Posted by Simon Kovara on March 10, 2015
With all the newfangled wizardry of electronic drivetrains and windtunnel testing, it is only fitting that the arcane act of aligning one's stem and front wheel gets a technical upgrade.
In the past, any questions regarding the existence or efficacy of a tool with which to align handlebar stems would generally have been met with a few chuckles before being dismissed entirely. Well the times they certainly are a' changin', and the handlebar alignment tool may now be removed from the historical record of nonsensical items like left-handed baseball bats and wheelbarrow seats.
Deep inside of Germany's Black Forest, the bike wizards at Tune have developed the Spurtreu. Relying on 21st century laser technology, this tool will surprise even the most seasoned of mechanics with repeatable accuracy and ease of setup. As bicycle component technology has progressed, part fitment tolerances have become tighter and tighter, necessitating higher precision for most aspects of bike setup and this area is no exception.
Utilizing a set of v-blocks opposed 90 degrees from each other, the Spurtreu easily centers over a very wide variety of handlebar-stem combinations with minimal finger pressure and is even compatible with most integrated bar/stem combos like the ones on offer from PRO or Cinelli. Additionally, it also works just fine with mountain handlebars and most aero base-bars. Sighting the laser onto the center of the front tire makes it painfully obvious how far off most "straight" handlebars really are while making it very easy to accurately re-center the stem.
With the advent of exotic composite materials and the recent explosion of boutique ultra-lightweight cockpit components on the market, it is imperative that setup and adjustment happen a minimum number of times to ensure proper part lifespan; that thin-walled carbon stem with the flimsy titanium hardware you spent last month's rent on really doesn't want to be loosened and tightened 15 times in a row while you get your cockpit setup. Use of a torque wrench and friction paste/assembly compound is a great way to ensure a minimal amount of necessary readjustment even years after your bike is assembled.
Failure to adhere to proper torque specifications is a very easy way to slip or damage components, often in an unsafe manner; If you know a part has been overtightened, it should be replaced to avoid the great potential for catastrophic failure.
Thanks fer' reading! Check back soon for more awesome technical articles like this one!!!
All prices are in USD.