How to Adjust Handlebar Height

How to Adjust Handlebar Height
Correct handlebar height can make riding your bike a comfortable and enjoyable experience. Many handlebars are set lower than they should be, which can cause discomfort in your hands, arms and back. Follow these steps to raise the bar on comfortable riding.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Hex (Allen) wrenches Rubber mallet
  • Hex (Allen) wrenches
  • Rubber mallet
Step 1
Use the proper-sized hex wrench to loosen the bolt at the top of the quill stem (the quill stem is the angled neck that connects the handle bar to the steerer tube of the fork). The bolt is loose enough when it is sticking up about half an inch from the quill stem.

Alternatively, the bolt might not rise up out of the quill stem at all. If the bolt has not risen up out of the quill stem after loosening by five or six full rotations, check to see if the quill stem/handlebar assembly moves freely (both up/down and left/right) inside the fork steerer tube. If it does, you may skip to Step 3.
Step 2
Tap the head of the bolt with the rubber mallet. The bolt will drop back down into position in the quill stem, and the quill stem/handlebar assembly will now move freely (both up/down and right/left) in the fork steerer tube.

Most quill stems will loosen up after a few solid taps, however, a good amount of force may be required for sticky quill stems.
Step 3
Pull the handlebar/quill stem assembly up to the desired height. On the part of the quill stem that sticks down into the fork steerer tube, there will be a line that indicates the max height setting. Do not raise the quill stem above the max height setting.
Step 4
Tighten the quill stem bolt until the handlebar/quill stem assembly stays in place on its own but can still be moved side to side.
Step 5
Align the quill stem with the front wheel of the bike, so that the handlebars are exactly perpendicular to the rim.
Step 6
Tighten the quill stem bolt so that the handlebar/quill stem assembly cannot move in any direction (neither up/down or left/right).

Tips & Warnings

Most quill stem bolts require a 5mm or 6mm hex wrench.
Always take your bike on a short test ride after any repair or adjustment, in order to make sure that you are comfortable and that the bicycle is working properly. Your test ride should be in an area away from all other traffic or other hazards.

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