Urgent - why is my front end loose?

bompington Posts: 7,674
edited September 2009 in Workshop
Heading home today on my 2-month old bike when I notice that the fork is rattling forwards and backwards in the head tube.
While I've plenty of experience messing with the drivetrain I've never played with the front end at all , so I'm a bit of a noob here.
What is going on? Has something come loose that needs fixed, or is something actually broken? Or do I just have a shite frame? (Boardman team carbon since you're bound to ask)
Since my car is at work 20 miles away & my old bike probably needs an hour's work to make it serviceable, I'm hoping someone can tell me how to make this problem go away fast!


  • Smokin Joe
    Smokin Joe Posts: 2,706
    Your heaset needs tightening. Slacken off the two bolts clamping the stem to the steerer then gently turn the bolt on top of the stem until all play is gone. Finally retighten the clamp bolts on the stem, job done.
  • Headset is loose.

    1. Loosen the 2 steerer clamp bolts on the stem.

    2. Tighten the top bolt on the headset top cap - forks should spin freely in frame, but no longer rattle.

    3. Retighten steerer clamp bolts on stem.

    4. Never let it go loose again, you'll knack things.
  • bompington
    bompington Posts: 7,674
    4. Never let it go loose again, you'll knack things.
    Mmmmmm, bike has done about 300 miles since it was
    a) delivered, with a promise of "yes I know we're Halfords but we really do know how to do it properly"
    and b) checked over by LBS as I didn't have much faith in a).
    Is it reasonable to expect this? I've done 10,000+ miles on a (cheap) mountain bike and a 15yo second hand Raleigh without ever having to tighten the headset on either.
  • Things do often work loose on bikes. I retighten headsets quite frequently on mine - I just see it as routine maintenance. If you did 10k miles on other bikes without ever touching them, you were probably pretty lucky. I suspect they were possibly rusted tight towards the end of it.

    To answer your question yes it is reasonable to expect this, don't think the less of Halfords or your LBS on the grounds of just this.
  • PS when I said "never let it go loose", I should have said "always fix it asap when it does go loose", you'll recognise the juddery rattly feeling...
  • bompington
    bompington Posts: 7,674
    I suspect they were possibly rusted tight towards the end of it.
    No, really, I clean and lube my bikes religiously every year!

    Thanks guys for the advice, I'm away to tighten it. Then it's up at 5:30 tomorrow for the ride to work, headwinds of 25-35 forecast...