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  1. #1
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    Completely prying open the bar clamp on a cheap steel quill stem

    I'm trying to upgrade the stem on my Bianchi. It's not terrible -- it's a TIG-welded steel ITM -- but I'd like something more elegant. My question: I don't feel like removing the tape, brakes, etc. -- will it be easy enough to simply pry the steel stem's bar clamp right open, to remove the handlebars? I realize this would destroy the ITM -- that's not an issue. I'd replace with a pop-top or hinged stem, so again: I wouldn't have to remove any parts.

  2. #2
    Senior Member mechBgon's Avatar
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    That should work, go for it.

  3. #3
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    Advice on how to do this? (Using the simple tools available to a guy who has, well, simple tools...)

  4. #4
    Senior Member Nick Bain's Avatar
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    easy, put a strong tool in the bolt hole and pull.

  5. #5
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    Hacksaw, either partially or all the way through?

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Bain View Post
    easy, put a strong tool in the bolt hole and pull.
    +1

    Put the largest screwdriver or hex key that fits into the hole and bend it back on itself. Once it's open enough you might be able to hammer it open the rest of the way. The steel is pretty thin and will peel back easily.
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  7. #7
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Dremel..., cut it.. toss it in the bin as its junk then.

    But, Seriously, drop the slacker thing, do the work .. just un tape 1 side of the bars

    take the stem out of the fork, because you need to rotate the stem

    to slide it around the curves without marking/scratching..

    the narrower face of the stem to the inside of the bend.


    bonus: someone may buy the stem you removed without damaging it.

  8. #8
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    Yeah, the old stem may have some value if you remove it undamaged but if you are really adverse to undoing at least one side of the bars, just peel the clamp open and toss it.

  9. #9
    Senior Member larwyn's Avatar
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    I tend to employ non destructive methods when practical, but truly enjoy the execution of destructive methods when they are called for. There's nothing like a 6 pound hammer for relieving tension.....
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  10. #10
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    Breaking things can be fun, but it will take all of about 20 minutes to remove tape and lever, remove bar, put bar in new stem and redo the lever and tape. The bonus is no damage to the stem, bars or bike (or yourself when you stab yourself in the hand with the big screwdriver). Or, wait until you want to change the bar tape anyway.

    On the other hand, if you can't wait, at least post pictures of the mangled stem. That might be cool.

  11. #11
    Senior Member mechBgon's Avatar
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    Bar tape often self-destructs upon removal. I'd go with the pry-open approach if the stem has no value to me. Cutting/sawing methods might damage the bar, which is not something you want to compromise the integrity of IMO.

  12. #12
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    Thanks all. Helpful stuff. Note: I'm not being a slacker. Quite the opposite. I spent many more hours (days) than I care to admit, taping, twining and shellacking these bars. The bar end plugs are crafted from mezcal corks (as is the lost stem plug). And that was merely phase one of my work: there's now a second layer of tape, carefully cut and twined to reveal the first, etc.

    I'm not saying it's the Sistine Chapel.

    (But it is.)

  13. #13
    bike whisperer Kimmo's Avatar
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    Heh... destroying the stem is a shame, but I can see why : )

    Pics of these bars!

  14. #14
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    I'll put some pics up. Frankly, I'm just being vain here: the stem may well be as good, functionally, as quill stems get. Unfortunately, it's plug ugly. Especially with these bars. Seems to be some variant of the ITM Eclypse, but with positive rise -- from what I hear, it's almost impossible to get this kind of stiffness out of a nice-looking Nitto. (In fact, I haven't really figured out what I'll replace it with. Perhaps a 3T Mutant?)

  15. #15
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    Speaking of which -- and perhaps this should be in a new topic? -- does anyone have a suggestion regarding quill stems with hinges or faceplates? I've heard good things about this Velo Orange adapter + threadless arrangement:

    http://store.velo-orange.com/index.p...m-adaptor.html

    Reviews suggest that it's sturdy. The problem is that it doesn't look quite this elegant in other photos. I also just encountered this, made by Zenith (essentially Dia Compe); it looks nice, but I can't find reviews anywhere:

    http://www.velosolo.co.uk/zenstem.html

    When it comes to stems that open, user feedback is crucial -- seems a number of vaunted designs failed regularly. Anyone have experience of either of these? Or other recommendations?

  16. #16
    Hopelessly addicted... photogravity's Avatar
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    I've got one of the adapters on my Peugeot and it is practical. Were decent French quill stems available at reasonable costs I'd have used one of those instead.

    As far as that Zenith stem is concerned, while I have no experience with them, that stem's aesthetic is right on!
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  17. #17
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    Yeah, they're pretty. That shop has a lot of aesthetically pleasing stuff. (Full disclosure: I have no connection to these dealers. Being that they're in the UK. And I'm, well, a Canadian living in Mexico.)

    Think I may order that Zenith. Dia Compe (Gran Compe) stems get good press in general -- seems as if they're Nitto quality. It will be interesting to see whether it's significantly less stiff than the ITM. (I'm almost starting to think I should do something funky to the ITM, and keep it: sand the gloss down? Maybe twine it? Overkill?)

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