This Bolt’s Driving Me Nuts

I have an embarrassing problem. My bars just won’t stay erect. I can’t tell you how embarrassing it is when I have to come to a sudden stop, and my handlebars flop down onto my knees.

Oddly enough, the first person I go see whenever I have a mechanical problem is my Big Daddy (who in real life is my daddy, and still pretty big, but not nearly as big as me). Big Daddy also built my bike, so he already knows the peculiarities of this particular situation.

As it turns out, the original handle bars were not knurled, so Big Daddy set a screw in the bar so it would catch on the inside of the riser bracket before dropping all the way down.

On one hand, this was a brilliant idea: adjustable height handle bars. On the other hand, it didn’t work out so well for me. After the set screw mod, the bars would still clear Big Daddy’s short little legs, even at their lowest point, but my long, lean, muscular, sexy … OK … My big fat legs were tall enough that the bar would knock my knees when my feet were flat on the foot boards.

We just couldn’t figure out why the bar was still dropping. After some deep discussion and clearing of cobwebs, Big Daddy recalled that there was always something odd about the top bolt on the right hand riser. The bolts seemed to go in fine, but even after torquing them down, the bar could slip under pressure.

In a moment of genius (and because he was supposed to already be on the road to Daytona at the time), Big Daddy had inserted a zip tie into the bolt hole and torqued it down. The bars were tight as can be, and the temporary nature if the fix slipped Big Daddy’s mind (likely with the help of several gallons of beer and tequila during bike week).

Now, a few years later, when the bike is handed over to a gentleman of even greater stature (myself), that poor little nylon strip couldn’t handle it any more.

So, let’s get back to the real problem: factory bolts, after market bolts, bolts found in an oily bucket in the corner of my garage would not seat properly in the riser. The threads didn’t appear to be stripped in the riser, and the bolts (especially the chromied ones) are pristine. And since the bolts all fit fine in other riser bolt holes, the only conclusion we can come to is ….

Factory defect.

That’s our story, and we’re sticking to it.

So, I went to the local hardware store and purchased a nice course thread Grade 8 bolt and nylon lock nut. everything righted down beautifully, and my handlebars are stable.

It’s not particularly pretty with one odd nut hanging off the bottom of the riser mount, but if will do fine for the next week while I wait for my new risers to arrive.

 

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