Suggestions on making headset/front end more solid?  RSS Feed

#1 2012-12-10 3:48pm

staubach
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Suggestions on making headset/front end more solid?

It's the exact Aheadset/Redneck/Pitchfork combo S&M sold back in the 90's on their frames. Everything is nice and greased and tight, nothing cracked, but at times on a hard landing I can feel a little rattle/loose feeling, idk maybe it's just me. I've had threaded setups on other bikes that have felt more solid. It's barely noticeable but I can definitely feel it. Any suggestions?
http://imageshack.us/a/img825/9871/imageiun.jpg

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#2 2012-12-11 11:47pm

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Re: Suggestions on making headset/front end more solid?

did you set it up with the wheel in the forks?
reason i ask is, maybe the wheel is pulling the forks to the front slightly and making it hard to seat well.
if so, maybe you could try setting it with emty forks.


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#3 2012-12-11 11:47pm

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Re: Suggestions on making headset/front end more solid?

empty. d'oh:P


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#4 2012-12-12 5:29am

ProThunder4
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Re: Suggestions on making headset/front end more solid?

Good question.  I've noticed this myself on bikes with threadless headsets.  It will feel fine on the stand, with zero play, but then seem kind of loose and rattlely when landing a jump or going over grass or uneven trails.  I always end up thinking I have to run my threadless headsets too tight.

C2D makes a good suggestion, but I don't think that's it in my case, as I set up my forks in a stand off the ground and almost always without the wheels installed.


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#5 2012-12-12 5:36am

jsngrimm
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Re: Suggestions on making headset/front end more solid?

Same here, usually that is caused by bearings too small for the cups. I have original bikes and one I built with the right size bearings that do it too on threaded headsets. Anyone have any idea what this could be?


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#6 2012-12-12 8:04am

Coco
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Re: Suggestions on making headset/front end more solid?

Sometimes that noise is simply the brake cable housing rattling against the headtube or top tube of the frame. In your case, the down tube. Cable housing bouncing off thin walled tube will just amplify the sound.

If it is not the cable then I'd press in a new headset and try that. Headsets can wear over time and the tolerances loosen up.

Last edited by Coco (2012-12-12 8:05am)

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#7 2012-12-12 8:33am

dedmann
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Re: Suggestions on making headset/front end more solid?

get a stem lock set up. try some cartridge bearing headset.


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#8 2012-12-12 8:35am

TuRBo Todd
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Re: Suggestions on making headset/front end more solid?

make sure you don't need one more spacer under the stem. There might need to be a bigger gap between the top of the stem and the steerer tube.


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#9 2012-12-12 8:49am

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Re: Suggestions on making headset/front end more solid?

Make sure the crown race seated very tight and not loose.

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#10 2012-12-12 10:21am

jsngrimm
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Re: Suggestions on making headset/front end more solid?

I have threaded headsets that do it and I can actually feel it move hmm  I know I could use a stem lock, need to get some. I should probably get some new headsets, I haven't bought a brand new headset in a LONG time...


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#11 2012-12-12 2:51pm

dedmann
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Re: Suggestions on making headset/front end more solid?

there needs to be at least 3mm gap from top of steer tube to stem
http://www.parktool.com/uploads/images/blog/repair_help/fork11.jpg
most compression caps have beveled edge, so make sure that isnt bottoming out on the steer tube. i think your fork has a welded "star nut"- if not make sure the that it is not pulling up.


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#12 2012-12-12 5:45pm

staubach
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Re: Suggestions on making headset/front end more solid?

Thanks for the replies. I did not set it up with the wheel on. I'm going to check that gap in a few minutes. I actually want to lower the stem, it sits too high. Can I put the spacers above the stem?

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#13 2012-12-12 6:21pm

staubach
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Re: Suggestions on making headset/front end more solid?

The compression cap is shot! It's all cracked. It started to break apart as I loosened it. I'm going to have to replace it. Maybe this has something to do with it, I probably didn't get good force down on the stem when I snugged it up. Who makes replacement caps?
http://imageshack.us/a/img259/1329/imagewpj.jpg

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#14 2012-12-12 7:30pm

dedmann
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Re: Suggestions on making headset/front end more solid?

i really suggest you get a stem/head lock for that. yes you can put spacers on either side of stem for height adjustment. not a bad idea to maybe check those too...
https://www.jrbicycles.com/storefront/images/uploads/Headsets/head00028%20Morphine%20headlock%20(1).jpg
more than a couple companies that make them. wink


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#15 2012-12-13 8:13am

staubach
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Re: Suggestions on making headset/front end more solid?

I'm going to get one. Profile makes a nice one, and I'd feel more comfortable with that name on there since it's a mid-school bike!

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#16 2012-12-13 8:20am

Coco
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Re: Suggestions on making headset/front end more solid?

staubach wrote:

The compression cap is shot! It's all cracked. It started to break apart as I loosened it. I'm going to have to replace it. Maybe this has something to do with it, I probably didn't get good force down on the stem when I snugged it up. Who makes replacement caps?
http://imageshack.us/a/img259/1329/imagewpj.jpg

Just buy an aluminum top cap. Any bike shop should have them on the cheap.

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#17 2012-12-13 8:58am

healeyracer
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Re: Suggestions on making headset/front end more solid?

I Has same problem on a knight cruiser and also a redline pl24. I tried both regular cages bearing headsets and cartridge sealed sets, also high end sets.All complete sets new and so all parts were correct.  Never felt right and would always loosen some and get some slop. That's also with 4 different stems. I bought a true torch 1 inch threaded cruiser fork and retro true torch double clamp stem, Found cage bearings that fit the 1 1/8 cups and cones from the 1 inch headset, and put it together and it feels as solid as anything I have ever raced.

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#18 2012-12-13 11:00am

esw
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Re: Suggestions on making headset/front end more solid?

any chance it's your front hub that's loose?


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#19 2012-12-13 11:04am

esw
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Re: Suggestions on making headset/front end more solid?

staubach wrote:

The compression cap is shot! It's all cracked. It started to break apart as I loosened it. I'm going to have to replace it. Maybe this has something to do with it, I probably didn't get good force down on the stem when I snugged it up. Who makes replacement caps?
http://imageshack.us/a/img259/1329/imagewpj.jpg

Ahead style top caps are only used to adjust the tension on your headset. If you had an easy way to compress the stem into the headset with out one it would not be needed at all. Once tightened to give your headset the correct tension, the stems allen bolts are locked down keeping the headset tight and the stem in place.


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#20 2012-12-13 11:11am

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Re: Suggestions on making headset/front end more solid?

esw wrote:

staubach wrote:

The compression cap is shot! It's all cracked. It started to break apart as I loosened it. I'm going to have to replace it. Maybe this has something to do with it, I probably didn't get good force down on the stem when I snugged it up. Who makes replacement caps?
http://imageshack.us/a/img259/1329/imagewpj.jpg

Ahead style top caps are only used to adjust the tension on your headset. If you had an easy way to compress the stem into the headset with out one it would not be needed at all. Once tightened to give your headset the correct tension, the stems allen bolts are locked down keeping the headset tight and the stem in place.

Yep, he is right on. You should actually loosen your cap bolt a bit after you tighten down the stem. This way you don't destroy the cap, or if your stem does loosen you know right away. The cap being to tight can pull up the star nut, or give you a sense that everything is tight until disaster happens. It is only there for installation purposes.

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#21 2012-12-13 7:08pm

ProThunder4
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Re: Suggestions on making headset/front end more solid?

Good advice on this thread.

Any difference in set-up with the threaded Standard Race fork with the integrated bolt?  Do you just tighten the bolt down on the stem or spacer like a normal top cap?


Marshall W. "Major" Taylor, one of America's greatest bicycle racers, on succeeding in sport and life: Don't try to "gyp." Don't be a pie biter. Don't keep late hours. Don't use intoxicants. Don't be a big bluffer. Don't eat cheap candies. Don't get a swelled head. Don't use tobacco in any form. Don't fail to live a clean life. Don't forget to play the game fair. Don't take an unfair advantage of an opponent. Don't forget the practice of good sportsmanship.

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#22 2012-12-13 7:21pm

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Re: Suggestions on making headset/front end more solid?

A headset lock is definitely a good idea, but like jsngrimm said, don't rule out the possibility of bearings that are too small for the cups -- especially if the headset was used when you got it.  I have the same issue with my Skyway at the moment...


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#23 2012-12-14 8:25am

Coco
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Re: Suggestions on making headset/front end more solid?

Don't forget to check if the star nut has moved in the steer tube. Sometimes, over tightening the top cap bolt will cause the nut to pull up out of position before the plastic cap breaks like it did.

You may also need a new star nut or the original knocked back into place. Or, you could spend the cash for a headset lock.

Last edited by Coco (2012-12-14 8:29am)

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#24 2012-12-14 8:33am

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Re: Suggestions on making headset/front end more solid?

Here are some things to check that haven't already been said:

The cups could be loose in the frame.
The crown race could be loose on the fork.
The steertube could be slightly bent.
The bearing or bearings could be upside down.
The bearing cage could be damaged or crushed slightly


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#25 2012-12-14 11:41am

esw
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Re: Suggestions on making headset/front end more solid?

have you confirmed that your front hub is tight, no bearing issues? A loose ball front hub that is loose will feel cluncky too. Have you isolated the loose bearings?


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