A little "play" in the forks after replacing stem cap.

Bongo Bill

New Member
Good morning all.

I have to admit to not being the worlds most gifted cycle mechanic!

Yesterday I simply changed the cap on my handlebar stem. Since then there is a little "play" in the forks. I notice it when I pick up the bike via the handlebars & place it down or if I go over a slight bump. I have tightened the necessary screw but I am relunctant to overtighten.

I cannot imagine for the life of me what I done wrong when changing the cap. I do not suppose I am in any danger but it is a niggly worry all the same.

Any ideas anyone?


Senior Member
Did you slacken the stem bolts before adjusting the head cap bolt? To adjust the play, slacken the stem bolts, tighten the cap bolt, turn it back 1/4 turn, tighten the stem bolts again and then check for play.


The stem wasn't tight enough in the first place.

1. Loosen the bolts attaching the stem to the steerer.

2.Tighten up the top cap until there is no play in the wheel (apply brakes and try rocking the bike to see) and the bars turn freely.

3.If the bars don't turn freely you have overtightened.

4.When happy simply tighten up the stem on the steerer.

5.You should then be able to loosen the top cap (as it's only purpose is to draw the steerer up so as to anchor the stem and it is the stem that keeps the forks in place).

job done.

Bongo Bill

New Member
Thank you all - much appreciated. By loosening the stem a little and carefully tightening the bolt/cap it done the trick.

As my cycle mechanic skills are fairly non-existant I have signed up for a 2 day "course" at my LBS (not quite 2 days - 2 afternoons really). For £40.00 you are taken though most basic maintenance tasks.
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