Can you raise the handlebars in a mountain bike?

Last Updated on July 27, 2020

This guide has been written by cycling review expert Alex Bristol

Last Updated on July 27, 2020

Can you raise the handlebars in a mountain bike?

What happens when you find that the handlebars in your mountain bike are too wide and uncomfortable? This is among the most challenging things many mountain bike cyclists experience. Sometimes you may need to adjust the size of your handlebars to suit your body size or to boost performance. You may also need to adjust according to your terrain. The good thing is that you do not need to buy a new set of handlebars. Instead, you can adjust their size to suit your requirements. When adjusting the handlebars, you should consider the following;

  • A torque wrench will be the most suitable tool to use. However, avoid applying a lot of force on the bolts. If you the handlebars are made of carbon, it will allow you to adjust easily.
  • If you are struggling to hold the bars, you can consider using a shorter stem.
  • Again, if you find that you are experiencing some discomfort when riding, you may need to raise the handlebars.
  • There is not set rule on how high the handlebars should be. However, ensure that they are very comfortable. You can lower or raise them according to your cycling needs.


How to adjust the height of mountain bike handlebars

  • Use a hex key to remove the top cap which is located at the top
  • Get rid of the bolt and the top cap located on the steering
  • Remove the bolts located on the stem
  • You can remove the spacer which are located above the stem
  • Lift the stem and add the spacers. If you want to raise the handlebars, you should raise the stem higher than the previous height. If you want to lower the bars, you may need to remove the spacers which are found below the stem. Take the stem back on the steering tube.
  • Start by tightening the top cap slowly and ensure that the bars are lined up correctly. You can now put the bolts on the stem. You should do this equally which means that you should tighten them at the same time.
  • Check for play on the headset. You can easily feel immediately after applying the front brakes. Try to rock the bike back and forth. When you feel the play in the headset below the stem, it means that the top cap is loose. Ensure that everything is okay before you start riding.


If you have been wondering how you can adjust the size of your handlebars, you should follow the above tips. However, you need to consider the type of mountain bike you are using since mountain bikes comes with different handlebars. When adjusting, you need to ensure that the handlebars are at the same level with your seat. If they are lower than the seat, it means that you will need to strain your wrists, back, neck and shoulders which means that you won’t be comfortable. Again, they should not be too high because you may not be able to control your mountain bike especially when riding on tough trails.


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