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Old 12-22-13, 11:31 PM   #1
draco_m
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How to raise handlebars on bike? Other thoughts on converting mtn bike to hybrid.

I am converting an old-school mountain bike to a hybrid-type bike. The bike is a Bridgestone MB-3 I bought new in 1994. This is a steel-framed mountain bike with a rigid fork. I donít really ride this bike off road any more. Most riding is on paved surfaces or hard-packed dirt paths. So Iím making some changes to get it to be more comfortable for my riding style.

So far I have replaced the seat with a more ergonomic/comfortable saddle. That has been a great help. Next, I replaced the wide knobby-type tires with Continental Town and Country tires. Great improvement Ė the bike is now faster, quieter, and smoother.

My only complaint now is too much of my weight is on my wrists. Itís uncomfortable after a half hour and really uncomfortable after 3 hours. My guess is I simply need to raise the handlebars so more of my weight is on my seat instead of my wrists. Does that sound correct?
If that is the case, what is the least expensive way to do so? Bike has a threaded headset and I already moved it to the top of the range but itís still too low since half my weight is on my wrists. Would a device like this be what I need?

http://www.amazon.com/Summit-Quill-S...rds=stem+riser

Iíd love feedback. The more the better!
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Old 12-22-13, 11:59 PM   #2
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I have a '94 MB-3, too, and sort of the same problem--it was too small the day I bought it, but I was blinded by desire....
I eventually replaced the stem, which is what you SHOULD do. Rivendell, www.rivbike.com, is one place to get tall stems. They can be pretty expensive, though. The riser you showed will certainly work, and it's inexpensive enough. I'd be a little nervous about putting a cheap piece of unknown quality in such a critical spot, but if it's what you can afford, it's what you can afford. But look here first. Riv's stuff is pricey, but they don't sell junk: http://www.rivbike.com/Nitto-Stems-s/108.htm
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Old 12-23-13, 08:25 AM   #3
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Three words: Nitto Technomic Stem. That'll give you a couple of inches which, when you're doing handlebar adjustments, is a lot. The picture shows you what one looks like.

You'll have to re-cable your bike. Your existing cables and housings will almost surely be too short and you'll have to remove the shifter and brake lever from one side anyway to move the handlebar to your new stem. Probably need new cables with the stem riser too.

Technomic stems come in different reach sizes too. As you raise your handlebar it will also move closer to you. Think about where you want your hands to be. The old school rule of thumb is the handlebar should block your view of the front hub. If it was my bike, I'd just keep messing with the handlebar until I was happy with how the bike feels and not worry too much about what anybody else has to say.
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Old 12-23-13, 08:33 AM   #4
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If I'm understanding you correctly, you are keeping the original bars and not going to drop bars? If that is the case, save yourself some $$ and go for one of these:http://www.jensonusa.com/!bOShEr4H5u...FbB9OgodVmkAsg. They look great on a vintage mountain bike and give lots of rise. They also have a drilled cable stop for your front cantilever brakes if you need it. If raising the bars is not enough, then I would try a "northroad" style handlebar. The sweep of the bar will place your wrists in a more neutral position. Good luck.
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Old 12-23-13, 10:14 AM   #5
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Riser handlebars come in 1", 2" and 4" heights for starters.
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Old 12-23-13, 10:18 AM   #6
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before you change anything
you should know that most often
handlebar position is not the cause of excess weight on the hands

most often
excess weigh on the hands is caused by
and can be alleviated by an adjustment of
the saddle position

a saddle tilted nose down
even a little bit
is the most common cause of excessive weight loaded on the hands

if your saddle is uncomfortable when perfectly level
or even slightly nose up
then you either need a new saddle
or the saddle is too high
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Old 12-23-13, 10:23 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by likebike23 View Post
If I'm understanding you correctly, you are keeping the original bars and not going to drop bars? If that is the case, save yourself some $$ and go for one of these:http://www.jensonusa.com/!bOShEr4H5u...FbB9OgodVmkAsg. They look great on a vintage mountain bike and give lots of rise. They also have a drilled cable stop for your front cantilever brakes if you need it. If raising the bars is not enough, then I would try a "northroad" style handlebar. The sweep of the bar will place your wrists in a more neutral position. Good luck.
Oops, I just changed my opinion. That's the one I'd go with too.
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Old 12-23-13, 10:57 AM   #8
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Thanks so much for this feedback. My saddle is perfectly flat. I guess I don't understand how my saddle angle would control how much weight is on my wrists. I'm pretty bent over when I grab my handlebars. Please see attached picture.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Wilfred Laurier View Post
before you change anything
you should know that most often
handlebar position is not the cause of excess weight on the hands

most often
excess weigh on the hands is caused by
and can be alleviated by an adjustment of
the saddle position

a saddle tilted nose down
even a little bit
is the most common cause of excessive weight loaded on the hands

if your saddle is uncomfortable when perfectly level
or even slightly nose up
then you either need a new saddle
or the saddle is too high
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Old 12-23-13, 11:03 AM   #9
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Okay guys. $15 is certainly in my budget.

Now that you see the picture in post #8 what is your advice? Should I buy a stem riser for $12 and use my existing stem? Or should I buy a new stem with a longer neck (is that the correct term?) for $15 or $20?

Regarding sizing - this is the correct size bike for me. When I stand above the top tube with feet flat on the ground I have about 1.5 or 2 inches of clearance. The seat is also correctly adjusted - my leg is almost completely straight at the bottom of the stroke. So the only thing I can think to adjust is the handlebar height. Feedback appreciated!

Also, how do I measure what width I need? Is it a standard size?
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Old 12-23-13, 11:13 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by draco_m View Post
Now that you see the picture in post #8 what is your advice? Should I buy a stem riser for $12 and use my existing stem? Or should I buy a new stem with a longer neck (is that the correct term?) for $15 or $20?
I'd still buy the Kalloy. They're cheap and good.

Quote:
Regarding sizing - this is the correct size bike for me. When I stand above the top tube with feet flat on the ground I have about 1.5 or 2 inches of clearance. The seat is also correctly adjusted - my leg is almost completely straight at the bottom of the stroke. So the only thing I can think to adjust is the handlebar height. Feedback appreciated!
Having 2" of clearance to the top tube when you stand over the bike doesn't automatically mean it's the right size (since standing over a bike isn't a part of actually riding the thing), but you're probably in the ballpark.

A saddle that has the nose tilted down causes the rider to slide forward ever so gradually. Having to constantly push back with the hands to correct your positioning is what Wilfred was referring to.
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Old 12-23-13, 11:48 AM   #11
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Those steel tube stem riser work OK ,, I used one to do a threaded to threadless conversion
the lower OD is 7/8" the upper ID is 7/8",the outer is 1" , so a common shim to use a 9/8" stem works fine.

there are tall Quill adjustable angle stems as well ..
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Old 12-23-13, 11:55 AM   #12
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1. Before doing anything, carefully measure in millimeters the diameter of your stem where it enters the headset. (If you don't have a caliper, gently clamp a crescent wrench around the shank and measure between the jaws. If it's not 22.2 mm, forget trying to find a riser stem and just go for the stem riser.
2. You might be tempted to skip re-cabeling your bike but I wouldn't. You really need to have enough slack in your cables to allow you to turn your handlebar all the way from one side to the other.
3. Just looking at your bike, I suspect it's a bit small for you. Measure from your seat to the ground and from your handlebar to the ground. Casual cyclists generally like their handlebar even or even a little higher than their saddle. Grant Peterson, who designed that bike, is a vocal proponent of the handlebar even with saddle school of thought. More than a couple inches of difference = a racer boy fit.
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Old 12-23-13, 01:30 PM   #13
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Your seatpost doesn't look excessively high for a mountain bike. I wouldn't worry that the bike is to large/small based on what I'm seeing. Lots of early mountain bikes were setup with an aggressive position (lots of drop between the saddle and bars). Seriously, just go with the Kalloy stem I linked to. Those extenders are goofy (picture the 40 year old virgin), furthermore, it's never going to be as strong as the Kalloy stem either. Get the silver one and you'll be good to go. The suggestion to recable the bike is valid too. When you raise the bars it's going to pull the slack from the system. Try the stem and see first, it may not be absolutely necessary.
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Old 12-23-13, 01:34 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by draco_m View Post
I am converting an old-school mountain bike to a hybrid-type bike. The bike is a Bridgestone MB-3 I bought new in 1994. This is a steel-framed mountain bike with a rigid fork. I don’t really ride this bike off road any more. Most riding is on paved surfaces or hard-packed dirt paths. So I’m making some changes to get it to be more comfortable for my riding style.

So far I have replaced the seat with a more ergonomic/comfortable saddle. That has been a great help. Next, I replaced the wide knobby-type tires with Continental Town and Country tires. Great improvement – the bike is now faster, quieter, and smoother.

My only complaint now is too much of my weight is on my wrists. It’s uncomfortable after a half hour and really uncomfortable after 3 hours. My guess is I simply need to raise the handlebars so more of my weight is on my seat instead of my wrists. Does that sound correct?
If that is the case, what is the least expensive way to do so? Bike has a threaded headset and I already moved it to the top of the range but it’s still too low since half my weight is on my wrists. Would a device like this be what I need?

http://www.amazon.com/Summit-Quill-S...rds=stem+riser

I’d love feedback. The more the better!
A simple way to raise your bars..........
http://www.amazon.com/Wald-Hi-Rise-S...ndlebar+risers
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Old 12-23-13, 04:46 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by draco_m View Post
I guess I don't understand how my saddle angle would control how much weight is on my wrists. I'm pretty bent over when I grab my handlebars.
It's possible your saddle is too far back. This could cause you to have to lean too far forward and put more weight on your wrists. Check your fore/aft adjustment with this pic:


With one of your cranks pointed straight ahead,and the ball of your foot on the pedal spindle,check for a straight line from the front of your knee to the pedal spindle.

This may not fix your problem,but it will at least rule something out,and it won't cost you anything.
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Old 12-23-13, 05:40 PM   #16
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your saddle does appear pretty level
so that is probably not the cause
but you could try tilting it back one notch
as that is a free and easily reversed change

the mechanism that a forward tilted saddle causes pressure on the hand
is that you weight slides forwards
and your hands have to brace against your weight sliding forward

it might be slightly counterintuitive
but this is knowledge i gained through decades
of selling
designing
and building bikes
and through talking to thousands of cyclists
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Old 12-23-13, 07:31 PM   #17
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"Pop top" riser stem with 3" riser bars. Looks goofy but very comfortable. This frame is small for me but it is my beater/foul weather bike so I wanted plenty of stand over room. It has a long wheel base so I'm not cramped despite the short height.

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Old 12-23-13, 10:13 PM   #18
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Thank you all. I've gotten some really great advice from you guys. I think Santa is bringing me a little Christmas cash, so I'll make a decision soon. I plan to report back as well.
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Old 12-24-13, 08:12 AM   #19
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NITTO Technomic for 59$:
http://harriscyclery.net/sitesearch....SiteSearch.y=0

But beware. Sometimes raising the bars causes other things on your body to hurt. For instance, I cannot ride with bars above saddle or my back hurts.

Make sure this stem is the right one for your steerer tube. Harris cyclery could probably tell you over the phone. Your stem should have some dimensions etched into it that you can read when you remove it.

SAFETY NOTE:
Also, be sure you don't set this tall stem too low into the butted area of steer tube or else the stem wedge won't have a flat surface to be pressed against when you tighten it. Stem may loosen unexpectedly.

Scroll down this page to see description and picture of this:
http://sheldonbrown.com/handsup.html
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Old 12-25-13, 12:36 PM   #20
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Why confine yourself to one hand position. Without changing my bars I added bar-ends, inboard for a jockey-like position and later an aero bar for two-more positions. See my commute video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=12EyzRuPlZA
The bar ends were less than 20 bucks!
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Old 12-25-13, 01:52 PM   #21
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The bar ends were less than 20 bucks!
trekking figure 8 bend bars are about $20 now too..
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Old 12-25-13, 09:21 PM   #22
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trekking figure 8 bend bars are about $20 now too..
I have them on my other 2 bikes and I really like them. Here's one.....

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Old 12-26-13, 12:46 AM   #23
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A bit different use.. mine are a bit higher than the saddle , and rotated fairly flat .
a favorite hand rest is open palm laid on the sides ..

but the bars themselves serve in many user preferences.
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Old 12-26-13, 06:02 AM   #24
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A bit different use.. mine are a bit higher than the saddle , and rotated fairly flat .
a favorite hand rest is open palm laid on the sides ..
So are mine on my other bike but I don't have any good pics of it ditto on the hand position on that bike. The relationship of my cables to the stem won't let me flatten the bars on this bike unless I wanted the cables on top and the front of the bars lower than the rear but for this bike this position actually works well.
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Old 12-27-13, 05:22 AM   #25
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I had a similar problem with my Hard Rock. The solution was rotating the handlebars a few degrees. It went from painful hands in <20 minutes to never painful. Try it out.
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