I've just got a new bike (ordered online). It came all assemebled except for the handlebar stem (quill type) which is completely sideways. I believe I need to loosen the stem bolt and reorient it, however, the problem is that the stem bolt seems to be covered. There is a cap, I've removed the cap but I do not see the bolt. Any idea how I should fix this? Thanks. enter image description here

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  • Huh, good question. Photo is unfortunately a bit washed out because of the flash, could you retake the photo, keeping the bolt in focus, perhaps outside in daylight so the flash isn't necessary?
    – Swifty
    Commented May 13, 2020 at 7:21
  • I added another daylight pic, not sure it is better tho. The small hole on the surface where the bolt is supposed to be (that is visible specially on the flash lighted pic) was accidentally caused by me as I played around with the screwdriver.
    – Han
    Commented May 13, 2020 at 9:49
  • oh my bad, sorry, obviously it's hard to get light down there without the flash! I was hoping to see a bit better what is blocking the tool. thanks for at least humouring me
    – Swifty
    Commented May 13, 2020 at 12:53
  • 2
    When you get a chance - the handlebar is too far left as well. It should be even in the clamp. However thats a lot of basic assembly errors. You would be smart to get it checked completely by a competent cyclist, or someone similar, paying special attention to the usual errors like brake setup etc. Safety !
    – Criggie
    Commented May 13, 2020 at 13:06
  • 1
    Thanks a lot. I managed to finallly pull out the plastic plug.
    – Han
    Commented May 14, 2020 at 19:51

1 Answer 1


The most likely scenario is the plastic cap was inserted to far. Using a drill bit slightly smaller than the access hole, slowly drill into the plastic plug. Drill just deep enough to go through the plastic when you hit the bolt head stop. Use an "O" riing pick or a dental tool to pull the plug out. If you can't raise the plug try to insert the correct size allen wrench through the hole you drilled and loosen the bolt a few turns. Tap the top of the allen wrench to loosen the wedge. Completely remove the stem. Unscrew and remove the stem bolt and push the remains of the plug out.

  • 2
    I would use an awl, rather than a drill bit. Or just hold the drill bit in your hand. Commented May 13, 2020 at 12:00

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