My search skills are failing me, I remember there was a podcast episode where they discussed a good trick for getting a stem lined up straight when mounting a new one. Anyone remember the trick or the episode?
Straightedge across the fork blades and line up the bars to the straightedge. There are dozens of videos on YouTube for how to do this so pick your favorite presenter.
This is a short one. Works for mountain and road. Simple Trick To Align Handlebars Perfectly Straight - YouTube
Thanks for the tip and link, but no straight edge unfortunately, and got a race tomorrow morning lol.
The trick on the AACC podcast was just using your vision. I remember thinking it was a great idea at the time and I swear I bookmarked it but it seems not…
If you want to invest, get a laser level from your local DIY store and ask a friend to hold the bike up against a wall while you get it straight. Has revolutionised my obsession with getting bars properly lined up!
LOL - I remember the tip as well but can’t put eyes on it (pun intended) with my google-fu.
Some other methods might help:
a) Depending on the top cap, some folks will take a long hex (allen) wrench, one size smaller than the bolt, put it in the top cap, point it frontwards bisecting the stem front plate bolts and align to front tire. Gives a better reference point than the old close one eye, close the other, nudge nudge nudge method.
b) For eyes only, the trick really is to not align to the tire looking down the stem cap, but to use wider reference points on the fork and bars. That’s all the straightedge does. On a mountain bike, the fork crown is a good reference. Found a GCN video on that How To Get Your Bars & Stem Perfectly Straight | Mountain Bike Maintenance - YouTube For road, try referencing down to the axle or fork ends.
c) If those methods fail, try this: This $220 DNR Designs Tool Will Help You Align Your Handlebars - Pinkbike
d) And if it’s still not perfect… LASERS!!! https://cyclingtips.com/2017/11/tune-spurtreu-stem-alignment-tool-review/
Good luck in the race.
What do you do with the laser level that helps align stem with wheel?
It projects a cross pattern. So you can line up wheel, stem and top tube on one line and the bars on the other. Very satisfying. Some perfectly decent no-name options on Amazon but I have a Bosch as I used it to build my kitchen.