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  1. #1
    Senior Member FujiKid's Avatar
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    "Slammed" my stem today for the first time, did something wrong (pics)

    Hey all.

    I know I'll probably get some laughs at this thread, but I decided to slam my stem yesterday for the first time. I've been a roadie for about 2 years now and have always wondered what it would be like.
    So, BEFORE I actually did it. I looked up actually "How to" do it, and couldn't get a step by step guide anywhere. So, I basically just unscrewed my stem, took out the rings on the bottom of the stem (the ones that are on the fork tube) and flipped over the stem and rescrewed the stem in..

    After this I had two big problems.. there was a BUNCH of space left over on the top of the fork tube (Pretty sure it's called this).. so, I put the spacers ON TOP of it instead of not having them on the fork tube at all.

    Second problem and the biggest right now.. is the Brake cables! They're all bunched up and cramped because of the fact that I've lowered the stem.. How do I adjust them? They bicycle has the brake cables internally threaded through the frame, so I don't want to damage anything.

    As of right now the front and rear brake pads keep getting sticking to the rim of my wheels, no matter how much I adjust them. My road bike has pretty "newish" type brakes that I'm not even used too, so it's a bit complicated for me.

    Like I said, I expect some laughs. But I'm tired of having to go to the shop and having them do things for me. Thanks for reading!

  2. #2
    Kitten Legion Master
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    so...
    Many..
    trademarks....

    I am blinded!!!!!!

  3. #3
    Certified Bike Brat Burton's Avatar
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    Cute story but I don't believe it. You're short at least one spacer to be able to set the headset bearing preload, and I find it hard to believe it simply got overlooked in the process. I would think that left over parts would have been a hint.

  4. #4
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    It's apparent you don't know what you are doing. I would suggest you take you bike to a shop and let them do the work for you.

  5. #5
    Senior Member cale's Avatar
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    I'm with bikepro, "Sir, please step away from the bike."

    I think your intentions are good, I love messing with my bike, but you don't seem to have a firm grasp of the how and why the parts fit together the way they should.

    Besides, that looks like a really pretty bike and it deserves proper care. Have you considered joining a bike coop or some place that rents workspace? There's usually a expert mechanic on hand that will walk you through bike service procedures for a nominal fee.

    Good luck.

  6. #6
    Senior Member FujiKid's Avatar
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    Well, I was expecting these types of responses. Thanks guys.

    I did it after a ride, was bonked out of my mind. So it probably wasn't the greatest "idea" in the world. I know my way around the bike, but I'm just totally unfamiliar with
    this type. It's high end, and I'm used to working on entry level road bikes. But like I said, I'm still new at this stuff. Honestly scared to take it to my LBS, don't want to be laughed at.

    Any advice on how to get the brake cables from not "scrunching up"? That seems to be my main problem at the moment because my wheel wont even move due to the fact that the brake pads are still rubbing against the rim.

  7. #7
    Senior Member cale's Avatar
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    Do you have any tools? Cable cutters? For the inner cable and outer housings? A torque wrench.

    The spacers are a mess. The bottom spacer, below the stem is upside down and the spacers themselves look as though they were designed to interlock when stacked. The third pic shows that they are not properly stacked.

    The fork tube should be about 3mm below the top spacer when properly seated in the frame. Your picture shows the tube protruding above the top of the spacers. The stem cap is designed to maintain the headset bearing preload, as Burton mentioned. That preload can not be established unless the tube is below the top spacers and the spacers are firmly seated to one another and the fork is properly seated in the frame. I don't remember what preload you should establish but it is something like 15 in. lbs. which is just a bit over a foot pound, meaning very light. I've always gone by feel. You want the bearings to be free enough to let the fork more smoothly throughout its rotation but not so loose that the head can move up or down or side to side.

    Once the preload is established the stem needs to tightened. The two bolts need to be tightened in unison. A turn on the top bolt followed by a turn on the bottom bolt, and so forth. A torque specification for the bolts should appear on the stem so as to avoid over-tightening. Check for a Fuji spec on that torque value as it is probably lower for your carbon fiber fork. This is important stuff and will help you avoid replacing expensive stuff like carbon forks.

    Did you remove your handlebars at some point? Just wondering because some stem manufacturers insist that the top stem bolts be tightened (in the same opposing/unison method) before the bottom handlebar bolts are tightened.

    Good luck.

    PS the cable slack can be taken up by reducing the length of the cables. The cable housing needs to be shortened and possibly the cable itself. The cable housing should be cut using the proper tool so that it doesn't get badly deformed. Even using the proper tool, the housing should be inspected and adjusted so that the cable can slide smoothly. Don't cut the cable housing with the inner cable sticking out the end.
    Last edited by cale; 08-20-12 at 11:20 PM.

  8. #8
    Senior Member slow chevy's Avatar
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    haha wow
    Eric - Owner - Vivid Reflections Auto Salon

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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Burton View Post
    Cute story but I don't believe it. You're short at least one spacer to be able to set the headset bearing preload, and I find it hard to believe it simply got overlooked in the process. I would think that left over parts would have been a hint.
    His cat ate it.

  10. #10
    Rustbelt Rider mkeller234's Avatar
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    Wow... talk about a tough crowd.

    As Cale said, the cable housings have to be cut shorter to keep them from bunching up. In other words, make sure you want to keep the stem that way before cutting...going back would mean new cables. I can't really help with the stem issues, i'm only versed in quill stems.

    Good luck!
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  11. #11
    Senior Member FujiKid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cale View Post
    Do you have any tools? Cable cutters? For the inner cable and outer housings? A torque wrench.

    The spacers are a mess. The bottom spacer, below the stem is upside down and the spacers themselves look as though they were designed to interlock when stacked. The third pic shows that they are not properly stacked.

    The fork tube should be about 3mm below the top spacer when properly seated in the frame. Your picture shows the tube protruding above the top of the spacers. The stem cap is designed to maintain the headset bearing preload, as Burton mentioned. That preload can not be established unless the tube is below the top spacers and the spacers are firmly seated to one another and the fork is properly seated in the frame. I don't remember what preload you should establish but it is something like 15 in. lbs. which is just a bit over a foot pound, meaning very light. I've always gone by feel. You want the bearings to be free enough to let the fork more smoothly throughout its rotation but not so loose that the head can move up or down or side to side.

    Once the preload is established the stem needs to tightened. The two bolts need to be tightened in unison. A turn on the top bolt followed by a turn on the bottom bolt, and so forth. A torque specification for the bolts should appear on the stem so as to avoid over-tightening. Check for a Fuji spec on that torque value as it is probably lower for your carbon fiber fork. This is important stuff and will help you avoid replacing expensive stuff like carbon forks.

    Did you remove your handlebars at some point? Just wondering because some stem manufacturers insist that the top stem bolts be tightened (in the same opposing/unison method) before the bottom handlebar bolts are tightened.

    Good luck.

    PS the cable slack can be taken up by reducing the length of the cables. The cable housing needs to be shortened and possibly the cable itself. The cable housing should be cut using the proper tool so that it doesn't get badly deformed. Even using the proper tool, the housing should be inspected and adjusted so that the cable can slide smoothly. Don't cut the cable housing with the inner cable sticking out the end.
    Quote Originally Posted by mkeller234 View Post
    Wow... talk about a tough crowd.

    As Cale said, the cable housings have to be cut shorter to keep them from bunching up. In other words, make sure you want to keep the stem that way before cutting...going back would mean new cables. I can't really help with the stem issues, i'm only versed in quill stems.

    Good luck!
    Thank you guys, so very much for the responses. It does look like I'll have to cut the cables and mess with the housing and a bit more. Unfortunately I don't have the proper tools for the job, so I'll just "suck it up" and take it to the shop and ask for some assistance. Hopefully, I can learn the "ins and outs" of my bike and how to properly adjust my stem.
    I'm sure I would've done a better job at it, if it wasn't after a 3 and a half hour ride.


    Thanks again guys.

  12. #12
    Rustbelt Rider mkeller234's Avatar
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    The LBS is a good option.

    If you do have the will, investing in tools can be a good thing. A tool collection starts one at a time as you tackle certain tasks. Also, I know some folks use a dremel rotary cut-off wheel to cut housing, it's an option if you have one. I have basic Park tool cutters, well worth the investment. After the cut, finish the ends with a file. Easy as pie.
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  13. #13
    Kitten Legion Master
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    What was wrong with the bars higher than you have now?

  14. #14
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    Ya, some tough responses. The only way you learn is by doing it and have people on the forum *cough cough* help you.

    If this isn't your only means of transportation and if you have some money laying around, give it a try! Order some tools/parts online and figure it out. I'm sure you can do it

  15. #15
    Senior Member rdtompki's Avatar
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    If your "slam" included inverting the stem then you've significantly lowered the handlebars. While I wouldn't ride it until you're sure the fork/stem assembly is correct, I might try to leave the cables (assuming they "work") until you're sure you can deal with the new handlebar position. If you like the new position you then can consider having the steerer cut down.
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  16. #16
    Certified Bike Brat Burton's Avatar
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    OK - so my apologies to the OP. "Slamming the stem" is the brunt of so many jokes in the rodie forum that - based pn the photos posted - I assumed that it was meant as a tongue-in-cheek post not to be taken seriously.

    Particularly since there's no way I know of that simply 'slamming the stem', will in any way affect the brakes.

  17. #17
    Senior Member Aeolis's Avatar
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    I sslammed and fflipped my stem recently, 3 days later I put
    it back. Lower isn't always better as I found out.
    Cannondale r1000 aero (caad4)
    2008 giant fcr

  18. #18
    Enthusiast Shinjukan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aeolis View Post
    I sslammed and fflipped my stem recently, 3 days later I put
    it back. Lower isn't always better as I found out.
    This. As the OP's first post implies, he/she slammed the stem just to get a feel of how an aero position would look like. But it seems his/her mind is not yet made up whether that will be the riding position moving forward. Everybody age, and what looks cool to see those TdF riders in a hunkered position slicing the wind might not get the seal of approval from one's back and core. So some words of advice: Hold off on those Dremels and cutters. You can still put things back the way things were as it stands now, but once you start cutting and trimming those cables and stem, there's no turning back should you find out that the slammed position is not for you anyway.

    Since the OP admits the lack of necessary tools for the job, the best course of action is to take it to the LBS, then be extra-friendly to them. Perhaps they'd let you pick their brains on how to tinker with your bike so you can do it yourself next time. And if you still fail, the trip to that LBS is not that of shame and defeat but can be called: Consultation appointment.
    "Sometimes riding slower is the faster way to appreciate the beauty of our surroundings."

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