Front Stem

STEPHAN DAVIS

Well-Known Member
Location
Saffron Walden
I've recently been having problems with my front stem. After foolishly trying to adjust it myself a few months ago it has never felt the same. I've done all the checks and tightened everything as I should've but it still feel like its pulling and any chance of doing no-hands is impossible (not that I do) as it wobbles all over the place. Is there any chance I could've damaged anything inside the stem.
 

HovR

Über Member
Location
Plymouth
What sort of stem is this? A quill stem, as seen here, or a modern threadless headset style stem, as seen here?

If it's the latter, I'd bet that when reassembling the stem you didn't set the compression/preload on the headset correctly.
 
OP
STEPHAN DAVIS

STEPHAN DAVIS

Well-Known Member
Location
Saffron Walden
Thanks for the reply. It's the later. You will have to bear with as I'm a newbie but when you say compression do you mean the stem bolt at the top too tight? I've tried having it finger tight and I've tried really tightening it but with the same effect.
 

biggs682

Smile a mile bike provider
Location
Northamptonshire
sure you have nt hit anything else ie wheels etc etc .

pics might help as you might be not seeing the obvious that a n other would see !
 

HovR

Über Member
Location
Plymouth
Thanks for the reply. It's the later. You will have to bear with as I'm a newbie but when you say compression do you mean the stem bolt at the top too tight? I've tried having it finger tight and I've tried really tightening it but with the same effect.
Correct, the bolt on the top is the one that adjusts the compression on the bearings - However it is important that you tighten this before you tighten the stem clamp on to the fork's steerer tube.

You should tighten it enough so that there is no play in the headset, but it should also be loose enough so that the steering assembly (fork/wheel/handlebars etc) can still turn freely by itself when the bike is picked up.

To ensure that you haven't set the compression too loose, once you have set the compression and tightened the stem clamp hold the front brake on hard and try rocking the bike back and forwards from the handle bars. If you feel any play then the compression on the headset likely isn't high enough.
 

HovR

Über Member
Location
Plymouth
Do you think there could be something wrong inside or do you think a trip to my LBS is in order?
If my assumption that you have previously set the bearing compression incorrect then there is the slight chance that the bearings have been damaged, but it is unlikely.

I would first try loosening off the stem clamp and the bolt on the top which adjusts compression, then reassemble as I described in my post above (set compression correctly, then tighten stem clamp). If that doesn't work then it might be worth a trip to the LBS unless anyone else has an idea of what it could be.
 
OP
STEPHAN DAVIS

STEPHAN DAVIS

Well-Known Member
Location
Saffron Walden
I made sure I did tighten the top before I tightened the stem clamp. Front wheel looks true enough. Maybe I just need to keep adjusting? I just wasn't sure what was going on inside the stem and if there was anything else that I could check?
 
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