My handlebars came off while riding

EugeneMorrow
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My handlebars came off while riding

Postby EugeneMorrow » Wed Jun 24, 2015 8:35 am

I have a Merida Crossway that is 4 years old. I was riding and suddenly the handlebars came off !

Lucky for me there was no traffic and I was going fairly slowly up hill. I feel over the front wheel (which I couldn't control anymore) and the handlebar column hit me above the groin. I have a tender spot there now, and otherwise just a few scratches. I am very lucky there were no cars at the time.

It was dark, and it took me a while to use my bike light to find a lug that is about half as long as my little finger and about as thick. It had come out and was lying on the road. I could get it back in, so I had to ring my wife who came and picked me up.

Has this happened to anyone else? Are Merida's known for this? Up until now I was really happy with the bike, but now I am worried that even when it is repaired, I will be wondering whether I can trust it, especially at speed.

Eugene

EugeneMorrow
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Re: My handlebars came off while riding

Postby EugeneMorrow » Thu Jun 25, 2015 7:12 am

I am convinced now that there is a bolt that holds the handlebars on, and it came loose and fell off. So Merida is not at fault - I simply didn't check the bolt. Oh well, a big lesson in an important part to check. I'm lucky it didn't happen at high speed on a busy road. I've answered my own question, so this topic wasn't needed in the end. At least I can warn others to check what I didn't check myself.

Eugene

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queequeg
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My handlebars came off while riding

Postby queequeg » Thu Jun 25, 2015 8:02 am

yes, you need to regularly check that your bike is mechanically sound before each ride. That includes the handlebars being secured correctly, as bolts etc can work loose over time.

It's hard to know what actually happened to you, but it sounds like your stem actually came off (with the bars attached) the steerer tube?
'11 Lynskey Cooper CX, '00 Hillbrick Steel Racing (Total Rebuild '10), '15 Cervelo S5

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Re: My handlebars came off while riding

Postby Gunlock » Thu Jun 25, 2015 8:12 am

I was mountain biking recently and my front wheel turned 90 degrees and my bars stayed straight after I hit a log obstacle. I had checked the stem volts but not the steerer tube bolt.

That sucker is nice and tight now...
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shaky
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Re: My handlebars came off while riding

Postby shaky » Thu Jun 25, 2015 8:25 am

My stem came loose at the bar end not steerer once. Using carbon bars, I didn't have a torque driver to set appropriate tightness of the stem bolts when I put it all together and was worried about over tightening and damaging bars. Obviously did not do them up tight enough, vibration loosened the bolts a smidge and was enough for the bars to work loose. Fortunately for me, the bars didn't break loose while actually riding, but noticed after hopping off the bike away from home. So still a decent walk home in the end. Could have been worse like yours though EM

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KGB
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Re: My handlebars came off while riding

Postby KGB » Thu Jun 25, 2015 9:07 am

I just googled the bike and, as I suspected, it has an adjustable stem. I'm guessing it came apart at the hinge, half the stem still securely attached to the bars and the other half still securely attached to the steerer.

These cheap adjustable stems look like a crappy design to me but the OP still should have noticed play in the hinge before they just fell apart.

Poor maintenance and a lucky escape.
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EugeneMorrow
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Re: My handlebars came off while riding

Postby EugeneMorrow » Fri Jun 26, 2015 9:32 am

I should have clarified: I have a Merida Crossway 100 bought in Jan 2011. The metal handlebars attach to the stem with a big lug that has a bold that screws inside it. Clearly made for easy removal of the handlebars for storage and transport. The stem has a rounded end poking forward with a hole in it. The handlebars have two parallel prongs with holes in it. The lug goes through prong-stem-prong. It's something I never paid attention to. I will check it in future - and I also think a rubber band might be useful. By holding the screw in, it won't come loose, so this should prevent the problem happening again. I love my Merida, and I accept now it was my fault for not checking this. A rubber band might make the handlebars completely reliable in future. Thanks for your stories - some of you are lucky like me that handlebar problems could have been worse.

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darkhorse75
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Re: My handlebars came off while riding

Postby darkhorse75 » Fri Jun 26, 2015 10:34 am

I wouldn't be putting faith in a rubber band to keep me alive. Post a pic of the stem and handlebar arrangement so someone can help.

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bychosis
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Re: My handlebars came off while riding

Postby bychosis » Fri Jun 26, 2015 12:54 pm

darkhorse75 wrote:I wouldn't be putting faith in a rubber band to keep me alive. Post a pic of the stem and handlebar arrangement so someone can help.


+1. Pic's will help to get help.

I've had loose bars before, typically on MTB after I've ocmpleted some maintenance and havent tightened everything up properly, typically because I don't want to over tighten. Fortunately I haven't had any incident as serious as bars coming off. They've rotated back a few times, twiseted on the stem once or twice. Usually a tweak with an allen key roadside (trailside?) has fixed things up promptly and off on my way.
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queequeg
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My handlebars came off while riding

Postby queequeg » Fri Jun 26, 2015 2:22 pm

EugeneMorrow wrote:I should have clarified: I have a Merida Crossway 100 bought in Jan 2011. The metal handlebars attach to the stem with a big lug that has a bold that screws inside it. Clearly made for easy removal of the handlebars for storage and transport. The stem has a rounded end poking forward with a hole in it. The handlebars have two parallel prongs with holes in it. The lug goes through prong-stem-prong. It's something I never paid attention to. I will check it in future - and I also think a rubber band might be useful. By holding the screw in, it won't come loose, so this should prevent the problem happening again. I love my Merida, and I accept now it was my fault for not checking this. A rubber band might make the handlebars completely reliable in future. Thanks for your stories - some of you are lucky like me that handlebar problems could have been worse.


It sounds like what you have is a threaded headset with a quill stem that is secured in place with an expanding wedge, which it tightened by a single bolt down the middle.

Sort of like this:

Image

That being the case, the only thing holding the stem in the steerer tube is the expansion of the wedge at the bottom, which achieved by tightening the bolt at the top. Always check it before you ride.
'11 Lynskey Cooper CX, '00 Hillbrick Steel Racing (Total Rebuild '10), '15 Cervelo S5

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Derny Driver
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Re: My handlebars came off while riding

Postby Derny Driver » Fri Jun 26, 2015 3:39 pm

No its an A-Head setup I think. Adjustable A-Head stem with a 2 bolt securing to the bars.

Be aware that any stem which is secured by 2 steel bolts only requires one bolt to fail and you can have a disaster. I had a rider on an overseas race snap a bolt on a steep descent and the result wasn't pretty. He did pretty well going down that hill with his bars resting on the front wheel and steering with his knees. Slight difficulty turning the bottom corner though.
Lets just say he has been 'converted' to a 4 bolt stem man now.

Im a 4 bolt stem man too. you can get replacement titanium stem bolts on ebay to replace the steel ones if you want a bit more peace of mind.

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queequeg
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Re: My handlebars came off while riding

Postby queequeg » Fri Jun 26, 2015 10:54 pm

Yes. looking at the images of the Crossway 100, it seems that the adjustable stem has a single bolt that goes through the pivot to tighten it and hold it in place., basically the same design as a GoPro mount by the look of it.
So, I think the OP is describing the scenario where the stem basically came into two parts at the hinge when the bolt fell out.

I have an R710 Oval Adjustable Stem that avoids that problem by making the whole pivot into a spline that slots together. It can't come apart just with the bolt coming out. The bolt holds the spline in place but doesn't hold the stem itself in position.
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