How do I lower my handlebars?


Legendary Member
I have a Specialized Allez Elite (2008?) and I'd like to lower the handlebars a tad. How do I do this? Is it an easy job?

I guess I need to undo the hex bolt at the top of the stem, then remove one of the small discs just below the handlebar, perhaps?

This is not my bike, but it has the same hex bolt position as in this photo (the discs are obscured by the handlebar in this photo):


Senior Member

You'll probably need to take the bars off. Do that first.

Then remove the hex bolt and the top cap. Then loosen the two bolts on the stem until you can slide the stem off the top of the steerer tube. The carbon dics should just slide off. Take off as many as you want then slide the stem back on. Put the discs back on the steerer tube - they'll rest on top of the stem. Then put the top cap back on and tighten the hex bolt until the whole assembly stiffens up. Put the bars back on then align the stem with with front wheel (it should slide around the steerer because you haven't tightened it yet). Once aligned tighten the bolts on the stem.

Check that the stem is aligned with the wheel and that the headset is tight, by applying the front brake and rocking the bike forward. If you can feel any play the assembly isn't tight and you'll have to loosen the stem bolts and tighten the top cap until the play is fixed. If there's a lot of resistance when you turn the handlebars the headset is too tight, so again loosen the stem bolts but this time loosen off the topcap hexbolt.




Mancunian in self imposed exile in leafy Cheshire
Be careful you don't remove to many spacers so the top cap is tightening on to the fork. If this happens you won't be able to tighten up the headset.


Nr Cambridge
1) remove end cap
2) loosen steerer clamping bolts on the stem, loosen them about 1/2 a turn at a time.
3) pull stem off the steerer (there should be enough cable slack to do this if the stem is at the top of the spacer stack)
4) remove the number of spacers you think you need to
5) slide the stem back onto the steerer tube & then the spacers you removed
6) tighten the end cap down until you remove all play from the headset but don't over tighten so that the headset is stiff (you may need to slightly tighten the steerer tube clamping bolts to check)
7) properly tighten the steerer clamping bolts. Again use a progressive manner of tightening the steerer bolts.
8) go for a ride to check, if it's to high/low repeat steps 1-7.


Legendary Member
I see, so the spacer(s) I take off, goes back on again, but placed above the stem, right?
I didn't realise that. Thanks.


Indeed, GrasB has it nailed there.

And be careful if you are using a work stand as the front end might be on the concrete by your feet before you know it. This is one job that works better on the ground, so the bearings etc don't get moved out of place.

And I wouldn't take the bars off. There are too many possible ways to mess them up (under-tightening, over-tightening, doing them up in the wrong order), any of which can weaken the bars. As said above, you should have enough cable to move them off anyway.


Legendary Member
Norm and GrasB are spot on here.

Norm you sound as if you might be speaking from experience. :blush:

For future jobs it might be worth taking a look at the Park Tools website, they have a good maintenence section.


stephec said:
Norm you sound as if you might be speaking from experience. :wacko:
Certainly on the displaced bearings thing, yes. :tongue: :smile:

Fairly easily sorted, though, if you know how things should look in there.

Which I don't, so I took it to my local friendly LBS. :biggrin:


Ride It Like You Stole It!
South Manchester
Oh and when happy with the stem height, take off and get hacking with the hacksaw and get rid of the excess steerer....then bin the top spacers.... :biggrin:



Good man. The only tricky bit is correctly adjusting the headset bearings so they neither rattle nor bind after you've had it in bits.
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