Unlike the seat, the handlebars of a BMX bike are the one section that you’ll use more times than you can count. But after sometimes of riding, doing stunts, and performing tricks on the bike, you may need to either upgrade or adjust the height of the handlebars. But can BMX handlebars be raised?
You can raise BMX handlebars for a more personalized fit for comfort and ease of use. There are extension options for threadless BMX bikes. And roadies who own old-style threaded models can have the handlebars raised by replacing the stem or quill.
Although many riders prefer to have this at the same level with the width of their shoulders, the height to which you raise the BMX handlebars is entirely a personal preference.
In this guide, you’ll learn exactly how to raise BMX handlebars fast. Whether you need the bars higher than they originally were when you bought the bike or you want to raise the height without consulting a bike shop, you’ll find this guide helpful.
Here’s a summary of what we’ll look at:
- How to measure BMX handlebars
- How high BMX handlebars should be
- The right way to raise the handlebars of your BMX bike
Without further ado, let’s get started.
How High Should BMX Bars Be?
How high your BXM bars should be depends on your personal preference or what you’ll be using the bike for in the first place.
You should have the handlebars in a low position if you will be using the bike to race at short burst of speed and perform tricks and stunts.
Having the bars in a lower position in this case will give you the aerodynamics necessary to ride fast and perform your tricks and stunts at the same time.
If you wish to use the bike for normal riding, you should feel free to have the handlebar raised to the highest position possible.
By making sure the bars are higher than the seat position, you tend to maintain a rather upright position when riding the bike.
The best thing about raising the handlebars is that they enable taller riders to be more comfortable on the bike instead of feeling hunched when riding.
However, it’s often a bad idea to raise the bars beyond the 10 inches mark. For example, if you’re a 5 feet tall rider, raise the bars 3 to 5 inches on the small frame BMX or 7 to 8 inches on the pro frame BMX.
How To Raise BMX Handlebars
We’ll look at how to raise BMX handlebars in a moment.
Before we get down to the DIY steps, though, it’s important to note that a BMX bike isn’t ideal for comfortable riding.
In other words, even if you raise the handlebars as much as the predisposed adjustments allow, or at least to the same level of your shoulders’ width, the parts are still BMX.
And while you can use such a bike for other purposes other than the intended, there’s always going to be limits beyond which a BMX bike simply becomes another piece of useless two-wheelers.
Let’s take the low BMX seat, for example. While the positioning offers better clearance for performing tricks and doing some stunts, one can hardly sit on the saddle comfortably for an extended period. And that means you’ll be pedaling the bike in a standing position for the most time.
Now that this is clear, let’s look at how you can adjust the handlebars of your BMX bike, step-by-step. For this you will need:
- An adjustable wrench such as Olympia Tools Adjustable Wrench (View on Amazon)
- An Allen key such as TEKTON Ball Hex Key Wrench Set (View on Amazon)
You can buy these tools for cheap from Amazon, your local bike tools store, or borrow them from a friend who owns a bike repair toolkit.
1. Loosen The BMX Stem
BMX bikes with adjustable stems are easy to handle, at least when it comes to raising and lowering the handlebars.
It’s because an adjustable stem makes it easy for you to tweak the height of the bars instead of getting new ones when you feel like you’ve outgrown the bike.
- Position the bike in an upright position so that it doesn’t wobble as you work on the stem. Or you can have someone hold the bike for you to make your work easier.
- Use an Allen key to loosen the screws at the back of the stem
- Remove the top cap and
- Slide the stem from the steering tube
2. Adjust Handlebars Height
Let’s make one thing very clear at this point:
The height to which you raise the handlebars of your BMX bike isn’t something cast in stone. Every rider is different and therefore their setup preferences cannot in any way be synonymous.
As such, how farther you raise the handlebars form the previous position will vary. It will depend on your riding style, height, and even personal preference.
With that said, it’s important to know to what extent you would like to raise the handlebars. This is important for two reasons.
First, you can easily determine whether you need to add or remove spacers. And second, you’re able to make sure the new position of the handlebars isn’t difficult to reach.
- Decide how high you want the handlebars to be by pulling them upwards
- Put the stem back in position
- Switch the current spacers with the ones of your choice. Make sure you leave a 3 to 5mm gap for easy clamping of the headset top cap.
- Replace the bolt and the top cap. And make sure you tighten with the adjustable wrench until you get some resistance
3. Align the Stem
The last step in raising the BMX handlebars is to align the stem. You want to make sure it’s in the right angle with the front wheel. This isn’t something difficult, so it should take only a few minutes of your time.
Next, use a torque wrench to tighten the stem’s clamp and then ride the bike to test the adjustment. If the stem doesn’t feel tight enough, get off the bike and tighten again.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can I Align BMX Handlebars?
First find the handlebars position that’s comfortable for you. It should not only be easy to reach but also be easy to maneuver.
You also need to make sure the position of the handlebars is such that you can turn 180 degrees without scrapping your chest or knees.
2. How Can I Keep BMX Handlebars From Moving?
If you feel like the handlebars are moving when you ride your BMX bike, there’s a high chance there’s a problem with the stem.
First, use the adjustable torque wrench to tighten the stem. If this doesn’t solve the problem, replace the current stem with a new one.
3. How Can I Check My BMX Handlebar Alignment?
Place two flat boars on both sides of the front and rear wheels of your BMX bike, and then check to make sure that they are in parallel. This should make it easy for you to check the alignment of your BMX handlebars.
4. How Can I Raise The BMX Stem?
For threaded stem, loosen the big bold at the top, lift the bars to your desired height, and then tighten the stem. For the threadless stem, move the spacers further down to raise the stem.
5. At What Angle Should BMX Handlebars Be?
Make sure the handlebar of your BMX bike is in line with the fork, or line it up with the steer tube. That’s a good starting point if you’re new to BMX bikes.
As you continue to ride the bike, your bmxing skills will improve, which means you can adjust the handlebars to different angles until you find what position works best for you. For example, you can move the handlebars a little forward if you need more legroom.
Final Thoughts: Can BMX Handlebars Be Raised?
As you can see, it’s possible to raise the handlebars of a BMX bike, and you can do that on your own without the need to consult a bike mechanic.
All you need are an Allen key, an adjustable torque wrench, and the time to do the work. Then follow the exact steps that we’ve shared in this guide to raise the handlebars right.
But why exactly would you want to change the position of the handlebars?
Well, it may be for comfort. It may be for preference. Or it may be because you’re experiencing wrist discomfort and feel like changing the current position of the handlebars can make a difference.