Riders from all walks of cycling, from road racers to pleasure riders, often focus on saddle height when it comes to adjusting their ebikes. Whilst the saddle is an important adjustment to get right, many overlook how integral handlebar height is to riding posture and overall comfort.
It is unclear as to why the handlebar's role in rider comfort is often overlooked but it is. Your handlebars are connected to a stem -the height-adjustable element of your ebike's handlebars- that secures them to the frame. But before we get to the "how" we shall first ask "why?".
Why Do I Need to Adjust My Ebike's Handlebars?
You may never have considered the position of your handlebars and the truth is that you don’t need to be raising your ebike handlebars, much like you don’t need to adjust your saddle height. But handlebar adjustment will be highly beneficial to the rider’s comfort level, allowing them to enjoy riding more and sustain longer periods in the saddle.
Benefits of Properly Adjusted Handlebars
Different riding goals benefit from different handlebar heights. Depending on your riding goal -racing or recreational- you’re going to want your handlebar height adjusted to suit your riding goal.
Raised Handlebars Benefits - Raising bicycle handlebars above your saddle height puts you in a much more comfortable riding position. Getting the raise right will improve your riding posture and reduce or eliminate any back and neck pain you may have whilst riding. This is the preferred adjustment for recreational riders.
Lowered Handlebars Benefits - Lowering your handlebars below the height of your saddle draws the rider into leaning forward, placing more weight over the front wheel resulting in an increase in traction. This riding position is more centered, meaning a lower center of gravity, increased control, and a much more aerodynamic riding position. This is the preferred adjustment for racers.
Before we get to raising the handlebars there’re a few components whose names we need to familiarize ourselves with. There are as follows:
Handlebars - Self-explanatory. The handlebar is the horizontal bar you hold onto and steer with. This is joined to the rest of the ebike via the stem. This is the reason you are here - to learn how to raise the handlebars on a bicycle and more specifically on an electric bicycle.
Stem - The stem is what connects the handlebars to the steerer tube. The name stem suggests the vertical element, but this is not so. The stem is the part that connects the vertical steerer tube to the horizontal handlebars.
Faceplate - The faceplate is the part of the stem furthest from the rider. It is bolted to the stem, usually by 4 bolts, and fixes the handlebars in place.
Pinch Bolts - Pinch bolts are the bolts used to connect the stem to the steering tube. So the name is because they literally pinch the stem onto the tube to secure it in place.
Steerer Tube - The Steerer tube attaches the handlebars to the fork through the ebike frame, allowing you to steer the wheel of your ebike through the frame.
Spacers - Spacers are slotted over the steerer tube to give the handlebars extra height. These are moved to lower and raise the handlebars to the desired height.
Top Cap - This is the cap of the steerer tube that holds this whole setup securely in place.
Headset - The bearing which allows this whole design to work. This is the “ring” on top of the frame below the lowest spacer.
How to Raise Handlebars on Ebike
Firstly, not all ebikes are created equal and If you’re lucky enough to have an adjustable stem, like the one on our Pace 500 and Pace 500 Step-Through, then you may not need to Move Spacers or Flip the Stem. Scroll down to the Adjustable Stems section to learn how to quickly and easily raise or lower your handlebars with your adjustable stem. If you have our SINCH ebike then you’re in for an even easier ride when it comes to adjusting your handlebars! Scroll down to the Adjusting the SINCH section to find out how to do so.
In each section, we’ve noted which of our Aventon ebikes each method applies to. There are multiple ways you can adjust the height of your handlebars and here we’re going to discuss all of them.
IMPORTANT NOTE: When raising your handlebars ensure that there is enough slack in your brake cable to allow you to raise them. If there is not enough slack in your brake cables then they can get ripped out when you next use your ebike. Not good!
- Multitool or set of Hex Keys
It is highly recommended that you use an ebike stand to support your ebike whilst you’re working on it. If you’re not using a stand then have someone else help by supporting your ebike whilst you work on it. If you have no stand and no other help then you’re going to have to straddle your ebike throughout these processes.
Applicable Aventon Models: AVENTURE, LEVEL, PACE 500, PACE 350
Most ebikes have around 1 inch worth of spacers on them. These spacers are of a few different sizes, allowing smaller adjustments of various heights to be made. Increments this small don’t sound like much but will make a huge difference to your riding experience.
Before you begin, work out which spacers you want to move and where. Moving spacers from above the stem to below it will raise your handlebars, moving spacers from below the stem to above it will lower your handlebars.
Loosen the pinch bolts on the back of the stem. Only slightly loosening them here to facilitate ease of removing the top cap.
Remove the top cap from the steerer tube, and then remove any spacers located between it and the stem.
Continue loosening the pinch bolts on the back of the stem. Loosen each one a little bit in turn so that one is never too much tighter or looser than the other. Once you can slide the stem off, do so.
Add or remove spacers to make your desired adjustments.
Slide the stem back onto the steerer tube, then slide on any spacers you have leftover.
Whether it be the stem or a spacer at the top of the stack, its top lip should sit slightly above that of the steerer tube; this ensures that the top cap can properly clamp down on to the steerer tube.
It is at this point that you should check to ensure there is enough slack in your brake cables.
Replace the top cap and tighten it until you get some resistance. This preloads the headset.
Align the stem with the front tire and begin to tighten the pinch bolts a little bit at a time so that the whole stem tightens evenly onto the steerer tube. Throughout this process continue to check that the stem is aligned with the front tire and make any necessary adjustments.
Now you need to check that the headset is good.
To do this hold the front brake and put one hand on the headset whilst rocking the handlebars back and forth. You’re trying to feel if the steerer tube is moving inside the frame of the bike.
If it is then loosen the pinch bolts as you did in Step 1 and tighten the top cap ¼ turn. retighten the pinch bolts, remembering to align them with the front tire like in Step 7.
Repeat Step 8 until there is no movement in the bearing and the handlebars turn smoothly. If they don’t turn smoothly you’ve tightened the pinch bolts too much and need to loosen them a little.
FLIPPING THE STEM
Applicable Aventon Models: LEVEL, AVENTURE, PACE 350
Flipping the stem means flipping the stem upside down. Usually, the stem points upwards, providing some handlebar lift. If this is too much for you you can flip the stem upside down to provide a negative angle.
This can be done in addition to moving spacers or instead of moving them. It all depends upon what is comfortable for you.
Make a note of the angle of your handlebars. The best way to do this is to stick one piece of masking tape to your handlebars and one in line with it on your faceplate. When you put these parts back together you can line the tape up and you’ll have everything back at the same angle.
Loosen the faceplate bolts. There are four of them and they should be loosened in an X shape so that they loosen evenly and nothing gets overstrained. Remove the faceplate and support the handlebars as you take them off. Don’t let the cables take the weight of the handlebars, this is where having someone else’s help is best.
Follow Steps 1-3 from the above “Moving Spacers” instructions to remove the stem. Flip it over and replace it with the steerer tube.
Place your handlebars back into the stem and loosely attach the faceplate with all 4 bolts; this makes alignment much easier.
Line your masking tape up so that your handlebars are in the same position as before and begin to slowly tighten the faceplate bolts in an X shape, a little at a time.
Continue to tighten these bolts, checking that the gaps between the faceplate and the stem, both below and above the handlebars, are even. Uneven gaps can lead to more strain being put on certain bolts and can cause premature bolt failure.
Here is where you should check for any overt strain on your brake cables.
Repeat Steps 6-8 from the above “Moving Spacers” instructions to complete the process of Flipping the stem.
Applicable Aventon Models: Pace 500 and Pace 500 Step-Through
If you have an adjustable stem, like those on our Pace 500 and Pace 500 Step-Through, then handlebar adjustments are even more of a breeze for you!
Simply loosen the screw located on the stem, it probably has angle notations next to it, adjust the stem position in the desired direction -checking for any strain on your brake cables- and tighten the screw back up. Voila! Adjustment made.
Adjusting the SINCH
Applicable Aventon Models: SINCH
To adjust the handlebars on the SINCH all you need to do is to open the quick release clamp located on the handlebar tube. Next move the handlebars up or down to your desired position, checking that your brake cables have a sufficient amount of slack whilst doing so. Ensure your handlebars are straight and fully close the quick release clamp to secure them in place. Voila! Adjustment made.
These adjustments may seem small but small adjustments can have a big impact on your posture and your riding comfort. You may not get it perfect with your first adjustment, and it may take you 2-3 attempts before you find the perfect handlebar height for you. But, once you have got it right it never needs to be done again! What’s more, you’ll feel far better for it because you’ll be riding with a higher level of comfort and this will positively impact your overall riding experience, making you want to ride more often and for longer periods! Who could say no to that?