Wobbly... err... front & aero bars

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by mongrel79, May 24, 2007.

  1. mongrel79

    mongrel79 New Member

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    First off - sorry for not knowing the correct terms for bits of my bike - allow me to explain...

    I've had my road bike for about 2 years now, and have racked up the miles and wear with commuting about 120km a week over bumpy London roads. I have replaced most of the parts - wheels, crankset etc, but recently I've been noticing that the whole front of my bike is coming loose.

    When I say 'front' I mean the bit between the top of the forks and under the handlebars - where it goes through the pivot that turns the front wheel. If I push forwards on the handlbars I can feel it give and my front wheel moves back a bit. Makes the whole ride feel a little shoddy. Is there any way to sort this out, or is it time to buy more replacement bits? (forks) OR is it the frame wearing out in these situations? I hope not cos I have neither the money for a new frame nor the knowledge of how to put everything back on one...

    ALSO, I have aero bars, and under heavy breaking they have come loose and rotated down, which is a sickening feeling as I nearly went straight over them and under a van. I do tighten them on occasion, but it seems they work loose again and this is happening more and more readily. Any tips of tricks for sorting this out? It's always in the back of my mind that it could happen again...

    Thanks in advance
     
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  2. alfeng

    alfeng Well-Known Member

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    It sounds as though your headset needs to be adjusted OR replaced.

    This is very critical ... perhaps, after your brakes, the most critical component on the bike because, as you observe, it affects the handling.

    A poorly adjusted headset on a bike with an aluminum frame can result in damaging the frame's headtube, so you want to attend to this as soon as possible. To state the obvious, a loose headset, then, isn't good for frames made with other materials, either.

    FWIW. I have found that the EASIEST way to properly install a fork (particularly, a threadless fork) is to use what I refer to as the "French Method" (that's just how I refer to it because the headset on most older -- ergo, all French -- bikes require it) whereby you install the fork with the frame upside-down & the headtube plumb. This orientation allows the weight of the fork (particularly, a MTB fork) to assist in seating the bearings ...

    ... with the bike inverted, loosen the stem, and tighten the top cap. Re-orient the bike, and adjust the stem.

    A bike stand will facilitate working on the bike in the inverted position, but it isn't necessary. If you have a way to suspend the bike from a "hook" that is attached near the bottom bracket, that should be good enough.

    As far as your aero bars, you can cut shims from a soda/beer can & sleeve the shims between the bars & handlebars -- that should (hopefully) work.
     
  3. mongrel79

    mongrel79 New Member

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    Thanks Alfeng - I had a feeling a loose headset was up there with the more serious bike maintenance issues - will give the French Method a whirl...
     
  4. kdelong

    kdelong Well-Known Member

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    Alfeng is right about the headset. As far as the aero bars go, I have used multiplt layers of innertube rubber as shims. Also, to keep it from coming loose again, remove the locking screws, but some thread lock on them, and then put them back in. If you cannot find proper thread lock, super glue or some other high bonding adhesive usually works just as well. It makes it more difficult to remove the screws when you need to, but it will keep them from working loose on their own.
     
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