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Most modern bikes are equipped with either straight or drop handlebars. A rider must be able to rely totally on the handlebar, so for safety reasons, a handlebar must be replaced at once if scratches, stress marks, or cracks develop on the surface.
Owners of road bikes sometimes want to change the handlebar to a different shape, often to suit the proportions of their body or because of their cycling needs. Some cyclists want to replace a drop handlebar with a straight, or flat, bar. Others may want to replace their existing straight bars with riser bars, or vice versa. Riser bars, which are fitted to mountain bikes, are straight in the center, then rise up to become straight where the grips are. They are installed the same way as a straight handlebar.
The steps in this sequence apply to all straight handlebars, whatever the reason for replacing them. However, when replacing a drop handlebar with a straight bar, it will be necessary to swap the brake levers for levers that work with flat or riser bars. Some of these steps will also be useful when fitting new grips, brake levers, gear-shift levers, or bar-ends to an existing handlebar.
Right: Components of a straight handlebar.
Step-by-step guide to Installing a straight handlebar
1. Remove any raised pieces of metal inside the stem clamp with a medium, half-round file (inset). Smooth the area with emery paper.
2. Secure the ring clamp of the brake lever to the handlebar. Like road brake levers, off-road levers have a ring clamp that fits over and secures them to the handlebar. Some off-road brake levers have integrated shift levers with only one clamp. However, some are separate and there are two clamps to go over the handlebar.
3. Spray hairspray into the handlebar grips to help the grips slide onto the handlebar. When the hairspray dries, the grips will fit tightly to the handlebars.
4. Slide the grips onto the handlebar while they are still wet with hairspray.
5. Clamp on the bar-ends . Line them up parallel with the angle of your stem to begin with, then adjust their angle to suit your own preference after riding.
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