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Loose steering

I have a road bike with a modern stem (threadless) & head set (1 1/8 size).

I bought it used and have been experiencing an awkard behave of my road bike in relation to steering: the steering seems rather loose.

I picked a 5mm allen key and tightened stem via clamp bolts and cap bolt. But the steering is very loose.

It comes more noticeable when pedaling with hands of handlebars or when holding the bike (and it keeps tumbling down).

Any suggestions on what it might be the problem?

Thank you in advance.


Pedro Portela (Portellini)
There is two separate issues here. If the bearings are too loose, you will feel a distinct movement in the handlebars/forks in a direction that they are not supposed to move (forward/back, side to side). It is important to adjust these properly and it is not just a matter or tightening bolts. See here:

I suspect what you are saying though is that the bike feels too "twitchy" or eager to turn when you ride. This is a result of the design of the bike itself include the frame dimensions, shape of the fork, etc. There is no easy way to adjust this. Most people will get used to a bike and one that felt twitchy at first will be fine after a little riding. There are ways to change how the bike handles, but it's fairly expensive and you really want to know what you do and don't like before you start messing with this. Most often, the best thing is to find a bike that suits you better rather than trying to change the geometry of an existing bike. But give it a little time and try to test ride other bikes when you get the chance. Bike geometry and handling is very complex and hard to describe. It may take some time to get a feel for what you really like.

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