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Posts: 1
Reply with quote  #1 
howdy, new to the forum and wanted to reach out with a question

recently moved to the midwest from the PacNW so I bought a gravel bike in order to adapt to my surroundings, not too familiar with bikes though

last weekend was traveling too fast on a sandy singletrack and drifted off trail which launched me off the bike, upon inspection the axis of the handlebars was shifted ~30 degrees to the right relative to the frame

I was able to wrench it back to proper position and finished my ride fine but wanted to know if I should be concerned or if that is a common issue

now that the "seal" has been broken is it more likely to happen in the future?  should I try to tighten anything up or just take it in to the professionals?

I'm intimidated by the headset in general so wanted some opinions

thanks in advance

Posts: 99
Reply with quote  #2 
This is somewhat expected in the event of a crash, I wouldn't be too intimidated by fixing the issue, unless the steerer or stem (or both) are carbon and you don't have a torq wrench. If its carbon and you have a torq wrench or if the components are aluminum/titanium, then you should be good to go. Simply loosen the two bolts (usually 4mm) and wiggle the stem around until its centered. You may have to loosen the top cap bolt (usually a 5mm) for the stem to move, but usually you can move it around without doing so. Once thats done, re-tighten the bolts (I usually use 6 Nm on the stem bolts and tighten to feel with the top cap). If you do not have a torq wrench just be careful not to over-tighten the bolts, usually the bolt will sheer or the threads will pull out from the stem, unless its carbon, then it will crack. If this sounds too scary, just head to a shop, should be a VERY quick job, and they'd likely not charge you. 


Senior Member
Posts: 212
Reply with quote  #3 
This is common in the MTB world. Something has to give, if the stem doesn't, you can break stuff so yours was the better scenario.

I would say just re-tighten it and continue, and don't be intimidated by the headset because it's one of the simplest components on your bike. 😉 

Senior Member
Posts: 791
Reply with quote  #4 
I'm not sure what you mean by the axis of the handlebar shifted to the right. I'll assume that you have an "ahead" or "threadless" style fork, headset, and stem. In which case, your stem is clamped to the steerer tube of your fork with 2 pinch bolts, with a cap on top of the stem with a 5mm bolt through the center of the cap. This bolt and cap are used to adjust the bearing tension on the upper and lower bottom bracket bearings. The pinch bolts on the stem have 2 functions - they hold the stem to the fork steerer tube as well as securing the tension on the bottom bracket bearings. If your stem has moved due to the crash impact that may be a good thing - because it is better for the stem to move instead of damaging the fork steerer, the stem or your handle bars. None the less, there may be some damage -- or the movement of the stem may have effected the bottom bracket bearing tension. You should take everything apart- a fairly easy job - inspect the steerer for damage and readjust the bearing tension, as well as tightening the clamp bolts to the correct torque values - usually stamped on the stem. There are many Youtube videos on how to install and adjust a threadless stem. Be aware that depending on your stem or fork steerer, there may be some critical torque values which require using a torque wrench. If you've never adjusted the bb bearing tension; remember that you should always completely loosen the clamp bolts before adjusting the bearing tension. If all of this makes you uncomfortable, then a trip to your LBS might be wise. But once you've done  it a few times - it is very easy. 
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