Revamp Your Ride: Can You Change Road Bike Handlebars?

Yes, you can change road bike handlebars. Upgrading your handlebars may improve your ride and aerodynamics, and it’s a relatively simple task that can be done with basic tools.

A road bike is a valuable investment that can last you for years. It’s built to suit your needs and preferences, but sometimes your riding style may change, or you may require a different handlebar position for comfort reasons. That’s when you may need to change your road bike handlebars.

Upgrading your handlebars may improve your ride and aerodynamics, and it’s a relatively simple task that can be done with basic tools. In this article, we will guide you through the steps to change your road bike handlebars and help you choose the right type of handlebars.

Revamp Your Ride: Can You Change Road Bike Handlebars?


Factors To Consider Before Changing Your Road Bike Handlebars

Road bike handlebars are one of the most essential components of a road bike. From an aesthetic perspective, changing your handlebars also gives your bike a new look. However, there are many factors to consider before changing them. We will delve into some of the factors to consider before swapping out your old handlebars for new ones under the subheading: factors to consider before changing your road bike handlebars.

Handlebar Compatibility With Other Components

Before switching to new handlebars, you are required to ensure that they are compatible with other components in your bike. This includes the stem and the brake lever. It is essential to identify the clamp size of your stem, as the handlebar should have the same clamp diameter.

Additionally, ensure that the brake lever can fit to the new handlebars or you’ll need to purchase ones that can fit.

Your Riding Style And Intended Use

The type of handlebar can drastically impact how comfortable you are on the bike as it’s where you place your hands for a majority of the ride. With different handlebars comes various riding positions, each catering to specific riding styles.

The common handlebar types are drop bars, flat bars, and riser bars. It’s also important to consider the primary use of your bike. Commuting on the bike will require different handlebars than road racing.

Component Sizing And Compatibility With Your Body Measurements

Handlebars come in various widths, and it’s important to ensure that the width suits your body measurements. The ideal handlebar width is the measurement between your two acromion bones (commonly known as your shoulder blades). The position of the brake lever and shift should remain in a comfortable spot, and the angle of the handlebar should also be in a way that wrist strain is minimized.

Cost Implications

Cost is another crucial factor to consider before changing your road bike handlebars. Some brands may have higher costs, while others may have multiple options at affordable prices. Buying cheap may save in the short term, but could also lead to replacing parts more frequently, making purchasing a more expensive model a better investment over the long term.

How To Change Your Road Bike Handlebars

Can You Change Road Bike Handlebars?

A bike’s handlebar is one of the most important components of any bicycle. It takes the brunt of all the stress and strain of riding, and thus, it’s important to ensure that it’s in good shape. However, if your bike’s handlebar is worn out, bent, damaged, or just needs an upgrade, you might need to replace it.

But can you change your road bike handlebars yourself? The answer is yes, and with the right tools and a little know-how, it’s a simple process. In this post, we’ll discuss how to change your road bike handlebars and things to avoid during the process.

Required Tools And Equipment

To change your road bike handlebars, you will need:

  • Allen wrenches in various sizes (usually 4, 5, and 6mm)
  • A torque wrench
  • A carbon assembly paste
  • Cable cutters
  • New handlebars
  • A new stem if needed

Step-By-Step Guide To Removing Old Handlebars And Installing New Ones

Here’s a step-by-step guide that explains how to change your road bike handlebars:

  • Remove the old handlebars by loosening the clamp bolts on the stem with the appropriate allen wrenches and sliding the handlebars out of the stem.
  • Remove the bar tape or grip from the handlebars.
  • Remove the cables from the control levers but taking note of how they are routed.
  • Remove the stem from the fork steerer tube by loosening the bolts with an appropriate allen wrench and sliding the stem off the steerer tube.
  • Clean the stem and handlebars thoroughly using rubbing alcohol or any degreaser.
  • Apply a small amount of carbon assembly paste on the stem and the handlebar where it meets the stem.
  • Install the new handlebars onto the stem and clamp it securely. Make sure it’s in line with the front wheel.
  • Install the stem back onto the steerer tube, making sure it’s aligned correctly.
  • Re-route the cables according to how they were installed on the old handlebars.
  • Install the control levers on the new handlebars.
  • Finally, re-wrap the new bar tape or grips on the handlebars.

Common Mistakes To Avoid During The Process

  • Not measuring the correct diameter of the new handlebars or stem that is compatible with your bike.
  • Over-tightening the bolts on the stem and handlebar, which can cause damage to the components.
  • Routing the cables incorrectly, resulting in poor shifting or braking performance.
  • Not applying the carbon assembly paste, which can lead to slipping and damage to the handlebar and stem.

Tips For A Successful Handlebar Replacement

  • Always buy handlebars that are compatible with your bike.
  • Make sure to measure the correct diameter of the stem and handlebars.
  • Don’t over-tighten the bolts, and make sure to use a torque wrench to tighten them to the manufacturer’s recommended torque settings.
  • Use carbon assembly paste to prevent slipping of the handlebars on the stem.
  • Take your time, follow the instructions carefully, and don’t rush or force anything.

In conclusion,

Replacing your road bike handlebars might seem like a daunting task, but with the right tools, equipment, and guidance, it’s a simple process that you can do yourself. Just follow the steps mentioned above, avoid common mistakes, and you’ll have a successful handlebar replacement in no time!

Advantages And Disadvantages Of Changing Your Road Bike Handlebars

Improved Comfort And Aerodynamics

If you’re tired of being uncomfortable after long rides or want to improve your aerodynamics, changing your road bike handlebars can provide numerous benefits. Here are some advantages:

  • A more aerodynamic position can be achieved by adjusting the height and reach of the handlebars.
  • Different handlebar shapes and sizes can provide better hand positions, reducing discomfort and strain on your wrists and shoulders.
  • Improved aerodynamics create less wind drag, resulting in greater speed and efficiency during cycling.

Customizable Design To Suit Personal Preferences

Customizing your handlebars can create a unique riding experience that’s tailor-fit to your preferences. Here are some benefits:

  • Wider handlebars can provide more stability, suitable for off-road biking.
  • Different handlebar materials, such as carbon fiber, can provide a lighter and stiffer ride.
  • Various handlebar options such as drop bars, flat bars, and bullhorn bars provide different hand positions that can improve comfort and control during cycling.

Potential Disadvantages

While changing your handlebars can be beneficial, there are some potential disadvantages to keep in mind. Here are some of them:

  • Changing your handlebars can alter the fit and handling of your bike, making it feel unfamiliar and uncomfortable at first.
  • Incorrectly installed handlebars can result in improper bike fit which can lead to injuries or discomfort.
  • Upgrading your handlebars can be an expensive investment, especially if it involves additional parts such as new cables and housing.

To conclude, changing your road bike handlebars can be a beneficial investment, improving comfort, customization, and aerodynamics. However, it’s important to consider the potential disadvantages before making any changes, ensuring proper installation and taking the time to adjust to the new feel and handling of your bike.

Frequently Asked Questions On Can You Change Road Bike Handlebars

Can You Change Road Bike Handlebars Yourself?

Yes, changing road bike handlebars is a simple process. All you need are some basic tools and a little know-how.

How Much Does It Cost To Change Road Bike Handlebars?

The cost of changing road bike handlebars depends on the type you choose. On average, it can cost between $30 to $100.

Can Changing Road Bike Handlebars Improve My Ride?

Yes, changing road bike handlebars can improve your ride. When you have the right handlebars, you can ride longer, faster and more comfortably.

How Do I Choose The Right Road Bike Handlebars?

Choosing the right road bike handlebars depends on your personal preference and riding style. Factors include width, drop, and reach.


Changing road bike handlebars is not only possible but also a great way to improve your cycling experience. You have the option to customize your handlebars to fit your preferences and create a more comfortable ride. However, the process requires some knowledge and technique, so it’s essential to get professional help or do thorough research before undertaking this project.

With the right tools and guidance, you can successfully modify your bike’s handlebars and enjoy a smoother and more efficient ride. Remember to prioritize safety and follow proper procedures when making any adjustments to your bike. With this guide, you can confidently tackle the task of changing your road bike handlebars and experience the benefits of a personalized, comfortable cycling experience.

Happy cycling!

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