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Removal and Installation of Road Bike Drop Handlebars

We’ll start with “how to remove a handlebar” in case you are replacing one. If you are just installing a new handlebar, you may skip to the second section.

Removing a Handlebar

If you will be installing an entirely new handlebar later, the first step is to remove everything from the current bar. Start by removing the bar tape, and then slide off the brake/shift levers.

Then you will loosen the clamp bolts on the stem’s faceplate. If the faceplate is removable, you can pull the handlebar out now and you are done.

If the faceplate is not removable, you will have to slide the handlebar out to one side.

Sliding a drop handlebar out of a closed stem can be tricky. Go slow so you don’t scrape anything.

Tip: Removing the stem from the bike will help, because that will allow you more open space to maneuver the bar without hitting the bike’s frame.

Now you are done.

[If you just need to remove the bar temporarily, like if you are replacing the stem, you don’t need to remove the shifters/brake levers or tape.]

Installing a Handlebar

First, loosen the clamp bolts and remove the faceplate from the stem, if that’s not already done.

Second, apply a thin layer of grease or installation compound to the stem/bar interface.

Third, place the new handlebar into the stem. You can either set it in or slide it in, depending on the type of stem you have.

Making sure the handlebar is centered, tighten the stem’s faceplate to hold the bar lightly.

Next, install the shifters/brake levers, and then tape the bar.

Now you can determine the perfect angle for the bar by holding onto the hoods and rotating the bar until it is most comfortable for you. Once you have done that, snug down the stem bolts.

Then you can angle your brake hoods into a comfortable position, tighten them down, and everything should be set.


Here is a video showing you how to replace a drop handlebar, typically found on a road bike.