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I've had my bike now for about 4 weeks.It's a 1999 C-dale. When I purchased it it was and still is in excellent condition. My problem is that just recently the handle bars kinda shake when I hit small bumps in the road. It's not the handle bars that are loose, it's the piece that is attatched to the frame (headset)? It makes a loud rattling sound when I ride. I tightened the top bolt in the picture and it kept the spacers from moving like they were. You could move those spacers with your fingers from it being so loose. I don't have a special tool to get it completely tight. I'm afraid to use the crecent wrench in fear it will round off the bolt, plus metal on metal isn't good. Are the bearings gone or is it something I can fix myself? Any help at all will be much appreciated. ......Justin :confused:
 

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Your headset is loose

Your bearing probably are still OK but if you continue to ride it that way, they won't last long. My first advice is to take the bike to your LBS and have them adjust the headset. They have nice thin wrenches that are sized to fit those nuts...an adjustable cresent wrench will round them off and leave them looking crappy. It should be a nearly no-charge adjustment for you.
 

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While you're in the shop, pick up Zinn's book

That's a fairly common fix, and as you go along, you'll run into more of them. With a few dollars worth of tools and a little knowledge, you'll be able to save quite a bit of time and money doing your own maintenance, even if you don't want to get into serious mechanical work. Just learning what and how to lubricate, for instance, will prolong the life of your parts and make everything work better. One book everybody seems to like is by Lennard Zinn, called something like "Zinn and the Art of Bicycle Maintenance." You'll pay a couple of dollars more for it at a bike shop than at WalMart, probably, but if you buy it there, the shop will still be in business when you need parts or advice.
 

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Cory said:
That's a fairly common fix, and as you go along, you'll run into more of them. With a few dollars worth of tools and a little knowledge, you'll be able to save quite a bit of time and money doing your own maintenance, even if you don't want to get into serious mechanical work. Just learning what and how to lubricate, for instance, will prolong the life of your parts and make everything work better. One book everybody seems to like is by Lennard Zinn, called something like "Zinn and the Art of Bicycle Maintenance." You'll pay a couple of dollars more for it at a bike shop than at WalMart, probably, but if you buy it there, the shop will still be in business when you need parts or advice.
How often do you have to adjust a headset though? Very rare to never with a good one. I'd rather just haul it to my local LBS and they would probably even do it for free if they had the time. Not worth the price of the tools IMO.
 

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Bocephus Jones said:
How often do you have to adjust a headset though?
Maybe not very often, but inevitably you'll discover that it's loose late at night before an important ride / race, when the shop isn't open. IMO it's well worth it to have the tools and the ability to do it yourself. The Zinn book is a good investment.
 

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I think Cory's thinking beyond this particular repair

Cory's advocating learning a thing or two about bike maintanace and repair, not just learning how to adjust the headset today. I agree.
 
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