Adjust The Bike Headset On A Threadless Steerer

Introduction

If you find your bike headset is too loose or too tight you need to adjust the bearing. Riding with a maladjusted headset will be more difficult and less comfortable and will wear out the bearing prematurely.

Pro Tip

A threadless bike headset can be adjusted with simple tools.

Step 1

<h3>Step 1</h3><p>Stand in front of the bike, facing the handlebars, with the front wheel between your legs and your head on the centre-line of the bike. Release the bolts that clamp the handlebar stem to the steerer tube and check it’s free by twisting it gently on the steerer tube. Never try and tighten the top-cap while the handlebar-stem is clamped on the steerer.
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Unlock

Stand in front of the bike, facing the handlebars, with the front wheel between your legs and your head on the centre-line of the bike. Release the bolts that clamp the handlebar stem to the steerer tube and check it’s free by twisting it gently on the steerer tube. Never try and tighten the top-cap while the handlebar-stem is clamped on the steerer.

Step 2

<h3>Step 2</h3><p>Once the handlebar stem is released you can use the top-cap of the bike headset to tighten or loosen the bearing. If the bearing is too loose, screw the top-cap down gently. If the bearing is too tight, turn it anti-clockwise a quarter turn.
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Adjust

Once the handlebar stem is released you can use the top-cap of the bike headset to tighten or loosen the bearing. If the bearing is too loose, screw the top-cap down gently. If the bearing is too tight, turn it anti-clockwise a quarter turn.

Step 3

<h3>Step 3</h3><p>Check the bearing on the bike headset to see if it’s within the target of ‘free to turn’ and ‘not too loose’. If it’s too loose or too tight repeat the previous step making finer adjustments. You have to do the check carefully because the handlebars are not locked on the steerer tube.
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Check

Check the bearing on the bike headset to see if it’s within the target of ‘free to turn’ and ‘not too loose’. If it’s too loose or too tight repeat the previous step making finer adjustments. You have to do the check carefully because the handlebars are not locked on the steerer tube.

Step 4

<h3>Step 4</h3><p>Once you have the bearing in the target zone, make sure the handlebars are square to the front wheel then screw up the clamp bolts. If there are two tighten them in stages, in turn. Don’t do them up too tight you may damage the threads in the aluminium stem.
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Lock

Once you have the bearing in the target zone, make sure the handlebars are square to the front wheel then screw up the clamp bolts. If there are two tighten them in stages, in turn. Don’t do them up too tight you may damage the threads in the aluminium stem.

Step 5

<h3>Step 5</h3><p>Make a final check that the bearing is in the target zone.
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Final Check of the bike headset

Make a final check that the bearing is in the target zone.