A bicycle that is the perfect size and fit for you is an absolute dream to ride. However, it is not only the frame size you need to worry about. When fitting a bike to suit your body, you can make several adjustments to be more comfortable while in the saddle, and this can include adjusting your handlebars.
So can bicycle handlebars be adjusted? Yes, raising or adjusting your handlebars can easily and dramatically change your riding position on the bike. It will help straighten your back and make your it more comfortable on longer rides.
Although being more upright may make you less aerodynamic, most people will not notice the increased drag. The increased comfort will improve your performance more than being hunched over and reducing your body’s surface area.
How to adjust your handlebars
If you struggle with shoulder or back pain, it is worth trying to raise or lower your handlebars to see if it helps.
Adjusting the spacers
Most bikes have spacers on the steering tube, beneath or on top of the headset (where your bars connect with the vertical steering tube).
You can easily remove the headset and put the spacers below the headset. This will instantly raise your bars by up to a few inches.
New handle bars
While this shouldn’t be the first thing you try, due to cost, you can easily buy handle bars that have a rise to them.
This basically means that, instead of the handlebars being straight across, they raise up to allow for the handle bars to be higher up than stock.
- crankbrothers M-17 Multi-Tool
- Race Face Aeffect 35 Handlebar – 20mm Rise
- Spank Spike 35 Vibrocore Bike Handlebar – 25mm Rise
Flipping the stem
However, if all the spacers are beneath the headset and you need to raise your handlebars, you could look to flip your stem. This is the part that connects your steering tube to your bars. These are usually angled, so if reversed, you instantly raise your handlebars by up to an inch.
Changing the angle of the handlebars
Finally, a minor and easy adjustment you can make if you have handlebars with drops is to adjust the bars’ angle.
By turning them up by just a few degrees, you dramatically change your hand’s position, which can help prevent you from overreaching when operating the gears or brakes.
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Even if you are not a confident bicycle mechanic, it is relatively simple to raise your handlebars. Just make sure that all the bolts are tight before trying out your new handlebar height.
Of course, your final option is to buy a new stem or additional spacers, but do your research and make sure they will fit your steering tube and bars.