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Need more handlebar height

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Need more handlebar height

Old 12-04-08, 09:10 PM
  #1  
AdventureMan
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Need more handlebar height

I just bought a new bike. First one I've had in over 20 yrs. I guess I've forgotten how to adjust things. The seat height was too low, I was able to easily adjust that up about 1.5 inches. However, the handlebars are down about the same amount. I cannot figure out how to raise them.

Here are two pictures. The first shows where I tried to adjust the handlebar height, but using what I thought was an allen head bolt that would loosen the stem in the frame. But all that did was remove a cover on top the stem.




The second picture shows that cover removed, but I do not see any way to raise or even lower the stem and handlebar height.


Last edited by AdventureMan; 12-04-08 at 09:15 PM.
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Old 12-04-08, 09:23 PM
  #2  
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you'll need to unscrew all the screws on the stem and take it completely off. then flip it upside down and reconnect.
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Old 12-04-08, 09:26 PM
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In older bikes equipped with quill stems you could raise the stem height but in modern bikes this is not possible.

You add spacers around the steerer tube and rest the stem on top of them. You top it off with a cap that holds everything in place (not too tight, it will crush your headset bearings) and then tighten the bolts in the stem which will clamp on to the steerer tube. In this setup you can lower the stem position by taking off spacers and cutting the steerer tube to the correct length (as long as you do not go lower than the cap bolt) but you cannot add spacers to increase the stem mount height.

You will have to either get a stem with a steeper slope so the handlebar will be in a higher position or get an adjustable stem where you could adjust the angle. Either way your handlebar reach will change, so take this into consideration when selecting a new stem.

Last edited by rishardh; 12-04-08 at 09:34 PM.
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Old 12-04-08, 10:19 PM
  #4  
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http://www.parktool.com/repair/readhowto.asp?id=65

Scroll down to "Headset Adjustment - Threadless Type" to be sure you get the headset adjusted properly after you flip the stem.

If you still need the bars higher, you will need to get a stem with more rise.

To lower the bars, you can take spacers out from under them and move them up on top of the stem.
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Old 12-05-08, 02:51 AM
  #5  
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Originally Posted by rishardh View Post
In older bikes equipped with quill stems you could raise the stem height but in modern bikes this is not possible.

You add spacers around the steerer tube and rest the stem on top of them. You top it off with a cap that holds everything in place (not too tight, it will crush your headset bearings) and then tighten the bolts in the stem which will clamp on to the steerer tube. In this setup you can lower the stem position by taking off spacers and cutting the steerer tube to the correct length (as long as you do not go lower than the cap bolt) but you cannot add spacers to increase the stem mount height.

You will have to either get a stem with a steeper slope so the handlebar will be in a higher position or get an adjustable stem where you could adjust the angle. Either way your handlebar reach will change, so take this into consideration when selecting a new stem.
The also make stem risers that mount above the stem, the handlebar mounts to the riser:
http://www.ebikestop.com/delta_alloy...lver-57804.php

You could also replace the handlebars with some that have more rise:

http://www.merlincycles.co.uk/?fn=ca...&categoryId=74

OR

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...Name=WDVW&rd=1
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Old 12-05-08, 03:12 AM
  #6  
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Originally Posted by crocodilefundy View Post
you'll need to unscrew all the screws on the stem and take it completely off. then flip it upside down and reconnect.
Originally Posted by gmcttr View Post
http://www.parktool.com/repair/readhowto.asp?id=65

Scroll down to "Headset Adjustment - Threadless Type" to be sure you get the headset adjusted properly after you flip the stem.

If you still need the bars higher, you will need to get a stem with more rise.
You get a lot of different bits of advice when you ask a question here.
I've filtered them for you.
Do what these two say FIRST, then look into other options.
If you're not sure how to get it adjusted right at the end, please swing by your local bike guys to double check. Only takes a second.
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Old 12-05-08, 08:10 AM
  #7  
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yeah, you were operating like it was a quill stem. this is different: the stem clamps directly onto the bike's steerer tube, and in adjusting the stem, you need to be careful to keep the headset tension the same.
So follow the advice of the first two posters, as Metzinger says.

It looks like your stem is angled downwards, so you can flip it and it'll be angled upwards with respect to the stem, which should get you the 1.5 inches that you want.
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Old 12-05-08, 10:02 AM
  #8  
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I would think the shop where you bought the bike would flip the stem for you, if that will add height. They might even change stems for you, at little or no cost, if that would work better. I would take it back and ask what they can/will do.
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Old 12-08-08, 07:00 AM
  #9  
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Thanks to all your replies. However, I am now totally confused! Not really, but close. I'm still trying to understand "flip the stem". Is the stem the portion of the handlebar assembly that goes off to the left in my original picture; the part that's horizontal with the white sticker on it? I thought the stem was the portion that went INTO the headset; the part that is vertical. This is probably why I'm confused. Trust me, that's not hard to do.

I am gonna take it to the bike shop ASAP. The bike is ride-able, but I could tell on my short ride the other day my neck and shoulders would be hurting if I rode more. I have the same thing happen with my motorcycles; I always have to raise the handlebars a bit so I can sit more upright.

Thanks again for the help and links. I have been reading the info at the links and it's helping me understand this new hobby.
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Old 12-08-08, 07:20 AM
  #10  
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Originally Posted by AdventureMan View Post
..Is the stem the portion of the handlebar assembly that goes off to the left in my original picture; the part that's horizontal with the white sticker on it?
Yes.

Originally Posted by AdventureMan View Post
....I thought the stem was the portion that went INTO the headset;
You are talking about the old stuff. There are two different systems available, the old style, with a threaded fork and a quill stem. In that system the stem would have one "leg" that went into the steerer tube of the fork vertically, and one that would protrude forward(to a lesser or greater degree) to hold the bar. Then there's the "new" system, where the steerer tube of the fork is left long enough to protrude above the top of the frame, and to serve as the vertical part of the "old" quill stems. For the "new" system the stem is pretty much only a straight part. (doesn't have to be horizontal though.)


Originally Posted by AdventureMan View Post
.....I could tell on my short ride the other day my neck and shoulders would be hurting if I rode more.
That's very much an adaptation issue. If you ride regularly and with a bit of dedication you won't be putting that much weight on your arms and shoulders eventually.

Originally Posted by AdventureMan View Post
..I am gonna take it to the bike shop ASAP.
That can wait awhile. The bar should come away from the stem easily enough, and since you already know how to remove the cap you're only two bolts away from getting the stem off. Flip, reinstall and have parktools or sheldonbrown guide you through how to set the preload up.
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Old 12-08-08, 09:42 AM
  #11  
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dbac did a good job of explaining the difference between threaded (old) and threadless (new) headset systems, and why you have the latter.
If you need more explanation, Sheldon Brown's website has an article with pictures:
http://sheldonbrown.com/headsets.html

As for "flipping" the stem, some threadless stems leave the steerer tube at a 90 degree angle. For these, flipping the stem will not change the handlebar height.
But for most stems, they leave the fork's steerer tube at a less-than or more-than 90 degree angle. And flipping the stem changes less-than-90 to more-than-90, and vice versa.

Here are a couple of pictures of such a stem. In both pictures, the part that clamps to the fork's steerer tube is on the left, and the part that clamps to the handlebar is on the right. The stem is flipped between the two pictures; in the first picture it is angled down and the second picture it is angled up.
This stem has a 7-degree difference (as labeled) and so when it's down it comes off the fork's steerer tube at an 83 degree angle, when it's up it comes off at a 97 degree angle.
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Old 12-08-08, 12:21 PM
  #12  
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Ritchey makes an adjustable stem that is as rigid/tight as a one-piece, as I was surprised to find out. They come in the standard reaches of 90mm to 120mm and infinitely adjustable for angle. Worth taking a look at. It would likely be the last stem you'll buy.
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Old 12-08-08, 02:56 PM
  #13  
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Originally Posted by Panthers007 View Post
It would likely be the last stem you'll buy.
that is, until you nail down your preferred position and then buy a lighter-weight stem that puts your bars in that position.

Seriously though, having an angle-adjustable stem can be really useful to have around, giving you great adjustability between rides, if you'd like to shift your position a bit. Not a bad idea.

I still just recommend flipping your stem since you said that you wanted to get the bars 1.5 inches higher.
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Old 12-09-08, 10:11 AM
  #14  
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I would like to suggest that you invest in one or both of Lenard Zinn's books on Roadbike or Mountainbike books...Zinn and the art of...They are a very worthwhile read and would get you updated on the state of the bicycle parts used today. Also, Performance www.performancebike.com/ usually has sales on bike tool kits by Park and others. This would be a good investment if you are planning on riding a lot. They are also a source for Zinn's books. Good luck. I have one of the extenders for threadless stems when I needed height on the steerer tube (let me know if you are interested in it by PM). One thing I hate about off the shelf bikes is the fact that everyone cuts the steerer tubes off too short before they sell the bikes...big mistake. There are spacers made for the proper adjustment for bar height.
The proper position is critical if you are going to enjoy riding or not. At 65 I am no longer riding in the racing position from my teenage years. With a good fit and a steel bike 100 miles is no problem for these old body parts...I am investing in a hot tub next year thou! Good luck.
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Old 12-15-08, 06:31 AM
  #15  
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One I read through the very good help above, I had no trouble flipping the stem as many here suggested. It was very simple once I read here then went back to the garage. Took me all of maybe 5 minutes.

I also picked up a copy of Zinn's book. Wow, it's much more inclusive than I thought, but it is a good read even if I don't pick up a wrench. <g>
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