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How To Adjust a Threadless Headset

Tools Required:

*Hex Keys that fit your stem bolts and stem top cap (usually 4, 5, or 6mm).

Check the headset adjustment by rotating the handlebars parallel to the top tube with the front wheel on the ground and rocking back and forth. Turn the handlebars the other way and repeat. If there is play your headset is too loose, if there is a lot of drag or binding your headset is too tight.

In threadless systems the top cap applies preload to the headset bearings.

Threadless headset adjustment diagram

  1. If you are starting from a tight condition loosen the top cap bolt (A) a few turns. Otherwise go on to the next step.
  2. Loosen the stem pinch bolts (B).
  3. Realign the bar and front wheel and tighten the top cap bolt (A) until resistance is felt.
  4. Ensure stem pinch bolts (B) are still loose.
  5. Turn top cap bolt (A) 1/4 turn clockwise.
  6. Tighten stem pinch bolts (B).
  7. Check the headset adjustment by rotating the handlebars parallel to the top tube with the front wheel on the ground and rocking back and forth. Turn the handlebars the other way and repeat.
  8. If there is play in the headset loosen the stem pinch bolts, and repeat steps 8 though 8.
  9. Once the headset is adjusted properly tighten your stem pinch bolts (B) to the torque spec provided by your stem manufacturer.