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I just got a bike off of Amazon and I'm not sure how well-assembled it is.

I can turn the handlebars about 45 degrees to the left hand side. On the right hand side, I can only turn them about 15 degrees before the brake cable hits the frame and prevents it from turning anymore. I am concerned that this may be a problem if I need to make a sharp right turn.

Is there anything I can do to fix this? Is it just poor construction?

Here are some photos:

When the bike arrived, the adjustment screw for the brake was fully screwed-in, and I loosened it in order to tighten the front brake up a bit (it still feels too loose to be comfortable, though). Tightening the adjustment screw all the way isn't enough to let the handlebars turn to the right.

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  • 7
    Can you take photos of the entire right brake cable run?
    – MaplePanda
    Dec 9 '20 at 4:37
  • 4
    You're right it is a problem. How handy are you with tools?
    – Criggie
    Dec 9 '20 at 5:42
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    The problem seems to reside in poor cable routing either around the bar or the headtube.
    – Carel
    Dec 9 '20 at 8:21
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    Did the bike come in a box all assembled or did you have to do some assembly? Typically by attaching the handlebar to the stem or even attaching the stem to the steerer?
    – Carel
    Dec 9 '20 at 15:26
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    I believe your fork is backwards. That’s your problem.
    – MaplePanda
    Dec 10 '20 at 5:38
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After seeing the picture, it is much worse than expected. The issue is that the fork is facing backwards. Solution: the handlebar should be rotated 180 degrees.

But a bicycle that was so poorly assembled deserves a thorough check on all its components and most likely disassembling and (re)greasing everything.

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    100% agree - there are road bikes with the brake behind the caliper, but they're super-expensive ones. This fork is backward and is dangerous to ride as-is. Steering will be extremely squirrelly too. I can see a bunch of white paint chipped off where the silver barrel adjuster has been whacking the downtube. Consider returning it, or if you're stuck with it we can assist in fixing.
    – Criggie
    Dec 10 '20 at 8:49
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    The fix is for OP to back off the two pinch bolts holding the stem to the steerer, and the one bolt on the cap. When the stem can rotate around the steerer, turn the fork 180 degrees so the brake comes around the bike's right-hand side and ends up at the front. Then line the stem up with the front wheel so forward is straight ahead for both. Tighten down the top-cap bolt to pre-load the bearings. Then tighten the two stem pinch bolts a bit at a time in turn. OP should consider cleaning and painting the chipped paint too.
    – Criggie
    Dec 10 '20 at 8:55
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    The bikes with brake behind fork have a different brake design that allows the handlebar to turn.
    – ojs
    Dec 10 '20 at 9:01
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Sounds like there's not enough slack in the brake cable outer. Photos will help a lot - you can add them in with [edit] My assumption is poor assembly.

It is fixable - You can buy more brake cable outer in a kit which should let you re-do the brakes on the bike. But the bike is brand new and that really shouldn't be necessary. You might choose to return the bike as "unsuitable" that's up to you.


Aside - we might spot other issues with assembly if you add some clear well-lit photos. Add one from the right hand side of the bike showing the whole thing, one showing the handlebars area, and if you can a third showing the bike's rear wheel cassette and derailleur.

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    I added a side photo and a front photo of the problematic brake line -- I missed the rear wheel cassette, apologies. I am not sure if I am explaining it correctly, though -- the handlebar cannot turn because it bumps into the brake line itself, it doesn't seem like it would be fixed by more slack. Dec 10 '20 at 4:47
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In the absence of a picture
As Carel says in comments this is most likely a problem with cable/housing routing. This sometimes happens when the stem/handlebars are installed (If the bike came with handlebars off). Less often (but can happen) if the stem/handlebars are installed but are twisted to fit in the box.

If you look at the brake cable/housing that is binding you will be able to see where it is binding and visualize a route that eliminates the problem.

On a front brake the cable/housing will run from the lever to the front brake. It should take a very direct route and not wrap around the frame or other cable/housings.

On the rear brake the cable/housing will run from the lever to some point on the frame. Just like the front brake it should take a very direct route and not wrap around the frame or other cable/housings.

  • You may be able to pop the stem/handlebars off, re-route the cable/housing, and put the stem/handlebars back on to solve the problem.
  • If the cable/housing was poorly routed at the factory it is often possible to disconnect the brake cable/housing at the lever by getting some slack on the cable/housing, re-routing the it, and reconnecting it at the lever.

If you see no way to fix the problem by re-routing the cable/housing it may be that the factory did not provide a long enough brake cable/housing.

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