Headset Adjustment – BikeCo Tips & Tricksnate collins
This BikeCo Tips & Tricks video illustrates how to adjust a MTB Headset.
OK, disclaimer time. Headsets are critical to your safety. If you aren’t sure of your mechanical aptitude find a professional resource.
MTB Headset Adjustment
A loose headset may damage or destroy the fork steerer or headtube. Riding a loose headset is extremely detrimental to bearing lifespan.
If you suspect a loose headset feel for a “clunk”, “knock” or “click” in the front end of the bike.
Pull the front brake and rock the bike back and forth.
Turning the wheel 90 degrees will help eliminate brake pad rock, which may mimic a loose headset.
If you feel movement isolated to the headset it needs to be adjusted.
Loosen the bolts which clamp the stem to the steer tube. It is important to re-torque these properly as on a modern bike this is what keeps your fork attached to the bike!
Loosen the stem cap bolt slightly. Feel that the thread interface feels appropriate. If your stem bolt isn’t moving relatively easily there may be another issue at hand.
While rocking the bike slightly tighten the stem cap bolt until the movement is eliminated.
Do not over tighten the stem cap bolt as it will stress the bearings. The stem cap bolt is only pre-loading the bearings, it doesn’t hold the bike together.
Straighten the handlebars with the front wheel.
Re-torque the stem at the steer tube.
Test ride the bike to ensure proper function. The headset should neither “clunk” or bind during motion.
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