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  1. #1
    sandcruiser thbirks's Avatar
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    ovalized headtube question

    okay, so awhile back a purchased a roadbike frame over the internet to make into a fixed gear bike. The frame just sat around for several months until I managed to scrounge the other parts I needed. When I went to install the headset I found that a press wasn't needed. The cups went in by hand. well this didn't seem right so I examined the headtube and the front section of the bottom of the headtube looks thinner than the rest of the headtube. It looks like the headtube is ovalized.

    I would like to use the frame anyway. I was able to adjust the headset just fine and the few miles that I have put on the bike reveal no problems with this ovalized headtube. So. Is it safe to use this frame? I've been told to shim the headtube with a peice of aluminum can. What do you think?
    "only on a BIKE"

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    Senior Member bentbaggerlen's Avatar
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    I have used soda cans, beer cans and shim stock to "repair" oversized head tubes. Not fancy but it works. One of the bikes is ridden everyday in boston for over 5, no problems yet.
    Bentbaggerlen
    "When the spirits are low, when the day appears dark, when work becomes monotonous, when hope hardly seems worth having, just mount a bicycle and go out for a spin down the road, without thought on anything but the ride you are taking." - Arthur Conan Doyle

  3. #3
    Senior Member knobbymojo's Avatar
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    JB weld might also work to repair the headtube. Ive seen the stuff hold the engine cases together on motocross bikes before, often for many years.
    I have gone looking for myself. If I should return before I get back, please ask me to wait for myself.

  4. #4
    I am a lonely visitor RegularGuy's Avatar
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    Are you sure you have the right size headset?

    If the headtube is indeed ovalized, a Chris King Steelset may be your best solution. That Chris King is one clever guy.
    Religion is a good thing for good people and a bad thing for bad people. --H. Richard Niebuhr

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    Originally posted by RegularGuy
    Are you sure you have the right size headset?

    If the headtube is indeed ovalized, a Chris King Steelset may be your best solution. That Chris King is one clever guy.
    They do help prevent ovalizing....but his is already ovalized.

  6. #6
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    Wanna talk about ovalizing a headset tube. Catch this.

    My boss doesn't believe in a headset press, he's old fashioned. When putting a headset in he does the following. He uses a 2x4 to protect the headset and with a mallet hammer he smashes the head set into the frame. HEHE he almost tried to pull that on my bike, I gave him so much crap.

  7. #7
    Senior Member BikerRyan's Avatar
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    Originally posted by RegularGuy
    Are you sure you have the right size headset?

    If the headtube is indeed ovalized, a Chris King Steelset may be your best solution. That Chris King is one clever guy.
    The steelset idea might be a good one. You see the steel set is actually just a headset with very deep cups on it which press further into the frame. IF the frame is indeed ovalized from a previous headset then this has probably only occured at the ends of the headtube since the old headset probably wasnt a steelset. Might be worth a shot.

    -Ryan
    Your bike mechanic is wise beyond your wildest dreams.

    If you can't be good at one sport then you can be okay at three.

  8. #8
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    Originally posted by WorldIRC
    Wanna talk about ovalizing a headset tube. Catch this.

    My boss doesn't believe in a headset press, he's old fashioned. When putting a headset in he does the following. He uses a 2x4 to protect the headset and with a mallet hammer he smashes the head set into the frame. HEHE he almost tried to pull that on my bike, I gave him so much crap.
    Ya know,it really does work.So does a HS press made with washers and threaded rod.Has you boss ever screwed one up?I haven't.

  9. #9
    I am a lonely visitor RegularGuy's Avatar
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    Originally posted by BikerRyan


    The steelset idea might be a good one. You see the steel set is actually just a headset with very deep cups on it which press further into the frame. IF the frame is indeed ovalized from a previous headset then this has probably only occured at the ends of the headtube since the old headset probably wasnt a steelset. Might be worth a shot.

    -Ryan
    My thinking exactly. Only problem with the steelset is that they are mighty spendy! Beer cans are much cheaper.
    Religion is a good thing for good people and a bad thing for bad people. --H. Richard Niebuhr

  10. #10
    Canadian eh?
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    Originally posted by pokey
    Ya know,it really does work.So does a HS press made with washers and threaded rod.Has you boss ever screwed one up?I haven't.
    Yea he messed up once or twice and it cost him a couple frames. He learned his lesson. He uses the press now.

  11. #11
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    Originally posted by WorldIRC


    Yea he messed up once or twice and it cost him a couple frames. He learned his lesson. He uses the press now.
    Musta really been a hamfisted klutz.

  12. #12
    sandcruiser thbirks's Avatar
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    Originally posted by RegularGuy
    Are you sure you have the right size headset?

    If the headtube is indeed ovalized, a Chris King Steelset may be your best solution. That Chris King is one clever guy.

    Apparently there is a headset designed for cheap Asian bikes that has 30.0mm outside diameter cups instead of the standard size which measures 30.2mm. I think I may have gotten the wrong headset. This would explain why the cups went in by hand.

    One of the Dirt Rag magazine guys was able to save his Ibis frame with an ovalized headtube by installing the King steelset. But i paid less than half of what the steelset costs for this frame.
    "only on a BIKE"

  13. #13
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    Originally posted by thbirks



    Apparently there is a headset designed for cheap Asian bikes that has 30.0mm outside diameter cups instead of the standard size which measures 30.2mm. I think I may have gotten the wrong headset. This would explain why the cups went in by hand
    Yeah,but that HS also comes with a 27.0 crown race instead of the standard 26.4 which would have been such a sloppy fit on the fork that it should have given you a clue. The JIS standard you refer to wasn't restricted to cheap bikes but was found on alot of better bikes that came out of the orient at one time.It still may be found on some department store bikes,but even the asian makers have pretty much abandoned the JIS standard in favor or the ISO.

  14. #14
    sandcruiser thbirks's Avatar
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    Originally posted by pokey
    Yeah,but that HS also comes with a 27.0 crown race instead of the standard 26.4 which would have been such a sloppy fit on the fork that it should have given you a clue. The JIS standard you refer to wasn't restricted to cheap bikes but was found on alot of better bikes that came out of the orient at one time.It still may be found on some department store bikes,but even the asian makers have pretty much abandoned the JIS standard in favor or the ISO.
    Good point, The crown race went on just as it should. So I quess i have the right headset. The frame is a Miyata 110, probably from the late '70s, if anyone's wondering.
    "only on a BIKE"

  15. #15
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    Originally posted by thbirks


    Good point, The crown race went on just as it should. So I quess i have the right headset. The frame is a Miyata 110, probably from the late '70s, if anyone's wondering.
    I'm thinkin a Myita of that vintage would have had the JIS with 30.0 cups and 27.0 crownrace. On stuff ot that vintage and origin,it pays to measure.

  16. #16
    sandcruiser thbirks's Avatar
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    Originally posted by pokey
    I'm thinkin a Myita of that vintage would have had the JIS with 30.0 cups and 27.0 crownrace. On stuff ot that vintage and origin,it pays to measure.
    Yeah, I had no idea that there was a different size until I got to the bike shop to buy the headset. The mechanic, who is quite knowledgeable, felt that the frame would use the ISO and not the JIS standard, but said he couldn't know for sure without seeing the frame.

    BTW, I'm guessing on the age of the frame. It has 126mm rear spacing, 27" wheels and no bosses for down-tube shifters. The serial number has been rubbed off.:confused: Anyway, I figure it's from the late '70s or early '80s but I'm no expert.
    "only on a BIKE"

  17. #17
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    Originally posted by thbirks


    Yeah, I had no idea that there was a different size until I got to the bike shop to buy the headset. The mechanic, who is quite knowledgeable, felt that the frame would use the ISO and not the JIS standard, but said he couldn't know for sure without seeing the frame.

    A 'knowledgeable' wrench would not be guessing in that situation.The 70s and 80s vintage stuff from the orient I have torn apart all had the JIS. Before you spend more money,or rish screwing something up,It's easy enough to take it apart,measure and eleminate the guessing.

  18. #18
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    Originally posted by pokey
    A 'knowledgeable' wrench would not be guessing in that situation.The 70s and 80s vintage stuff from the orient I have torn apart all had the JIS,but I still measurre. Before you spend more money,or risk screwing something up,It's easy enough to take it apart,measure and eleminate the guessing.

  19. #19
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    I just used the soda can option on a touring frame I am putting together...it seems to have worked great! I'm a bit concerned about safety this is going to be used for loaded touring...should I worry?

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