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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm looking to replace my stem and know it's trickier than it seems just looking at it. Specifically, I've been told that getting the cap on top of the steerer on and off is not just a matter of turning the hex nut. Is this something I can do myself without special equipment or should I take it to a shop?
It's a threadless system - Columbus fork with FSA headset, in case that's relevant.
Thanks for any advice.
 

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It's just a matter of turning the hex nut. But when you tighten it after replacing your stem, you don't want to get it loose (you'll have play in your headset, that's dangerous), and you don't want to get it too tight (unpleasant, and might damage your bearings early).

One other point: tighten that top bolt before you tighten the side bolts on your stem. You want to put the load on the headset first, then adjust the alignment of the stem.

To determine how tight to tighten the top bolt, various people have various methods. Personally I squeeze the front brake, and rock the bike back and forth while feeling the headset with the other hand to see if there is play left. Easy cheesy, other people do differently.
 

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sholdnt be....maybe i do it wrong but....this is what i do

loosen the nut on top cap...for me it comes right off...then loosen the bolts on the stem and lift it off (then do the handlebar end)....are you moving the height of the stem....no...even easier then.....

attach handlebar to new stem... put new stem on the steer tube...the order of the next things are crucial...you must tighten the headset/top cap first before the stem bolts....push down (or have someone else do it) on the handle bar and then tighten the headset....then tighten the stem bolts.....you should be good.....someone please correct me if im wrong in anyway....dont want to hurt anyone...
 

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Remove old stem faceplate
Let handlebars hang down (or prop them up on something to prevent housing stretch/bend)
Loosen top cap bolt all the way
Remove top cap and bolt
Loosen stem bolts until they can be hand loosened
Pull old stem off
Put handlebars on new stem and tighten faceplate (just get it centered, exact angle of bars can be done later)
Loosen bolts on new stem
Put new stem on steerer tube
Put top cap/bolt back in
Tighten until steering feels normal and there isn't any "play" when you hold the front brake and rock the bike back and forth. If its hard to turn the wheel, its too tight. If you feel movement when the brake is locked, too loose.
Center stem on front wheel using the line down the center of the tire (middle of faceplate and back of stem line up nicely on the tire)
Tighten stem to steerer tube to torque requirements or to what feels tight (putting the wheel between your legs and trying to move the bars is what I do, probably not a good idea on a carbon steerer)
Recheck alignment with front wheel, readjust handlebar angle.

Lots of steps, but its really a simple process. Just redo what you took off the first time, remember to do the top cap first.
 
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