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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 10-19-11, 09:08 PM   #1
Shreen
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Schwinn Woodlands Handlebars

Hi! I recently got a used Schwinn Woodlands (from the early 90s, I think?) from Craigslist to ride to class. Unfortunately, I'm still rather rusty at riding and I had a pretty awful fall today. Sprained my hand and elbow and scraped up my leg.

I also got my back brake jammed in my wheel and somehow twisted my handlebars (so they pointed to the left when I had the wheel straight). My bike-savvy friend fixed the brake for me, but when we unscrewed the bolt in the handlebars, we were unable to screw it back in.

We can see the hole it should go in and the screw has threads, but it won't go. The handlebars are pushed in as far as they can go. Does anyone know what's going on? Thank you!

Last edited by Shreen; 10-19-11 at 09:09 PM. Reason: Typo
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Old 10-19-11, 10:54 PM   #2
FastJake
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From your description you have a threaded headset.

When you loosened up the bolt holding the stem in place (thing attached to your handlebars, unless you have bullmoose bars where it's all one piece) you loosened it too much. That bolt screws into a wedge that resides inside your steerer tube (fork tube.)

You loosened it too much, freeing the bolt from the wedge. The wedge fell into the steerer tube, and now the bolt has nothing to screw into. Remove the stem/bars and turn the bike upside down. Hopefully the wedge will fall out. If it doesn't, you should at least be able to see it in there. You need to get it, and screw the bolt into it before you put the stem back into the steerer tube. Then you should be able to tighten everything back up and keep riding.
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Old 10-20-11, 05:39 AM   #3
dsbrantjr
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Shreen: After you get your stem sorted out, please clean it up well. Then coat the wedge, the bolt threads and the stem (where it inserts into the steerer) with a thin coat of grease so that when the time comes to remove it again it will not be frozen into position.
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Old 10-20-11, 05:56 AM   #4
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You could also remove the stem and just thread the bolt into wedge and pull it out.
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Old 10-20-11, 08:30 AM   #5
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+1 each to dsbantjr and curbtender.

If other methods don't work, many forks have steerers (the top section that goes through the headset) that are open on both ends. If this is the case you can take the front wheel off and push the wedge out from the bottom using a rod or long screwdriver.
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