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Old 05-25-08, 05:06 PM   #1
BigUgly
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Switching forks 1" head tube, LBS messed up frame..

Here's the low down. A friend of mine who was a bike mechanic and has been working on bikes all his life gave me a MTB bike with a 1" head tube for my kid to ride. I have an older Cannondale MTB with a 1" head tube which he built for me. I wanted a suspension fork so I found a Rock Shozx Qadra that I had hime put on it. I recently found a 1" Threaded Judy DH and had him switch it out on my bike. I had the Qadra he was going to put on my kids bike. The only thing is he is 3 hours away. I went to the local LBS and they said $15 to switch out the fork and they would have it done by the end of the day Saturday so we could go riding this weekend. I get a call saying there is a problem. I go to the shop. The mechanic says he had some problems fitting the headset on the tube. I left them the Qadra, a stem, and a 1" threadless headset. He the 1" threadless headset wasn't fitting properly so he reamed out the head tube to get it to fit and it still wouldn't fit right. Then he said it is going to cost more then the original $15 and the work is now at shop rate which is $35/hr which he already had 1 hour into it. I said stop and put it back together the way it was when I brought it in.(My buddy the mechanic would have done it for nothin, I just wanted to ride the trails with my kids this weekend). Needless to say, the LBS can't put it back together the way it was since he reamed out the head tube. Now, I am thinking he should have called me prior to reaming out the head tube because now the frame is crap because they can't get the new headset to fit right and the old headset won't fit because they reamed the tube. I am a bit upset about the entire situation and it seems like it is now going to cost me close to $100 to get his done. I feel the LBS should eat this because they screwed up the frame. They are going to have thier service manager look at this when he comes in on Tuseday. Does any one have any advice on how I should handle this witht the LBS? I don't feel I should have to pay for thier mistake. Can this frame be salvaged at this point?
He said the new headset that there is about a millimeter gap somewhere and it might hang up while turning. Does this make sense? I am glad the mechanic was honest with me about what they are going through. He did hint that the head tube was out of round when I brought it in, which I doubt because my buddy knows how to take care of a bike. He's been building them for 20+ years. Any input would be appreciated.
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Old 05-26-08, 05:29 AM   #2
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Reaming a headtube? That's crazy talk. Do you mean they faced it?
If they can't even clearly explain what the problem is, get your bike the hell out of there and get a 2nd opinion from another shop.
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Old 05-26-08, 05:43 AM   #3
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This doesn't make much sense, or there is some info missing.
I" has a hidden danger to it, as there are 1" JIS and 1" ISO, and I think the 1" JIS is something like 0.2 mm smaller than the 1" ISO.
So the early part of headset not fitting and needing to ream the frame could make sense.
OTOH reaming such a small amount is quite easy and should be well within the margins of what the frame can take. Then he says that the HS won't fit even after reaming - and here's where it starts to get odd.
Did the mechanic set the tool wrong, or is he claiming that there was something wrong with the frame to begin with that made the reaming go wrong?

Is he perhaps talking about how deep the the headset cups must be pressed into the frame?

And exactly where is that millimeter gap that might make it hang up while turning?

If what he attempted to do was a JIS to ISO conversion then the old headset should be possible to reassemble after some careful shimming. If that's where the 1 mm gap is other techniques are probably required.
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Old 05-26-08, 05:49 AM   #4
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you can ream 'em.... but it sounds like an inexperienced "mechanic" that was doing it. first if the headset wasn't fitting, i would have first mic'd it to verify the diameter and check it for roundness. sounds like the guy didn't know sheite about installing headsets.
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Old 05-26-08, 07:08 AM   #5
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Thanks for confirming what I was thinking about an inexperienced mechanic. I am hoping the head mechanic will get it straightened out when he get's back on Tues. He didn't mention anything was wrong with the frame to begin with and I hope they don't try to pull that BS to try to cover it up. He didn't specify where exactly the mm gap was.
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Old 05-26-08, 09:05 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by BigUgly View Post
He did hint that the head tube was out of round when I brought it in,
That's a definite possibility. Ovalized head tubes are semi-common. It's usually the result of kids doint things that I don't approve of with a slightly loose headset.
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Old 05-26-08, 11:08 AM   #7
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OK, let me get this straight. Can you confirm if this is correct? You want a suspension fork put on an old mtb. You bring in..
  • old mtb frame with a head tube that accepts a 1" headset
  • Rock Shox Qadra suspension fork
  • 1" threadless headset
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Old 05-26-08, 11:29 AM   #8
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To face a headtube means to smooth away metal from the edges of the headtube. To ream a hole, means to make larger the diameter of the headtube hole through which fork's steerer tube passes through. The key here is to know what was your size headtube bore hole you had before you brought it in to the LBS.
  1. 1" Standard - also called ISO. 30.2mm cups
  2. 1" JIS - 30.0mm cups.

As you can see, the 1" JIS headset fits into headtube that is reamed with a 0.2mm smaller bore than the 1" standard headset. Stated another way, the head tube bore hole for a 1" Standard headset is 0.2mm greater than the head tube bore hole for a 1" JIS headset. Stated another way, on the headtube the JIS bore hole is a tiny bit (0.2mm) smaller than the standard bore hole.

If you know what bore hole your old mtb was reamed at before you brought it to the LBS, then you will know what the hell the bike shop did to change that bore hole. What was the brand of the original headset you had in that old mtb? If the old headset was a 1" standard, then you know the bore hole was reamed for a 1" standard headset. It is highly likely that your old mtb was originally reamed for a 1" standard headset, because 1" JIS headsets are not very common at all, except on some very old Japanese road bikes.

I wonder if it is possible that the bike shop mechanic could accidentally ream out your old mtb with a 1 1/8" reamer, instead of a 1" reamer? To me, this sounds like what might have occured. The difference in millimeters between a 1" reamed hole and a 1 1/8" reamed hole is 1/8" (3.175mm). You need to find some way to accurately measure the diameter of the reamed out hole in your headtube. Get to Home Depot and buy some digital calipers. It's Memorial Day today and they have some on sale. like this one.


PS- the top pic is a 1" JIS bore hole. the bottom pic is the 1" standard headset cup. See how the 1" JIS is designed to fit a 30.0mm headset, while the more common 1" standard headset is designed to fit a 30.2mm hole?

Last edited by bellweatherman; 05-26-08 at 11:33 AM.
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Old 05-26-08, 12:22 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by bellweatherman View Post
OK, let me get this straight. Can you confirm if this is correct? You want a suspension fork put on an old mtb. You bring in..
  • old mtb frame with a head tube that accepts a 1" headset
  • Rock Shox Qadra suspension fork
  • 1" threadless headset
Yes. All of the above is correct.

The head tube on the old mtb was definitely 1". The bike is still at the shop in pieces waiting for a more experienced mechanic to look at it, and I do not know what brand of headset was on there. Thank you for the detailed info, now I will know what they are talking about when I talke to them on Tuesday. I am mechanically inclined (cars, houses, etc.), just not on bikes yet but I am getting there.
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Old 05-26-08, 12:40 PM   #10
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Yes. All of the above is correct.

The head tube on the old mtb was definitely 1". The bike is still at the shop in pieces waiting for a more experienced mechanic to look at it, and I do not know what brand of headset was on there. Thank you for the detailed info, now I will know what they are talking about when I talke to them on Tuesday. I am mechanically inclined (cars, houses, etc.), just not on bikes yet but I am getting there.

Go in there and talk to the bike shop manager only. Be polite, but be firm. If they can't do what you asked, then they should definitely return the bike back to you in the same workable condition it was in. You are right. They should've consulted with you before screwing up your frame, so you knew the risks involved. In this case, I wonder if it isn't a case of the mechanic trying to cover up his error. That is why it is important to only talk to the manger or preferrably owner of the store.

The more you know, before you go back to the bike shop the better. Familiarize yourself with this page. This is where I got the pic of the headset bore holes. Good luck and keep us informed on what happens.
http://www.parktool.com/repair/readhowto.asp?id=66
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Old 05-27-08, 07:35 PM   #11
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Picked up bike. Qadra installed. Charged me $40.00. Needed a shim for the stem which was $5.00. Labor was $35. Reamed it, faced it, installed the brakes and had to rerun the cable(it went through the old stem to the brakes). I am thinking the first mechanic didn't have enough experience. The head mechanic took care of it. A little more then what I wanted to spend but it's done. Probably would have spent that much on a case a beer after my buddy got done replacing it anyway. Thanks for all the advice.
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Old 05-27-08, 07:45 PM   #12
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. . .and buy some digital calipers. ..

Wow. What a great thread and post! Oh, there was more?
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