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Bicycle Mechanics Broken bottom bracket? Tacoed wheel? If you're having problems with your bicycle, or just need help fixing a flat, drop in here for the latest on bicycle mechanics & bicycle maintenance.

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Old 05-01-08, 08:09 PM   #1
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Fork keeps developing play.

I have a Karate Monkey (threadless 1 1/8" setup) and the stock rigid fork keeps developing play over time. What I mean is, if I lock the front disc brake up and push the bike forwards and backwards, I can feel the fork shifting in the headtube. I have adjusted it several times but it eventually become loose again. I have a drop bar setup so I have the steerer tube left long with about 2 inches or spacers underneath the stem and another inch above as I haven't cut it down yet. I would prefer not to cut off the remainder as I like the room for adjustment but I wonder if having the bars so high might be causing the problem. Extra leverage or something? Any ideas or should I just keep adjusting it every few weeks? I dont want to ruin a headset or mess up the frame.
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Old 05-01-08, 08:33 PM   #2
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Is the top cap bottoming out on the top of the steerer tube?

If so your adjustment won't actually be preloading the bearings. You can either add another small spacer to the stack or cut the steerer. If that doesn't fix it then you may want to look into getting your headtube faced.
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Old 05-01-08, 10:37 PM   #3
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Yeah there is def enough room to get preload. Maybe I haven't been using enough preload when adjusting it in the past.
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Old 05-01-08, 10:45 PM   #4
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ovalized head tube?
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Old 05-02-08, 06:19 AM   #5
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ovalized head tube?
Don't say that. I tightened it up and there is still a bit of play but I think it may be either the disc or the brake moving. Maybe a bolt is loose somewhere. I've never had a bike with discs before so I don't know much about them. I'm gonna check it out tomorrow though.
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Old 05-02-08, 06:57 AM   #6
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is the steerer painted or raw?
are you using a plug or a star nut?
if using a steel or alum stem, scuff the inside with scotchbrite or emery cloth.
try running large spacers(25mm) instead 5or10mm.
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Old 05-02-08, 07:02 AM   #7
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Put the bike on the ground, lock the front brake and attempt to rock it back and forth with the thumb and forefinger of one hand grasping the seam where the headset's top race and the top headtube cup meet. If there is play in the headset itself, you will feel relative motion there.

BTW, most cartridge bearing headsets I've worked on have a preload recommendation of from 8 to 20 inch-pounds so they are tightened a bit beyond just touching.
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Old 05-02-08, 03:19 PM   #8
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If the play increases over time, and if you don't have any play immediately after adjusting the headset, then I would venture that the stem is slipping.

What type of stem is it? Some stems will seem tight but not be if the bolts need to be tightened alternately but aren't (Thomson Elite is a good example).

Do you have grease on the steerer tube where the stem clamps to it? This part of the steerer should be dry and free of grease.
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