How to Remove Bicycle Handlebars

Bike handlebars come in various designs, so the method required to remove them will vary depending on the type of bike you own. Newer bikes have a threadless stem for easy height adjustment. Older units have stems secured with locknuts that require a wrench to adjust the height of the handlebars. To tell the difference, sit on your bike, and look at the stem that connects the handlebars to the frame. If the locknut does not turn by hand, your bike has a threaded headset. Regardless of the bike's style, removing handlebars is not difficult and should take just a few minutes.

Handlebars come with either threaded or threadless headsets. Credit: mel-nik/iStock/Getty Images

Threaded Headset

Step 1

Disconnect any cables attached to the handlebars. Often, this means hand brakes and gear shifts. Use a screwdriver or Allen wrench to detach the cables or remove the brackets.

Step 2

Turn the locknut counterclockwise until the handlebars move. The locknut sits on the stem that connects the handlebars to the bike's frame. Use an adjustable wrench to turn the locknut.

Step 3

Pull the handlebars up until they completely detach from the bike's frame.

Threadless Headset

Step 1

Disconnect the cables or handlebar attachments using a screwdriver or Allen wrench.

Step 2

Locate the faceplate that sits on the fork where the handlebar stem bends to meet the bike's frame. Unscrew the bolt while holding the faceplate to the stem. Set the bolt and faceplate aside.

Step 3

Pull the top portion of the handlebar up to lift it off the stem assembly.

Step 4

Turn the locking flat that secures the stem to the bike's frame; you do not need a wrench to do this. Grab the flat with your hand, and turn it counterclockwise. Pull the stem up to remove it from the frame, if necessary.

Things You'll Need

  • Screwdriver

  • Allen wrench

  • Adjustable wrench


If any of the bolts or locknuts stick, spray them with a lubricant. Wait five minutes, and try again.

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