This week’s QT is another based on a recent question from a reader. Lee Friedersdorf wrote in to ask: “On my road and MTB bikes, the bolts holding together the stem, handlebars and headset get rusty over time. They work fine but make the bike look old. I replaced the stem topcap bolt with stainless from the local hardware store but I can’t locate bolts with the correct heads to fit in the insets of the stem itself. Is there a “go to” source for these bolts?”
To which our Tech guru Jim Langley replied:
Those are usually pretty standard 4mm, 5mm or 6mm bolts so what you’re looking for are stainless-steel versions. You need to measure your bolts so that you can get the correct diameter and length. Then you can buy them from various sources. Some well-stocked bicycle shops will carry a supply. Many good hardware stores will have them, too. Just look in their metric allen bolts section.
You can buy them in bulk from bicycle industry suppliers, too, like Wheels Manufacturing.
I also really like the amazing online hardware store, McMaster-Carr, where you can find anything, and everything is shown with beautiful illustrations and explained so clearly that it’s hard to order the wrong thing. They ship fast, too.
You can also find metric stainless bolts on Amazon.com.
I hope this helps you find replacements. I try to keep a good selection on hand in my shop because they’re so common on bicycles.
If you have an idea for a QT, fire away. We’re always looking for good info we can share with fellow roadies. We would love to hear from you with any suggestions you have. Contact us by clicking Quick Tips Ideas.
—John Marsh & The RBR Team