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RadRunner Headset Adjustment Guide

The headset of your bike is located inside the headtube and allows the fork steering column and front wheel to rotate and turn. The headset can loosen over time with normal use, so it is important to periodically check the headset tightness and to tighten it properly when necessary.

A headset that is too loose can cause an accident and a headset that is too tight can cause premature wear on components, so it is important to tighten properly and to the correct amount of tightness. With periodic checks and tightening when needed, you can keep your bike safe and fun to ride.

Follow the steps below to check headset tightness and perform an adjustment on your RadRunner if needed. This guide uses RadRunner 1, but the steps will be the same for the RadRunner Plus.

Caution.png If you are not confident in your ability to successfully and safely perform all steps, we recommend having the work performed or checked by a local, certified, and reputable bike mechanic. 

Tools Needed:

  • 5 mm Allen wrench
  • Torque wrench with a 5 mm Allen bit
  1. Get the bike ready for maintenance. Turn off the bike, remove the battery, and press and hold the power button (or MODE on the LCD display remote) to discharge remaining power.
  2. Check if the headset needs to be adjusted. 
    1. Check if the headset is too loose. Place one hand over the spot where the top of the front fork meets the bike's headtube (indicated by the arrow in the image below). At the same time, use your other hand to squeeze the left brake lever, and gently rock the bike front to back.

      If you feel a knocking sensation under your hand or hear a "clunking" or rattling sound, the headset is likely too loose.

      RadRunner_headset.png
    2. Check if the headset is too tight. Lift the front wheel off the ground slightly. Stand clear of the handlebar and carefully tilt the bike slightly to one side to check if the front wheel "flops," or easily and quickly turns to the side. 

      If the front wheel will not flop to the side, the headset is likely too tight.
  3. Adjust the headset.
    1. Loosen the stem clamp bolts. Use a 5 mm Allen wrench to loosen (but not remove) the two stem clamp bolts, until the handlebar stem can move independently of the front wheel.

      RadRunner_clamp_bolts.png
    2. Loosen or tighten the headset. Remove the top cap cover and set aside. Use a 5 mm Allen wrench to turn the top cap bolt 1/4 turn, clockwise to tighten or counterclockwise to loosen. Do not make the headset too loose or over-tighten.
      Caution.png Tighten the headset properly. Do not under-tighten or over-tighten the headset. Riding a bike with an over-tightened headset can lead to difficulty steering and premature wear of the headset bearings.
      RadRunner_headset_bolt.jpeg.png
    3. Check the headset tension. Repeat step 2 to see if the headset needs to be adjusted further. Perform another adjustment, if needed. Reinstall the top cap cover once the adjustment is complete.
  4. Align the handlebar. 
    1. Adjust the front wheel so it points directly forward and is in line with the frame. Rotate the handlebar stem independently of the wheel so the handlebar is centered and perpendicular to the wheel direction. To ensure proper alignment, use the center of the tire or wheel as a reference point for the handlebar alignment (not the fender).
    2. Evenly tighten the stem clamp bolts. Once the handlebar is aligned, use a 5 mm Allen wrench to tighten the bolts 1/2 turn starting with the top bolt, and alternating between each bolt to ensure they are tightened securely. Torque the bolts to 10 Nm.
    3. Perform a handlebar twist test to check that the stem is secure. Stand over the front wheel and hold it in place between your legs. Place one hand on each handlebar grip, and try to turn the handlebar from side to side. Push forward with one hand with approximately 20 lb of force, while pulling backwards with the other hand with approximately 20 lb of force. The stem should be tight enough that it does not turn independently of the wheel.
    4. If the stem turns independently of the wheel, loosen the stem clamp bolts and repeat step 4 to make sure the headset is properly aligned and secure.
      Caution.png Loose or improperly torqued stem hardware can cause loss of control, serious injury, or death. Check that all hardware is tightened securely to recommended torque specifications before each ride.
  5. Once properly secured, reinstall the battery and test the bike fully before riding.

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