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  1. #1
    Senior Member hkboy313's Avatar
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    Stem UP or DOWN? and another question

    hi guys, i new at road biking, i got my bike yesterday...putting it together so i can learn a thing or two...but the stem, im not sure if it points up or downward..i saw a few pictures, they go either way...why is that? whats the purpose?

    unfortunately my rear wheel...the rim is wobbly when i spin it in place...so im not sure how to dissemble it because of the cassettes? is there a manual online i can read to take it apart? i dont want to spend more money than i have to...

    the fork on my bike is one piece..so it goes through the frame and u attach the handlebars...when i installed that and picked it up..the fork could more a little in the vertical direction..it seems wrong or loose...is that why they included several black rings? im not sure. i hope i make some sense...sorry hope somebody can help me..

    any suggestions are appreciated! thanks

  2. #2
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    Take your bike back to the dealer for a fitting, a tune-up, and a wheel truing. If you are riding on the streets, with trucks to your left and SUV's to your right, you need to have the bars set up so your hands are level with the top of the saddle. That puts your weight on the sit bones, not your crotch, and it gets your head up high enough to watch out for the crazy motorists around you.

    Many of the guys here at "Bike Forums" have seen pro time trialers, riding a 30 minute race on a course closed to the general public, with their bars four inches lower than the saddle, and their nose down against the front tire. So, some Forum members will commute to work on a four lane highway, bumper to bumper traffic, their nose down on the front tire. A basic rule of "real world" cycling: whatever a pro cyclist does on a "closed" course, folks riding amidst motor traffic ought to do the opposite.
    Last edited by alanbikehouston; 06-19-07 at 09:30 AM.

  3. #3
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    I would take your bike into a shop and pay them to put it together for you. No offense, but it sounds like your assembly is an accident waiting to happen.

    The DIY mentality is great, but not when it comes at the cost of safety.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Super Guanche's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alanbikehouston
    Many of the guys here at "Bike Forums" have seen pro time trialers, riding a 30 minute race on a course closed to the general public, with their bars four inches lower than the saddle, and their nose down against the front tire. So, some Forum members will commute to work on a four lane highway, bumper to bumper traffic, their nose down on the front tire. A basic rule of "real world" cycling: what ever a pro cyclist does, a recreational cyclist ought NOT do.
    There you have it, flipping it down will get you killed. That's why we see so many obits for forum members.

    Seriously though, whatever fits you best. As for the wheel, it sounds like it needs to be trued. Take it back to the shop.

  5. #5
    . botto's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Super Guanche
    There you have it, flipping it down will get you killed. That's why we see so many obits for forum members.

    Seriously though, whatever fits you best. As for the wheel, it sounds like it needs to be trued. Take it back to the shop.

  6. #6
    don't try this at home. rm -rf's Avatar
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    It would be a good idea to have a shop take a look when you are done.

    Park Tool has repair guides. Your rear wheel shouldn't be wobbling like that if it's new.

    Stem adjustment -- scroll down to the section titled "Headset Adjustment -- Threadless" to see how the cap and spacers work together. Do you have the cap, bolt and star-shaped nut already in the top of the fork tube?
    Last edited by rm -rf; 06-19-07 at 09:27 AM.

  7. #7
    Senior Member msu2001la's Avatar
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    Most of your bike assembly questions can probably be answered by reading some threads in the Bicycle Mechanics section. Particularly, read some of Sheldon Brown's links:

    sheldonbrown.com shortcuts

    As for the stem, try it pointing up first. If it seems too high, then flip it over to lower the height of your bars. There's no "right or wrong" way, just do whatever is most comfortable for you.

    The cassette is easy to take off if you have the right tools, but that's not going to help the wobbly wheel. I'd suggest having a shop true the wheel, they usually only charge a few bucks to do this.

    I'm not sure about your headset, but it sounds like it's installed incorrectly. There shouldn't be any play.

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    being a bit strapped for cash myself ( i get the impression you are too) i have learned to 'make do' with a lot of bicycle maintenance myself

    first off, the handlebar stem orientation, its a matter of personal preference. if you want to bend over really far for better aerodynamics, then angle it down. if you want something a little more comfortable and a little safer (like alan said, better view) angle it up. the black rings are spacers. they go between the top of your steer tube bearings and the handlebar stem. put as many as you like to raise or lower the handlebars. in theory you should be able to do without and snug it up without any spacers, but once again this is a comfort issue. the lower it is, the more aerodynamic, the higher, the more comfortable and safe.

    now with the wheel, is the rim out of alignment? or is there play with the hub bearings? both of which you can fix yourself with a few tools.
    first make sure that the wheel is situated properly in the dropouts, if it is, check to see if there is play on the bearings, wobble the wheel to the left and right. if it wobbles, it means your bearings aren't adjusted properly. read these articles: http://www.parktool.com/repair/readhowto.asp?id=105 or http://sheldonbrown.com/cone-adjustment.html

    if the wheel doesn't wobble, and the bearings seem to be adjusted properly, then the wheel isn't true, in taht case, read these articles: http://www.parktool.com/repair/readhowto.asp?id=81 or http://sheldonbrown.com/wheelbuild.html

    remember, for the home mechanic ingenuity is the key. some tools you can do without if you can come up with a nifty way of doing it yourself, other tools you will have to invest in. don't be afraid to work on your bike yourself, it will save you money down the line and you will feel good knowing your way around a bike.

  9. #9
    Despite all my rage, I am rooftest's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alanbikehouston
    Take your bike back to the dealer for a fitting, a tune-up, and a wheel truing. If you are riding on the streets, with trucks to your left and SUV's to your right, you need to have the bars set up so your hands are level with the top of the saddle. That puts your weight on the sit bones, not your crotch, and it gets your head up high enough to watch out for the crazy motorists around you.
    ...but if he gets a fitting, there's no way that his bike will end up with that set up! While you're at it, why don't you advise him to put the drop bars on backward and upside down? (for the "wanted a beach cruiser but stole a road bike" look)

  10. #10
    Senior Member hkboy313's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rm -rf
    It would be a good idea to have a shop take a look when you are done.

    Park Tool has repair guides. Your rear wheel shouldn't be wobbling like that if it's new.

    Stem adjustment -- scroll down to the section titled "Headset Adjustment -- Threadless" to see how the cap and spacers work together. Do you have the cap, bolt and star-shaped nut already in the top of the fork tube?
    thanks for your suggestions. i got the bike from ebay actually..and the owner said its new and normal to 'true' the wheels...and gave me the parktool site as well... i will try to do it myself first

    i already have the cap/bolt and nut ontop of the fork.. but seems loose for some reason. i will see the website, if it still isnt fixed i will go to the bike shop.
    yeeha! lets go biking!

  11. #11
    Senior Member hkboy313's Avatar
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    another question is if i do what is on this site...

    http://www.parktool.com/repair/readhowto.asp?id=81

    is there high risk for damage? if so, i guess i'll just bring it to the shop to save myself more money if i do break something...
    yeeha! lets go biking!

  12. #12
    Klaatu..Verata..Necktie? genejockey's Avatar
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    Take it to a shop. No insult intended, but your level of knowledge is low enough to get you killed. LITERALLY.

    A GOOD shop will SHOW you everything as they adjust it, like the headset (the thing that holds the fork in the frame) and the stem, and the brakes and shifters. Truing wheels is best left to experienced people, at least at first.
    "Don’t take life so serious—it ain’t nohow permanent."

  13. #13
    Senior Member hkboy313's Avatar
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    ok thanks, i take no offense in any comments. i already know i know nothing, im just getting into it, find interest and willing to learn. i live in queens...and the would like to know how much people charge for truing wheels + pumping the tires + fixing the brakes? a rough estimate..i dont want to get ripped off just because im new at this. thanks again
    yeeha! lets go biking!

  14. #14
    Klaatu..Verata..Necktie? genejockey's Avatar
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    Hey, the first step to learning is knowing you know nothing.

    Have the shop teach you how to fix a flat, how to adjust your brakes, etc. Pick up a book on bike maintenance, and you can learn how to do pretty much anything. But have a shop set the bike up so you can ride it now, safely, while you're learning.
    "Don’t take life so serious—it ain’t nohow permanent."

  15. #15
    Senior Member hkboy313's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by genejockey
    Hey, the first step to learning is knowing you know nothing.

    Have the shop teach you how to fix a flat, how to adjust your brakes, etc. Pick up a book on bike maintenance, and you can learn how to do pretty much anything. But have a shop set the bike up so you can ride it now, safely, while you're learning.
    cool thanks!
    yeeha! lets go biking!

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