I just bought a used cruiser for 20$ The handlebars are WAY TOO LOW for me to ride it. However, I've tried everything and the bolt will not budge. Is like to enjoy my new/used bike. Any ideas how to get out off without spending a lot of money or having to buy any fancy tools.

  • 1
    Hi, welcome to bicycles. Can you include some photos of the parts in question? We might guess you have a quill stem, but we might be wrong.
    – DavidW
    Dec 4, 2023 at 18:09
  • What progress have you had ?
    – Criggie
    Dec 9, 2023 at 22:20

2 Answers 2


The risk is stripping the head of the bolt out and then it gets even harder. If the fastener starts to deform and not move, stop immediately.

Start by adding some penetrating oil around the joint, and leave it to soak in. Repeat every couple hours and try again tomorrow.

It can be beneficial to heat the area too. Sometimes just a warm sunny day is enough, but a hot air blower or a flame may be needed to add more heat. Avoid heating plastics and brake cables and grips, etc. Its also possible to scorch paint and chrome with excessive heat, as well as burning one's self. Also the oils can ignite.

You can add leverage too by using a longer tool, though this increases the risk of damage.

Good luck !


There is a bond between the alloy stem and the steel head tube that can be difficult to break free. Usually the stem not the steel wedge is the culprit. Most methods require you to risk damaging the steel frame. Decide if it is worth the risk and effort. Recently I stopped working and trashed the frame making any success in removal a moot point. That being said, heating the head tube with a propane torch might not visibly damage to the point of failure. Problem here is the possibility of failure whilst riding the bike which could be disastrous. The head tube and the surrounding frame welds must not be compromised by the heat applied. Bottom line for me is give it about an hour of effort then move on with another frame. Trash or recycle as you wish. Oops, you can always find a replacement fork. Then a hacksaw to the old fork. Not sure if it is worth the extra effort.

  • 2
    It looks like you got cut off part way through; you should edit this to complete your answer.
    – DavidW
    Dec 9, 2023 at 17:51

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