How tight should handlebars be



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K

Kit Wolf

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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
 
A

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.
 
A

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
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W

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.
 
S

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..
 
J

John Forrest To

Guest
"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
 
K

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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