How to Adjust Handlebar Extensions – Raise or Lower for the Perfect Fit

cyclist holding the handlebars of her mountain bike

Handlebars are an important part of your bike as you need a secure grip for handling and moving around steadily. It doesn’t matter if you use a mountain bike, track or road bike, finding the right type of handlebar is crucial for your riding experience.

A good fit can make or break a good bike ride. This article will look at different types of handlebars and how they differentiate from each other. We’ll specifically explore how to adjust your handlebars and extensions, so your next riding experience is enjoyable.


Different Types of Handlebars

There are many different brands out there, and if you pay specific attention to this and want to experience the magic moment of buying a specific brand, that’s great. What type of handlebar you want depends on what experience you would like to have and how much and what kind of riding you intend to do.

For example, you might be a pro cyclist training six days a week, more of a hobby biker going on slow rides around your neighborhood, or someone in between doing steep hills and fast descents.

Here are the types of handlebars that you should look at.


Bike Drop Bars

As this kind of handlebar is quite popular, you might have seen them a lot on road and track bikes. These handlebars have a straight middle section and curve downwards like horns towards the rider. The reason these bars look like this is the racing effect. As you have to tuck or bend down, there is less space for the wind to slow you down and is therefore used for fast racing in both road and track racing.

You can get different types of drop bars, one with a longer reach, a lower drop, or a wider reach. These factors depend on your body’s attributes and can be determined by a specialist.

Usually, classic drop bars have a relatively long reach and a deep drop compared to the compact drop bars with a short reach and only a slight drop. You can also choose ergonomic or anatomic bars customized for your fit and are supposed to be more comfortable.

Usually, handlebars have a width from 360 to 460 millimeters but can be changed depending on what you need. It is measured by your shoulder width as it has to align with the width of your handlebar. Four hundred twenty millimeters is commonly found in stores.

In summary, there are no exact rules here; it depends entirely on your body, how the handlebar looks and what gives you the best comfort.

Flat Bars

This type of handlebar is very basic and exactly what you expect. Most bikes that you find in shops use this handlebar type as they are easy and versatile. There is the advantage of adding lots of components to your handlebar, such as lights, a bike bell, etc.

It is mostly used for mountain bikes or cross country bikes as it gives more stability and makes climbing easier. They are also quite narrow, so it is easy to navigate through trees when you are downhill biking. Another attribute is that these handlebars are light and cheaper than most other options.

The usual width can be between 580 and 780 millimeters depending on the type of bike but can be altered to fit your body.

Riser Bars

This bar type is similar to flat bars because rider bars rise from the center handlebar clamp area. The idea is that the rider can maintain an upright position. The handlebars are wider, and you can have more control

You can use bars with 20, 30, or 40-millimeter rise, depending on your body. A handlebar riser is great for the trail, and free riding is more expensive and heavier than flat bars.

Bullhorn Bars

These bars look exactly like you think they would, like bullhorns. They are used in track racing as you can tuck down and gain speed, but they are the best option for anyone who wants to do lots of uphill cycling. These bars give you a lot of room to move forward and get the best pedal position to get up those hills faster.

Cruiser Bars

These bars can be used with a basket and provide great comfort. They are used for city bikes and are a great way to cruise from one place to another.

Butterfly Bars

Perfect for long rides, this type of handlebar offers many ways to position your hands and switch that up frequently. It is very comfortable but quite heavy and can be hard to move at first, but they are a great choice for trekking and touring once you get used to them.

Aero Handlebars

This type of handlebar is used for time trial biking, usually by triathletes. The position of the handlebars makes sure that the ride can tuck to get the maximum speed out of the bike. It’s great to rest your hands and give you stability. The great thing is you can add parts to your handlebars to make them aero bars. That way, you don’t have to buy real aero bars and can switch between different bars.

Mustache Bars

These bars are comfortable but not for long distances. They look quite extra and can be great for city bikes but are not common.

How to Install Your Handlebar Extensions

Install Your Handlebar Extension

Handlebar extensions are used to give you more room for your hands to move around. Especially when you go uphill, handlebar extensions are a great way to make your ride feel a little easier.

Stem Extension

You can raise your handlebars altogether with a stem extension. This will ensure that your spine is upright and not rounded. It can help if you have back problems.

Here is how to raise or lower your handlebars for the perfect fit

It is important to first determine what kind of wrench you need. There are great Allen wrenches on Amazon that will have plenty of different sizes included.

Most bikes have a screw at the back end of the stem. You want to remove that with a wrench. You might need to find the right wrench that fits your bike type.

You will need to unscrew it, and the screw and the little plate will come off your bike. There are also two screws horizontal under the one you just removed.

You need to loosen those two, but no need to remove them entirely.

You might be able to use the same size wrench, but it could be a size up or down as well.

Now you should be able to gently pull on the handlebar, and it will slide out.

You can now take the stem handlebar extender and place it right where the handlebar just came off. The two screws on the extension should be at the bottom.

Wait to tighten the screws until you place the handlebar on top, as it is easier to get the handlebar straight.

To know how high your handlebars should be, check your seat. Your handlebars should be as high as the seat or above but not below.

You want to make sure that the stem isn’t below one of the screws. This is important. Both of the horizontal screws should be below the actual stem.

There are rings on your handlebar extensions that you can take off or add.

The bolts need to be extra tight as they are holding your handlebar extensions. Add the screw and the little plate you took off and place it back. Don’t forget to check if everything is straight and tighten it.

This YouTube video is a great tutorial on how to install them as well.

Handlebar Extensions

There are handlebar extensions that you add to your existing handlebars. There are pretty great and cheap options you can find on Amazon.

They are very easy to install with a wrench. Just slide them onto your handlebar and tighten them. Check that they are in the middle, so both hands are located in the center. They are about 16 dollars and will give you more room to place your hands on a ride.

It depends on your body and how you like to ride. Before you tighten them, try out different positions and see what works best for your body. Trying out different types of handlebars and handlebar extensions can be a great way to see what works for you and what doesn’t.

There is also an option to add horns to change flat bars into bullhorn bars, giving you more room for your hands.

Last Updated on May 29, 2023 by Danijel Cakalic

About The Author

Leave a Comment