Is it possible to raise my handlebars?

AliShah2020

Active Member
Hi all,

I find the handlebars a bit too low for me.
Is it possible to raise my handlebars by adding an additional spacer? I have two OEM spacers, not sure if I could add a third spacer as the two existing spacers are below the stem?

Do I need a new longer headset in order to do add an extra spacer?

Many thanks for your input 🙂👍🏼
 

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Ajax Bay

Guru
Location
East Devon
No (to additional spacers) - you already have it the highest it can go, given the length of the fork steerer tube, ETA: the length of the head tube on that bike and the headset stack height.
But that's a very, very short stem, so fitting a stem with an extreme angle as opposed to none (current) would lift the bars (and the longer the stem the more effect, with the provision that the bars need to be at a distance (forwards) comfortable for you).
Edit with suggestion: This 20 degree stem comes in a 50mm version and that would raise the bars 17mm. I estimate that the current stem is a 60mm zero degree. So find a 70mm stem with 20 or better rise to get the height you need. Amount of rise a stem will give you is length of stem x Sin of the stem's angle. ETA: like this (70mm and 35 degrees): https://www.tredz.co.uk/.System-EX-Ahead-Stem-31-8mm_18480.htm?sku=109420
 
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Milkfloat

An Peanut
Location
Midlands
No - you cannot go any higher using spacers. You options would include a steep angled stem (but that would also put the bars further forward), a stem riser (pictured below) would introduce a bit of flex into the system and would be questionable on full on offroad) or a new fork (expensive).

1605888790605.png
 

12boy

Veteran
Location
Casper WY USA
I cant tell from the pic what kind of bars those are. If it's a mtn bike there are lots of riser bars available. Moustache and North Road bars have rise and you could use a longer stem to get the fore and aft position correct.. Radonneur bars have a slight raise but it may not be enough for you.
 
No - you cannot go any higher using spacers. You options would include a steep angled stem (but that would also put the bars further forward), a stem riser (pictured below) would introduce a bit of flex into the system and would be questionable on full on offroad) or a new fork (expensive).

View attachment 559188
I have that on my road bike. I didn't notice any increased flex. same w/ an older hybrid bike. maybe I'm not perceptive enough. regardless, it works well for me
 

MichaelW2

Veteran

Ajax Bay

Guru
Location
East Devon
What is a "more extreme zero extension raiser stem" please, @MichaelW2 ?
My follow-on question will be: why you think whatever that is will (probably) adversely affect the bike's steering qualities.
Why is raising the handlebars slightly "such an extreme problem"? Haven't we all done this at one time or other?
Pretty sure it's this special bike:
1605892124837.png

a 2019 Lapierre MTB . . . the bike is super comfortable, rolls very fast, handles sublimely and turns every urban commute into an adventure. While not a road bike, I simply cannot put into words how phenomenal this bike is as an urban commuter. 🚴‍♂️🌪⚡
 

MichaelW2

Veteran
What is a "more extreme zero extension raiser stem" please, @MichaelW2 ?
My follow-on question will be: why you think whatever that is will (probably) adversely affect the bike's steering qualities.
Why is raising the handlebars slightly "such an extreme problem"? Haven't we all done this at one time or other?
Pretty sure it's this special bike:
View attachment 559197
The Mondraker stem puts the bars above the top cap of the steerer tube. It is designed for their special geometry bikes which go down very steep slopes better than normal bikes.

https://www.mbr.co.uk/news/bike_news/mondrakers-forward-geometry-explained-323495
 
OP
AliShah2020

AliShah2020

Active Member
Background:
I'm in between frame sizes, I needed to reduce the reach due to elbow pain so I changed the stem from 55mm to 35mm. The reach has improved but I still get elbow pain each time I did a bump in the road. I thought I'd now try to raise the bar. My sons bike has similar reach but a higher bar and I have zero elbow pain when riding his bike.

Thank you all for dispelling my naive misconception - and especially @Ajax Bay

I thought that adding spacers under the bar was a cheaper solution to a riser bar, but I realise now I don't have that option to start with and I'd be creating more problems by screwing up the geometry.

Lesson learned:
I did learn a valuable lesson in this thread: When adding spacers under the stem, this changes the position of the stem on the steerer tube which is at an angle and moves the handlebar both upwards and backwards.

Where as riser bars make no change to the grip position in the horizontal plane in relationship with the head tube, but adding or removing spacers changes the bars horizontal position as well as the vertical plane.

Solution:
I'm going to look for a riser bar (keeping the backsweep and width the same).

Thanks for your help and responses to this post 🙂😎👍🏼💯
 
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12boy

Veteran
Location
Casper WY USA
It's possible you may get a little elbow relief by changing your grips. If the current ones are hard they can transmit shocks and vibration to your hands and then elbows. Ergon grips are nice but any soft type grips may help a bit. My mtn bike has flipped North Road bars which change grip from palms down on the bars to more of a "handshake" grip which alleviates numbness and pain from arthritic thumbs. Just a thought.
 

Ajax Bay

Guru
Location
East Devon
I did learn a valuable lesson in this thread: When adding spacers under the stem, this changes the position of the stem on the steerer tube which is at an angle and moves the handlebar both upwards and backwards.
. . . riser bars make no change to the grip position in the horizontal plane
OK but let's just quantify that first one (hint: very small and hang in with the maths).
Say you have the steerer tube length which allowed you to add a (n additional) 10mm spacer underneath the stem clamp. The head tube is at an angle to the horizontal of (say) 73 degrees (rake). Adding that spacer (with the same stem) will move the bars up 9.5mm and back 3mm (cos and sin 17 degrees x 10mm).
Substituting a stem is a darn sight easier (10 minutes) than replacing handlebars.
And now the second snippet:
'Riser bars' have a 'rise' specified which is (please correct if wrong) the distance between the line of the stem clamp and a line drawn through the ends of the bars: in this random example it's 50mm(2"): https://www.tredz.co.uk/.XLC-Riser-Handlebar-50mm-Rise-HB-M04-_126917.htm
In this make/model there are options for 12mm, 25mm, and 38mm - or half inch intervals :smile:)
https://www.tredz.co.uk/.Nukeproof-Neutron-V2-Alloy-Riser-Handlebar-35mm_226657.htm
Fitting such bars (in place of 'straight' ones) mean that the rider can set the bars at any angle. If a particular 'rise' is desired which is less than the 'rise' or the bars, then the effect will be that the bars 'move back' (you could set them to move forward instead but that would look odd). So the lesson for the OP if going down that route is: determine (somehow) how much you want the bars to rise, and get a riser bar which offers no more than that distance. NB bar width and stem clamp bar diameter (normally 31.8mm).
HTH
 
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12boy

Veteran
Location
Casper WY USA
To muddy the waters a bit more....I have the opinion that as the hands go further back toward the body, the riding position becomes more erect. For this reason, bars that bend back have the same effect as bars that rise.....they shorten the distance betwwe bar and body and provide for a more erect posture. When I use flipped North Road bars, even if the bars drop a couple of inches below the handlebar clamp, I am not more bent over than I would be with a flat bar, since my hands rest well behind the clamp. If the North Road bar were not flipped it would be at least as high as a riser bar.
 
OP
AliShah2020

AliShah2020

Active Member
@Ajax Bay You sir are a wizard.😄:okay:

Very good cogent points. I loved the math! :notworthy:

I approached my reach issue and elbow pain in this manner:
1. Purchased shorter aftermarket stem (original was 55mm, I am now riding 35mm). It improved reach but still had sore elbows from each bump in the road.

2. Upon the advice of this thread, I rotated handlebars backwards slightly (too much rotation made them look unsexy and weird). I experimented with a few different positions and now I have them perfect. Perfect reach, perfect style, no more elbow pain.

I still think I should experiment with a 40mm stem, as the current 35mm stem has a very sharp turning circle. I like a more gradual turn. Let's see.:sun:😎:okay:🚴‍♂️🌪🌪🌪
 
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OP
AliShah2020

AliShah2020

Active Member
@12boy

"To muddy the waters a bit more....I have the opinion that as the hands go further back toward the body, the riding position becomes more erect."

Yes this is very true! I was previously crouched forwards like a race horse jockey and now I am more relaxed and upright.

When I bought my bike during lock down, I had to buy online and forego a proper bike fit. I kinda guesstimated my size based on manufacturer height recommendations.

I have almost hit nirvana now with a few tweaks and a shorter stem.:becool:🙌
 
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