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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was just tinkering around with my Giant bike and took off the handle bar and stem assembly to replace with an angle adjustable stem. In the process I forgot I had taken off the stem and handlebar... phone rang so I lifted the bike to move it so I could access the cabinet where I put my phone.

Suddenly my whole fork falls out of the tube by about an inch or so and the spacer rings on the top part of the steerer tube go flying everywhere.

Managed to pick up all the spacers and put the bike front wheel against the floor again and the fork went back into place. Installed the spacer rings and wiggled the steerer tube so the headset ring thing would sit flat and reinstall new angle adjustable stem.

Now I have this slight problem where I have a bit of play in the steering. I can kinda rock it back and forth ever so very slightly. Physical inspection and everything looks flush. Did I miss something?

I am surprised my fork so easily comes off though after just taking off the stem!
 

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With stem top cap off, stem bolts loose and front wheel resting on the ground - grasp the fork crown from below the head tube and give the top of the open, uncapped stem a good whack with a rubber mallet, in an effort to drive to upper headset compression ring(beveled washer, between the steer tube and upper bearing) back into the top bearing race. Place top cap back on and gently torque the star nut and check for play.
 

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RAKC
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That's how threadless forks are, they slide right out. Top cap and stem is what hold them on.

If u have play then u didn't check the stack height of new stem vs old stem (new stem too short so top cap isn't tightening properly because its hitting the steerer tube) or u didn't tighten the top cap properly before tightening pinch bolts on stem.

Loosen stem pinch bolts till u can rotate the stem on the steerer, attempt to tighten top cap bolt. Should tighten easily till snug. Check by lifting front of bike and turning front wheel, if no rocking type movement but u can turn right and left freely, align stem and tighten.

If top cap bolt is tight as far as it will go, then new stem stack height is too short, need to buy another spacer and install above or below stem then refer back to above.

Its not precise as im probably going to get bashed for but its how I set my stems and never a single issue. Never used (nor ever will) an adjustable stem so could be a detail I could be missing but doubt it.

Sent from my Nokia Stupidphone using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
With stem top cap off, stem bolts loose and front wheel resting on the ground - grasp the fork crown from below the head tube and give the top of the open, uncapped stem a good whack with a rubber mallet, in an effort to drive to upper headset compression ring(beveled washer, between the steer tube and upper bearing) back into the top bearing race. Place top cap back on and gently torque the star nut and check for play.
Upper headset compression ring... is that a gold thing that looks like a ring shim that sits under the headset ring and spacers?

EDIT: Typed in 'handlebar stem' into google and it came up with this. That's what I'm talking about above except mine is gold... that's what you were referring to? I pushed it in with my fingers... looks flat but as I put the stem on, it wiggles a bit.

 

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The stem retains the headset stack in adjustment.
Park Tool Co. » ParkTool Blog » Threadless Headset Service
Since you have have changed the stem, you should check that there are enough spacers. Loosen the stem and snug the top cap center bolt up. Tighten the stem and then remove the top cap. The spacers need to be around 3mm higher than the fork steerer tube.
You need to loosen the stem and slightly tighten the cap center bolt. Then snug up the stem. Now check to see if there is any play in the headset. Hold the front brake on and rock the front wheel. You should not be able to feel any play in the headset.
Then pick the front of the bike up and try to move the handlebars back and forth. They should flop from side to side under their own weight without any binding. The headset should only be tight enough to remove the play. Now torque the stem bolts properly.
 

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I know this does not help now, but for future reference, you can avoid this by using a toe strap or something similar. wrap the strap under the crown and through the legs of the fork and wrap it around the down tube and pull it tight. now the fork will stay on the frame. since you only have two hands, this saves tons of effort and time!
 

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Try taking a flat head or even your finger to hold the compression ring down and just wiggle the steerer tube of the fork. Sometimes this helps the fork to sit properly. Slide on your spacers then your stem. Apply a small amount of pressure down, pressing it down onto the spacers and tighten it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I know this does not help now, but for future reference, you can avoid this by using a toe strap or something similar. wrap the strap under the crown and through the legs of the fork and wrap it around the down tube and pull it tight. now the fork will stay on the frame. since you only have two hands, this saves tons of effort and time!
Thanks for the tip, I didn't think of that - will give it a try.

Slash5 said:
Loosen the stem and snug the top cap center bolt up. Tighten the stem and then remove the top cap. The spacers need to be around 3mm higher than the fork steerer tube.
Well looks like I did it wrong yesterday. I tightened the stem first, and then the headset cap after. That might explain why I have some play. Checked the steerer tube and the spacers on the stem - all is good up there.
 
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