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My road bike has been left outside all summer, UK weather so a mix of rain, sun, clouds, more clouds and even more clouds/rain. When I went to move it at the weekend, I couldn't turn the handlebars left to right, I had to use some force to get it moving. Now it's moving again, it seems fairly fluid if a little tight.

Should I take it apart and re-pack the bearings? Or just go for a ride and let the existing grease move around inside the headset? Or a more extreme version, replace the bearings altogether?

I did 10km on it yesterday, and it doesn't grind, but it's not exactly fluid.

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  • Better check it. Maybe it needs some grease (if it’s an open ball bearing you can actually grease and not sealed cartridge bearings). Maybe it’s so broken and corroded that you should replace it, otherwise it could result in a crash.
    – Michael
    Commented Sep 9, 2021 at 13:31
  • Also be careful to inspect the bits and pieces thoroughly as even 10km on a sick headset may be sufficient to ruin the component. In case of doubt and because it is safety relevant consult with your LBS for a possible replacement.
    – Carel
    Commented Sep 9, 2021 at 17:48
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    Are you able to store the bike better ? If not, all this will happen again.
    – Criggie
    Commented Sep 9, 2021 at 22:16
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    @Criggie yes, it'll be going back into the garage once we de-clutter. Commented Sep 10, 2021 at 7:59

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There is almost a certainty that debris has been carried into your headset and bearings due to being exposed to the elements. It's also quite possible that there is corrosion.

The obvious fix is to disassemble the front-end of the bike, clean, repair, or replace all affected parts and then reassemble with proper lubrication.

Once you take it apart I am sure the problem will be obvious.

You may also want to inspect, clean, and lubricate your bottom bracket as well as any other moving parts on the bike such as the wheel bearings and shifter and brake pivot points and the chain.

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    When taking it apart, make sure to document it and lay the components orderly in a row with the top-side up. Otherwise re-assembly can become a nightmare.
    – Carel
    Commented Sep 9, 2021 at 13:35

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