Raising handlebars on a road bike?

Discussion in 'Beginners' started by Panter, 10 Oct 2007.

  1. Panter

    Panter Just call me Chris...

    Can this be done qickly and easily?

    I tweaked my seat height last night and raised it about an inch.

    Peddalings better, but the pain in my hands was far worse riding in this morning.

    Is it simply a matter of slackening an allen bolt and lifting them at lunchtime or would I need a new stem or something?

    I did have a look at the Park tools site but couldn't find anything so I assume I can't.

    Any advice appreciated as ever :biggrin:
  2. John Ponting

    John Ponting Über Member

    Is this you new(ish) bike?

    Pre-90s bikes used a bar stem that went down in to the steering tube - allen expander bolt down from the top; undo, pull up, tighten.

    Then technology advanced to the modern (ahead?) type with a stem that clamps round the steerer tube. Normally the bar is set correctly and the steerer is cut down to fit. Some small adjustment can be made with spacers but quite limited. Not easy to make a frame fit if it is really a couple of cm too small for the rider. Steerer extensions are available (see evans or wiggle for e.g.s).

    Every thing I've just said could be rubbish but hopefully not. I come from the era of steel frames and Cinelli bars & stems.
  3. OP

    Panter Just call me Chris...

    Thanks for that John.

    Yes, it is my new bike (an '07 model.)

    It didn't look like there was any adjustment but I wanted to be sure.

    I'll put up with the pain on the way home then, I think its just me as I get it on the mtb too.

    I need to get some of that gel bar tape, it'll just have to wait 'till payday :biggrin:
  4. Arch

    Arch Married to Night Train

    Salford, UK
    In which case, you probably need to adjust the MTB bars too... You don't have to put up with pain. If more padded bar tape doesn't help, get a replacement stem that makes it right... (I am also a quill (expander) stem person, so it's a simple matter to adjust it to just right for me, on every bike. I've never quite seen the advantage of the new sort...)
  5. bonj2

    bonj2 Guest

    lighter, less likely to come loose, simpler, more choice of stems/forks.
  6. OP

    Panter Just call me Chris...

    Thanks for that, I'll look into it.

    Thing is, my saddle isn't much higher than the bars, certainly not as high as most of the pictures I've seen on here are.

    A few Years ago I worked on the roads for a while and I think I may have done myself some mischief as I get problems with numbness and tingling (pain may have been a bit extreme TBH) when doing lots of things.

    It was just a lot more severe this morning, to the extent I couldn't use the brakes safely.

    If I post a pic of my bike, would that give any ideas as to whether I need to change the stem, or whether its just me?
  7. John Ponting

    John Ponting Über Member


    you are a 'senior member' while I am a mere 'member' so I should bow to you but ...

    I can see no evidence of a greater choice of stem than 25 years ago when all manufacturers offered straight, angled up, angled down, adjustable angle, fixed length from 50mm to around 180mm, adjustable length, shiny, dull, black, engraved, plain.

    Replacement forks have been available for at least 80 years, some even made to owners specification.

    An internal expander bolt quill type stem didn't come loose very often - more the opposite with much swearing and clouting with rubber hammers when adjustment was called for.

    I'm sure there is some benefit from the newer system, particularly on the competition scene, but otherwise it was a way of standardising across the industry and reducing manufacturing costs. It also helped stimulate consumer demand by giving us all something new to buy. Like most of my hobbies!!

    Still, it's all good fun and worth chatting over.

    Recently dug an old bike out of the loft and I've been drooling over the Cinelli engraving on the stem. Mind you, I also vomitted over the bars while tackling a hill that I romped up 20 years ago.

    Maybe time to open my purse and get something newer and lighter with more appropriate gearing for my 60 year old legs.:biggrin:
  8. rich p

    rich p ridiculous old lush

  9. Blonde

    Blonde New Member

    Bury, Lancashire
    If you are at the limit of the fork (the stem is around the very top of the fork and there is no extra spacer you could remove from above the stem and place underneath the stem to raise it) then you can either try a stem with a sharper upward angle, an adjustable stem like the one above or simply get a stem raiser. They look like this:
    If buying, make sure you ask for a stem raiser for an A-head type stem, not a quill stem, as you can also get raisers for quill stems but they look different and are not compatible with A-head.
  10. OP

    Panter Just call me Chris...

    Nice link RichP, thanks for that. Pricey, but may be ideal to find the prefect position. :angry:

    Thanks for that Blonde,

    I'll check the existing configuration and see if there are any spacers free. I assume the spacers are those ring things, I always wondered why they were there :blush:
    Hopefully, they'll be some above the bar I can raise it with, in the short term anyway.
  11. Peyote

    Peyote New Member

    I had a similar problem to yours Panter on my '05 Spesh Allez, I found simply flipping the stem over was enough to raise the handlebars a couple of cm and sort out the positioning. Could be worth a try?
  12. OP

    Panter Just call me Chris...

    Thanks, could be :biggrin:

    I'll have a good look at it lunchtime (its locked away in the bike storage room at the moment) and report back :sad:

    I dunno, spacers, stem flipping, adjusters, its all a bit much for a newb. When I were a lad I'm sure the bars were just fixed, magically, in exactly the right place :blush: :angry:
  13. Membrane

    Membrane New Member

    Afaik the main benefit of the new system is less weight (at the expense of being less adjustable). I still have the internal expander bolt type on my hybrid including a tilt adjustment joint and it weighs a lot.
  14. Elmer Fudd

    Elmer Fudd Miserable Old Bar Steward

    When I were a lad, they were magically fixed in the right position.

    By Uncle Dennis :angry:;)
  15. OP

    Panter Just call me Chris...

    Ah ha, I see :angry:

    Unfortunately, CRC don't seem to stock any Uncle Dennis's, or any Dennis's at all for that matter :sad:

    So, given the lack of the above, I've had a good look at my stem, so to speak :biggrin:

    It's straight so I can't flip it over. Doh!

    All the spacers are under the bar, Doh!

    I can't twiddle something with an allen key and just yank them up. Doh!

    So, surprise surprise it comes down to unfurling the tattered wallet once again in the name of cycling.

    I personally think its just me that is the problem so the gel tape would be best but I'll put a piccy up of the bike this evening and see what you good people make of the saddle/bar height, if you'd be so kind :blush:
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