(Question) Can I easily swap the H handlebar with other types of handlebars to fit a shorter person?

Vg12th

Regular
Hi everyone, the prices of bikes around me are simply crazy so I started to look at configurations outside of my original search. I found a good deal for a used bike but it is an H model. I am on the shorter side so I wish to see how easy it is to change the handlebar in order to fit me better.

1. How different are the S and H stems in terms of height and reach?
2. Can I just purchase a flat bar like the S handlebar and replace it. Keeping the H stem? Or is the H stem naturally further out?
3. Would other handlebars be better for my situation?
 

T4tomo

Guru
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Unfortunately this doesn't show the stem lengths (they are all different) you could fit S bars to the H stem that would then sit slightly lower than on an S stem (which could work for you) but not as low as S bars on an M-stem.

or fir non brommie low riser bars, as a lot of people do
 

rogerzilla

Legendary Member
You need to swap the stem as well OR work out the cable lengths yourself so the bike will fold and the cables will lie together neatly when unfolded. Shorter people might like an S-bar on an M-stem, for instance, but there are no cables sold in the right lengths. Someone else who has done it might be able to suggest measurements.

Also...it can be hard to buy replacement stems.
 

snazpizaz

Well-Known Member
Location
London UK
2nd the cables warning - once you start swapping handlebars you face short/long cable issues and unless you know how - the gear cabling, in particular, isn't a simple thing to muck around with. The brake cable might be easier to adjust. The folding and cable thing is a very tight and precise fit and there aint no wiggle room. Have a look online for a local Brompton maintenance workshop you can attend and maybe take your bike to it and do some customisation as a project in the company of experts and fellow newbies.
 
OP
V

Vg12th

Regular
Thanks for the replies. I assumed that since the H handlebar is taller than an S (this can be seen in the graphic above), that fitting an S handlebar instead would result in slightly looser cables which I was hoping to manage by attaching it to the frame in some way.
Do you think it is a bad idea to go for the H model bike then?
 

T4tomo

Guru
ah yes very good points on the cable lengths viz a viz the folding. you are possibly best holding out for a standard s type
 

berlinonaut

Senior Member
Location
Berlin Germany
Hi everyone, the prices of bikes around me are simply crazy so I started to look at configurations outside of my original search. I found a good deal for a used bike but it is an H model. I am on the shorter side so I wish to see how easy it is to change the handlebar in order to fit me better.

1. How different are the S and H stems in terms of height and reach?
Depends on the age of the bike. Brompton invented new M/H handlebars in 2017. Until then, H and S stem are of about the same height, just that with the H the reach is shorter and the hinge is upper. H-stems after the change are roughly 2cm higher than the S-stem, the difference in reach and with the hinge is identical.
2. Can I just purchase a flat bar like the S handlebar and replace it. Keeping the H stem? Or is the H stem naturally further out?
Yes you can. I have done this with two of my Bromptons, not using an S-bar but a bar that brings me to a height slightly higher than M but lower than H. As others have said you have to adjust the cable lenghts longterm, but this is not really difficult. The more as coming from H it is shortening, not lengthening. ;-) For test runs the orignal cables are fine, in the long run you want to adjust them as they tend to get in the way when folding.
3. Would other handlebars be better for my situation?
Cannot judge on that - personal taste of your's.
 
OP
V

Vg12th

Regular
Depends on the age of the bike. Brompton invented new M/H handlebars in 2017. Until then, H and S stem are of about the same height, just that with the H the reach is shorter and the hinge is upper. H-stems after the change are roughly 2cm higher than the S-stem, the difference in reach and with the hinge is identical.

Yes you can. I have done this with two of my Bromptons, not using an S-bar but a bar that brings me to a height slightly higher than M but lower than H. As others have said you have to adjust the cable lenghts longterm, but this is not really difficult. The more as coming from H it is shortening, not lengthening. ;-) For test runs the orignal cables are fine, in the long run you want to adjust them as they tend to get in the way when folding.

Cannot judge on that - personal taste of your's.
Thank you, I am glad it is feasible! I don't really know which handlebar to replace it with, just something that gives me a more inclined position (less upright than the H).
 

12boy

Veteran
Location
Casper WY USA
I agree with Berlinaut about the forward tilt of the S stem, which may not help is reach is part of your problem. I have had little trouble with cable length myself and buy housing by the foot. In fact, I have a one piece cable housing for the front brake that goes in front of the stem down to the brake and it works fine.
 

Kell

Über Member
As someone who's done something similar (on the older bikes) I could help out.

I'm around 5' 11" and on my test ride found the M-bar bike a little too 'sit up and beg' and the S-bar bike a little too low.

That's how I came across this site (6 years ago) as I was researching into possibilities.

Long story short.

I ordered an H-Type and immediately removed the standard bars and fitted a low riser bar to give me a grip height somewhere in between an S and an M. (I'm sure I did measure it as some point, but don't know it off-hand).

Here's what my order looked like:

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And here's what I did to it:

X8fYm9I&tn=F8CHSZNQvcUxUdQ9&_nc_ht=scontent-lhr8-2.jpg


X_ymlBg&tn=F8CHSZNQvcUxUdQ9&_nc_ht=scontent-lhr8-2.jpg



IN MY EXPERIENCE:

There's no need to swap stems, but as mentioned above, some curve more than others.

You don't have to shorten the cables, they don't really interfere with anything, but they will be too long to begin with. In the picture above, I left them alone for about 3-4 months before I got around to shortening them. It's faffy - especially the dog-leg gear change, but all doable for any reasonable home mechanic. What I would say is that your cables will trail even more if you put flat bars on, so it may be more important for you to do it than it was for me.

What I learned during my research...

If you put flat bars on an H-type it will be around the same height as an S-type from the factory.

If you put flat bars on an M or P type, it will be a very low front end (too low for me). YMMV.

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The extra height before the hinge on the H-Type stem was useful for me as I was always going to fit bar ends and that meant the bike still folded without any problems.

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Low-risers have slightly more flex in them than straight bars. Given the Brompton's small wheels and long stem, vibrations travel and amplify so that road buzz on less-than-smooth surfaces is really bad. The risers bars smooth this out to some degree.

I had a set of Ritchey Rizer bars in the shed from another bike, so fitted those with no bother - though they were a fair bit wider than the original Brompton bars. I think I took off about 1.5 cm from either end, but the result was still wider. This suited me as I'm fairly broad shouldered. Someone suggested using a pipe-cutter to get clean cuts, but I just did it with a hacksaw.

I replaced those bars (at 5 years) with another set of Ritchey bars I bought which looked identical, but the curve/rise must have been slightly different as they were almost impossible to fit. I had to really force open the clamp to get them in - and at one point thought I'd messed up and they weren't going to fit. So a word of caution on that.

The brake levers and gear shifters went on easily - as did the bar ends. I could't get the grips of the original bars off without ruining them, but I had no intention of keeping them, so it didn't matter.

Essentially, it's no different to changing the bars on any other bike. You buy something that fits the clamp, and away you go.

Personally, I'd say go for it.

Out of interest, have you ridden any Bromptons to get a feel for what style you'd prefer? Or do you just feel like an H would be too tall? Some people like a sit-up-and-beg riding style.
 
Last edited:

ExBrit

Well-Known Member
Hi everyone, the prices of bikes around me are simply crazy so I started to look at configurations outside of my original search. I found a good deal for a used bike but it is an H model. I am on the shorter side so I wish to see how easy it is to change the handlebar in order to fit me better.

1. How different are the S and H stems in terms of height and reach?
2. Can I just purchase a flat bar like the S handlebar and replace it. Keeping the H stem? Or is the H stem naturally further out?
3. Would other handlebars be better for my situation?
Yes you can. I did the same thing. Couple of thoughts.
  • There is a Japanese (I think) company that makes a 4cm riser called Satori. If you replace the H with S and use this riser you get a height between the H and the S which might be worth a consideration. I bought two and they are well made and reasonably priced. I found them on e-bay.
  • If you go straight from H to S the cables will be too long and you may have to re-adjust your brakes. The cables will also lie close to the top tub fold and kind of get in the way a bit when folding and unfolding. Not a big problem, but worth knowing. You can replace the cables, but you don't have to. Replacing the cables is not difficult and you can wait to see if you think you need to.
  • Changing the handlebars does not affect the fold.
 

Attachments

OP
V

Vg12th

Regular
As someone who's done something similar (on the older bikes) I could help out.

I'm around 5' 11" and on my test ride found the M-bar bike a little too 'sit up and beg' and the S-bar bike a little too low.

That's how I came across this site (6 years ago) as I was researching into possibilities.

Long story short.

I ordered an H-Type and immediately removed the standard bars and fitted a low riser bar to give me a grip height somewhere in between an S and an M. (I'm sure I did measure it as some point, but don't know it off-hand).

Here's what my order looked like:

View attachment 594192

And here's what I did to it:

View attachment 594193

View attachment 594235


IN MY EXPERIENCE:

There's no need to swap stems, but as mentioned above, some curve more than others.

You don't have to shorten the cables, they don't really interfere with anything, but they will be too long to begin with. In the picture above, I left them alone for about 3-4 months before I got around to shortening them. It's faffy - especially the dog-leg gear change, but all doable for any reasonable home mechanic. What I would say is that your cables will trail even more if you put flat bars on, so it may be more important for you to do it than it was for me.

What I learned during my research...

If you put flat bars on an H-type it will be around the same height as an S-type from the factory.

If you put flat bars on an M or P type, it will be a very low front end (too low for me). YMMV.

View attachment 594194

The extra height before the hinge on the H-Type stem was useful for me as I was always going to fit bar ends and that meant the bike still folded without any problems.

View attachment 594195

Low-risers have slightly more flex in them than straight bars. Given the Brompton's small wheels and long stem, vibrations travel and amplify so that road buzz on less-than-smooth surfaces is really bad. The risers bars smooth this out to some degree.

I had a set of Ritchey Rizer bars in the shed from another bike, so fitted those with no bother - though they were a fair bit wider than the original Brompton bars. I think I took off about 1.5 cm from either end, but the result was still wider. This suited me as I'm fairly broad shouldered. Someone suggested using a pipe-cutter to get clean cuts, but I just did it with a hacksaw.

I replaced those bars (at 5 years) with another set of Ritchey bars I bought which looked identical, but the curve/rise must have been slightly different as they were almost impossible to fit. I had to really force open the clamp to get them in - and at one point thought I'd messed up and they weren't going to fit. So a word of caution on that.

The brake levers and gear shifters went on easily - as did the bar ends. I could't get the grips of the original bars off without ruining them, but I had no intention of keeping them, so it didn't matter.

Essentially, it's no different to changing the bars on any other bike. You buy something that fits the clamp, and away you go.

Personally, I'd say go for it.

Out of interest, have you ridden any Bromptons to get a feel for what style you'd prefer? Or do you just feel like an H would be too tall? Some people like a sit-up-and-beg riding style.
Hey thanks for this very informative comment! That really gives me confidence now if I ever have to change the bars. Wondering still whether to go with a flat bar or a low rise as you did. You mentioned there is some benefit to it as well. Any recommendations on the bars (that doesn't need to be cut on the sides).
And to answer your question, I have tested with all handlebars except for P. I enjoyed S and M, and felt the M a little too upright actually. So perhaps adding a lowrise like you did and having it set between the S and M types would work out!
 
OP
V

Vg12th

Regular
Yes you can. I did the same thing. Couple of thoughts.
  • There is a Japanese (I think) company that makes a 4cm riser called Satori. If you replace the H with S and use this riser you get a height between the H and the S which might be worth a consideration. I bought two and they are well made and reasonably priced. I found them on e-bay.
  • If you go straight from H to S the cables will be too long and you may have to re-adjust your brakes. The cables will also lie close to the top tub fold and kind of get in the way a bit when folding and unfolding. Not a big problem, but worth knowing. You can replace the cables, but you don't have to. Replacing the cables is not difficult and you can wait to see if you think you need to.
  • Changing the handlebars does not affect the fold.
Can you explain a bit what this riser is for? Does it help with angles or does it just increase the height because I'm afraid an H stem/bar is quite high enough for me which is why I was asking for S bars.
 

ExBrit

Well-Known Member
The riser will attach to the top of the stem and then you can attach the S bars to the riser which raises the S bar by 4cm. So this is a good solution if the H is too high but the S is too low. You can also use it to push the handlebars forward a little bit but this will interfere with the fold if you go too far. I attached a photo of my S bar in the riser (I also added clip-on drops)
 

Attachments

Kell

Über Member
The riser will attach to the top of the stem and then you can attach the S bars to the riser which raises the S bar by 4cm. So this is a good solution if the H is too high but the S is too low. You can also use it to push the handlebars forward a little bit but this will interfere with the fold if you go too far. I attached a photo of my S bar in the riser (I also added clip-on drops)
Random observation - your brake levers look like they're rotated too far down.

It may suit you, but normal positioning would have them so that when your arms are on the bars, and your fingers are on the levers, it's pretty much one straight line.

Brake Lever Mounting & Positioning: Upright Bars | Park Tool
 
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