My stem is secured to the steerer with two bolts. One bolt is strong. The other is loose. Replacing the bolt wont fix it, because the material around the bolt is not that strong anymore (small pieces coming out). Pls see attached screenshot.

How can I fix that? Is it secure?

enter image description here

  • 1
    A hack would be to replace it with a slightly thinner but longer bolt with a nut. Apr 14, 2020 at 16:20
  • 3
    Handlebar stem is both safety critical and cheap if you don't want extreme high end. I'd leave hacks to other places, even if this would be a low risk one.
    – ojs
    Apr 14, 2020 at 18:44
  • 3
    Aside - this bolt stripped its thread BECAUSE someone overtorqued it. If that was you, consider using a torque wrench in the future.
    – Criggie
    Apr 15, 2020 at 1:20
  • 1
    Replace the stem, they don't cost that much. And let's put it bluntly: At least less than a longer stay in hospital, new teeth or in the worst case, a funeral.
    – Carel
    Apr 15, 2020 at 17:33

4 Answers 4


Having just one bolt to bear the load isn't enough. The main good option would be to replace the stem. It's chunky so helicoiling would likely also be fine if you found a shop to do it cheaply enough.


In the bike hacker fix category:
You might be able to use your existing stem by

  • drilling out the hole with the stripped threads (leaving the good bolt alone)
  • Using a longer bolt with a nut on the outside - it may take a little filing to get a flat spot for the nut to sit on.

You need two fully functioning bolts to be safe.
Best to replace the stem if possible.


I would replace the stem using a 2nd hand part from your favourite online marketplace, as it will likely be the cheapest option unless you have access to either

  • a tap and die set
  • a collection of random nuts and bolts (although getting an assortment of a few common bicycle size specific nuts and bolts can get you out of trouble like this in the future as bolts do round off over time and do seize up if especially if you ride through cold and wet winter conditions)

Both bolts should be able to be torqued up to the recommended value (typically around 50 inch pounds or 5-6 N.m. Less if your dealing with a carbon fiber steerer. Check with manufacturer.). They should also be tightened down together, keeping a similar gap between the two sides of stem the bolts are bringing closer.

While it's not likely the stem and handle bar unit would become totally disengaged from the fork steerer tube under normal, leisurely riding conditions, neither is it safe counting on one bolt and far less surface area of the steerer tube that's bound by it. Replacement makes the most sense considering the (usually) reasonable cost of alloy threadless stems similar to yours.

An alternative to helicoil (the cost of which would equal a double digit percent of a new stem) or the through-bolt w/ washer & nut. Would be to tap new threads into the receiving hole and use a new M-bolt with the equivalent diameter & thread pitch of the tap. If the current bolt is an M5 (diameter of the threaded part of your current fastener), tap in M6 x 1.00 threads and use an M6 socket head cap screw for the new fastener. This also is spendy if you don't have access to a tap and die kit. I mention it because I've noticed these kits showing up more and more in home shops and tool closets.

Using grease or other thread prep on bicycle fasteners is an important part of repairing or installation. It prevents corrosion, helps the threads not become galled and allows easier achievement of the spec'd torque value while minimizing risk of damage to the part, the fastener and the threading.

  • Filing the stem is a bad idea IMO - it leads to corners and stress risers. Instead, file the nut to fit the profile of the stem, and then secure by turning the new longer bolt. However this would be my third option, after helicoiling and outright replacement.
    – Criggie
    Apr 15, 2020 at 1:17

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.