Building a Bicycle:Stems and Handlebar

It’s time to return to  writing about assembling a bicycle. I left off after having attached the wheels to the bicycle frame.Part deux is composed of adding the stems (a Quill stem, seat post) and the handlebar (a Velo Orange Porteur Handlebar). This is when it starts to get a little greasy–literally. As mentioned in the first part, I used Phil brand waterproof grease.

From Jim Langley

1. Take the quill stem–the part which holds the handlebars in place–and slides into the fork. The handlebar actually is held in place by tightening up the stem faceplate (basically, just a tube that you thread the handlebars through). On the other end of the Quill style stem (which is L-shaped) there is an expanding wedge on the bottom, which when tightened, moves (expands) to jam itself against the inside the fork, securing it in place. I used an Allen Key to tighten the parts.  On the expanding end of the stem, there is a small notch, which is the minimum depth that the stem needs to be in the fork. Using a small amount of waterproof grease, lube up the bottom of the stem up to the notch. It might be handy to have a piece of tissue or rag handy because you will get greasy. 

Mmmmmm grease

2. Once you have greased the lower part of the stem, you need to drop it into the fork (or slide it) until the small notch is at the top rim of the fork. Tighten the top bolt on the stem with the Allen Key until it’s snug in the fork. The height of the stem might be changed after, once the seat is on. 

Making sure I can see the notch

Tightening the bolt

3. Once that is in place, it is time to slide the handlebars through. The handlebars I have can face “up” or “down”–ultimately whichever way they face will affect the body position on the bike. Slide the handlebars through the groove between the stem and stem faceplate. Then, to center the handlebars, it is easier to stand in front of the bike and make sure the middle of the bars is basically in a straight line with the stem and top tube. Using the Allen Key, tighten the bolts in the faceplate, which will secure the handlebars in place.

Tightening bolts

Total Concentration

4. Now, time for the seatpost. My seatpost already came assembled with a saddle clamp and bolts needed. This step is similar to the insertion of the Quill stem. There will be a notch (the manufacturer’s line indicating minimum recommended height) on the seatpost. Using grease, lube up the seatpost.

5. Now, slide the seatpost into the seat tube. The height of the post is not important, since the saddle has not been placed yet. But, slide the post until you see the manufacturer’s line. Then, tighten, tighten!

It's easier to stand behind so you can try to keep the post in line with the top tube

Tighten away

Et voilà, your bike is now ready for a saddle…and the rest of the parts still needed!

What still needs to be added

It's coming along!

It helps when you have a good teacher

Get a bicycle.  You will certainly not regret it, if you live.

–Mark Twain

When was the last crazy post written?

May 2023

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