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Old 08-09-06, 08:03 AM   #1
All1NTao
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Anyone used Easton's Beartrap headset adjuster?

I purchased an Easton EC 90 road fork. Instead of using a compression plug they want me to use their new headset adjustment device called a "beartrap". It fits below the stem and expands to take up the extra space. Has anyone used this thing and how well does it work? Should I throw it in the parts bin and use a traditional plug?
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Old 08-09-06, 10:55 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by All1NTao
I purchased an Easton EC 90 road fork. Instead of using a compression plug they want me to use their new headset adjustment device called a "beartrap". It fits below the stem and expands to take up the extra space. Has anyone used this thing and how well does it work? Should I throw it in the parts bin and use a traditional plug?


Yes. The Weyless plug works OK, except I had to fiddle with the wire spring that holds the four aluminum expanders together; it kept coming apart and the whole contraption flies apart when it does. But, once put together, the Weyless works well and holds the stem and headset together nicely until you get the stem tightened. I use this arrangement on my EC90 SLX and it has been working well and not needing any adjustment.

Last edited by CHenry; 08-10-06 at 06:51 PM.
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Old 08-09-06, 11:14 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by All1NTao
I purchased an Easton EC 90 road fork. Instead of using a compression plug they want me to use their new headset adjustment device called a "beartrap". It fits below the stem and expands to take up the extra space. Has anyone used this thing and how well does it work? Should I throw it in the parts bin and use a traditional plug?
Think about it this way. The people who made your fork, and with whom you will have to deal on any warranty problems, say to use a particular device which they have provided you. Why would you consider using anything else?
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Old 08-09-06, 12:46 PM   #4
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http://www.eastonbike.com/downloadab...eartrap-EN.pdf

Above is a link to the device I am speaking about. It is not the previously used Easton Compression device. With this device nothing other than a cosmetic plug goes into your steerer tube. The headset adjustment is performed via a cam device inserted between the headset and stem where a spacer normally goes. To your point if the factory is recommending it I should use it, but I hate experimenting with the new **** first.
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Old 08-09-06, 01:52 PM   #5
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Looks pretty straight forward to me. I would have no problem going to that type of headset adjustment.
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Old 08-09-06, 02:02 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by All1NTao
I purchased an Easton EC 90 road fork. Instead of using a compression plug they want me to use their new headset adjustment device called a "beartrap". It fits below the stem and expands to take up the extra space. Has anyone used this thing and how well does it work? Should I throw it in the parts bin and use a traditional plug?
Never used it, but it looks kinda cool according to that manual you linked to. On the other hand, I don't really see what the advantage of it is. Does it save any weight?

I'd say use whatever you want, unless there's some specific reason why it's unsafe to use a traditional plug with this fork...
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Old 08-09-06, 02:25 PM   #7
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It does weight quite a bit less than the bolt, stem cap and expansion plug it replaces. This fork is light period at only 340 grams...sweet.
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Old 08-09-06, 02:30 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by All1NTao
It does weight quite a bit less than the bolt, stem cap and expansion plug it replaces. This fork is light period at only 340 grams...sweet.
Wow, that's insanely light... must've paid quite a pretty penny for it. It's not clear from the manual, is the bear trap plastic?
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Old 08-09-06, 04:33 PM   #9
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I've had the opportunity (more often than I'd like, actually) to have to work with these beartrap things. In my opinion they're A) unreliable, B) poorly designed, and C) unreliable. As best as I could see there's nothing locking the adjustment into place, nothing to keep that little bolt that expands the beartrap from coming loose, thus letting your headset come out of adjustment.

In contrast, a standard compression plug works a lot better and is safer. It may weigh a little more, but so what?
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Old 08-09-06, 04:39 PM   #10
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I'm assuming that this fork has a carbon steer tube. Easton may not want a compression plug scratching (and possibly damaging) the steer tube. The way I understand threadless headsets, this device does not truely hold the tension in place, the stem does. This just holds it until you put on the stem. I would use it, fork failures are horrible things.
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Old 08-09-06, 04:40 PM   #11
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I was riding with someone the other day who had one and he was like constantly fiddling and adjusting the thing throughout the ride. This device is no different than driving a wedge between the headset and the stem and holding it there. Nice little device if it does what it's supposed to do but adds a slight degree of 'clutter' underneath the stem. I wouldn't use one.

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Old 08-09-06, 04:57 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cynikal
I'm assuming that this fork has a carbon steer tube. Easton may not want a compression plug scratching (and possibly damaging) the steer tube. The way I understand threadless headsets, this device does not truely hold the tension in place, the stem does. This just holds it until you put on the stem. I would use it, fork failures are horrible things.
When using a beartrap the stem does not lock the preload, the beartrap itself does. Basically what you've got is, from top to bottom:

Stem
Spacers
Beartrap
Topcap
Bearing

When you're installing it, you set the beartrap to it's "closed" position, push down on the stem and try and take up as much of the play as possible, clamp the stem, and then expand the beartrap to remove any excess play. There's nothing that locks the beartrap's expansion into place, which means it can loosen at any time.
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Old 08-09-06, 06:15 PM   #13
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I have two Easton forks, the SLX, and SL, and have tried using the supplied beartrap compression device. My experience with it was constant readjustment after a 30 to 50 miles ride. After trying to readjust it several times and 100 + miles later, I ended up tossing it out. It's not worth the saved weight when you need to constantly monitor your headset adjustment. I went with the traditional compression plug, and have not had to fiddle with my headset adjustment since..
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Old 08-09-06, 06:58 PM   #14
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The Bear Trap DOES NOT WORK! Replace it with a compression plug as soon as you can.

A Bear Trap came with my EC90 SLX fork and it would not hold it's adjustment for even 20 miles. And, yes, I was well aware as to how it was supposed to work and did the adjustments correctly.

After adjusting the headset daily for a week, I contacted Easton and they admitted it wasn't reliable and sent me a proper compression plug gratis.

Retro Grouch is wrong this time (which is unusual). Easton is well aware of the problems with the Bear Trap and will send you the right thing if you complain. They will not void your waranty if you use a compression plug.
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Old 08-10-06, 09:53 AM   #15
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Wow that is a strong statement HillRider but I am beginning to believe this thing doesn't work. By the way someone asked if it is plastic and it is alum. The issue is: does something hold the tension in place? With the traditional setup the stem is loose when the compression plug/starnut bolt is tightened. Once the tension that holds the stack in place is appropriate then the stem is tightened and the stem locks the tension in place. For the headset stack to become loose the stem has to slide up the steerer tube, which happens over time rarely. With this device the stem is tightened first and the Beartrap expands taking up that extra 1-2 MM of space. The only thing holding the tension in place is the 2.5 MM hex bolt in the Beartrap and a little bit of locktight. When that screw migrates then the Beartrap loosens along with the headset. That is an awful lot of faith to place in a 2.5 mm bolt with a through nut.
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Old 08-10-06, 10:18 AM   #16
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I just talked to a mechanic at Easton, Miguel, he stated none of their forks use a compression plug and they do not have any in stock. I had to direct him to Easton's website where all their literature on installing forks still shows a compression plug. Maybe he just a dufus, Hillrider do you know who you talked too?
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Old 08-10-06, 11:28 AM   #17
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I use an Easton EC90 SL fork. I did install the bear trap and I can confirm that it does not hold it's tension very long. Road vibration causes the "teeth" of the bear trap to eventually migrate to a position of less friction. Definition = play in the head set. If you read the directions for installation, Easton recommends adjusting the bear trap before each ride.

My suggestions. Unless you're willing to adjust the bear trap before each ride (and, potentially during your ride), go with a compression plug. If you're that concerned about weight. Adjust the head set using the compression plug. Properly torque the pinch bolts, remove the compression plug and install the supplied Easton cap.

This issue has also been discussed at weight weenies. Several posters mentioned getting a compression plug from Easton upon complaining about the bear trap.
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Old 08-10-06, 07:14 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by All1NTao
I just talked to a mechanic at Easton, Miguel, he stated none of their forks use a compression plug and they do not have any in stock. I had to direct him to Easton's website where all their literature on installing forks still shows a compression plug. Maybe he just a dufus, Hillrider do you know who you talked too?
I also talked to Miguel (this was back in April) and he freely admitted the Bear Trap was a problem. It took him a while to get a suitable compression plug sent me but he finally did. (BTW, mine has a Look logo on the top cap).

It doesn't surprise me that they don't have any in stock. I expect I wasn't the only one to complain and apparently they have run out.

Bike Tools Etc. sells an FSA compression plug and I ordered one after waiting 10 days for the one Easton promised. It showed up the day after the plug from Easton arrived so I didn't have to use it but it looks every bit as good.

Your analysis of how the Bear Trap is supposed to work is correct. The 2.5 mm bolt that sets the adjustment vibrates loose as you ride and the fork/headset goes out of adjustment. I came back from every ride with the bolt bottomed out in its threads and the headset way too loose.
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Old 08-16-06, 09:33 PM   #19
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I'm seeing exactly the same problem--it doesn't hold its adjustment at all. Within ten miles the headset is loose. Completely worthless.
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Old 08-17-06, 07:52 AM   #20
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If you are feeling REALLY nuts about weight you can ditch the beartrap AND the compression plug. All you need is a way to preload the bearings before you tighten the stem down. In short, you should be able to preload and adjust the headset, tighten the stem, and then remove whatever you used to preload it, as you really don't need it anymore. Then just use the super-light top cap they include and you have saved even more weight.

God bless!
Wayne J.

DISCLAIMER: I have not personally done this. I have used a canti cable hanger to hold preload so I don't have to re-adjust the headset when I flip a stem. There is no reason this shouldn't work as well.
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Old 08-17-06, 11:06 AM   #21
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You can save the weight of the compression plug, if you are really concerned, by using it to adjust the headset, tightening the stem clamp bolts and then removing the compression plug completely. Add Easton's plain top cap just to keep dirt and water out of the steerer.

The stem actually holds the proper adjustment so the compression plug, theoretically, has no effect once the adjustment is made and locked down.
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Old 08-18-06, 08:12 AM   #22
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Thanks for all the great input guys. I just wanted to follow up with my experience. The Bear Trap works about as well as a vaseline covered doorknob. I installed it per directions and was able to get the stack very tight. I went out and rode 5 miles and it was completely loose. I went back and tightened it again and tightened the stem to where the pinch bolts were almost touching (one sheet of paper thickness of space). I rode 20 miles and ended up tightening it several times throughout the ride. I had to drop out of the group ride I was on. I noticed that the stem was actually sliding up the steerer slightly. The stem was as tight as it could safely go (having the pinch bolts touch is no good) but it was still slipping. One problem is the beartrap is using an opposing force aganist the stem to maintain tension vs. an aligned force employed by a compression plug. So I replaced the beartrap with a FSA compresion plug and tightened the stem (everything then worked bueatifully). The stem pinch had much more clearance with the compression plug inside the steerer, ie. the carbon steerer was being compressed by the stem when the compression plug was not inside the steerer. So the idea of removing the compression plug once the stack is tight may not be prudent. In short the Easton BearTrap and other similar devices are not the better mousetrap but another invention that is a complete failure. I think I will convert mine into a nice piece of jewlery.
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Old 08-18-06, 10:49 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by All1NTao
The stem pinch had much more clearance with the compression plug inside the steerer, ie. the carbon steerer was being compressed by the stem when the compression plug was not inside the steerer. So the idea of removing the compression plug once the stack is tight may not be prudent.
I left the plug installed in my steerer too. The proposal to remove it once the headset was adjusted and the stem tightened was to placate the extreme weight weenies, not a serious recommendation.

Quote:
In short the Easton Bear Trap and other similar devices are not the better mousetrap but another invention that is a complete failure. I think I will convert mine into a nice piece of jewelry.
It's nice to know my experience wasn't unique and I hope Easton is listening. BTW, I have two Bear Traps and if you find a good alternative use for them I'd appreciate hearing about it. Matching ear rings maybe
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