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Bicycle Mechanics Broken bottom bracket? Tacoed wheel? If you're having problems with your bicycle, or just need help fixing a flat, drop in here for the latest on bicycle mechanics & bicycle maintenance.

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Old 08-16-11, 11:08 PM   #1
reggieray
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Any techniques for lining up stem/fork/wheel?

I removed the stem from my Orca in order to add a spacer underneath because the drops are a little bit too far to reach comfortably. I think the stem is too long but wanted to try adding a spacer before getting a new stem.

Other than eyeballing the wheel from above and in front, is there any way to make sure the stem/bars/fork/wheel are all aligned? Sometimes looking from above everything looks all straight but looking from the front the wheel looks slightly off to one side or the other.
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Old 08-16-11, 11:15 PM   #2
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Stand in the back of the bike and line up the stem to the front wheel. It doesn't work looking from the front.
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Old 08-16-11, 11:42 PM   #3
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hold the front wheel between your legs and twist the bars, till its right.
stand back and look, repeat as needed till satisfied.

Last edited by fietsbob; 08-17-11 at 05:11 PM.
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Old 08-17-11, 12:16 AM   #4
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Thanks. I didn't know if there was a specific process for re-aligning everything or if it was something you did with trial and error. It looks correct now.
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Old 08-17-11, 12:23 AM   #5
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I like to line up the handlebars with the front edges of the fork ends, so I see an equal amount of the fork appearing in front of the bars, viewed from above and behind the bars.

Whatever you do, you'll find out whether you have it right as soon as you start riding. Have allen wrenches ready.
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Old 08-17-11, 05:54 AM   #6
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Whatever you do, you'll find out whether you have it right as soon as you start riding. Have allen wrenches ready.
+1. No matter what I do, I typically must make a few tweaks after actually riding the bike for a bit. I get things as good as I can in house. Then I ride up and down the street a couple of times and get any fine-tuning out of the way.
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Old 08-17-11, 06:33 AM   #7
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I use a metal straight edge and align one edge so it bisects the center bolt of the headset's top cap (or the expander bolt of a quill stem) and then the center of the handlebar clamp. Let it project forward and, viewed from the bikes saddle, it should bisect the front tire. It's a very accurate alignment gage.
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Old 08-17-11, 09:23 AM   #8
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Another way is to lay a straightedge across the fork, so that it is resting on both tines of the fork. Then line up the bars so they are parallel to the straightedge.

Can't claim to have thought of this myself unfortunately. I garnered it from the Park Big Blue Book.
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Old 08-17-11, 09:38 AM   #9
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Use one eye to sight down the fork to the front wheel. Works every time for me.
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Old 08-17-11, 04:19 PM   #10
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laser
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Old 08-17-11, 05:46 PM   #11
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It seems a bit like overkill but I have rotated the bike in the stand so the fork was more or less parallel to the floor, then used a level to on the fork and the handlebars get them parallel to each other. Of course this is was done with the front wheel removed and did not seem to be much, if any, improvement over just sighting over the handlebars one the wheel is installed and on the ground. I usually use this method on kid's bikes because it cuts down on bending my back.......
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Old 08-17-11, 05:51 PM   #12
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Use one eye to sight down the fork to the front wheel. Works every time for me.
+1. That's what I do too.
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Old 08-17-11, 06:56 PM   #13
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I do it like a bore sight on a rifle. Turn the wheel a bit - line up the "crack" of the stem with the rear of the tire, while centring the front of the tire between the lumps on the handlebar clamp. Works every time for me.
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Old 08-17-11, 07:09 PM   #14
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laser
BINGO!!!

I use a laser leveler to not only sight up the seat, but the stem and front wheel combo, as well.

All straight.
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