How to correctly install and adjust your bicycles handlebar
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Handlebar installation

Upon recieving your new bike which has been shipped to you fully assembled and tuned up, you will find that the handlebar has been loosened so that it can be shifted to the side for the purpose of fitting it in the box. Adjusting the handlebar will be the only step required of you before you can take your bike out for your first ride. If you choose to make the adjustment yourself as opposed to having it done at a shop, we have provided detailed instructions for you below:

Bicycles have two different styles of headsets. The headset is the set of components on a bicycle which provide a rotatable interface between the bicycle fork (to which the front wheel is mounted) and the bicycle frame itself. Depending on which style of headset you have, your handlebar will be adjusted in different ways. The two types of headsets are threaded headsets and threadless headsets.

Threaded headsets

For your purposes, the threaded headset steering systems will be comprised of three major interacting parts: the fork, a quill style handlebar stem, and the handlebar itself. The fork has two fork blades and a centered steering tube with threads (spiraled grooves) at the top of it. The steering tube of the fork is inserted into the frame of the bike and threaded into the headset. The handlebar stem, or the piece that connects the steering tube of the fork to the handlebars themselves, is a quill-style stem. It is a basic system. The stem is inserted into the steering tube of the fork, and there is an expansion bolt on top of it that is tightened. By tightening the expansion bolt, a wedge attached to the bottom of the handlebar stem is spread, fixing it in place in the steering tube of the fork.

What you need to know to adjust the handlebar stem on a threaded headset:

1) Turn the handlebar in the proper direction, making sure that your front wheel is facing completely straightforward as well.
2) If the handlebar stem is completely loose, tighten the expansion bolt on top just a little to hold the stem in place. This will make aligning the front wheel easier.
3) Align the handlebar to the front wheel, using the tire as a visual aid to properly center the wheel with the handlebar. Once aligned, completely tighten the expansion bolt. Do not feel the need to over-tighten it. 4) Perform a fail test. Standing in front of the bike, fix the front wheel between your feet and try to twist the handlebar. If the stem moves in the steering tube, it's too loose.

Threadless headsets

For your purposes, the threadless headset steering systems will be comprised of three major interacting parts: the fork, a threadless handlebar stem, and the handlebar itself. The fork has two fork blades and a centered steering tube. As opposed to the threaded system, this steering tube does not have any threads on it (hence the term 'threadless.') The steering tube of the fork is inserted into the frame of the bike. Steering tubes on threadless forks are longer than those on threaded forks, so the steering tube will extend beyond the top of the headset by several inches. The threadless handlebar stem is then clamped down on the steering tube itself. The threadless handlebar stem generally has three bolts on it. There is the top bolt (located on the top of the stem, sometimes under a plastic cap), which threads into a star nut inside of the steering tube, and two clamp bolts (located on the side of the stem) which further clamp the stem down onto the steering tube of the fork. Once all three are tightened, the handlebar stem will be firmly fixed to the steering tube.

What you need to know to adjust the handlebar stem on a threadless headset:

1) Turn the handlebar in the proper direction, making sure that your front wheel is facing completely straightforward as well.
2) If your bike has come to you fully assembled, the top bolt shouldn't be loose. If it is, tighten it until there is no longer any play in your headset.
3) Align the handlebar to the front wheel, using the tire as a visual aid to properly center the wheel with the handlebar. Once aligned, completely tighten the clamp bolts. Do not feel the need to over-tighten them.
4) Perform a fail test. Standing in front of the bike, fix the front wheel between your feet and try to twist the handlebar. If the stem moves on the steering tube, it's too loose.

Note: When making any adjustments on a threadless stem, don't loosen or tighten the top bolt unless the clamp bolts are loose. Tightening the top bolt while the clamp bolts are still tight won't do anything but pull the star nut in your steering tube out of place (this will require a bike shop's time and your money to repair.)