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Can BMX Handlebars Be Raised? (Everything You Need to Know)

BMX is well-known amongst the biking community as lightweight, uncomplicated bikes that allow the rider to perform tricks and stunts that are rather difficult if not impossible on other bikes.

The same attributes that help make the bike so unique are also the reason why not much customization can be done on it unless you want to take it all apart. That does not mean you are out of options when looking for ways to increase the height of the bike.

Can BMX handlebars be raised?

You can raise the handlebars of BMX bikes for further comfort, customization, and ease of use. For old-style threaded bikes, you can raise the handlebar by replacing the quill or stem. For newer threadless models you can easily get an extension if not a replacement.

As mentioned earlier, BMX bikes tend to run in two styles, the older having a threaded headset and the newer being threadless. Raising the handlebar depends on the style you are running on for that determines whether you can find the parts and tools needed for it.

How to raise BMX handlebars?

There are certain ways you can raise the handlebar of your beloved BMX bike. Assuming you have already raised the handlebar as much as the predisposed adjustments would allow, the solutions depend on the style of the headset.

Most people prefer having the handlebar at the same level of their shoulder width. It should also be kept in mind that BMX bikes are not meant for comfortable seated pedaling.

The tools needed are an adjustable wrench (just make sure they are big enough) and an Allen key. To raise the handlebar, these are the steps you need to follow

  • First, you need to check if you can adjust the stem. This allows you to finetune the handlebar instead of getting a new one when you outgrow the bike. The stem is the part that connects the handlebar with your bicycle.
  • Now that you know where the stem is, you need to loosen the screws that are on the stem. Make sure the bike is positioned properly before starting. The bolts are at the back, use the Allen key to loosen them and slide them away.
  • After making sure the height is where you want them by pulling them upwards- ideally this means you do not have to strain to reach the handlebar, put the stem back in their original position.
  • Replace the spacers with the ones you want and leave a gap of 3 to 5 mm for the headset top cap to clamp properly.
  • Last but certainly not least, align the stem with the front wheel so it is at a right angle. After this, torque the stem clamp uniformly and test the adjustment.

If it feels wobbly, tighten it once more before using it on the trek. Always tighten it properly so it does not fall off while in transit.

Let’s say you do not have enough spacers to give you the height you want, in this case, you could try flipping the stem to see if that helps.

Another tip is when loosening the nut or bolt, do not completely dismantle it for it might make reassembly rather difficult. Just loosen it enough to manipulate things.

It should also be noted that some manufacturers make sure the handle can’t be raised by welding them. This is done to prevent wheel wobbling.

How high should BMX bars be?

The height of your BMX bar honestly depends on how you are using the bike. For “sporty” needs (IE racing, stunt performance) the handlebar is usually low. For normal riding, the bar is positioned rather higher.

This means, for racing or performing, the handlebar is lowered underneath the seat so you are in a bent position that gives you the aerodynamics you need for swifter riding.

On the flip side, for normal joyrides, the handlebar should be slightly higher than the seat so you can maintain an upright position while riding.

Modern bars have increased the height, width, and rise of the bike, which is great news for taller riders since this means they do not have to stay hunched over. It is advised, however, that the rise should not be more than 10 inches.

Usually, if the rider is around 5 feet tall the bar height is about 3 to 5 inches with junior frame size. The tallest available, or “pro” frame size has a bar of 7 to 8 inches.

How do you measure BMX handlebars?

To measure your BMX handlebar, you need a few tools. A flathead screwdriver, measuring tape, oil (to deal with high friction surfaces), and an at least 32 inches long object with a straight edge (think of a really long ruler) would be more than enough to help with the measurements.

For width, you need to loosen the brakes by disconnecting the kit from the handlebar and then untighten it. Use the oil in the gap so you can twist the grip enough to pull it away from the central area.

After this you will simply have to place the measuring tape from one side to the other, and voila! You have successfully measured the width of the handlebar.

This measurement tends to be around 27 to 30 inches.

Moving on to measuring the rise of your handlebar, place the ruler or your preferred large straight object at the open ends. This will help to align the center of the bar which is at the end of the handlebar tube.

After this, pull the measuring tape from the center of the bar that’s connected to the stem to the top point of your ruler. The measurement from the upper side of the straight edge ruler is the rise of your handlebar.

This measurement should be around 7 to 8 inches. 

How to raise BMX stem?

As mentioned earlier, BMX stems are of two kinds, threaded and threadless. If you have an old-school threaded stem, all you have to do is to loosen the big bolt on top of the stem, lift the bars up as much as you want, and tighten the stem nut again.

In the case of threadless stems, you can move your spacers (the aluminum or carbon rings in the area of the stem). Move it above to lower your stem, below to, understandably, raise it.

You can also raise it by flipping it, as well replacing them. Another rather obvious choice is to add a stem extender, which will, as the name suggests, extend your BMX’s stem.

What angle should BMX bars be?

The common consensus is to keep the handlebar perfectly in line with your forks, which is also a good starting point for beginners. If you need more legroom you can put it a tad bit forward.

If you are unsure you can line it up with your steer tube so you have a starting point. Once you are past the stage of a beginner you can start to change it up a little to feel the different angles out and realize which one works best for you.

This angle is known as upsweep (the upward angle of the grip section) and the average upsweep is somewhere between 1 to 5 degrees. The perfect angle for you should provide comfort and minimize your wrist hurting after a session.

How do I check my handlebar alignment?

It is rather easy to check your handlebar’s alignment. If you want to check in case something feels off in your sessions, first you have to line the front and back wheel of your bike.

You can do this by placing two boards (preferably flat) or metal trusses on both sides of the wheels and clamp them.

After this, first, measure the distance from the end of both handlebars to the ground. Now measure the distance again from the end of both handlebars to the center of the bike.

If the asymmetry is of a few millimeters, it should make no difference since most bikes have some form of imbalance already.

How do you align BMX handlebars?

If you want to align your bike’s handlebar, the first thing you have to do is find the best position where you are comfortable and can maneuver the handlebars to your mercy.

The handlebar needs to be easy to reach and you should be able to turn them 180 degrees without scraping your knees or chest. 

If you are of taller stature, raise the height with special spacers. Contrastingly, if you think you’re on the shorter side, remove the spacers.

Make sure the handlebars are vertical in their position, by the way.

How do you stop BMX handlebars from moving?

If you feel like your BMX handlebar has become loose and so is frustrating to use, there are a few ways you can fix this issue.

To begin with, you can make sure to fit the bar securely on the stem. If this doesn’t fix it, replace the stem altogether.

When fixing any issues with the handlebar, always make sure it is in the correct position in order to avoid any mishap.

Adjusting your BMX bike’s handlebar so it fits you perfectly is both an easy process while having its own nuances. It is simple enough for you to be able to do it yourself, but there is absolutely no harm in contacting a professional to make sure it’s done well to complete perfection. 

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