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How High Should Road Bike Handlebars Be?

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This guide has been written by cycling review expert Alex Bristol

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Determining the correct size of the handlebars may not be very easy. In most cases, it depends on personal preferences and other factors like your height, type of bike, riding style, terrain and type of riding. However, you may experience some forms of discomfort when riding if the size of the handlebar is incorrect. For example, when the handlebars are too low, you are likely to experience soreness on your lower back or numbness in your hands. In this article, we shall share a systematic guide on how you can adjust the height of your handlebars.

First Step- Determine your preferred height

The first thing you should consider is the type of riding you are intending to do with the bike. For example, if you are a long distance or a cross-country rider, you may need the handles to be at a higher position so that you can have a clear visibility. This will also allow you to ride at an upright position which is more comfortable when riding for long hours.

Again, the handlebars should not be too low because you will be required to bend which means that you won’t be able to achieve maximum flexibility. Again, you will not be able to produce a lot of power and this will affect your speed.

Step 2 – Determine your level of comfort

If you will be riding for long hours, you will need to ride in an upright position. This means that the height of the handlebar should be high enough. However, if you are using the road bike for racing, then the handlebars should be a bit low. The best way to determine your comfort level is by using a bike fit since you can easily take the measurement of your body and compare it with what you are looking for. However, bike fits are a bit expensive. Again, you can easily determine the correct height when riding. If you experience some discomfort on your back or wrist, you may need to adjust the height.

Step 3 – Loosen the stem cap and the screws

After you have determined your referred height, you can now rearrange the existing set up on your handlebars. Start by loosening the stem cap bolt which is usually located at the center of the stem cap. Now you can easily unscrew the bolts that are connecting the stem. 

Step 4 – Remove the stem and adjust the spacers

Lower the stem or make it high using the spacers. If you prefer more aero position, try to remove the spacer and place them on top of the stem. In case you want a higher position, you should add the spacers to the stem.

Step 5 – Tighten the stem cap

This will be the last step and will involve tightening everything back to the original position. You should ensure that your handlebars are aligned straight so that you do not affect the steering. Use a torque wrench when tightening the bolts. In case you find the procedure challenging, you can consider taking your bike to a bike shop.

Sources:

1. Making sure your bike fits – Post on Bicycle Universe

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