Broken stem and stranded without bicycle

On Saturday, I mentioned my tribars came loose and kept moving around. On Sunday, I looked at the problem and started to tighten the stem bolts which had worked loose. Tightening them up and the end of the stem snapped.


I don’t want to have to buy a new stem just for one day’s cycling. So I’m stuck without bicycle for two days. It’s frustrating for a stem to break. But, as is usually the case with things like this – you do feel grateful it didn’t decide to break going down Buker Brow at 40mph.

It may have been partly my fault as the screws were not tightened up equally. Some were screwed in more than others. This probably put more pressure on some corners of the stem. Even so, it’s not great it broke. It is an expensive light weight Deda stem.

Moral of the story. If you hear rattling on your bike, look at it straight away and take care tightening things up.

My Dad asked if I could fix it with gaffer tape, which I thought was amusing.

5 Responses to Broken stem and stranded without bicycle

  1. Chris March 17, 2014 at 9:54 am #

    Are your tri bars the correct diameter for your stem, if its a smaller diameter, you can tighten all you like but it wont grip and you will snap your stem if its carbon.

    On carbon, all bolts should be screwed in equally, to the correct torque using a torque wrench and tightened a bit at a time diagonally opposite, i.e. top right then bottom left, bottom right then top left and so on until the torque wrench, set at the correct weight, snaps.

  2. Max March 17, 2014 at 12:56 pm #

    Same thing happened to me last year. It was a cheap stem and the faceplate snapped during a tightening-up and not on the road, but I still felt aggrieved at the shoddy engineering! Plus it was impossible to find a matching faceplate so the whole stem had to be binned.

  3. Graham March 17, 2014 at 9:00 pm #

    Moral of the story get a Torque Wrench. Which is exactly what I was browsing and looking to buy just before reading your blog, which I enjoy reading. Good look with 2014 season.

  4. Ordinary Cycling Girl March 18, 2014 at 7:47 am #

    I can’t help but feel you were incredibly lucky that this happened at home. Scary to think what could have happened if they’d snapped whilst out on the road.

  5. Chris March 18, 2014 at 9:50 am #

    Graham, make sure you get one which goes low enough for cycle torques, most common brands don’t.

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