of the bar and bar tape, so this isn't exactly cheap.
    – Batman
    Jan 15, 2014 at 23:43
  • @JulianCleary You can also mount grip shifters on the ends of the bars. I haven't delved into the specs of your bike, but you may be able to get them cheaper than trigger shifters.
    – jimchristie
    Jan 15, 2014 at 23:49
  • I thought of that at first, but theres a Sora FD. I guess you could get a friction grip shift or some other friction shifter for the front, then a cheap mtb rear shifter.
    – Batman
    Jan 15, 2014 at 23:54

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