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Headset adjustment

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1 Headset adjustment on Wed 12 Sep 2012, 07:42

Hi all,
Im putting together a TT bike for next year and am currently putting together the headset. Ive successfully cut the steerer tube to length and got it all together but dont seem to be able to remove all the play.
I found this post on another forum that sums my issue up nicely,

'Most of the threadless forks I've encountered have a star nut installed in the steerer tube. And when I install the top cap bolt and tighten it, the star nut draws the fork upward into the headset and compresses everything. And when done properly, the bearings move freely and there is no play. I understand this completely.

However, I just bought a fork which came with an expander bolt, not a traditional bolt/star nut combination. So, when I install the expander bolt into the steerer tube and tighten it, it expands outward towards the walls of the steerer tube, but I don't understand how this is supposed to allow me to pull the crown of the fork upward and adjust the headset. In fact, I've made the expander bolt pretty tight and there is still a little play in the headset. Am I missing something here? I hope somebody out there can understand what I'm getting at.'

I too have tightened the top cap pretty tight and nipped up the stem bolts but still seem to have a few mm of play. Its a Planet X Exocet 2 frame & fork and im using an FSA headset if that helps!!
Cheers.

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2 Re: Headset adjustment on Wed 12 Sep 2012, 08:00

Sounds like it's a good job you have a little over 5 months to figure it out....wouldn't want you to be disadvantaged next year Wink

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3 Re: Headset adjustment on Wed 12 Sep 2012, 08:09

James
I'm not too familiar with these, my guess is that it would appear that the steering column is bottoming out on the locknut thereby not allowing you to pull it together with clearance between them.

Graham

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4 Re: Headset adjustment on Wed 12 Sep 2012, 08:26

Did think that originally Graham so I cut another couple of mm off, I have a 4-5mm gap from the top of the steerer to the top edge of my top spacer, from what ive read I guess that would be sufficient?
Its an arms race Jerry, what better way to spend my childrens inheritance!! Razz Wait til you see the disc wheel I have lined up!!

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5 Re: Headset adjustment on Wed 12 Sep 2012, 08:38

Fair comment, I did think you may have checked the obvious. I have to hand the Park Tool blue book and the Zinn Road bike manual. Just to be clear do you have a threaded headset with a quill type stem with the expander plug at the end of the stem bolt?

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6 Re: Headset adjustment on Wed 12 Sep 2012, 09:45

James, I'm at the same point as you with a TT bike, but trouble free so far. Like your set up, i have an expander type top cap FSA headset. I cut the head tube to the correct length and it all went together smoothly with no play. The only thing i can think of is that the expander bolt assembly is not far enough down into the steerer tube. You will have an external thread around the head of that bolt that the top cap (pulls everything together) will screw onto. As long as the expander bolt is positioned far enough down into the steerer tube it should tighten the stack of spacers and stem up. Difficult to explain in words. If you want to look at mine you're more than welcome to pop round or i can try and get some pix up?? Let me know and good luck!!

Sounds like you've thrown the gauntlet down on the 'need for speed' stakes. Over to Jerry comment...........

Cheers

Mark

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7 Re: Headset adjustment on Wed 12 Sep 2012, 18:09

James
Mark seems to have a more logical answer.
Being a bit more awake this morning I have found the type of headset you are using.

Only other suggestions I can offer and I'm sure you have checked these.

I assume you are using a new headset or it is not worn out.

Are the bearing retainers in the correct way round and not upside down or a seal not aligned?

Is there any play in any press fit items in head tube or fork if using?

Graham

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8 Re: Headset adjustment on Thu 13 Sep 2012, 05:13

Cheers for the replies chaps,
I did notice last night that the top cap unscrews to get the whole thing further into the steerer column and it seemed to make it better but still left a bit of play, although I could unwind it a few more turns, I will have another fettle this evening and see what happens.
Mark, did you have to tighten the bolt up quite a lot to preload the bearing assembly? It seems to need quite a bit, well, more than i expected, to remove the play.
Having never used this expander wedge set up it looks like a few rough rides could loosen the top cap quite easily, I seem to be able to loosen it off very easily by turning the spacer beneath it.
On the star fangled nut jobbie on my other bike the whole thing is very solid and you cant even turn the spacers by hand.

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9 Re: Headset adjustment on Thu 13 Sep 2012, 10:02

James,

When i tightened the expander bolt it did need a reasonable amount of force to make it sit tight with no play. But i wouldn't have said excessive. I think the posn up and down the steerer is critical to a successful assembly. The top cap and expander are pre-assembled, then dropped into the steerer tube. The expander cap head is smaller than the top cap one, so a 5mm key (i think) can tighten the expander. The top cap can then be tightened with the larger allen key and the stem and spacers get pushed together. Job done.

I have built a few bikes with the star flange and now this one with the expander bolt. I think this is cleaner way to assemble the stem/spacers. As for shaking loose, i'm not so sure it will?? Once the stem is tighened then nothing is going to move. The top cap may come loose but no more than it would on a star flanged arrangement. My expander/top cap assy looks like this;

http://www.onlinecyclingshop.co.uk/buy/304679971/FSA_Compressor_1_18_Top_Cap_%28TH883%29

I hope all this is making sense? I understand how frustrating it can be. Keep us posted on your progress.

Cheers

Mark

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10 Re: Headset adjustment on Thu 13 Sep 2012, 22:22

James A wrote:
Its an arms race Jerry, what better way to spend my childrens inheritance!! Razz Wait til you see the disc wheel I have lined up!!

Thought it was a pedal race but hey ho...you buy all the bits you feel you need matey, skin suits, aero helmets, disc wheels...my secret weapon will be victorious Laughing

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11 Re: Headset adjustment on Tue 18 Sep 2012, 05:14

Right, as an update, I have managed to sort out the headset!! Not sure what I did differently but played about with putting the expander wedge at different depths and lo and behold it sorted itself out!! Onwards to crashing through the next stage now!!
Jerry, Im not sure I can keep this banter up til next season, its a long way away, meet me back here in 5 months!!

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12 Re: Headset adjustment on Tue 18 Sep 2012, 08:17

James,

Glad you got it sorted. So whats the next stage on the build then, share it with us all we can't wait another 5 mnths before you are back on here!!

Cheers

Mark

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13 Re: Headset adjustment on Tue 18 Sep 2012, 08:29

Well, ive just ordered the chainset and am saving for the bottom bracket, thinking of going mad and going for ceramic bearings!! Watch this space! Very Happy
Hows yours coming along then Mark, what you got, any piccies?

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14 Re: Headset adjustment on Tue 18 Sep 2012, 09:25

Ceramic bearings are worth the expense, my chainset felt a bit heavy the other day so I might need an upgrade, not convinced by this dura ace stuff.

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15 Re: Headset adjustment on Tue 18 Sep 2012, 22:27

James, sounds like the build is coming along nicely. You want a nice Hope bb on your TT machine. You going for rotor rings etc or are they a waste of money??
My new toy is an Argon 18 E-112. Got saddle, stem and bars on. Routed brake and gear cables. Shifters are next. I will spend any spare cash on it over the coming months. Plan is to have it finished this side of xmas.
What you got lined up for the rest of yours?

Cheers

Mark

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16 Re: Headset adjustment on Wed 19 Sep 2012, 06:03

Got a Planet X Exocet 2 frame and so far have got the stem (Deda Zero 100 service course), chainset (Sram Red, Black version), and rear mech (Sram Red, Black version). I had waited until the 2012 gear came on sale and picked up last years versions at a 'reasonable' price!!
I recently inherited some money so have decided to treat myself to a Fast Forward Disc wheel for the back and a FF F6r for the front.
At the moment in the same position as you, just saving money for all the other bits and pieces. Next stop for me is the bottom bracket, its a BB30 jobbie so having a search into whats available.

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17 Re: Headset adjustment on Wed 19 Sep 2012, 06:09

Sounds a nice set up!! I hope you go fast on it...especially with those FF wheels. The FF disc wheel does look pretty sweet!!

Keep us posted on the build. I think you are a bit further along than me Very Happy

Looking forward to seeing it, but not as much what Jerry will come back with to your post lol!


Cheers

Mark

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18 Re: Headset adjustment on Wed 19 Sep 2012, 06:12

James,

Chris King are now doing BB30's. On a speed machine like you're building you deserve the best.

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19 Re: Headset adjustment on Wed 19 Sep 2012, 06:47

Like your style Carl, i'll have a butchers!!!

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20 Re: Headset adjustment on Thu 20 Sep 2012, 22:20

Although in danger of wandering off this thread a bit, I'm glad to see so much interest in TT bikes for next year. As you all know, my dear old Mum is stepping down as TT Sec and therefore TT promoter. Hopefully Ray Woods is stepping up to the mark at the AGM on 19th Nov. At this time I have no idea if he is thinking about making changes to any of our club TT courses but there are a few fast(er) courses in the area which you could also ride to see just how good you all really are... Cool


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21 Re: Headset adjustment on Fri 21 Sep 2012, 00:32

Paul Martin wrote:there are a few fast(er) courses in the area which you could also ride to see just how good you all really are... Cool

Just point me in the direction of your PBs!

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22 Re: Headset adjustment on Fri 21 Sep 2012, 00:43

When I was your age I did a 57-07 for a 25 mile TT in Cornwall. Now that was lumpy.

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23 Re: Headset adjustment on Fri 21 Sep 2012, 06:19

Assuming I'm fortunate enough to take on the role, I'll be open minded to suggested routes; so if you wish to recommend a route please post the information & I'll probably ride it to see what it is like.

Dave Gwilliam (thank you) has already posted numerous local routes on the TT page so if you wish to use any of those, please let me know too. Thanks.

I stumbled across 5 miles (the 2nd half) of a 10 mile route along the A259 from Bosham toward Havant but I haven't been able to track it down on my Strava activities yet; once I do I'll post it's course reference. I'd imagine that the A259 would be too busy with other traffic, particularly on a Thursday evening, but never say never, as if enough people want to give it a try then maybe we will Smile

Edit.
I found it, it is P831. Do you have that course already recorded Dave?

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24 Re: Headset adjustment on Fri 21 Sep 2012, 07:56

Still reckon Southsea seafront would make a nice TT course if you can close the road....they close it for people to go running often enough!

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25 Re: Headset adjustment on Sun 23 Sep 2012, 18:13

jerryc wrote:Still reckon Southsea seafront would make a nice TT course if you can close the road....they close it for people to go running often enough!

cost and too many zebra crossings. Enjoying the banter, hope Alan doesn't beat you all on his work bike (panniers and all).

Will check out P831 and if not already - map it to gpx.(Cannot find any reference to P831)

Who knows how many TT riders we'll have next year



Last edited by trigwill on Mon 24 Sep 2012, 05:29; edited 1 time in total


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