Headstem Tightening Torgue Setting

Discussion in 'Bicycle Mechanics and Repairs' started by BrianE30, 3 Aug 2012.

  1. BrianE30

    BrianE30 New Member

    Hi all new to the forum and already looking for some help, i've a gt mountain bike, when i got it the center bolt in the headstem was loose. I think i overdone it but can't seem to get a happy medium, so does anyone know the recommended tightening torque?

  2. PpPete

    PpPete Guru

    Chandler's Ford
    Doesn't really matter if the centre bolt on the cap of the headset is loose - it's only used for preloading and its redundant once the stem is on and bolted up.
  3. fossyant

    fossyant Ride It Like You Stole It!

    South Manchester
    To get the headset load right, you undo the stem bolts (usually on rear of stem), then adjust the centre bolt to take out any play - bit at a time. It does not need much load. Once set, you tighten up the stem bolts.
  4. Pauluk

    Pauluk Senior Member

    You may want to look at some of the youtube videos that show you how to adjust the headset to the correct tightness.
  5. P.H

    P.H Über Member

    As others have said there is no specific torque, it depends on too many other factors.
    How did you get it? Was it new? Was it in a box with the bas turned?
    I think as Pauluk says you need to learn how it works and how it's set, youtube is a start, though you have to cipher the good information from the poor, or use the clear instructions from Park Tools
  6. slowmotion

    slowmotion Quite dreadful

    lost somewhere
    I screw it in until there is no more slack and then tighten it up by an eighth of a turn at a time. After each of these tightenings, just put on the front brake and push the bike along the floor by putting force on the bars.. If the steerer move fore/aft in the bearing, tighten it up a bit more. It isn't science, but it seems to work.
  7. RecordAceFromNew

    RecordAceFromNew Swinging Member

    West London
    +1 assuming you have a threadless system. But if you have a traditional quill type stem (see pic below) the torque range given here is of the order of 200 in-lbs, and you need to beware of insertion depth (see the bottom of this).

  8. Alien8

    Alien8 Senior Moment

    This can also happen if the gap between the top of the the steerer and the top of the stem (or spacer if you've got any above the stem) is too small or too large.
    You want about a 2-3mm gap - too small and you won't be able to tighten the bolt enough to take out the headset play and if too large the upper part of the stem (top stem bolt) might not be able to get enough grip on the steerer.
    [Then as above - once the stem is tightened up the cap/bolt have no impact]

  9. OP

    BrianE30 New Member

    Thanks for all the help, it was a s/h bike from ebay, the handlebars weren't turned when I got it. I think i've been doing it wrong, I should have been loosening the rear bolts and then tightening the center bolt.
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