A Complete Guide on How to Change Bike Handlebars

Mountain biking is a tremendous amount of fun. There’s nothing like ripping down a trail in the forest and embracing nature. You might be riding for fitness, you might love the challenge of rough terrain, or it might be a social outing. Whatever your reasons may be, very few people return from a ride without a smile on their face.

One thing that can improve the experience is having the right handlebars for you. It can help you with handling, change your position on the bike and make your bike look much cooler. To find the right handlebars for you, check out Jenson USA’s massive selection of bike handlebars.

In this article, we’ll teach you about:

Video: How to Remove and Install Bike Handlebars


Tools to Remove and Install Bike Handlebars

So now you have your new handlebars ready, and it’s time to start removing your old set ready. Before we start pulling our bikes to pieces, we need to ensure we have the proper tools. This is what we recommend:

How to Remove Bike Handlebars

You have your tools ready, you're in a safe working environment, and your new handlebars are unboxed and ready to go. Let's start taking the bike apart.

Step 1: Dismantle the Bars

The first thing you will want to do is take a picture of the position your bars are currently in. I would take one from the front, side, and top. You will need this later. The second thing you're going to need to do is remove everything from the handlebars.

Step 2: Undo the Stem Plate

Once everything is off your bars, it’s time to remove the bars themselves. Typically most modern bikes will be on a standard stem. This will have four bolts at the front you will need to remove. It will be a small allen key fitment, and you’re going to want to make sure you keep the bolts safe, and when removing the last bolt, make sure to hold the bars.

How to Install Bike Handlebars

By now, your bike looks like it’s fallen apart but don’t worry, as it's time to rebuild it all back up again. Before we start, you're going to want to ensure the new Handlebars you have are the correct size and will be safe when fitted. Typically the most common stems are 31.8mm on the modern-day market.

Step One: Add the new Handlebars

The first thing you want to do is pop the handlebars into the stem making sure it fits correctly. Lightly tighten up the stem bolts, adding a drop of Loctite in each hole. If you are fitting Carbon Fiber handlebars, you will want to use some Carbon Paste. Lightly nip the bolts up, but make sure they are loose enough for you to adjust the handlebars' position.

Step Two: Get them in the Correct Position

Get the pictures out you took earlier and get the bars roughly into the position you had the older set. Now stand over the bike and get a feel for their place, confirming it is about right. Now you need to tighten up the stem bolts. You will have to use the torque wrench here, and you will typically find the torque setting to be written on the stem. If not, check with the manufacturer's settings.

Step Three: Tighten the Stem Bolts

You will want to tighten these up in a specific order to ensure the plate goes on level. A general rule of thumb is to tighten the stem bolts in an 'X' pattern. Tighten your stem bolts in this order:

  • Lower Right
  • Top Left
  • Top Right
  • Lower Left

Step Four: Attach the Components

Now it is time to start putting all your parts back on. You will have to return them to the handlebars in the reverse order compared to when you took them off. Typically it will be shifters, brakes, and grips. Use the pictures you took earlier to ensure they are in the correct position.

When finally coming to tighten them up, ensure that you use the recommended torque settings for each component and they are tight and secure. I would recommend mounting the bike and getting a feel to ensure everything is in the right place.

Bike Handlebar FAQ's


What is the best brand of bike handlebars?

There are many brands on the market, and each makes incredible and unique products. Deity, RitcheyOneUp Components, Renthal and Spank are our top choices of handlebar manufacturers

How do I know what size handlebars I need?

Typically it goes on the width of your shoulders and your height. We would recommend having a proper bike fit to get it 100% right, but looking at the manufacturer's guide is a good start.

Can I put straight handlebars on a road bike?

You can, yes, but It is not recommended. You will have to change your shifters and your brakes, and also it will completely change the geometry of the road bike. I would personally look at investing in a hybrid road bike flat bar instead.

Are all bicycle handlebars the same diameter?

They are not typically. Most modern bars are 31.8mm, but other sizes include 22.2mm, 25.4mm, and 35.0mm.

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