1. The most important thing about buying a new bike is to make sure it fits. The only way you'll know if the bike is right for you is to size up the bike and make sure that the bike's geometry matches your body's geometry. Ask questions and do some research.
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2. If possible, try to find a shop that will let you demo the bike on real dirt. Five minutes in a parking lot won't cut it. You wouldn't buy a car without a real world test drive, and a bike should be no different.
3. Don't belive the hype. Just because your favorite rider or best friend rides a certain bike, that doesn't mean that's the best one for you. Have an open mind and be realistic about your needs and ability.
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  1. #1
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    Headset How tight?

    Unpacking my bike from a bike box (vacation time!!) How tight do you tighten the headset (the screw/bolt on top) ? I had to loosen it to turn the handlebar stem around to get it to fit in the box. If I tighten it too much, it affects the steering...tighten it not enough, and there is some play in the headset when I push forward/back with the brakes on. So My question is how much do I tighten the headset......????
    Thanks!!

  2. #2
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    I would tighten just to the point where you eliminate play, and then stop there.

  3. #3
    Hey! Watch This!
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    FWIW I loosened my stem bolts just a tiny but then tightened my headset allowing the stem to fully seat the headset then tightened the stem.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lakerat_sr11
    FWIW I loosened my stem bolts just a tiny but then tightened my headset allowing the stem to fully seat the headset then tightened the stem.
    thats the ticket. after tightening the top headset bolt to set the preload, you then tighten the stem bolts. once you have those good and tight, you can actually back off the headset bolt a turn or 3.
    Oh noes. I'm going to drink the Kool-Aid.

  5. #5
    Nervous Descender
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    Quote Originally Posted by s-worksalot
    Unpacking my bike from a bike box (vacation time!!) How tight do you tighten the headset (the screw/bolt on top) ? I had to loosen it to turn the handlebar stem around to get it to fit in the box. If I tighten it too much, it affects the steering...tighten it not enough, and there is some play in the headset when I push forward/back with the brakes on. So My question is how much do I tighten the headset......????
    Thanks!!
    Headset bearing pre-load on Cane Creek Aheadset and similar is like 22-25 inch pounds. Not much.

    Grease the compression ring and stem clamp well if you are having trouble with fine adjustment.
    Check out some of our local hills: CDRC (Capital District Road Climbs)

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by jcaino
    thats the ticket. after tightening the top headset bolt to set the preload, you then tighten the stem bolts. once you have those good and tight, you can actually back off the headset bolt a turn or 3.
    Why?

  7. #7
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    you want it just tight enough to take out any play, but not so tight as to bind it up.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by jcaino
    thats the ticket. after tightening the top headset bolt to set the preload, you then tighten the stem bolts. once you have those good and tight, you can actually back off the headset bolt a turn or 3.
    This practice doesn't make any sense to me. Once you've tightened the stem, that stem and steerer post shouldn't move. Loosening the headset bolt shouldn't matter one way or the other at that point. I would just leave it alone.

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