Gooseneck Basics - Page 1 of 2


Figure 1

Figure 1 - Various types of bicycle goosenecks

A bicycle gooseneck (also known as a "stem") is a very simple mechanical device used to fasten the handlebars to the front fork stem, but there are a few things to be aware of that will make your bicycle building hobby much easier.

Different style goosenecks are available to fit the type of cycle and handlebars used. Figure 1 shows various common gooseneck styles: a standard mountain bike gooseneck made of steel (left), a pillow block style BMX gooseneck (center), and a threadless aluminum goseneck (right).

Figure 2

Figure 2 - The wedge secures the gooseneck

Figure 2 shows how the wedge slides along the gooseneck stem, creating a friction fit along the inside wall of the fork stem it is inserted into. The top of Figure 2 shows the relaxed position of the wedge, allowing it to be inserted, along with the gooseneck into the fork stem and the lower image shows how the wedge is pulled up and out, creating a very tight fit between the fork stem and gooseneck.

Figure 3

Figure 3 - Steps to remove a wedge type gooseneck

If you have never removed a gooseneck from a fork stem, then your first instinct may be to simply loosen the bolt and then attempt to pull the gooseneck from the fork stem, and this may actually work if the bicycle is brand new. However, the bolt could be taken completely from the gooseneck and not make any difference whatsoever.

The "trick" to removing a wedge type gooseneck from a fork stem is to only loosen the bolt so it sticks up past the top of the gooseneck by about half an inch (left of Figure 3), and then pound it back down with a mallet as shown in the right of Figure 3. This action pushes the wedge away from the gooseneck stem, effectively removing all friction between the wedge and the inside of the fork stem.

At this point, you will be able to hold the front wheel or forks, and then work the handlebars back and forth to pull up the gooseneck. Rust and dirt will be your only enemies once the wedge has been pushed down a bit.

Figure 4

Figure 4 - Loosening the handlebar clamp

To remove the handlebars from the gooseneck, the clamp must be relaxed by loosening the nut as shown in Figure 4. Usually, a few turns will be enough to loosen the clamp enough to push the handlebars free from the stem, but if there is a buildup of rust, you may need to remove the bolt completely to pry the clamp apart a bit using a flat head screwdriver. Be careful if prying an aluminum gooseneck clamp though, as aluminum is brittle and prone to break easily.

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