How to install butterfly handlebars

Are you planning a touring trip around the globe or just want to get more comfortable on your bike? Whatever the reason you should consider trekking bars. In this article you will be able to find out how to install butterfly handlebars and why they are not as common as the other bars.

If your bike has flat bars and you are looking for more hand positions you can replace them with butterfly bars.

how to install butterfly handlebars

These types of bars are usually found on touring bikes offering comfort on longer rides. They can also be a good alternative for extending your reach.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of butterfly bars?

What are the advantages of butterfly bars?

There is one main advantage: it’s a big one and well-worth considering. Butterfly bars give you many different hand positions. By moving your hands around the bars you can alter the pressure on your neck, spine, arms, wrists and hands. This is especially advantageous if you are in the saddle for many hours at a time and need to change position to give different parts of your body a break.

What are the disadvantages of butterfly bars? 

– Not aesthetically pleasing. However comfortable butterfly bars might be, all that bulky metal around the cockpit can destroy the smooth lines associated with bicycles.
– Bulky so it can be hard to store the bike. Because the bars offer multiple hand positions, the overall width of the bike increases making it harder to fit into small places.
– Hands sometimes away from the brake levers. You can change your hand positions, but not the position of your brake levers.
– The tape or foam padding is easily damaged. Because the sides of the bars offer some of the hand positions, they need to be padded. The tape or foam is easily damaged when leaning the bike or if it falls over.

Before you fit the butterfly bars check the central diameter of the current handlebars to make sure that they are the correct size. There are two common sizes 25.4mm and 31.8mm.

how to install butterfly handlebars - measuring handlebar diameter

How to install butterfly handlebars

  • Remove the handlebar grips. We have a great article here to help you with this task.

You can also watch our video tutorial here:

  • Undo the retaining bolts on the gear and brake levers and remove them remembering the order.
  • Remove any accessories such as bells, lights etc.
how to install butterfly handlebars - removing accessories
  • If your stem has a handlebar clamp, undo it and slide out the handlebars.
  • Place the butterfly handlebars next to the front of the stem, with the correct orientation
how to install butterfly handlebars on a stem with the bar clamp

and flip it upside down.

how to install butterfly handlebars - placing bars next to the stem
  • Now feed the bars through the stem clamp.
how to install butterfly handlebars
  • When the wider, middle part reaches the clamp, you might need to wiggle it to fit it into place.
  • When the bars are central, turn the open bit of the bars towards the top tube.
  • Once you’re happy with the position, tighten the handlebar clamp bolt.
  • For a front loading stem, undo the bolts and remove the stem plate. Keep it in easy reach.
  • Now remove the bars. 
  • Place the butterfly handlebars into the stem at the position that you want them
how to install butterfly handlebars on the front loaded stem

and reattach the stem plate.

  • Tighten the stem plate bolts sequentially, making sure that the bars are central. If you’re not sure how to do this we have a great article here to help you with this task.

You can also watch our video tutorial:

  • Now sit on the bike and check the position of the bars. If they don’t feel right, then adjust them until you feel happy. 
how to install butterfly handlebars and make sure that the position is correct
  • If you’re using foam sleeves, spray the inside with a bit of isopropyl alcohol and slide them on leaving enough space for brake and gear levers. If you are using bar tape, don’t fit it yet. 
  • Now it’s time to attach the brake and gear levers. Do this in this opposite order from removing them as you are now fitting the levers from the inside.  Because of the small gap between the end of the bars and the stem, you will have to slide the levers upside down.
  • Now is a good time to fit bar tape. You can find help in our article here.

Check out our video tutorial here:

  • For good practice fit bar end plugs.
how to install butterfly handlebars end plugs
  • Choose the most appropriate place to fit any accessories.

Find out how to install butterfly handlebars in our video tutorial:

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