Dumb question from a old buy just getting back into biking. I was adjusting the height of my handlebars on my road bike by moving the spacers and now not sure the correct way to adjust the tightness of the headset. I have a Threadless CANE CREEK Aheadset 1.125 inch Sealed Bearing.
From what I remember, too loose and there is movement in the headset itself. Too tight and you don't have free movement for turning the front wheel. Do you determine this just by feel?
Also with these new set-ups do you adjust the headset and THEN tighten the handlebar clamp? (seems once you tighten the handlebar clamp - you lose the ability to adjust the headset from the top bolt/screw. Is that right or am I missing something?)
"With the stem clamp bolts still loose,tighten the compression bolt with a 5 mm hex wrench to preload the bearings. Apply only enough torque to remove all play from the headset while ensuring it still rotates freely."
You do have to loosen the stem before adjusting the headset-otherwise you are just tightening the headset against the stem, instead of the bearings. Park Tool explains it here:
As the others have noted, you must first loosen the stem's steerer clamp bolts (not the handlebar bolts) and be sure the stem is free to turn on the steerer.
FSA instructions for the compression bolt recommend "tighten until the front wheel moves smoothly without play or wobble" but they don't specify a torque setting.
Cane Creek recommends a preload torque of 22 inch-pounds.
After the adjustment, center the stem and tighten the steerer clamp bolts frimly to lock everything in place.