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  1. #1
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    Please help me tighten my steering column correctly

    Hi everyone! This is my first post!

    I bought a Dawes Eclipse 2.0 online. I chose that model because it was the cheapest bike that had the two things I wanted: aluminum frame and different frame sizes for different heights (so that I could choose the one suitable for me).

    It came almost completely assembled. I'm comfortable doing the remaining things, but I have no information regarding the optimal torque to tighten bolts. In particular, I have to tighten three things:

    1) The pedals on the crank arms: easy, they are large pieces of metal, I'm not afraid of damaging them
    2) The seat on top of the seat post: again, I'm not worried. If I tighten it too little and the saddle tilts forward a little bit, it's not a tragedy, I can stop and fix it
    3) Tightening the bolt on top of the steering column: I don't know the technical name, then I attached a picture (not my own bike, but the mechanism is exactly the same). The red arrow is where I'm supposed to put the hex key.



    For point 3 I'm really worried. If I don't tighten enough, I risk losing control. If I tighten too much, I'm afraid I will damage the headset and/or the headtube. That thing with the inclined plane is designed to spread more the more I tighten, so that it gets stuck and allows me to control the fork. However, if I tighten too much, will I break it?

    I can't find the Eclipse 2.0 on Dawes website, then I have no idea what torque is needed for that. Any advice on that?

    Thanks a lot! Best

    ZapoTe

  2. #2
    Mechanic/Tourist
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    No torgue wrench necessary. The rule for almost anything that is tightened to secure two parts is to tighten until one feels a large, sudden increase in resistance to turning the wrench. It's actually OK to slightly undertighten the stem so that it gives in a hard collision. If you can stand over the front wheel and not rotate the bars with fairly strong, steady pressure the stem is tight enough.
    There's no such thing as a routine repair.

    Don't tell me what "should" be - either it is, it isn't, or do something about it.

    If you think I'm being blunt take it as a compliment - if I thought you were too weak to handle the truth or a strong opinion I would not bother.

    Please take the time to post clearly so we can answer quickly. All lowercase and multiple typos makes for a hard read. Thanks!

  3. #3
    Senior Member
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    The item you picture is called a "quill stem" and the installation is quite straightforward. Insert it into the steerer tube and set it at the height you wish but be sure it is inserted far enough that the "minimum insertion' line (engraved on the vertical part) is hidden inside the steerer. Then tighten the bolt you show tight enough that the quill doesn't slip. It should be fairly tight but don't go nuts. If you use a standard L-shaped allen key and get it hand tight using the long arm you shouldn't be able to over do it. The recommended torque is about 150 in-pounds (12 ft-lb) if you have access to a torque wrench and that's pretty tight.

  4. #4
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    Hi Cny Bikeman! Thanks for your reply!

    OK then, I will rely on my sensitivity and when the resistance suddenly increases I'll stop tightening. And I'll do the test you suggest to see if it's good.

    Would you recommend using a thread locker? Or on the contrary, greasing the threads?

    Thanks a lot! Best

    ZapoTeX

  5. #5
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    Hi Hill Rider,

    thanks for your reply, sorry I had not seen it earlier when I replied to Cny Bikeman!

    Thanks a lot for your suggestions and for giving me the technical name! :-)

    Have a great day! Best

    ZapoTeX

  6. #6
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    Do not use thread locker, it is unnecessary and will complicate later removal. Grease the threads and also grease the outside of the wedge (the silver part at the bottom) and the part of the stem which inserts into the steerer. This is to help prevent the stem from freezing into the steerer, a common problem with quill stems, especially where the stem and steerer are different metals, like steel and aluminum. Also grease the clamp bolt for the handlebars but DON'T grease the part of the clamp where the bars go. As a matter of course greasing any threaded fastener is a good idea. It will help both tightening and also loosening them and help prevent seizing due to corrosion.

    EDIT: Also be careful not to insert the stem all of the way into the steerer; the inside tapers down at the bottom and it will not be securely held if it is clamped in the tapered section. Scroll down to the "Too low, Danger!" section of this page for a picture: http://sheldonbrown.com/handsup.html...-compatibility
    Last edited by dsbrantjr; 10-27-12 at 02:25 PM.

  7. #7
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    Thanks for your reply too!

    I looked at the link you mentioned and it was really useful, it saved me from potentially putting the stem too deep into the steerer!

    Thanks again!

    ZapoTeX

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