Learning how to raise handlebars on a mountain bike is vital in helping you shred the trails with relative ease.
It begins with having the proper adjustment on a mountain bike allows you to ride comfortably and make you safer whenever you’re going through technical terrain. One part that you definitely should adjust for your preference is your handlebar.
The bars on your bike is the one that will let you maneuver your ride. And with the proper adjustments, you will get the best experience and have more confidence in riding your bike.
If you’re wondering how you can achieve all this and get the right handlebar height, then you’ve just found the right place. We’ll be answering that question in this article and give you more information on handlebar adjustments.
In this article, you will learn the following:
- Why you need to adjust your handlebar
- How to increase the handlebar’s height
- What constitutes as the perfect handlebar adjustment
- And more!
Why You Need to Adjust Your Handlebar
Reduce pain and discomfort
You might feel a slight pain and discomfort around your hands and back if your handlebar isn’t properly adjusted.
Your lower back may ache due to the way you lean and your hands will get numb because of the weight distribution concentrated in the front. You might also even experience neck pain from being too hunched over.
Proper adjustment reduces the amount of discomfort you might feel when riding your bike for a longer period of hours.
Raising the bars allows your head to be up higher which gives you a higher visibility on where you’re going. This adjustment is important for riders who need to see where they’re going due to the unpredictability of the trails.
How to Increase the Height of the Mountain Bike Handlebar
There are two distinct types of systems for a mountain bike cockpit. One is a quill system while the other is a threadless system. Each of them has their own method of adjusting the stem and handlebar.
You can usually find a quill stem on old mountain bikes. These will need a lot of maintenance as the thread will usually loosen the more you ride your bike.
To adjust the length of this stem, you need to loosen up the bolt on top of it. You can then adjust it to any height you want after loosening the bolt.
You can find the threadless stem on newer bikes. It uses a top cap lock which properly tightens the spaces and stem to the frame. It also has two stem bolts which lock the stem onto the steerer tube.
If you want to adjust the height of your handlebar, then all you need to do is to remove the top cap and loosen the stem bolts with an Allen wrench. You can then relocate the spacers so you can place your handlebar to the height that you want.
Adjusting the Angle of the Handlebar
Another method of raising the height of your handlebar is to change the angle it’s positioned in. This kind of adjustment will only move your handlebar slightly. But a few degrees can change a lot about the feel of your bike.
Though you should first check if your handle is adjustable. You can find this out by just checking if your stem and handlebars are two different components.
There are two or four bolts in your stem that you can loosen up with an Allen wrench. These let you freely adjust the handlebars to your desired position.
The only problem with this is that there’s a limit to how much you can adjust your bars. If you still can’t get the desired position you want and feel uncomfortable when riding, then it’s time to change your bars and stem.
The Perfect Handlebar Adjustment
So what is the perfect handlebar adjustment? Well, the first thing to consider is properly aligning the handlebar to the center of the bike for optimum performance.
Get a good feel of your bike and find out what’s the best position for your bars to make you feel comfortable when riding. You can get the proper height by repeating the steps on adjusting the height of your mountain bike handlebar.
Is Using an Adjustable Stem Safe?
An adjustable stem lets you freely adjust the height and length of your handlebar any time you want. All you need to do is loosen the screw that’s in the middle of the stem to adjust your handlebar to how high you want it to be.
This stem can be very convenient for riders who want their bike to be easily customizable. But it can be dangerous or impractical for experienced trail riders.
The problem with an adjustable stem is that it isn’t as sturdy enough as a regular stem. Technical problems or even headset breakage may happen when riding your mountain bike into more technical terrain which can be very dangerous for you.
Should I Buy a New Handlebar?
If you’re wondering when would be the right time to change your handlebar then you should check if the one you’re using is actually the right one for you. Also consider the length and composition when getting the right bars.
When getting a handlebar, make sure that’s in the correct length or is longer than your actual size so you can trim it down to its correct size. Usual handlebar length for downhill and enduro is 750 mm to 800 mm. Meanwhile, cross-country handlebars are around 700 mm in length.
You also need to choose between carbon and aluminum. The composition of the handlebar will affect its overall performance and your riding style.
If you’re having problems with your current ride and you feel it’s too short, too long, or isn’t in your preferred rise, then it’s time to get a new one.
Having the proper handlebar height is essential to add confidence when riding on downhill tracks or cross-country trails. If you’re still experiencing a slight discomfort or if you still feel that your position is too low, then adjust it by following the steps mentioned above.
Ride safe and shred hard, mate.
A writer by day, a tech enthusiast by night, and a mountain biker at the weekends.
After four years in business school and working for multinational clients, Jomar believes he can improve the world through his writings.
Jomar has six years of experience as a writer and has a degree in entrepreneurial marketing. Some of his works have been published on Blokt, Clutch Points, and iTech.