Tune first introduced their Spurtreu laser handlebar alignment tool a few years ago, and has only made small updates to it since. Essentially just a small precision machined aluminum block with a laser pointer attached, it takes the guess work out of setting the bars straight on most road and mountain bikes.

Tune Spurtreu laser handlebar alignment tool

Tune’s laser alignment tool sits with two of its machined rests on your bar next to the stem, and one on the stem itself. To align a recently installed bar & stem, you simply switch the small laser on. Rotate the bars until the laser points to the absolute center of your front wheel/tire. Then tighten down the stem and you are done.

Is it necessary? Well, that all depends on a few things. How often are you adjusting bars? How many bikes do you work on? How crooked are all of your bars right now?

Use & Lasting Impressions

First off you have to remember that if you buy the Spurtreu, you have to align it (calibrate the laser) first. There’s something meta about aligning the new alignment tool. Essentially with three small set screws in the laser pointer housing you can point the little red dot exactly where you need it. I calibrated the tool using Tune’s online manual (which curiously isn’t accessible from the tool’s English language page, but can be found here.) I just marked a box with a line 35mm off the edge, sat the Spurtreu on a perfectly flat work surface and aligned the laser’s red dot.

Now the question was, how straight were my bars? Well, out of 6 bikes that I put the Spurtreu on, 2 were perfect, 2 were close to perfect, and for 2 I was actually a bit surprised by how far off they were.

crooked

Am I someone who can’t make a bar straight? Probably not when I think about it, but when I was working in a bike shop I would routinely have to re-straighten a bar that I had already set. And more than once my wife has told me that I set her bars crooked. (Is it possible that it is harder to align the bars on really tiny women’s bikes?)

straight

One caveat to using the Spurtreu is that it doesn’t play well with many stem-mounted or out-front style GPS mounts. It needs clear space next to the stem. And while it worked with every different stem & faceplate design that we tried on road & trail bikes, I did have to move a K-Edge & Garmin mounting bracket to be able to align the bars.

Now whether the high $95/69€ pricetag is warranted is entirely up to each individual. If you are a perfectionist and don’t have time for worrying about your bars, sure go ahead and get one (but make sure you buy a proper torque wrench first.) It is probably more fitting as a bike shop tool. Anyone who is adjusting/setting up bars daily will actually save time with the Spurtreu.

Tune.de

28 COMMENTS

  1. About time. Surprised the bike industry hasn’t solved this. Bike product managers slave over half-degree head tube and seat tube angles, yet allow this sloppy adjustment to be made by dead reckoning.

    Image the car industry analog: “Yea Bob, I’m standing here, with one eye closed, my pointing fingers and thumbs making an L shape, with one hand over each tire, and the alignment on your BMW M3 looks pretty good to me. Ship it!”

    • It’s a horrible analogy. If you set your bicycle bars off slightly, you self correct to go straight. It literally has no performance detriment as long as it doesn’t bother the rider.

      If your car alignment is poor, handling, stability and tire wear are all affected and there is nothing the driver can do about it (other than counter steer…which only counters one symptom).

      A better analogy would be steering wheel alignment on a car compared to dead straight on the wheels. It technically has no bearing on handling, but is probably annoying. Steering wheels area on a spline, so they tend to be way off (and it happens).

      Finally – bar alignment is not a exact thing. If one person has a very dominant eye, they may run slightly askew by a very small amount and to them it’ll look true. Put them on a dead true bike and it may seem slightly off since your dominant eye will view the stem/bar to wheel alignment from a slight angle.

      • All true, but at the same time we see blog readers or BR readers quibble over manufacturers’ pictures of bikes wherein attention to detail is not perfect. I think it makes absolute sense for a shop to have a tool like this. It would allow them to check off another detail, and it’s something that some customers might appreciate.

        Hell, I’d consider buying it, but since lasers and optics are my thing, I might be biased. I know I’d spend too much time and effort doing a much better alignment of the laser to its mount than the Tune instructions allow.

    • To a degree If the rider prefers it or is having a fit issue (neck/arm pain). But, they’d probably have to get used to the visual misalignment and it could cause other issues is the required misalignment is severe since your grip angles will be off.

      People with severe arm length differences or shoulder injuries will run custom bar offsets (in which one side is closer/farther/higher from the other even though the HB to wheel alignment is perfect…you’ll see stuff like this on some paralympic bikes)

      People are really overthinking this. If one’s HB seem misaligned for your sight/body, adjust them to suit. It doesn’t matter if they are technical perfect to the degree/minute. The human body is not perfectly symmetrical

    • I think it depends on the size of the arm length discrepancy. An accident left my right shoulder pushed 1cm closer to spine than my left, which in terms of reach to the handlebars, acts like an arm length difference. I moved my handlebars 0.5cm to the left, and it resolved some neck issues I was having.

  2. Doesn’t work on all stem/bar combos. Need to have space on bars for it and if stem is at a steep angle sometimes it causes laser to miss tire. We remade ours at the shop with an stiff articulating laser mount and thinned the legs so it fit a lot more combos. After that we thought it saved a lot of time.

  3. Been using this tool for over a year now and it works great. Perfect for shop level service. The only problem is it does not work on ALL bar and stem set ups.

  4. If the wheel isn’t dished “perfectly” I’m not sure this would give you “perfectly” aligned handlebar set up. This is also assuming the tire is “perfectly” centered on the rim…

  5. While I don’t think this tool is really necessary, I certainly wouldn’t being aligning the laser off the tire. I’ve seen enough wonky treads and/or casings to not trust it if I’m going for ultimate precision alignment, as in this case

    The best way, ime, is to use a drop bar (w/o levers) and place the bike nose down (w/o wheel) on a smooth, flat surface. With the stem just snug enough rotate freely, the fork tips will self align to the front of the drops.

  6. I ride extra large frames – ie my road bike frame has a 200mm long head tube, and I find it really hard to get the bars aligned.
    I am curious what others do, because I cant be buying a shop level product to help.

    • Drop a plumb bob from middle of stem face to tire (basically what this tool does). Pretty easy as the longer your stem is the more accurate it becomes

      Measure from bar ends to tire (string works) – cumbersome/difficult

      Gillis’ suggestion above.

      • Thanks – I will give the plumb bob a try first, hadn’t thought to remove the wheel because I wasn’t sure what I would sight against – but will take a look at that option too

    • Use a plumb bob, which is literally what this is (replaces $5 plumb bob with a $95 laser plumb bob).
      Hold it to the center of your stem faceplate and see where it hits the tire. Long stems will make this more accurate.

  7. Look straight down over your bar and line the dropouts up with your suspension fork crown or dropouts on road bikes. Saved you $95 and will still be more accurate than the poor tolerances that I see with even the best tires, Plus, perpendicular is perpendicular…. 90 degrees. A tool like this should ship calibrated like a torque wrench.

  8. While calling this item ‘excessive’ wouldn’t be too off the mark, one must remember how far bike fit and bike technology has come over the last 45 years (my time riding) and how much better the overall bicycle experience is nowadays. So, I hope people keep inventing & offering these new inventions because in aggregate everything bicycle just keeps getting better and we all benefit.

  9. If you need a $95 tool to align handlebars, you probably shouldn’t be adjusting anything else on your bike, let alone my bike.

  10. Center stem with what ever. Ride bike and see how sitting on bike affects stem center. Have to test ride to see if stem is straight

  11. Would only work if your handlebars and stem are manufactured accurately such that the handlebars are clamped perpendicularly to the vertical plane through the centre-line of the frame….
    I think you’d be better off judging it by eye.

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