How tight should handlebars be

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by Kit Wolf, Apr 21, 2003.

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  1. Kit Wolf

    Kit Wolf Guest

    Hi,

    A friend bought a new bicycle from a cheap retailer and brought it home with the seat loose. I
    normally don't like to fix other people's bikes, in case... But I felt this was within my
    capabilities. After tightening a few other things like the bell & lights, installing a front
    reflector and moving one of the brake pads so it pressed on the rim, I found I could twist the
    handlebars quite easily with my legs holding the wheel in place.

    My question... Is this normal? I tried the same on four other bikes in the house - the two 2nd hand
    hack bikes had rock solid handlebars. The two LBS maintained bikes had handlebars that were firm,
    but could be moved without undue exertion. Does it sound as if there may be a problem with any of
    these bikes, and if so what's the consensus on how firm handlebars should be, for future reference?
    I would ask the mechanics at the LBS, but I have this awful feeling they might not know, but would
    still tell me...

    Thanks in advance for your advice.

    Kit Wolf
     
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  2. Archer

    Archer Guest

    In article <[email protected]>,
    [email protected] says...

    ...

    > this awful feeling they might not know, but would still tell me...

    LOL! That's a scary thought

    >
    > Thanks in advance for your advice.

    FWIW (which might not be a whole lot), I tighten them so that it's difficult but not impossible to
    move the bars. My feeling is that if you crash, they are probably going to move no matter how tight
    you have them, but if they are too tight for you to move without tools, you can't straigten them out
    again to get home, where you can make proper repairs.

    --
    David Kerber An optimist says "Good morning, Lord." While a pessimist says "Good Lord,
    it's morning".

    Remove the ns_ from the address before e-mailing.
     
  3. Alex Graham

    Alex Graham Guest

    archer wrote:

    > FWIW (which might not be a whole lot), I tighten them so that it's difficult but not impossible to
    > move the bars. My feeling is that if you crash, they are probably going to move no matter how
    > tight you have them, but if they are too tight for you to move without tools, you can't straigten
    > them out again to get home, where you can make proper repairs.

    I have found that whenever I have crashed, the handlebars have twisted round as has the unlucky STI
    lever to make contact with the ground.

    I do always do the stems up pretty tight, and also carry an allen key set around with me :)

    Incidentally, I got a 3TTT stem recently, and rather than the classic wedge shaped piece at the
    bottom, it has a circular tapered piece that gets pulled up into the bottom of the stem. I have to
    smash the bolt down really hard to get the damn thing out, much more than with the old wedge ones.
    Is there some other way to release them?

    cheers,
    --

    -Alex

    ----------------------------------
    [email protected]

    http://alexpg.ath.cx:3353/cycling.php http://www.westerleycycling.org.uk
    ----------------------------------
     
  4. Woogoogle

    Woogoogle Guest

    "Kit Wolf" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:<[email protected]>...
    > Hi,
    >
    > A friend bought a new bicycle from a cheap retailer and brought it home with the seat loose. I
    > normally don't like to fix other people's bikes, in case... But I felt this was within my
    > capabilities. After tightening a few other things like the bell & lights, installing a front
    > reflector and moving one of the brake pads so it pressed on the rim, I found I could twist the
    > handlebars quite easily with my legs holding the wheel in place.
    >
    > My question... Is this normal? I tried the same on four other bikes in the house - the two 2nd
    > hand hack bikes had rock solid handlebars. The two LBS maintained bikes had handlebars that were
    > firm, but could be moved without undue exertion. Does it sound as if there may be a problem with
    > any of these bikes, and if so what's the consensus on how firm handlebars should be, for future
    > reference? I would ask the mechanics at the LBS, but I have this awful feeling they might not
    > know, but would still tell me...
    >
    > Thanks in advance for your advice.
    >
    > Kit Wolf
    If you don't have one, you should get a torque wrench. Get one that will read in the ranges
    described on Park Tools web pages for the particular bolts you will be maintaining yourself. One can
    do it by feel, but one should look up the particular manufacturer's specified torque
    ratings/instructions where possible and use a torque wrench until you are really good with comparing
    this effort to tightening without a torque wrench.
     
  5. S. Anderson

    S. Anderson Guest

    "Alex Graham" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > archer wrote:
    >
    > Incidentally, I got a 3TTT stem recently, and rather than the classic wedge shaped piece at the
    > bottom, it has a circular tapered piece that gets pulled up into the bottom of the stem. I have to
    > smash the bolt down really hard to get the damn thing out, much more than with the old wedge ones.
    > Is there some other way to release them?
    >
    > cheers,
    > --
    >
    > -Alex

    Nope..just hammer that dog down there. Actually, they are a nicer solution IMHO. I've seen some
    sloppy wedges in my time but the round one seems to work really nicely.

    Cheers,

    Scott..
     
  6. "Alex Graham" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > Incidentally, I got a 3TTT stem recently, and rather than the classic wedge shaped piece at the
    > bottom, it has a circular tapered piece that gets pulled up into the bottom of the stem.

    At least from my perspective, the tapered round style is far more classic, being what
    top-of-the-line stems from 3TTT and Cinelli used in the 1970s and 80s (and perhaps earlier).

    JT
     
  7. Kit Wolf

    Kit Wolf Guest

    > If you don't have one, you should get a torque wrench. Get one that will read in the ranges
    > described on Park Tools web pages for the particular bolts you will be maintaining yourself. One
    > can do it by feel, but one should look up the particular manufacturer's specified torque
    > ratings/instructions where possible and use a torque wrench until you are really good with
    > comparing this effort to tightening without a torque wrench.

    Sounds like a good suggestion.

    Thanks,

    Kit
     
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