How-To: Raise Handlebars on Kids Bike (Step-by-Step)

Have you got your kid a bike, but the handlebars do not align with their height? Or has your kid grown taller, and you need to raise the handlebars on their bike?

Adjusting the handlebars to the perfect height is crucial to smooth, comfortable riding. I’ve personally seen many discomforts and falls solely because of misaligned handlebars.

Here’s how to raise handlebars on a kids’ bike:

  1. See If You Have a Threaded Headset
  2. Loosen the Stem Cap
  3. Loosen the Bolts On Each Side
  4. Pull Off the Stem Of the Bike Frame
  5. Add Or Remove Circular Risers
  6. Slide the Handlebar Stem Back
  7. Insert the Stem Cap Bolt and Tighten It
  8. Align the Stem With the Front-Wheel and the Headset

So, delve deeper into the article as I tell you three different yet super easy methods of raising handlebars on a kids’ bike.

How High Should Handlebars Be on a Kids Bike?

As a rule of thumb, the handlebar should be as high as the top of the seat. This setting maximizes comfort and ensures the rider maintains a good posture throughout the ride. However, this setting is subjective to the kids’ height, arm length, and leg-to-torso ratio.

Therefore, if your kids do not feel comfortable with setting the handlebar at the level of the seat, you can move it higher or lower.

Generally, the trial and error method works best here — You can mix and match — Try different settings. And once you find the one where your kid is the most comfortable, bingo!

But make sure that your kid maintains a good posture with whatever handlebar height you choose. The kids are naive, and they cannot tell what’s best for their spine.

Hence, this is where you have to be a little more conscious!

» This could also be something for you: How To Remove Grips From Handlebars

What Tools Do You Need to Raise Handlebars On Kids’ Bike

To raise a handlebar on a kids’ bike, you need the following set of tools:

  • Allen’s Key
  • ​​Adjustable Rent
  • Wrench
  • Clean Cloth
  • Gloves
  • Pliers

Raising the handlebar is a fairly simple process, and as you can guess, it requires the bare minimum of tools. You’ll use Allen’s key and the wrench to loosen the bolts. Then you’ll clean the handles using a clean cloth to prevent any stains.

Finally, you’ll adjust the bar and tighten the bolt using the same two tools. If you’re conscious about getting your hands all greasy, wearing a pair of gloves is your best bet!

Now, let’s see how you can raise handlebars on kids’ bikes without any hassle!

How to Raise Handlebars On Kids’ Bikes Adjusting Threaded Headsets?

To raise the handlebars on a kids’ bike, you need to check if it has a threaded headset. If yes, loosen the bolt and locknut, and chuck the handlebar out. Now, you can adjust the handlebar as per your kids’ height, and then retighten the bolts back on.

Follow this detailed step-by-step guide for doing a perfect job:

#1 Find Out If You Have a Threaded Headset

A threaded headset is a two-piece piece of equipment that allows you to regulate the height of your bike’s handlebars.

It comprises a circular socket and a cylindrical bar. The bar inserts into the rim, and you can freely move it up and down.

This movement enables you to adjust the handlebars’ height. The deeper you insert the bar into the headset, the shorter the handlebars’ height will be.

So, I can think of two ways by which you can determine whether your kid’s bike has a threaded headset.

You can see what a threaded headset looks like and spot it on the bike. You can also ask the manufacturer directly about it or search for the bike’s model online. They have this information at your disposal.

#2 Gather All Your Tools

While this may seem a bit too obvious, I’m telling you, based on my experience, there’s always this one tool you cannot find mid-procedure, which is annoying! 

Set up all the tools you’ll need next to your bike. For a bike with a threaded headset, you need the following tools to raise the handlebars:

  • Wrench
  • Allen’s Key
  • Circular Risers
  • WD-40 (only if you have never adjusted the handlebars earlier)

You’ll use the lubricant (WD-40) to loosen the bolts and ensure easy opening. Once you have got everything in order, you can actually start the process.

#3 Loosen the Stem Cap

The stem cap is the cover lying over the apex of the handlebars. It prevents the bars from moving up and dislodging under pressure.

Therefore, as you can tell, if you plan on moving the handlebars, getting rid of the stem cap is the very first thing you need to do.

Stem caps are usually pretty easy to remove. You just need to insert a thin object under the cap and pop it out. I suggest using your fingernail to pop it out. No fancy tools are needed here.

However, if you want to be extra cautious, you can use a screwdriver, or literally any tool to lift the cap off.

» Read my blog post: Flat Bar vs. Drop Bar in Cycling

#4 Loosen the Bolts On Each Side

Two bilateral bolts are holding the handlebar stem in place. They are tightened to the inch as they’re responsible for bearing the weight shift from the floor to the handlebars. To make a clear picture of the contraption in your mind, let me make things easier.

The two bolts are pressing on the handlebar shaft from opposite ends, sort of like squeezing a patty between two pieces of bread in a sandwich, but with 10x the pressure.

Now, you can unscrew them using Allen’s key or a wrench depending on the bike’s model and your feasibility. Remember, if the bolts appear too tight, don’t be shy to use the WD-40 you have near you.

#5 Pull Off the Stem Of the Bike Frame

After you’ve loosened the bolts, you’ll see the handlebars will get shaky. Now, you can either remove the shaft after it gets loose without removing the bolts entirely. Or you can also remove the bolts, set them aside, and then pull out the stem.

To pull out the stem of the bike frame, just rotate it a few times so that any gunk gets dislodged. Now, you can easily remove the handlebars and the stem.

Just like with the bolts, you can spray a little WD-40 on the stem if it doesn’t come out easily.

Pro Tip: Grease the stem you’ve just removed to make sure it comes out easier the next time! You can use WD-40 for this step as well.

#6 Add Or Remove Circular Risers

Circular risers are metal rings that help you manually adjust the height of your bike’s handlebars.

Once you’ve pulled the stem out, you can either place the rings on the stem or on the threaded headset. Regardless, everything will come together soon.

Each circular riser will allow you to raise your handlebar’s height by about half an inch. Add multiple rings to increase the height to your kids’ liking.

However, just make sure that you don’t add a massive number of these risers.

Although very sturdy, they can still collapse under pressure if you’ve added more than 5 risers.

#7 Slide the Handlebar Stem Back 

Once you’ve added the desired number of risers, it’s time to put the stem back inside the socket. When doing so, I urge that you ensure all rings are properly aligned.

The handlebars, the rings, and the threaded headset—All three must be well-aligned to prevent any dislodging later on.

After you’ve slid the stem back in, you need to screw the bolts you removed earlier. Again, you can either use Allen’s key or a wrench for this purpose, whatever you’re comfortable with.

Make sure that you tighten these bolts as hard as you can. They will be bearing the entire weight, and hence, they need to be fully secure!

#8 Insert the Stem Cap Bolt and Tighten It

Now that the bolts are well in place, you’re almost done with the process. The stem cap protects the apex of the handlebars’ stem, and you need to make sure it’s installed correctly.

In all bikes, there’s a fixed socket for the stem cap bolt to go in.

You can place the stem cap over the designated area and push it inside. If the positioning is correct, it will slide right in, and you’ll hear a pop.

Pro Tip: Ensure that the stem cap is perfectly in place. Sometimes, there’s a small gap in the stem cap and its socket, and it can serve as an opening for water and dust to get inside the stem, causing rust and other unwanted gunk to build up.

#9 Align the Stem With the Front-Wheel

You’re virtually done with raising the height of the bike’s handlebars at this point. However, I’m sharing a couple of checks to make sure your kid gets the perfect, accident-free experience when riding their bike.

Even a slight misalignment of the handlebars and the front wheel can cause the rider to lose balance, and I don’t want that to happen. So, once you’re done tightening everything, look at the handlebars from over the top.

Ideally, you should see that the handlebars are perfectly aligned with the front wheel.

If there’s even a slight imperfection, loosen the bolts and put them in the correct position. I’m speaking from experience when I say that a slight effort here will go a long way!

» I have also written this post about: 700c Vs. 26 Inch Bicycle Wheels

How to Raise Handlebars On Kids’ Bike By Flipping the Stem?

To raise the handlebars on a kid’s bike by flipping the stem, follow these steps:

  1. Unscrew the Handlebar and Take Out the Stem
  2. See If You Want to Insert It Inverted or Want to Replace It With An Inverted One
  3. Decide How High You Want to Position Your Inverted Handlebars
  4. Tighten the Bolts and Perform a Final Inspection

Here’s a detailed explanation of each step I’ve prepared to make things reasonably straightforward for you.

#1 Unscrew the Handlebar and Take Out the Stem

The handlebar is set in place with the help of two bilateral bolts. They put firm pressure on the handlebars’ stem to make sure that it stays in place. You need to unscrew these bolts using Allen’s key or a wrench.

If they’re too tight, use a lubricant like WD-40. Once you’ve unscrewed the bolts, you can either let them stay in their sockets or pull them out completely. Next, pull the stem out of the barrel and set it aside.

#2 See If You Want to Insert It Inverted or Want to Replace It With An Inverted One

Now, you have two distinct choices depending on the make of your handlebars. If you have a handlebar shaft that can be flipped over and reinserted, that’s your number one option.

However, if your bar can only be installed one way, you can go out and get one that you can install inverted.

» Read my blog post about: How To Shorten Bicycle Chains?

#3 Decide How High You Want to Position Your Inverted Handlebars

Once you’ve got a handlebar, you can insert it upside down and insert it inside the barrel. Make sure that the alignment of the bars is perfect.

Adjust the height by changing the level of bend on the inverted handlebars. The more they are away from you, the shorter the height. 

#4 Tighten the Bolts and Perform a Final Inspection

After everything is well-aligned, it’s time to secure the contraption in place. Again, place the bolts into the socket and tighten them to the best of your ability.

Once they’re in their sockets, put the stem cap back in place.

Now you can check the height one more time by asking your kid to take a quick ride. If they’re not satisfied, repeat the steps until you’ve reached that sweet spot!

How to Raise Handlebars On Kids’ Bikes By Adjusting the Handlebar Angle?

Follow these steps to raise the handlebars on a kid’s bike by adjusting the handlebar angle:

  1. Check If Your Bike Has An Adjustable Stem
  2. Loosen the Four Screws In the Handlebar
  3. Adjust the Handlebars According to Your Comfort

Now let me tell you how you can follow these steps without making any errors:

#1 Check If Your Bike Has An Adjustable Stem

You can also adjust the handlebars angularly in addition to vertically. And as you can tell, adjusting the angle will have an impact on the overall height of the bars.

Usually, bikes with angular adjustments have a modified threaded headset or an additional contraption that allows you to change the angle.

#2 Loosen the Four Screws In the Handlebar

Handlebars with angular adjustments have 4 screws holding it in place from all directions. Loosen those using Allen’s key or a wrench.

There’s no need to remove them; just make them loose enough for you to make adjustments.

#3 Adjust the Handlebars According to Your Comfort

Now change the handlebars’ angle until you have the desired height. Ask your kid to check the angle by just telling them to hold the handlebar and see if it feels comfortable.

Finally, tighten the screws, and you’re good to go!

» You can also read my post: How Much a Tour De France Bike Cost

The Bottom Line

Making cycling fun for your kids is important if you want them to adopt a healthy, more active lifestyle. I’ve seen how the younger generation is more inclined toward leading a sedentary lifestyle, and I’m sure you’ve noticed it too.

Well-set handlebars are one of the most basic things that make or break the biking experience. If the handlebars are set too low, the kids will have to bend their spines unnaturally, causing discomfort. And I’m telling you, it will ruin the biking vibe!

Therefore, follow any of the three methods I mentioned above and raise the handlebars on your kids’ bikes to make sure they have all the fun they want without any problems!

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