Tech Talks: Handlebar Trimming 101, Presented by Park Tool – Video

Jan 25, 2018
by Pinkbike Staff  
Tech Talks Presented by Park Tool


Tech Talks Presented by Park Tool is a monthly video series hosted by Park Tool's own wrench whisperer, Calvin Jones. The series covers the A to Zs of some of the most prevalent repair jobs, with the nineteenth episode looking at how to figure out your ideal handlebar width, and also how to cut down different kinds of handlebars.

Despite what it often looks like, wider isn't always better when it comes to handlebars. If you have slim shoulders, tightly treed trails, or just want to tune how your bike handles, it might be time to lop off some of that extra handlebar that's doing more harm than good. Here's how.


Handlebar Trimming 101

Views: 9,925    Faves: 9    Comments: 2



Need more Calvin in your life?

Episode #1 - Tubeless tire installation and conversion
Episode #2 - Saving that bent disc rotor
Episode #3 - Derailleur hanger alignment
Episode #4 - Shimano and Crankbrothers pedal service
Episode #5 - Trailside wheel repair
Episode #6 - Trailside chain repair
Episode #7 - Derailleur limits and cable tension
Episode #8 - Derailleur setup
Episode #9 - Fork wiper seal replacement
Episode #10 - Clipless pedal setup
Episode #11 - New cleat setup
Episode #12 - Top 5 next level shifting issues
Episode #13 - Fixing cassette play
Episode #14 - Gearing hacks
Episode #15 - Fixing sticky pistons
Episode #16 - Lubing fork seals
Episode #17 - A cleat's story
Episode #18 - Tricks of a mechanical mind


Stay tuned for more mechanical how-to videos with Calvin returning on the last Thursday of every month to show you the easiest way to get the job done. Want to know more? Park Tool's how-to section has you and your bike covered.

www.parktool.com / @ParkToolCompany


105 Comments

  • 141 1
 Need a cheap saw guide? Use two ODI grip clamps (removed from old grips obviously) next to each other.
  • 12 1
 GENIUS RIGHT THERE!
  • 6 2
 @jlawie: Yes! Been using ODI clamps as cutting guide for years.
  • 3 0
 I used an old headset spacer to mark my fork steerer before re-cutting recently, after making a real mess of it previously using my usual masking tape + draw line + freehand cut method. Old 3mm spacer on top of stem for marking the line, then used a 5mm spacer on top after cutting.

Always best to rotate the thing being cut and go gradually rather than to saw through from one side, unless you have one of the saw guides as shown in this video.
  • 5 0
 @Knuffle You sir get a bike HAC award
  • 2 0
 The headset spacer plus an old stem as a steer tube guide works great too. I can vouch for that.
  • 2 0
 @jlawie:with the standard of the modern day genius as a marker , this would be the most genius thing ever ! Lol
  • 1 0
 Money!
  • 40 0
 Damn, and I was hoping for a video how to extend a handle bar too narrow.
  • 106 0
 Just get out your handy Park Tool CC-1 credit card and order a new one.
  • 2 5
 Use Atherton Pro grips. I found out by accident that you get an extra couple of centimetres from each grip. I cut my bars without realising and now my bars are too short for other grips.
  • 11 0
 Park sells the HS-1 handlebar stretcher for that application.
  • 3 1
 @BenPea: all well and good until you clip a tree and the end of your bars go floppy Big Grin
  • 2 1
 @jamesdad: It's ok, my pinkies are in the way. I did smash one up on the ground though. Crap design. New bars imminent.
  • 11 1
 @BenPea: how on earth did you cut your bars without realising?
  • 1 0
 @BenPea: I wonder how long these will still be available now that Pro no longer endorses the Athertons. It was definitely at Gee's personal request to have grips that are soft all the way until the end of the handlebar (and only have an inboard clamp). Other brands now also make grips that go over the end of the handlebar, but I don't know whether these also add some considerable length.
  • 1 0
 @vinay:
Santa Cruz Palmdale grips add length to the bar end.
  • 2 0
 you need to cut back silly!
  • 1 0
 @mikeyspaff: I have light sabres for finger. No, I did it without realising that bar length with grips is a few cm more than without.
@vinay: Last time I stocked up, I could only find a couple of sellers on ebay (if that). They have an outboard clamp but it expands inside the bar using a bolt in the end, so you don't have that bulge that gets in the way if you like your hands to be almost hanging off the bar. It's the one thing Gee and I have in common, apart from shoulder knack.
  • 1 0
 ParkTool Carbon bar stretcher soon to come
  • 2 0
 there is a pill for that. conveniently comes in park tool blue
  • 1 0
 you can run single clamp grips "wide"- the plastic sleeve inside the grip is stiff enough to support the little bit of weight that the outside of your hand exerts.
  • 2 0
 @upchuckyeager: a lot of them have a taper bore so I’d be weary of doing that but I guess a few mm wouldn’t hurt.....
  • 2 0
 @upchuckyeager: Tried that, destroyed them first crash.
  • 18 0
 Treat cutting bars like circumcisions.
  • 48 1
 Get a rabbi to do it?
  • 8 0
 La Haim!
  • 5 0
 Don't do it yourself?
  • 1 0
 Do I have to do the red wine thing?
  • 10 0
 do it in your basement with a pair of scissors?
  • 10 0
 @jammf: He'll do it for free. he just keeps the tips.
  • 1 0
 Put the cut-off part in a jar with all the rest and keep it in the Synagogue?
  • 1 0
 "our little handlebar baby".....
  • 1 0
 @husstler: No you get to
  • 7 1
 "Treat cutting bars like circumcisions" With total bemusement at the pointless damage caused to a perfectly functional piece of equipment?
  • 1 0
 @Tr011: Don't winch or grimace it won't come out straight. Maybe hold you breath.
  • 10 0
 @angelofverdun: that reminds me of the one about the rabbi who wasn't very good at circumcisions - he slipped and got the sack.
  • 3 0
 @jammf: Pricless
  • 1 0
 @lake-st: what’s priceless is the description of origin/ motive of circumcision in the Old Testament. I don’t remember too many “what the F did I just read” like that
  • 14 4
 how the bike industry hasnt picked up a 10 dollar hand held pipe/tube cutters is beyond me, works just as fast, with less effort and billions of times cleaner of a cut.......steer tubes, handlebars, seat tubes, they are all so easy with one of these :
www.youtube.com/watch?v=ORFPugnfgWM
  • 8 1
 Careful when cutting steer tubes. They'll likely get really pissed off and kick you into tomorrow!
  • 2 2
 Maybe they realize that they can't charge $100 for a $10 tool since most folks know where their Home Depot is?
  • 5 1
 Cutting seat tubes? Damn, you crazy for this one.
  • 1 0
 Only problem with these is that the blade is designed for really thin materials. I tried using one and it gave a slight bulge either side of the cut because the blade has a conical shape that pushes material to the side as the cut gets deeper.
  • 1 0
 I don't think you're supposed to use those with carbon and they can crimp lightweight alloy bars (not that common anymore now that most lightweight stuff is carbon).
  • 2 0
 @speed10: darn i meant seat posts...but maybe ill give my seat tube a try, why have all that extra tubing between the linkage and the cranks, thats just added weight, and being from the 90s i am all about the throwback to the "FLYING-V!" both for bike frames and mighty ducks haha
  • 12 2
 Hack then ends off with a worn out hacksaw, at different lengths and a wonky angle. Jobs a good un.
  • 1 0
 Did just that on my carbon Renthals. It's done me well with every other set of bars since the dawn of time, so why worry!
  • 8 0
 There needs to be a book on how to make a pigs ear of every possible job on a bike. I'll help you write it.
  • 1 3
 @cunning-linguist

: What you can't cut "carbon" with a "regular" hacksaw you "need" a special blade made for people with too much money and too little brains.

Last time I checked Carbon was just black fiberglass, and you can cut fiberglass with any hacksaw so hackaway.
  • 8 0
 carbon bars... i use a wrap of insulation tape to help stop any de-lamination
  • 4 0
 That's a good idea. I also rotate the direction of my cut about 90° towards the end to avoid peeling off that last layer of carbon.
  • 2 0
 THIS. I thought the same thing! Also, props given to the 90 degree rotation. Both great ideas.

What about cutting fluid for metal?
  • 2 0
 when I’d used a pipe cutter in the past it resulted in swelling of the wall thickness on either end of the cut. This was a thin walled aluminum handlebar.
  • 6 0
 love those videos. very informative and entertainning. please keep them coming !
  • 6 2
 Be sure to use the proper Park Tools waste bin. Its the best place to store all your Park Tools cutting guides, Park Tools handlebar holder and Park Tools sandpaper.
  • 4 1
 After sawing CF it is better to apply a thin layer of quick drying epoxy or some varnish (a thin brush of medium stiffness will do). By this we seal any cracks within the CF bar's resin...
  • 1 0
 Yes. Surprised this was not done in the video. It also exposes the carbon fiber to moisture even though the handlebar grips are going back on, which can de-laminate the fibers and epoxy. Better to keep the expensive carbon sealed up and protected than to possibly let it rot and weaken overtime by moisture intrusion.
  • 7 2
 Make long handle bars and sell people tools to cut them down, see how the industry did that? $+$
  • 2 0
 www.pinkbike.com/photo/13558056
I've been cutting down forks and handlebars with this tool since the 80s. I've used the park tool Gizmo and prefer this hands down. A rat tail file and a flat bastard to finish the job.
  • 5 3
 This is the most ridiculous how-to video I've ever seen. Anyone who bothers with a hacksaw to cut tube should up their game to a tube cutter. My Rigid brand cost about 15 dollars and has lasted for 20 years. You'll need to replace the cutting wheel for a couple bucks every so often. Pro-tip: most cutters come with an extra blade stashed in the tensioner/knob.
  • 2 0
 Same brand I use, no issues with it ever.
  • 6 1
 I'm sorry but i think that tool is really unnecessary
  • 33 1
 Don't talk about Calvin like that!
  • 3 2
 +1, a tube cutter for 8 bucks does the trick. For aluminium/steel at least.
  • 3 5
 @Tamasz: I have been using mine (8 years old) on carbon as well. Done about ten bars. Just go slow and let it do the scoring without pressure and no problems.
  • 4 0
 I've always used back to back adjustable hose clamps (Jubilee clips). They work perfectly.
  • 2 0
 i have woodworking gear in my basement. a miter saw with good sharp finish blade cuts carbon well, a non-ferrous metal blade does the job with aluminum.
  • 1 0
 I now have a pedro and park cutter but I used a miter saw for a long time and it worked fine with aluminum. I did have some trouble with a carbon steer tube.
  • 1 0
 I just checked my perfect handlebar width, Park Tool. With push-ups method I got 690mm, but then using imagination method I almost missed my handlebar on grab. What's is wrong with me?
  • 4 0
 Do they not sell a vice?
  • 2 0
 hahhaaa, indeed. and yet their handlebar holder is cool and all but sure looked super sketchy while they did the cut.
  • 1 0
 I cringed seeing them hacksaw without a vice! Oh, but we have a special handlebar cutting tool! Are you freaking kidding me!?!?
Vice + masking tape = perfect cuts every time.
  • 3 1
 I've been telling people with mega wide bars the push-up method for 10+ years!! Smile
  • 2 0
 I use the clamp from an old set of lockon grips as my guide and a 30TPI hacksaw. It has worked swimmingly.
  • 1 0
 Yes, so do I. Works swimmingly indeed.
  • 3 1
 I just use a pipe cutter finish it with a file . it works perfect and cost like $10
  • 4 1
 The banter, the banter.
  • 10 0
 Didn't bother with the video. I'm only here for the comments!
  • 2 0
 @aka-bigsteve: story of Pinkbike
  • 2 2
 If you only spend 12.800€ in ParkTool tools, then you'll be able to fix almost everything on your bike. If you still have money to get a bike...
  • 3 2
 How to properly cut handle bars:
Step 1. Buy 800mm wide bars.
Step 2. Install.
Step 3. Ride
  • 1 0
 Why hasn't anyone brought up the issue of bars not being wide enough? Bring back that FR1000 bar SYNCROS.
  • 3 2
 Park stand holds a bike on stanchion of dropper?? Isn't it bad idea?
  • 5 3
 As long as the jaws of the clamp are clean it's fine.
  • 3 1
 You want the dropper fully extended so the internal mechanism is not having to hold the bike up, and make sure the clamp is clean so as not to scratch the stanchion and it is totally fine.
  • 2 1
 the point is: why hold at stanchion if you can hold at dropper lower?
  • 2 1
 Not a big deal at all, as long as the jaws of your work stand are in good condition as others have said. Every bike shop/mechanic does it. Usually there’s not enough seatpost outer exposed for the work stand to clamp to. Yes, you can pull your seatpost out some, but depending on how and who installed the post you may end up pulling the post away from the cable which then means re-routing the cable, and in worst case scenarios re-bleeding the line (reverb). It’s easiest to maintain good clean clamp jaws.
  • 1 0
 and the oscar goes to.....
  • 2 2
 You wouldn't believe how quick an angle grinder parts off a carbon bar just saying!
  • 3 2
 No kidding, do people really spend this much time on something like this? Just hack saw, sawzall, angle grind them things off and go ride... You think people are painting a picasso with the end of their bars.
  • 2 1
 What about using cutting fluid for metal?
  • 3 1
 No cutting fluid?
  • 2 0
 My thought exactly! In our shop, we have the cutting action on the backstroke... It works much better.
  • 1 0
 Why do I not have a supreme buddy bike workshop? Yet another shortcoming.
  • 1 0
 I’d like to see a video on how to cut down your stem. . .
  • 1 0
 Well done sir for measuring in metric mm and not bloody inches Razz
  • 1 0
 You're getting close! That last little bit! Easy on the strokes!
  • 2 2
 Pipe cutters and deburring tool. Cheaper and much neater
  • 6 7
 The bars aren't the problem here. Its that bloody fatbike.
  • 5 0
 Fatbikes need love too.
  • 1 2
 holding a shop vac under where you are cutting will save you a mess
  • 1 2
 angle grinder
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