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  1. #1
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    Installed stem now hard to turn handlebars

    Hi Everybody,

    I just replaced a raceface stem with a ritchey one and now when I turn my wheel there is resistance. Several weeks ago I took apart the headset, cleaned and greased it so that shouldn't be an issue as it felt fine afterwards. I find that if I just barely tighten down on the headset screw it feels ok but if I try to tighten it to, say, 5 nM it is much more noticeable and difficult to turn. I suppose I could just lightly tighten the headset then crank down on the stem screws but would that be a bad thing? Any thoughts would be appreciated.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by beachbum1 View Post
    I suppose I could just lightly tighten the headset then crank down on the stem screws but would that be a bad thing? Any thoughts would be appreciated.
    Not a bad thing, every stem install involves a headset adjustment. The top cap bolt for preloading the bearings only and never needs to be very tight.

  3. #3
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    Are you saying you are tightening the headset cap screw to 5nm?
    It should just be tightened enough to remove play in the headset.

  4. #4
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    If I tighten it more than a quarter turn past hand tightening, the steering gets stiff. If that is where I need to keep it, that's fine but I'm concerned it might work loose with time.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by beachbum1 View Post
    If I tighten it more than a quarter turn past hand tightening, the steering gets stiff. If that is where I need to keep it, that's fine but I'm concerned it might work loose with time.

    loosen stem bolts
    tighten top cap until headset play is gone and steering is not notchy...don't worry how many turns just make steering smooth and no clunk when rocking with front brake locked

    now tighten the stem down...don't worry about top cap it is not needed now that you are cranking the stem down, so leave that one alone

    that should be all that is needed

  6. #6
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    Awesome. Thanks for the advice. I'll give it a go.

  7. #7
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    Could have missed a part when you reinstalled the head set, look to see if the top race is installed

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by beachbum1 View Post
    If I tighten it more than a quarter turn past hand tightening, the steering gets stiff. If that is where I need to keep it, that's fine but I'm concerned it might work loose with time.
    That's not what you need to be concerned with.

    Don't crank that top cap too tight.

    Just get the play out of it and let the stem hold everything in place.

  9. #9
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    Adjust the top cap screw so that there is no play, yet it will turn by the force of gravity when you lift the front wheel up in the air. Then tighten the stem. You may now tighten the top cap screw a little if you want just so it doesn't rattle loose and get lost. As localhost says, it isn't doing anything at this point.

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