As a skilled bicycle fitter, I know all far too well how important optimizing your handlebar top for maximizing comfort and ease and general performance on your bicycle. It is a single of the initial parts I analyze when performing with purchasers.

In this in depth guideline, we’ll delve into the intricacies of modifying handlebar peak, guaranteeing your experience is customized to your exclusive requirements, from comprehending the things influencing handlebar height to sensible guidelines and methods.

Whether you are high-quality-tuning your bicycle healthy for ideal performance or simply trying to find enhanced consolation, discovering how to adjust handlebar height on a bike is essential. We’ll be masking:

© Robbie Ferri/BikeTips

How Superior Should really Your Handlebars Be?

The most effective man or woman to respond to this query for you is a bike fitter, but there are some simple giveaways.

The initially thing to have an understanding of is absolutely everyone is distinct. There’s no magic system primarily based on peak for you to use, as some cyclists will be superior suited to reduce handlebars and some others to higher types. 

The best spot to start is to consider your handlebars level with your saddle and make even further adjustments to get what you want from your cycling. Here’s what you can be expecting from changing either way from level. 

Having The Handlebars Decreased

If you approach to just take the handlebars decreased, it will set you in a a lot more aggressive position. It will lean you around ahead, commonly producing you more aerodynamic.

Expert street cyclists have a tendency to have incredibly low handlebars when compared to their saddle (even though this is commencing to modify a very little as our method to aerodynamics evolves).

This will include pressure to the lessen back, hips, hands, and even the shoulders. It is typically not going to include to convenience, and even though it may possibly make you more quickly, it implies you will not be able to sit in that place for a extensive time unless of course you’re very adaptable.

Using The Handlebars Bigger

The most popular adjustment to make is to take the handlebars larger. This puts you in much more of a comfortable, upright position. This will make you a great deal extra at ease, and you will normally see high handlebars on hybrid and commuter bikes.

Mountain bikes also are likely to have additional upright riding positions with increased handlebars than street bikes.

Taking the handlebars better can take a whole lot of stress off the back, palms, shoulders, upper body, and hips and can even assistance the leg muscle mass distribute ability greater. Getting a increased established of handlebars frequently signifies you can journey for longer with much less stress on the body. 

How To Alter Handlebar Top On A Contemporary Bicycle (Threadless Stem)

Most modern bikes are equipped with threadless stems (from time to time identified as “Aheadset” stems). With this style, the entrance fork’s steerer tube extends out previously mentioned the headset at the prime of the head tube, and the stem clamps onto it.

It would be greatest to allow about 20 minutes to complete this job. You will will need a set of Allen keys, and we hugely propose utilizing a torque wrench if you have a single out there. 

On some modern-day aero highway bikes, the stem is put together with the handlebars into a single aerodynamic piece (see the shots earlier mentioned).

Built-in stems are even now threadless, but are a great deal much less adjustable than standard threadless stems, as you shed the possibility to flip the stem or swap it completely as we’ll go over in Stage #3 (unless you are geared up to transform the handlebars also).

Phase #1. Undo The Stem Bolts

Loosening the rear stem bolts on a modern stem.
© Robbie Ferri/BikeTips

First, undo the stem bolts.

These sit on the rear of the stem, and typically, you will uncover two. Undo anti-clockwise until eventually they are loose, and you can go the handlebars facet to aspect without having the wheel turning.

Step #2. Undo The Top Cap Bolt

Undoing the top cap bolt on a modern stem.
© Robbie Ferri/BikeTips

Subsequent, you are likely to require to undo the top cap bolt.

This sits on leading of the fork steer tube and is utilised to compress (preload) the bearings in the headset. Undo this thoroughly, take out the bolt and major cap, and put it somewhere protected.

You should really now be in a position to get rid of any spacers and elevate the stem off the best of the fork steerer tube.

Move #3. Adjust The Height Of The Handlebars

The stem off a bike with the spacers still on the fork.
© Robbie Ferri/BikeTips

Now, it’s time to modify the top of the handlebars.

There are two major means you can go about this:

Alternative 1: Including or Taking away Spacers

Except if you have a “slammed stem“, you will typically have numerous spacers all-around the steerer tube, under or higher than the stem.

The easiest way to modify your handlebar top is to maximize or reduce the selection of spacers down below the stem.

If you are lowering the handlebars, increase spacers over the stem so the steerer tube is included up to the leading cap.

The moment you have invested plenty of time with the bicycle in this setup to know it is correct for you, you can consider slicing down the steerer tube so you can do absent with the spacers higher than.

If you are increasing the handlebar height, you’ll be limited by the duration of the steerer tube employing this strategy. If you can healthy sufficient spacers to attain the peak you want then which is terrific, but if not you’ll will need to combine this system with another outlined underneath.

Some makers suggest always leaving at the very least 1 spacer at the prime of the stack to assure the top rated cap does not hit the steerer tube. This is specially the circumstance with carbon steerer tubes.

If working with a carbon steerer tube, check out the manufacturer’s tips for the utmost quantity of spacers that can safely be used.

Selection 2: Flipping/Swapping The Stem

If you simply cannot get the desired handlebar peak making use of spacers by itself, take into account flipping the stem or changing it completely.

Quite a few stems are angled, so flipping the stem will also reverse the path of the angle, making the handlebar height larger or reduced. Extended stems will exaggerate this outcome.

To flip the stem at this place, all you need to have to do is get rid of the faceplate bolts, and then it will occur totally free from the handlebars. Transform the stem upside down, reinstall it on the steerer tube, then reattach the handlebars and tighten up the bolts to the right torque stated by the company.

If your stem has no angle, flipping it will have no result. We’ll protect the other choices remaining for you even more down this guidebook.

Action #4. Tighten Every thing Again Up Yet again

A top cap being inserted into a bike.
© Robbie Ferri/BikeTips

Eventually, let us get anything again jointly. Get started by putting the best cap back in and screw it up just sufficient that the fork feels limited and there’s no participate in in the headset. Keep away from about-tightening the best cap, as this can hurt the bearings.

Then, you will have to have to get the stem aligned with the entrance wheel and tighten up the bolts on the rear of the stem. Use a torque wrench here if you have 1. If not, nip them up limited enough so the stem stays in line with the wheel. It is commonly anyplace from 5 to 10 Nm.

You are now ready to just take the bike for a examination journey and get pleasure from the modifications you have made.

How To Regulate Handlebar Top On A Vintage Bicycle (Quill Stem)

How To Adjust Handlebar Height On A Bike [With Pictures] 3

Quill stems insert into the steerer tube, somewhat than clamping about it. They function a wedge technique to protected them in place and frequently have a height-adjustable structure.

However quill stems have mostly been replaced by threadless stems on contemporary bikes, you will however appear across them normally as they are very widespread on more mature bikes.

These are a great deal much easier than changing threadless stems and can be carried out in minutes. 

To finish this activity, you will need to have a established of Allen keys, and we very recommend working with a torque wrench if you have one particular available. 

Stage #1. Undo The Stem Bolt

Undoing the stem bolt on a classic road bike stem.
© Robbie Ferri/BikeTips

The initially stage you need to have to consider is to undo the stem bolt.

This will sit on the best of the stem, typically a 6 mm bolt. You will require to turn this anti-clockwise until eventually it begins to sense unfastened. You want to be equipped to move it but without the bolt coming out of the stem staying also loose.

If the stem is stuck, you can persuade it by making use of some pressure with a mallet, but be certain that you protect the stem with a fabric or a thoroughly clean rag. 

Phase #2. Modify The Handlebars Up or Down

Moving the stem on a classic bike.
© Robbie Ferri/BikeTips

Following, you will will need to change the handlebars up or down to wherever it will be comfy for you. When you uncover the suitable height, ensure the stem is aligned with the front wheel. 

It is important to glimpse out for the bare minimum mark on the stem. If you have handed it and there’s not ample inside the steerer tube, then it compromises the bike’s safety.

Phase #3. Tighten The Stem Bolt

Tightening up the stem bolt on a classic road bike.
© Robbie Ferri/BikeTips

The past step is to tighten up the stem bolt. It is excellent to examine the manufacturer’s guidelines if you’re working with a torque wrench.

If not applying a torque wrench, nip it up right up until restricted, then hold the wheel in between your legs and be certain the handlebars really do not move from remaining to correct without the need of the wheel. 

What If You Simply cannot Alter The Handlebars Plenty of?

Typically, you will find that producing adjustments on your own is not adequate to get the suitable height you want. Here’s how to elevate bike handlebars further more than the regular adjustment vary. 

Use A Distinctive Stem

Stems appear in all diverse styles and dimensions, and with unique angles. Altering the stem for a single with a steeper angle indicates it can elevate the bars increased or lower.

When it arrives to how to modify bicycle handlebars, the best way is to modify the stem around just before just about anything else. It is much less expensive, can simply be accomplished at house, and they even make adjustable selections. 

Swap To A Riser Handlebar

A mountain bike handlebar and stem.
© Robbie Ferri/BikeTips

If you want to go better, you can also use a riser handlebar.

Additional usually observed on mountain bikes, these bars are formed to increase up from the mounting stage to the hand placement, supplying your grips a greater placement.

There are fall bar riser choices for your street bicycle much too.

A Phrase On Stem Risers/Steerer Tube Extenders

A significantly less widespread resolution some riders choose for is a stem riser, also acknowledged as a stem extender or steerer tube extender.

Though these give you a good deal of additional top, based on my considerable practical experience as a mechanic and bicycle fitter, I would personally recommend against utilizing them in most scenarios.

First of all, an prolonged steerer tube comprising two components clamped with each other will be inherently weaker than a steerer tube fashioned of a one piece of steel.

Secondly, the extreme improve in length raises the leverage from the handlebars, amplifying any pressure applied from them to the steerer tube and head tube, raising the possibility of failure.

Under no instances need to extenders be utilized with a carbon steerer tube, given the possibility of catastrophic failure.

If you use a hybrid or city bike and only system on peaceful riding on paved roadways, you’re not likely to run into a great deal issues, but I absolutely wouldn’t use a stem riser with a mountain bike. I’d also stay away from them with road bikes, given the elevated forces of using and cornering at velocity.

If your stem is really extensive (i.e. the handlebars are further away from you), swapping it for a shorter a single will provide the handlebars nearer to your body, building your driving placement a lot more upright and aiding with the emotion of remaining as well stretched out without needing to use a stem riser.

Sadly, if you still want to use a steerer tube extender, then there is possible a much more fundamental challenge current either the body is a great deal also compact for you, or you may possibly not be adaptable enough for the style of bicycle you’re driving.

Take note that if the steerer tube is quite small, and you can not suit any spacers on it, it may perhaps have been lower down by a former operator.

In this circumstance, replacing the fork might give you some further top without the need of resorting to a stem riser, but be certain to test all the dimensions very first so you don’t waste income on a fork that turns out to be the exact same duration as what you had prior to!

Now You Know How To Regulate Handlebar Height…

Transforming the top of your handlebars can fully alter how the bicycle feels to experience. For some, it can increase convenience, and others could get a velocity advantage. Modifying the peak of your handlebars is a wonderful skill to learn and considerably simpler to do than you might think. 

Thanks for taking the time to read our posting – now you know how to raise bike handlebars and a lot far more!