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I have a stock Giant Escape 1 Hybrid which I would like to raise the handle bars on for a more upright position. I'm looking for comfort not speed on my commute.

Am I right in thinking the easiest way is to replace the stem with a steeper angle / shorter length? I was thinking something like this so I could "dial it in"?

Is there an easier way and / or am I barking up the wrong tree?

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    You might find different handlebars to be a good (& maybe cheaper) option too, something like this with significant rise & some sweep to it nashbar.com/bikes/Product_10053_10052_175102_-1___204990) – renesis Aug 27 '15 at 14:41
  • Adjustable stem is a good idea (you've picked a ritchey one, which is high quality and therefore expensive. Nashbar among others make cheaper ones). Unfortunately, with most threadless stem bikes, the steerer is cut so short that you have no option for raising the bars when you get them. Riser bars are a good idea too, as @renesis suggested. – Batman Aug 27 '15 at 15:29
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    Yeah there are no spacers at all to change the height which I didn't recognise when I bought the bike (newb). Riser bar seems a good idea, but thought the stem might be an easier fit as I dont have to disconnect all my brakes, gears and widgets etc – Gordon Copestake Aug 27 '15 at 15:31
  • Stem is easy to replace - a 10 Minute DIY and (almost) impossible to screw up job or 5 minute LBS job. A handle bar swap is more involved and would be more expensive if paying an LBS. – mattnz Aug 28 '15 at 1:24
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If utility is more important that looks, a stem riser will get you a long way (well 50 - 80 mm, about 2 to 3 inches). There are various makers, but they all look more or less like this one. Prices run from about US $15 to $30. The riser and the existing spacers take care of the holding the headset, you don't need spacers under the stem with the riser – just the spacers between the bottom of the riser and the headset.

Generic threadless stem riser from Harris Cyclery

After that an adjustable stem like you suggested and/or bars with an upward bend will all help. Shortening the reach may also help.

Keep in mind that as you raise the bars you may find that cables are coming up short. You may have already done this, but a "trick" that works for me is to "visualize" where I want the bars by riding with my fingertips or even no-hands as I look for a place where I will feel comfortable. I've found that I can get very close this way and it's a lot less work (and money) than changing parts. Once I know about where I want the bars, I buy the parts to fit.

  • I've never seen one of those before @dlu great stuff, that looks exactly like the kind of thing that will work, thanks – Gordon Copestake Aug 28 '15 at 12:48
  • Be careful to tighten the screws at the prescribed torque, normally ~ 6Nm. Very important with a carbon steerer but also with an aluminium type. – Carel Aug 28 '15 at 19:33
  • @dlu I ordered a stem riser and fitted it this morning. Went for a test ride and it's exactly what I was after. Thanks for the answer! – Gordon Copestake Aug 30 '15 at 9:47
  • @Carel I've not got a torque wrench but I have ensured the bolts are pretty tight! Last thing I want it my handlebars coming loose when I'm on a decent! – Gordon Copestake Aug 30 '15 at 9:47
  • Cool! Very nice to hear that it helped. If you find yourself disliking the look of the riser, you could look into getting a new fork with an uncut steerer tube. I've seen some of the production forks (e.g., a Kona Project II) go for around US $75 or so – way more than a riser but not completely out of reason. – dlu Aug 30 '15 at 16:34

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