Can You Raise Bike Handlebars?

Are you struggling to reach for your bike’s handlebars? Then it’s time you raise them. Failure to do so may result in back and neck pain, among other issues. So, can you raise bike handlebars?

You can raise bike handlebars by adjusting the spacers, flipping the bike stem, or adjusting the handlebar angle. Alternatively, you could get an extended stem or a stem riser, or a riser bar. 

All these six methods suit different people, depending on if you have the money to spend or not. For example, moving the spacers, flipping the bike stem, and adjusting the handlebar angle does not require you to pay even a cent.

But if you want a more effective and long-term solution to an extended handlebar, you may have to invest in a new extended stem, a stem riser, or a riser bar.

I’ll explain all these options in detail. Additionally, I’ll take you through the necessary steps of raising the handlebars of different bikes. That includes mountain bikes, road bikes, kids’ bikes, BMX, and old road bikes.

Let’s start!

can you raise bike handlebars

How Can You Raise Bike Handlebars?  6 Options Discussed

Option 1 – Adjust The Headset Spacers

Most bikes come with circular rings on top or below the headset that we call headset spacers. You can move the spacers to lift or lower the bike handlebar height.

If you want to raise the handlebar’s height, move the spacers beneath the headset.

Overall, here are the steps for lifting the bike handlebar by adjusting headset spacers:

  • Position your bike upright and loosen the bolt on the stem
  • Detach the top cap on top of the bike stem
  • Now slide off the steerer tube before adjusting the headset spacers
  • Move as many spacers as you want beneath the headset to raise the handlebar
  • Return the top cap and bolt it as it was
can you raise bicycle handlebars

Remember, you still have the option of adding more headset spacers to raise bicycle handlebar. In that case, consider the Kbrotech Bicycle Headset Spacers. They are ideal for road bikes, BMX, MTBs, among others.

Option 2 – Flip The Bike Stem

After shifting the spacers, you should notice a small rise in your bike’s handlebar height. If the elevation is not enough, then consider flipping the bike handlebars stem.

Here are the steps to follow:

  • Position the bike on firm ground and then loosen the bolt that attaches the handlebar to the stem
  • Remove the faceplate and put it aside
  • Allow the handlebar to fall gently before following the steps shared in Option 2 above (for adjusting spacers)
  • Assuming that the stem is off the bike, flip it over before sliding it back in position on the steerer tube
  • Now, reattach the handlebar

Option 3 – Change The Stem (Can You Raise Bicycle Handlebars By Changing The Stem?)

It doesn’t help to continue using a shorter bike stem when you have already outgrown it. Why don’t you swap it for a longer one?

A bike stem type like TRIWONDER Stem 25.4 Adjustable Bike Stem allows you to lift your handlebar by 90-130mm while adjusting it between zero and 60 degrees.

This bike stem is perfect for road bikes, BMX, MTBs, and other standard bikes.

Can You Raise Bicycle Handlebars By Changing The Stem

Option 4 – Adjust The Handlebar Angle

You probably don’t know it, but changing the handlebar angle could help you raise it by a couple of inches.

This hack prevents you from overreaching the brakes and gears by changing your hand positioning. In the long run, you’ll have raised handle bars.

Here are the steps to follow to adjust your bike’s handlebar angle:

  • Position your bike upright and loosen the screw on the stem
  • Rotate and lift your handlebar to adjust its angle
  • Lightly tighten the handlebar at your preferred elevation and test it
  • Once you are satisfied with the elevation, tighten the handlebar firmly

Option 5 – Invest In A Stem Riser

A stem riser fits onto the steerer tube to make the handlebar taller. Some stem risers can extend your bike handlebar by 3-5 inches.

Overall, it’s easy to attach a stem riser, and here are the critical steps for doing it:

  • Unscrew the handlebar stand and remove it
  • Slide in a stem riser (also known as a stem extender) and fix it into position
  • Reinstall the handlebar and screw it as it was

That’s it, and you can now comfortably ride your bike.

As far as the bike stem risers are concerned, I recommend the TRIWONDER Bicycle Bike Stem Extender. The stem riser is excellent for MTBs, road bikes, cross bikes, among other bike types.

Option 6 – Invest In A Riser Bar (Can You Raise Handlebars On A Bike Using A Riser Bar?)

This essentially comes as a last resort, in case the other five methods don’t suit you. Overall, getting a riser bar allows you to improve your handlebar height by a couple of inches.

Though there are so many riser bars that I could recommend, I have to settle for the UPANBIKE Mountain Bike Road Bike Riser Bar.

This riser bar suits both road bikes and MTBs. It comes in an aluminum alloy construction, which means a lightweight addition to your bike.

Additionally, the handlebar is easy to fit and promises a 30mm rise.

How Do I Raise The Height Of My Bike Handlebar

How Do I Raise The Height Of My Bike Handlebar?

Here are quick guides to raising the handlebars of the following categories of bicycles:

  • Mountain bikes
  • Road bikes
  • Kids’ bike
  • Old bicycles
  • BMX bike

How to Raise A Mountain Bike’s Handlebars

Mountain bikes come with either a threadless headset (about 80% of MTBs) or a threaded headset (about 20% of MTBs).

Before we can look at the mountain bike handlebar height extension, let’s differentiate the two headsets.

A threadless headset features one huge top bolt and a couple of other small ones that clamp the stem down. In contrast, a threaded headset features one continuous metal tube that runs down the handlebar.

a) How To Raise a Threadless Headset

Follow these stems to adjust an MTB threadless headset:

  • Identify the large bolt on the stem and loosen it
  • Remove the huge bolt entirely to create enough room for lifting the handlebar
  • Remember, you’ll need an Allen key to loosen the bolts, and I recommend the Amazon Basics Hex Key Allen Wrench Set for that.
  • Use an Allen key to loosen the screw on the handlebar side
  • Remove the side screw to pull up the stem from the bike tube
  • Add some spacers to raise the handlebar
  • Screw back the stem as it was while ensuring the handlebar is at the correct height

b) How To Raise A Threaded Headset

Follow these steps to adjust an MTB threaded headset:

  • Use an Allen key to loosen up the bolt that holds the stem
  • Use a wrench, which you can find on the Amazon Basics Hex Key Allen Wrench Set, to loosen the ring connecting the stem to the bike frame (what we call the hex nut).
  • Now twist and then pull up the handlebar to remove it
  • If the stem looks dry, grease it
  • Return the stem but remember to adjust it to your preferred height
  • Once you identify your preferred height, tighten the hex nut and the top bolt as they were

How to Raise A Road Bike’s Handlebars

The process of raising a road bike’s handlebar also requires an Allen key and an adjustable wrench. You don’t even need any notable bicycle handlebar risers.

In that case, here are the key steps to follow:

  • Unbolt the stem with an Allen key to free up the handlebar
  • Ensure you also loosen up the two small nuts that hold the handlebar
  • You can use the adjustable wrench where applicable
  • Now pull up the handlebar to your preferred height
  • If the stem appears dry, grease it first before repositioning it
  • While at it, ensure you re-bolt the handlebar at your preferred height
  • Tighten it correctly before hitting the road
raise bicycle handlebar

How to Raise Childs’ Bike’s Handlebars

Provided you have an Allen key set, you can easily adjust the handlebars of kids’ bikes.

Here are the critical steps for raising the handlebar of your kid’s bike:

  • Loosen the bolt or nut on the bike stem
  • Now, pull up the handlebar slowly but meticulously until you achieve your preferred height
  • You can even rotate the bike handlebar if you want to
  • Ensure you properly align the bike handlebar with the bike seat
  • Now tighten the handlebar firmly as it was

How to Raise An Old Bike’s Handlebars

If you have a wrench and Allen key, you can raise handlebars of an old bike.

Here are the general steps for doing it:

  • Use an Allen key to loosen up the stem bolt
  • Also, use an Allen key to loosen the nuts
  • Now, pull up the handlebar
  • You can use the wrench to loosen anything that might be preventing you from lifting the handlebar
  • Grease the stem before returning the handlebar to its position
  • While at it, ensure you lift it to your preferred height and tighten it there

How to Raise A BMX Bike’s Handlebars

The easiest way to lift a BMX handlebar is by adjusting its frame.

Here are the necessary steps for doing it:

  • Position the BMX on a flat ground
  • Identify the bolts on the stem and use an Allen key to loosen them
  • Detach the top cap on the stem
  • Adjust the stem and add a few spacers to improve the handlebar elevation
  • Realign the stem according to the positioning of your front wheel
  • Tighten the stem firmly just like it was

Remember, if you don’t have enough spacers to add, consider flipping the stem using the steps I shared in Option 2 above.

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Closing Thought:

So, can you raise bike handlebars? The answer is yes, and as seen, there are at least six ways to do it. So, if you’ve been straining your back or neck when cycling, it’s time you adjust the handlebar height.