Bike Mistakes – Part 1: Handlebar

This is the first in a series on common mistakes on your bike…

I’ve been thinking about a series of posts about common mistakes that most everyone (even some shops) makes on bicycles. I’m going to give this a stab here and see how it goes. I’ll be focusing on mechanical mistakes as well as those that may effect comfort, handling, or safety. I don’t know how many parts there will be – this will just sort of evolve. If you have a suggestion or something you’d like to see covered: leave a comment and let me know.


So, let’s start at the front of the bike – and with an important contact point: the handlebar.

This is the control center of your bicycle. Almost every control command; braking, shifting, and steering, must go through the bars in one way or another. Sure, there are other ways to control the bike by shifting weight and changing position on the bike – but when you really think about it; most of these maneuvers require some sort of interaction with the bars too. So, how do you set up your handlebars for maximum effectiveness? I’ll start with road drop-style bars and the move to flat and riser mountain-style bars.

bike-handler01First, some guidelines: Always use caution and NEVER do this while riding the bike. Preferably you will have the bike set in an indoor trainer for these steps for easy adjustment and self-evaluation. Always use a torque wrench set to manufacturer’s recommendations when tightening bolts – especially on carbon fiber and lightweight aluminum. This is implied any time I say to tighten the bolts. Any longer, nearly 99% of bolts on bicycles are metric. Use a metric wrench. If you are not certain about anything, consult with an experienced, professional mechanic.

And this article is by no means a substitute for a bike fitting or visit to the mechanic. This is meant to be a guide to help you identify some of the mistakes that may be present on your bike and give you a starting point to solve them. Consult with a professional for a solution to your unique problem. I mean, come on – you really expect me to solve your problem through a blog? 🙂 Continue reading “Bike Mistakes – Part 1: Handlebar”