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Replacing the drop bar on an old fragile one screw stem

I've got a small concern about my stem and handlebar.

Let me explain I have two old (about 25-30 years old french bikes) bicycle.
I try the maintain one with parts from both bikes.

I use it every day to commute between home and work.

Yesterday the handlebar literally broke in two pieces.
I decided to take the drop bar from the second bike. To avoid removing the brake levers I tried to pull it out the stem.
(I have also to admit here that I don't know how to remove the brake lever due to the handle bar tape that does not seem to be removable... it seems to be a one piece rubber.)

The problem pulling the bar out of the stem is that it is a one screw stem. I had to force the bar out. Doing that I broke the stem of the second bike.

Now I'm a bit stuck with a replacement drop bar but no way to put it on my bicycle. I don't dare to force the stem, because I will surely break the second one.

Any advice on how I should proceed would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks a lot,

NB1: It is to be noted that the stem in stuck in the headtube.
NB2: I would love to go for a brand new bullhorn handle bar but the ones I found on the net are 31,8mm and my stem is made for about 24mm.
If I understand correctly, you tired to take the "replacement" bars off the other bike by removing the clamp bolt and flexing the clamp area far enough for the bars to drop out. If so, you can't do that (as you have discovered.) Aluminum cannot be bent very far without breaking and even on a steel stem, this would probably weaken it dangerously. The only way to remove/install a bar into a stem like this is to remove one of the brake levers and the grips on that side and slide the bar through the clamp area. Trying to spread the clamp more than a few millimeters is dangerous.

If those grips have been on for any period of time, you would probably have to cut them off.

But even if you get the other bars installed, I think you have a problem. The fact that the old bar broke right next to the clamp makes me suspicious that something isn't 100% with the way the old stem clamp the bar anyway. You got very lucky not getting hurt when the bar snapped. I'd be hesitant to risk trying it again. Even if the old stem is ok, I'd look at the "new" bars pretty carefully. If there's scoring or deep scratches in high stress areas, they could also lead to it snapping.

If you need the bike functional to get to work, you're probably ok to put it together with what you've got. But I'd try to be gentle with it and I'd be looking for replacement bars and stem asap. These can be a hassle on the older french bikes, but there are ways around that. I'll leave those issues for a separate discussion.
Hello DaveM,

you understood it all correctly.

I was willing to keep the bike as close as original as possible.
But I guess you are right. I should replace the stem and the bars.

I will try to investigate the net to find some parts that would fit the bike.
Might also want to go for a complete new bike one day thought I like this one very much.

I will also check Alex's videos to see if there is any one on removing an old stuck stem from its headtube.

Again, thanks a lot.

Just a little addition to Sir Dave's Smile suggestions (there are more if you use the search this website too)...

Good maintenance to your Bike, can make it like the wheels are, true and smooth!
Most bike shops still have some stems for threaded headsets in stock. Sometimes they want to get rid of them, so they are cheap. One of my students got stem + handlebar for about 10-15 EUR. The only problem you can run into then is that the bars have a larger diameter than the old French type, this might make brake install tricky. Another problem is that the stem itself has a larger diameter (I think only 0.2 mm), you will probably have to sand it down a bit, 0.2 mm is not much, though, so this is no big issue.
If I want to preserve the bicycle old touch, I can always buy some new parts at this shop (found on this forum, thanks)


They have plenty of old bicycle parts.

A bit expensive though as I will surely have to pay taxes if I import them fro the states... =Sad

If anyone as a similar shop to recommend in Europe....

I did a quick search in google (titled "older bicycle parts sold in uk") and came up with this,there were others too....

Good maintenance to your Bike, can make it like the wheels are, true and smooth!
Thank you Bill.

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