If you have a mountain bike and the handlebars are no longer the right height for you, you may need to adjust them. You can take the bike to a local bike shop that repairs mountain bikes or you could even repair it yourself by adjusting the handlebar stem.
If you plan to change the handlebar angle or height, here are some things you should know about how to raise the handlebars on a mountain bike.
Reasons to Raise the Handlebars on Mountain Bikes
There are many reasons why you might need to know how to raise the handlebars on a mountain bike and adjust them to fit your needs. You should only mess with your handlebars if you know how to work on the bike and are sure you can adjust them without causing any damage to the bike frame.
Here are a few reasons why you might want to raise handlebars:
To Accommodate Growth
For mountain bikes that belong to children, you may find yourself adjusting the handlebars as they grow. Sometimes, the mountain bike itself may be large enough but you will need to raise the handlebars to make sure the handlebars completely fit the rider’s height.
Most mountain bikes are made to grow with the rider and are designed so it’s easy to change the handlebar position by twisting the long bolt and hex nut to move the long bolt up and down. Mountain bikes, racing bikes, and other bikes can all be adjusted as needed to match the growth of the rider.
To Pass the Bike on to Someone Else
If you are done with the mountain bike and want to sell it or give it to someone else, you might want to change the bar height to suit the personal preference of the new rider.
Mountain bikers may have different requirements for a more aerodynamic position to help them ride better. That’s why bike handles are designed to be able to be moved up and down to meet individuals’ needs.
Raising handlebars is not such a tricky task, and it’s great if it’s something you can do before you give your bike to a new rider.
To See Over the Handlebars
If you can’t see over the handlebars of your bike, you could be in for a dangerous ride. The handlebar height affects how you steer the bike and how well you can see while steering it.
You need to be able to see well and control the bike properly. Adjusting the mountain bike handlebars can allow you to do that more easily and make your biking experience safer.
To Make the Mountain Bike More Comfortable
If you aren’t comfortable riding your bike, rather adjust the stem camp and handlebars. You are more likely to ride the bike if you are comfortable when you are on it.
Mountain bikes often have a carbon fiber frame that makes them lightweight and easy to control. By having the handlebar fitted slightly lower, you’ll be able to ride with your arms in a more comfortable position.
To Reduce the Risk of Injury
Mountain biking can be a dangerous sport unless you practice proper bike maintenance and move the handlebars freely to the right height. You shouldn’t have to lean forward to steer or feel comfortable.
When your handlebars are the right height, you are less likely to be involved in an accident and more likely to reduce your risk of getting injured while riding.
To Improve Performance
Adjusting the handlebars can give you better bike control and help your performance when trail riding or even racing. The metal connecting the handlebars to the bike can be twisted and adjusted so you can easily maneuver the carbon bike frame and go even faster.
Modern mountain bikes are designed for various activities but mountain biking in general becomes easier when you raise the handlebars to match your height and create a more comfortable ride.
Raising Handlebars: How to Find the Right Height
When it comes time to adjust the height of your handlebars, you will need to ensure you get the height just right.
Here are some tips that can help you determine the correct height.
How Does It Feel?
Sit on the bike and have someone else slide the handlebars up and down. Find the position that feels best for you and have the person tighten the bars at this height.
It really helps if you get someone else to assist you. It will make it easier to find the perfect height and you won’t have to move them up and down yourself and keep trying out different positions like you would have to when doing it on your own.
How Will You Steer It?
Think about how you usually steer your bike. Do you ride in a certain position? Do you use one hand or both hands?
When you analyze how you usually steer your bike, you will have a better understanding of how and where the handlebars should fit on the bike.
If you want to make sure the handlebars are the right height and are willing to adjust your posture to match them, you can measure your body against your bike.
Make sure your handlebars are the proper arm’s length away from you. To do this, sit on the bike with your arms in front of you so that you can easily grasp the handlebars.
Get Help From a Professional
If you aren’t sure how to adjust the handlebars on your bike or how to find the right height for them, you may want to reach out to someone who has experience working with bikes.
A professional will be able to look at you and your bike and help you find the perfect height that feels comfortable to you and allows you to get the best performance from your bike. The person will also be able to make the necessary adjustments if you aren’t comfortable making them yourself.
Can You Ride Safely?
One thing to think about is how your handlebar height affects the safety of your bike. Some people prefer to have their handlebars high up, but this can actually get in the way of how you see or how you steer.
Considering that when you’re riding your mountain bike you will most likely be pedalling quickly over rough terrain, it’s important to make safety a priority when determining the height of your handlebars.
How to Raise the Handlebars
If you are planning to raise the handlebars on your mountain bike, you will need to find the stem cap and twist it off. On modern mountain bikes, the stem cap can be found above the front wheel and at the base of the handlebars.
You may also know this as the steerer tube. You can use an Allen key to remove any bolts or screws that may be holding the cap in place.
Some handlebars have smaller bolts and others have one top bolt that screws down into the center of the front wheel and stem-cap bolt.
Once you have used a torque wrench or other tool to remove the top bolt, you can slide up the handle bars to raise them to the right height. Keep in mind that bicycle performance is not the only thing you should be concerned about, you should also focus on comfort when choosing the height.
Wiggle the stem free until the one continuous metal piece has pulled up enough to where you need it. You will then need to find the right place in the headset spacers to put the screw in to secure the handlebars in place.
The single bolt connects to the flat bars as well as the riser bar to determine where the bars and saddle sits. If the bars are slightly bent, you may need to change the spacing to make up for the angle of the bend.
How to Lower the Handlebars
If you are too tall for the position of the current handlebars, you might need to do a saddle drop for the seat or handlebars. You can drop the handlebars by locating the continuous piece on the center of the bike and sliding it down until it’s where you need it.
Threaded headsets will need to be twisted to adjust the headset system as you turn the handlebars one way or the other. Threadless headsets can slide up and down freely and can be adjusted more easily.
Be aware of the vertical angle and how the bike sits in relation to your arms when moving the handlebars down. Also be aware of your head movement and whether you can see from left to right with the handlebars in each position before attaching the headset system to the vertical arm.
Once you decide where the threadless headset seam should go, tighten the top cap bolt to hold it in place.
Things to Keep in Mind When Adjusting Your Mountain Bike Handlebars
Before you start adjusting the threaded headset system or the threadless headset system of the handlebars, think about how making these adjustments will affect the way your mountain bike rides on trails and other types of terrain. Here are some things to keep in mind.
It Affects the Steering
Whether you have quill stems or another type of threaded handlebars, the more you adjust them, the more it will affect how mountain biking feels to you. But before you start turning that Allen key, think about what you want to get out of your bike or why you enjoy mountain biking.
Make sure that adjusting your handlebars will allow you to use the bike the way you want to and that you will still be able to steer it properly.
It Affects Your Posture
How you adjust the threaded headset on your mountain bike will also affect your posture. The threaded headset will match up with your arm height and determine how you sit on the bike and how the bike fits.
If you do not have a good posture while riding your mountain bike, you may experience back pain and discomfort and be less likely to enjoy your mountain biking experience. Make sure the threaded headset is designed for your height and feels right when adjusted.
It Affects Your Balance
When you adjust the handlebars on a mountain bike, you need to work on the fork’s steerer tube to make sure the bike stays balanced and the handlebars or threadless headset stem is sitting properly on the frame. If the handlebars are not balanced properly, the bike could be harder to steer, and it may be harder for you to keep your balance while riding it.
It Changes Who Can Ride the Mountain Bike
Using the Allen key to adjust your threadless headset and the top bolt will change how the bike can be used. It will only be suitable for someone of your height, and it may not be possible for your friends and family to use the mountain bike when you aren’t using it.
Of course, if you need to adjust the handlebars for someone else, you will need to use the Allen key to twist the bolts that raise or lower the handlebars.
You Will Need Tools and Skills
You don’t just want to jump into adjusting the handlebars on your mountain bike if you don’t have the right tools or you don’t really know what you’re doing. You could end up damaging your bike if you fail to tighten the bolts or put the handlebars on properly.
You will need a few basic tools for your type of bike to make the adjustments. If you don’t have these tools and don’t feel confident in your skills, rather take the bike to a professional.
If you enjoy mountain biking, occasionally, you may have to make some adjustments to your bike. And an easy thing you can do on your own is change the height of the handlebars.
Doing so requires a few tools and a little knowledge of how the bike works and what will allow you to get the most out of it. But before you decide to change the handlebar height, be sure to do some research and keep these suggestions in mind.