Setting Up Road Bike Handlebars

Last Updated on July 27, 2020

This guide has been written by cycling review expert Alex Bristol

Last Updated on July 27, 2020

If you are planning to upgrade an old bike or you have just purchased a new one, you may need to set it up correctly to make it comfortable when riding. For example, you may need to adjust the height of the seat to allow you to maintain the correct posture when riding. The other important part you should not ignore is the handlebar. If the handlebar is not set correctly, you may be forced to strain your wrists. In this article, we shall take you through the steps you should follow when setting up the handlebars.

Size of the frame

You need to ensure that the frame matches your body. If you fail to do this, you may not be able to adjust the handlebars and the seat at a comfortable position. There should be about 1-2 inches between your crotch and the top tube when you are standing on your two feet. If the space is not enough, you are likely to get hurt at some point. If the space is more than 2 inches, the bike may not fit you correctly unless you are able to move the seat and the handlebars upwards.


Ensure that your knees do not bend too much when riding. This usually happens when the seat is very low. On the other hand, when the seat is too high, your legs will remain straight and this can cause discomfort. In case you experience some problems when riding, you can loosen the bolts and raise the seat or lower it according to your preferred size. In case you are not able to do this, you may need to look for a different bike. When the seat is too high or too low, you won’t be able to use the handlebars well. This means that when installing the handlebars, you need to ensure that they align well with the seat.

Handlebar’s height

Most of the road bikes come with steerer tube spacers which are usually located below or above the stem. At times, you may find that they are not positioned, as you would wish. If that is the case, you can remove the stem by loosening the bolts. After this, you can position the spaces until you achieve your preferred height.

If you want to enjoy your rides, ensure that the handlebars are above or have the same height as your seat. In case they are lower, you will need to put more stress on your wrists and hands that may be uncomfortable.

 Style of the handlebar

If you want to be every comfortable when riding, you can look for cruiser style or mountain bike handlebars. Due to their design, they allow you to ride upright without straining your back. They also allow you to sit comfortably without hunching the handlebars. Hunching may cause discomfort and the same time it affects your visibility.

Seat angle

When you tilt the seat downwards, there will be reduced pressure on your crotch. Again, the gravity will push you into the handlebars which mean that you will need to strain your wrists. To prevent this, you can keep the seat at the same level as the handlebars. In case you find that the seat is uncomfortable when it is at a level, you may need to lower it to suit your height.


1. How to set up drop handlebars – Post by Cycling Tips

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