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How to Adjust Handlebars on Bike

how to adjust handlebars on bike

If you want to achieve comfort during the bike ride, you need to adjust some bike parts to fit your riding requirements. One particular part is the handlebar, which should have the proper adjustment to provide excellent comfort that will help achieve optimum performance during your bike ride.

But how to adjust handlebars on bike? Adjusting your handlebar is an easy thing to do. You will only need simple bike tools, which should be in your position right now. Learning how to adjust the handlebar can also help adjust your children’s bikes because of their growth. It is advised to change the handlebar of the children every year to compensate for the growth they made in a particular year.

How to Adjust Road Bike Handlebars

how to adjust road bike handlebars

When learning how to adjust bike handlebars, knowing the difference between a handlebar with a threadless headset stem and a handlebar with threaded headsets is essential. These are the two types of handlebars that you will find on most of the bikes. These two have different ways to adjust since they come with different components installed in the bike.

The handlebars with threadless headsets come with one huge bolt at the top with two smaller bolts on the side that will assist in clamping the stem down. If you find your bike only comes with one continuous metal connecting to the handlebars, then it should have a threadless headset. Meanwhile, the threaded headsets come with one metal piece connected to the stem while coming out of the frame before bending forward and attached to the handlebar. For the adjustments of these handlebars, please check on the process below:

Method #1: Adjusting Handlebars with Threaded Headsets

  • The initial step is to loosen the bolt, which is securing the handlebar. This bolt should be located on the top of the stem. You can use an Allen key to loosen it, but it should not be done entirely. Then, you can loosen the locknut by using a wrench. This part is called the hex nut, which is the stem that meets the bike’s frame.
  • After that, you can now remove the handlebar from the bike frame. You can do this by twisting, wiggling, or pulling it until it comes out to the bike frame. Then, you can clean the stem and remove any forms of dirt. You can use soapy water and a rag to remove it. You can even apply grease to prevent the stem from getting stuck in the future.
  • The final step is to put the stem back to the frame but at your desired height. Once you have already installed the stem according to the height preference, the next step is to tighten the hex nut, followed by the top bolt.

When it comes to adjusting the handlebar, you should put a premium on the comfort of your ride when making adjustments. The handlebar should be slightly lower than the seat for maximum control and aerodynamics if you own a road bike. The handlebar must be lower than the seat for mountain bike owners to provide excellent balance when navigating rugged terrain. For cruiser bikes, the handlebar should be slightly higher to make the ride more comfortable.

Method #2: Adjusting Handlebars with Threadless Headset Stem

  • The initial step you need to do is to loosen the stem cap. This step can be done by loosening the bolt pointing up to where the stem meets the bike frame. You can use the Allen key to loosen the bolt and then remove the stem cap. Keep these two parts safely on the side to make it easy for reinstallation.
  • The next step is to loosen the two smaller bolts on each side using the Allen key. You can lose them enough to allow you to pull the handlebars and stem off the tube and in the bike frame.
  • After that, you can now pull the stem away from your bike. This step can be done slowly removing the handlebars but make sure that it will not damage all the wires that connect the brake and bike derailleurs.
  • The next step is to adjust the handlebar according to its desired height. This step can be done by adding or removing the circular risers to bring the handlebar to its desired height. These risers are the spaces that will be used to adjust the height of the handlebar. You can buy additional spacers should you need to add more height to the handlebar.
  • Once you have the desired height, the next step is to slide the handlebar stem over the spacers. Then, you can return the stem cap bolt by inserting it and tighten it with your own hands. You do not need to use a tightening tool since hand tightness is enough.
  • The next step is to align the stem to the front wheel. Go to your bike and stand between your legs while squeezing the front wheel that is facing forward. Adjust the handlebars accordingly so that the centerpiece is in line with the front wheel. This action is to have proper turning control of your bicycle.
  • Finally, you will need to check if the headset is aligned correctly. Since the headset is composed of many components, checking it is essential since it affects the turning of your bike. You will need to stand on the bike between your legs while clamping the brakes down to do the checking. You can turn the wheel to find any rocking or odd movement underneath your hands. If you find unusual movements, loosen the side bolts and tighten the top bolt until the situation improves.

When it comes to the adjustment process, let your physical features, particularly your body to be the basis of the right height. Always remember that your back should not be bent while the arms are slightly bent at the elbows. After all, it is all about your comfort, and finding the correct height of the handlebar is all about your convenience during the right. And that is an essential factor to consider.


Knowing how to adjust handlebars on bike is essential to make you comfortable when riding on the bike. Also, there are two types of handlebars on most of the bikes, and learning how to adjust the two can give you an excellent advantage as a biker. The key is to make yourself comfortable on the road, and having a precisely adjusted handlebar can enhance the comfort of your ride.

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