How to Raise Handlebars on a Mountain Bike

How to Raise Handlebars on a Mountain Bike

An inappropriately low handlebar position can cause you to slant and round your back too much causing you strain or injury. In regards to-efficiency, it will cost you speed and power efficiency hence the need to raise the handle bar.

Also, as children grow, they may quickly outgrow their handlebar height. Raising the handlebar could be all the adjustment you need to make, thus making it a good fit for your child or teenager.

You may wonder how to raise the handlebars in a mountain bike. There are three methods you can use depending on the type of handlebar stem of your mountain bike. It will take you no more than 15 minutes. You will just need a wrench, Allen key and a spacer to transform your bike to a more comfortable one. Ensure to use the right size of Allen key for your bolts, screws and nuts.

Please note that not all handlebars are adjustable. Some manufacturers have deliberately made the handlebars to not be adjusted to ensure the sturdiness of the front wheel. In this light, it is therefore important that if you are doing adjustments you do them properly to prevent a wobbly front wheel, which could result to misalignment of the whole mountain bike.

1. Adjust the Handlebars with a Thread less Headset Stem

How do you know whether your mountain bike has a threaded or a thread-less headset handlebar stem? Well, a threadless headset usually has one big bolt and two smaller bolts that hold the stem. On the other hand, a threaded headset has one continuous metal connecting the bike to the bars.

Most racing riders prefer a low handlebar to enable them achieve a crouch that favors them aerodynamically. On the other hand, many beginners prefer the position of the handlebars to be either inline or above the seat. To know which raise will be appropriate for you, let your body determine. Ideally, your back shouldn’t be hunched and your elbows should be slightly bent.

To adjust, use the Allen key to loosen the bolt on the stem cap. Remove both the bolt and the cap and place them aside. Using the Allen key, loosen the two screws on the handlebars.You do not have to remove them completely but loosen them enough to allow you to pull the handlebar and the stem off the tube.

Next, slowly remove the handlebars and pull the stem off the frame of your mountain bike.Take care not to cause any damage on the brakes and derailleurs. Raise the handle bar to the desired level.

If it is not enough, use some spacers to raise them even higher. Once done, secure the bolts tightly to their original positions. Shake the handlebar side to side to ensure it is securely in place and that the front wheel and the fork are properly aligned.

2. Raising Handlebars on Threaded Headsets

A threaded headset has a nut that holds the frame in place on the stem. Threaded headsets are common on old bikes, fixed gear and single speed bikes. Some bikes have a bolt at the top of the stem besides the hex nut.

To adjust the height of the handlebar, loose the bolt with the Allen key. You may or may not remove the bolt completely. Using a wrench, disengage the nut from the bike frame. Wiggle the handle bar a bit to allow you to pull it out.

If the stem has excess grease, clean it with some soapy water. If it is not well lubricated, apply some grease on it and wipe off the excess. Pull out the stem to raise the handlebar to a desirable position and then fasten the bolt and nut back in place.

3. Adjusting the Handlebar Angle to Raise it.

Check whether the stem of your mountain bike is adjustable. Usually, adjustable stems have a single bolt that runs perpendicularly to the bike at the point where the stem and the frame meet. Loosen the bolt and tilt the stem to achieve a raised position.

Next, loosen the four screws attaching the handlebar to the frame. Rotate them up and down to achieve a desirable angle. The angle you settle for should be such that you can comfortably reach for the brakes. If you do not reach the brakes comfortably no matter what angle you settle for, you will have to buy a new handlebar stem. If you do achieve the right angle and height, tighten the screws.

Remember, to test drive after the adjustments to ensure you achieved the desired results.


This guide on raising the handle bars on your mountain bike may be all you need to make your rides more comfortable and fun. Do check whether your bike handlebar is adjustable as some manufacturer limit adjustments.

Casey Ames

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 0 comments