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  1. #1
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    Raise the handle bars on old Specialized

    I have an 1989-1991 Specialized Rockhopper, not sure on the year(1990 I think). I need to raise the handlebars. Local shop seems a pricey on the job.

    I need to know what I need to do.



    I would like to get a stem extender(not sure the actual name) and be done with it. Only problem is the front break line goes thru the handle bars. Shop says I need to run a whole new brake line(maybe I do) but can't I just lengthen the short wire that does the actual squeezing of the brakes(please forgive my lack of terminology, this is my first adult bike).

    Here is the little wire I want to lengthen.



    Shop quoted me $25 for the stem extender and $65 on the whole job. Seems high as a buddy just did his trek for $10.

    So I need advice on the whole project. But would really like some good sites and the proper terminology so I can look up stem extenders in the correct size. I think the shop guy said 1in, but I was eavesdropping as he was talking to someone in the back.




    I tried some searching, but I just dont know the terminology. I would like to get bike restored to as close to 100% as possible, I ride dirt and paved trails, no mountains or real hills.

  2. #2
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    Not to put to blunt of a point on it but pay the shop. The price sounds fair for the job, better to have it done right than visiting your local ER.
    Technology dragass

  3. #3
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    I would prefer to do it myself and learn the terminology to do the research. Thanks though. Once the ignorance is gone I should have no problem. I work on some pretty complicated stuff and shouldn't have a problem.

    Plus where I ride has nice thick grass on both sides and is so flat I don't think I can ever hit any real speed.

    I could pay and have it done, but I would have bought a 2013 model if thats what I wanted. I knew there would be some tweaking.

    Any info on places to research/buy stem extenders? and is stem extender the correct term? Im talking about the stems that slide in and you then can slide your original stem right into it. I have to be using the wrong term because all I can find a few in the UK.


  4. #4
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    oooh "Quill stem riser" just opened up lots of new doors.

  5. #5
    Mantis, Paramount, Campy
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    Quote Originally Posted by mjayn View Post
    ...because all I can find a few in the UK.

    They do seem to be popular there
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  6. #6
    Humanoid Lobster
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    That is a perfectly reasonable price for such a repair. You might be able to find the stem riser for a few dollars less online, but not much I'd wager.

    Most shops would charge that much labor to lengthen all of your control cables. They might even need to sell you longer ones. As in all of them. As in even more money than they originally quoted you. Still a fair price.

    The little wire you want to lengthen is purposefully set to that length in order for the brakes to work properly. I'm sure you do work on some complicated things in the other areas of your life, but the language you are using to speak about the repair indicates to me that you do not possess the specific bicycle tech knowledge to properly perform the repair. I'm not saying this to be mean or heckle you, I'm just saying what your LBS is probably too polite to say.

    You could certainly read up, and get the tools and parts to do it yourself. Lord knows lots of us do. But really, I am shaking my head at your seeming distrust of your bike shop for quoting a fair price for the work. Bicycles are not toys, and it does cost a few bucks here and there to maintain one.
    Don't call it a gooseneck.

  7. #7
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    Thanks its appreciated. But I bought this bike to learn and work on myself.

    I went to the shop for some info and I they were crass and told me how much it would cost. My questions were ignored and replaced by prices. The shop was completely empty, 3 guys working that I could see, surfing the computers.

    things like....

    Does the length of this cable matter?

    ----$12 bucks to lengthen it.

    But does the length matter?

    ---depends (awkward pause)

    What is the best way to raise my handlebars.

    ---I can do it couple of different ways .... $65

    I know alot of you guys take your bikes into dangerous situations, and maybe someday when I learn more about it I will as well. But for the foreseeable future I will be riding paths next to old ladies walking their chihuahuas.

    My palms hurt after a few miles. When I rigged my inshore boat and mounted the motor I had no idea what I was doing. I enjoy boating(fishing) so much more now after spending hours in every crevice of the boat learning and doing all the work myself. 12 years and its still going strong. I just want to tackle every problem I can by myself. Raising the handle bars seemed like a good way to get familiar with the brakes, stem, and that whole area. Im not ready for gears, derailers etc, yet. But when they break, I will try to fix them myself. If I cant Ill take it to a shop.

    Just looking for info. Ill keep searching the site for details.

    Thank you very much.

  8. #8
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    Jus looking at how the bike sits in the photo, the relationship of bar height to seat height seems about right. If you just need it another inch or so higher, you may be able to raise the stem a bit (pay attention to the limit marks on the seem quill) or get a higher rise stem. I would avoid using one of those extenders if possible. If you want the bars significantly higher than the seat, you may be better off with a comfort bike rather than trying to force this one to fit.


    Quill extender: $20-30 shipped
    All new cables (as yours will now likely be too short): $20-50
    Plus one to two hours at shop labor rate. $100 really doesn't seem too unreasonable.

    If you don't like the attitude of the guys in the shop try a different shop.
    Need: McMahon brake for roller cam mounts, Mountain Goat fork.

  9. #9
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    How much higher do you want the bars? If you want to go more than a couple inches higher you will probably need all new cables as they will no longer reach. There are lots of variables and options with this. If you get that quill stem extender you posted you will need to get a threadless stem. You could also just get riser bars.

    That cable going between the two brake arms is called a straddle cable and your front one already looks too long. And yes the length of it affects braking leverage/power. Maybe have your friend help you. Sounds like he bought a cheap stem and did it himself if it was only $10.

    Also, know that the higher you go on the bars the more weight that puts on your seat. So once you get the higher bars you'll be at Wal Mart looking for a 7 lb bag of gel to plop on top of that saddle.

    In all honesty I would recommend you ride it for a while and see if you get used to it because those bars are already pretty high. Get some new comfy grips. By the way, you probably have a half inch left on that quill stem there that you can raise up.

  10. #10
    Big Gulps, Alright!
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    Depending how high you want to go, you might need to replace ALL the cables and housings because they will not be long enough.

    Is this bike even the right size for you? Looks like an XL frame with the seat slammed.

  11. #11
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    You already have a quill stem, it is set very low now and you just need to raise the stem you already have, not buy an "extender" for a quill stem. Nice thing about quill stems (compared to threadless stems) is that quills are easily adjustable. Use hex wrench (5mm?) to loosten the bolt in middle of the stem quill, tap loosened bolt downward with hammar to dislodge the expander and then the stem will move and you can raise it and retighten. You likely will need a new (longer) inner brake cable for the front brake, likely that rest of the cables will be fine as-is without lengthening. Cable shouldnt be more than about $4 on its own but will need to be cut to length.

  12. #12
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    Raise your saddle while you are at it. IMO you will be better off with a riser bar and keep your stem. Looks like you can gain 1" raising your current stem and another 2" with a ebay riser bar 20-35.00 for the bar. It does not have to be fancy and you can gain some length while you are at it as that bar looks very narrow.

  13. #13
    The Crazy Cat Lady of VRC
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    Easiest thing to do would be to leave everything as is and just add a set (or two if you have no shame), of cheap bar ends.

    I'm sure someone will post a pic so you can see what I'm talking about.


    Steve

  14. #14
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    All good info, thank you guys.

    I have a new larger seat on it now. and would like to ride a little more upright. I need to move the seat up so I can extend my legs but doing that puts too much pressure on my hands. I'm not skinny and need to make the ride more comfortable so I can go on longer rides.

    I've ridden same size rockhopper with higher bars and its a perfect fit Need to go up at least 4 inches.

    The current stem only allows for about half an inch raise over the original picture before the warning line shows. Tried to make that work.

    Sounds like this wil be fun.

  15. #15
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    Bar ends are a definite possibility.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by mjayn View Post
    All good info, thank you guys.

    I have a new larger seat on it now. and would like to ride a little more upright. I need to move the seat up so I can extend my legs but doing that puts too much pressure on my hands. I'm not skinny and need to make the ride more comfortable so I can go on longer rides.

    I've ridden same size rockhopper with higher bars and its a perfect fit Need to go up at least 4 inches.

    The current stem only allows for about half an inch raise over the original picture before the warning line shows. Tried to make that work.

    Sounds like this wil be fun.
    Moving your saddle back on the rails(towards rear wheel) will help with the pressure on your hands.

  17. #17
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    Looks like a nice, clean, fairly original Rockhopper. As to your original question: It looks like you can raise the stem at least another inch. After that, I'd install an inexpensive riser bar before I would use any sort of stem extender. You should be able to find one with anywhere from 2-4 inches of rise for 20 bucks or less. The riser bar should also be wider and have more sweep, which will make your ride even more comfortable.

    And you WILL need to replace all of your cables if you want that much of a lift. $65 (depending on the parts used) sounds more than reasonable.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by bucktruck View Post
    Looks like a nice, clean, fairly original Rockhopper. As to your original question: It looks like you can raise the stem at least another inch. After that, I'd install an inexpensive riser bar before I would use any sort of stem extender. You should be able to find one with anywhere from 2-4 inches of rise for 20 bucks or less. The riser bar should also be wider and have more sweep, which will make your ride even more comfortable.

    And you WILL need to replace all of your cables if you want that much of a lift. $65 (depending on the parts used) sounds more than reasonable.
    Agreed good post.. Try riser bars first, they'll offer a bit of adjustment by rotating them also. The more the rise the more the adjustment, but the more the sweep, the more that might interfere with adjustment.
    There's some good vids by park tool and youtube on how to brake cable..
    Round and round we go

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by mjayn View Post
    Thanks its appreciated. But I bought this bike to learn and work on myself.

    I went to the shop for some info and I they were crass and told me how much it would cost. My questions were ignored and replaced by prices. The shop was completely empty, 3 guys working that I could see, surfing the computers.

    things like....

    Does the length of this cable matter?

    ----$12 bucks to lengthen it.

    But does the length matter?

    ---depends (awkward pause)

    What is the best way to raise my handlebars.

    ---I can do it couple of different ways .... $65

    I know alot of you guys take your bikes into dangerous situations, and maybe someday when I learn more about it I will as well. But for the foreseeable future I will be riding paths next to old ladies walking their chihuahuas.

    My palms hurt after a few miles. When I rigged my inshore boat and mounted the motor I had no idea what I was doing. I enjoy boating(fishing) so much more now after spending hours in every crevice of the boat learning and doing all the work myself. 12 years and its still going strong. I just want to tackle every problem I can by myself. Raising the handle bars seemed like a good way to get familiar with the brakes, stem, and that whole area. Im not ready for gears, derailers etc, yet. But when they break, I will try to fix them myself. If I cant Ill take it to a shop.

    Just looking for info. Ill keep searching the site for details.

    Thank you very much.
    As an aside, the shop just may have a new bike attitude and the employees may just quote you prices due to your 20+ year old bike isn't flashy enough to impress kids younger than your steed. That's an easy repair, but doing it wrong could lead to problems, if you don't trust this shop, find another, one that will help. A basic repair book could also help you do this yourself.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by mjayn View Post
    I would prefer to do it myself and learn the terminology to do the research. Thanks though. Once the ignorance is gone I should have no problem. I work on some pretty complicated stuff and shouldn't have a problem.

    Plus where I ride has nice thick grass on both sides and is so flat I don't think I can ever hit any real speed.

    I could pay and have it done, but I would have bought a 2013 model if thats what I wanted. I knew there would be some tweaking.

    Any info on places to research/buy stem extenders? and is stem extender the correct term? Im talking about the stems that slide in and you then can slide your original stem right into it. I have to be using the wrong term because all I can find a few in the UK.

    I say fix it yourself. I just bought a 92 rockhopper last week. I needed to raise my handlebars also. I raised the stem an inch, then found a used set of 60mm riser bars for $5. I also went and got two new brake cables and derailleur cables for $2 a piece. The old cables were in bad shape anyways. Took an hour and cost $13. I had never done it before. Easy to figure it out and quite obvious if your repair works or not.

    Suggesting someone will have a trip to the ER because they repaired their own bicycle? Thats ridiculous.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by bucktruck View Post
    Looks like a nice, clean, fairly original Rockhopper. As to your original question: It looks like you can raise the stem at least another inch. After that, I'd install an inexpensive riser bar before I would use any sort of stem extender. You should be able to find one with anywhere from 2-4 inches of rise for 20 bucks or less. The riser bar should also be wider and have more sweep, which will make your ride even more comfortable.

    And you WILL need to replace all of your cables if you want that much of a lift. $65 (depending on the parts used) sounds more than reasonable.
    Agreed. ^^^ Although, you save yourself $50 and DIY. All you need for the repair is some wire cutters a few spanners 8,9,10mm and a couple allen keys. Done.

  22. #22
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    I forgot to update. Bike is dialed in. I can ride double digit miles without hands hurting. Fits me perfect and all is well. I spent a little more on hardware as I got new pedals and a crank, also replaced most of the cables and of course the stem.

    Thanks for the help.


    .

  23. #23
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    It looks like you're using grips with a bit of support for the palm. When they wear out and you replace them, take a look at the Ergon grip range, they are pretty good for hand pain or numbness issues, but a well fitting riding position is also a solution.

    If the bike is comfortable for you and suits your riding, then good work.

    I'm not going to say the position suits me, but it's not my bike and I'm not you, so again, good work on getting the fit sorted and also for keeping an old bike off the scrap heap.

    Grumps

  24. #24
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    Yea, I have gained some weight and need the upright position until I can get back in shape. What I like about that stem is I can adjust it down to very close to the original position for faster and more serious riding when the time is right. And being able to raise the saddle without putting more pressure on my hands is great.

    I looked at the Ergon grip line, thanks, they will be my next grips.

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