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  1. #1
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    steering tube cut to short

    i just bought a new fork for my bike frame and was going to install it myself when i pretty much mess it up , i use no spacer and thus i ended up with a short stering tube so small not even the stem goes all the way in... i am left with a big space betuween the steering tube and the headset cap , the headset top barely grabs the steering tube where the star is , its there all right but its too short,,, does this mean its game over, what can i do can i buy a new stering tube instead of buying a new fork??? please let me know what's the best i can do .. your support is much appreciated... thanaks

  2. #2
    Elitist Troglodyte DMF's Avatar
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    New acronym for the day --> S.O.L.
    Last edited by DMF; 08-25-08 at 08:54 AM.
    Stupidity got us into this mess - why can't it get us out?

    - Will Rogers

  3. #3
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Sometimes you can find a stem that has a lower stack height and make it work. It's important that the clamp bolts on the stem clamp over the steerer tube, so the steerer has to be long enough to extend up past the upper clamp bolt.

  4. #4
    Dirt Bomb sknhgy's Avatar
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    These people sell steerer tubes. (Try saying that 5x real fast.)

    http://www.universalcycles.com/shopp...&category=3172

  5. #5
    Pwnerer Wordbiker's Avatar
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    Call all the local bike shops and ask if they have a steerer tube stretcher.




    You're still S.O.L., but at least you'll give them a good laugh.
    Quote Originally Posted by ahsposo View Post
    Ski, bike and wish I was gay.

  6. #6
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    If the steerer is now so short that the stem clamp barely grabs any of it, you are truly SOL as there is no stem with a clamp that short. All you can hope to do is find someone with a very small frame that wants to buy your fork.

    BTW, you are not the first and won't be the last to do this. Cold comfort, I know.

  7. #7
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    Not SOL

    Sure, you cant use a modern clamp-on type stem, but you could have the steerer tube threaded and install a pre-aheadset type headset up top and a standard quill stem inserted into steerer.

  8. #8
    Senior Member BCRider's Avatar
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    If this is for a better quality mountain bike fork then you can have a new steerer pressed into the crown. If it's for an all welded cheaper MTB fork or a road fork that IS welded then the S. O. L. is the operative anagram for the day.

    If you were a real handyman sort of guy I suppose you COULD make up an internal sleeve cup that is a snug push fit into the lower stem and then slide the upper into place and silver solder or braze it together. But that would take a shop and tools to make the internal sleeve and knowing how and having the stuff to do the silver soldering and knowing how to do this so you're SURE the tubes line up. I did one years ago this way to save a really nice vintage fork. But it's a lot of work and fussy to make sure it's all in alignment. And if you had this sort of skillset you wouldn't have asked in the first place. Forget about paying someone to do something like this. A new fork would be the same price or cheaper.
    Model airplanes are cool too!.....

  9. #9
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    are they compatible

    the fork i have is from rockshox and its a threadless 1 1/8 now the steering tube is a stkm steel tube can i use any 1 1/8 tube??? i pay almost 190 for this fork... so i won't my getting a replacement but it just seems like a waste since its brand new... and yeah some people laugh at my problem, but i know nobodys perfect and i realy like to thank those people who are giving me help,,,

  10. #10
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    I suggest you cut the tube again, but longer this time

    What type of fork is it? Some are easily replacable, many are not replaceable at all...

    Also, what is the length of the steerer now? Just because it won't fit on your bike doesn't mean you can't sell it to someone with a smaller bike where it will fit. Murphy's law dictates that the steerer-cut-too-short mistake is usually made when people are assembling very small bikes, though.

    Final option (if it is a particularily nice fork with a steel steerer tube that you are determined to keep) - have a shop thread it and get a new threaded headset and quill stem.

  11. #11
    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
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    I've done the repair procedure that BCrider mentioned. You must have the equipment to cut perfectly square ends on the steerer tube and the new extended piece. Additionally, the internal sleeve must fit precisely inside the steerer (I machined my own).

  12. #12
    Senior Member BCRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DannoXYZ View Post
    I've done the repair procedure that BCrider mentioned. You must have the equipment to cut perfectly square ends on the steerer tube and the new extended piece. Additionally, the internal sleeve must fit precisely inside the steerer (I machined my own).
    Obviously great minds think alike.... That's just what I did. Having a lathe helps.....

    Since this is a Rockshox fork I'm guessing it is a mountain bike fork. In that case there should be a number of local bike shops that you can take it to and they will send it to wherever they send forks and have a new steer tube pressed into the crown. Not sure on the price but I know that my own regular bike shop gets this done quite often on forks with bent steerers or when owners want to move a high quality fork to a new frame and the steerer isn't long enough. I think it's around $60 to $80 for the new tube and labour. And no, it's not just any old bit of pipe. Steer tubes are special but generally all steer tubes are the same for press in types on single crown forks. For an additional charge you can even get it fitted with an aluminium steer tube and save a few extra ounces if that's a big deal. But if you're jumping it a lot then stick with steel.
    Model airplanes are cool too!.....

  13. #13
    jwa
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    I've had mine repaired similarly to the above posts, after some moron who looks a lot like me couldn't remember if the rule was "Measure twice, cut once" or "Measure once, cut twice." Here's what I did:

    Assumption # 1: You trust welds everywhere else on your bike, including bottom bracket shell, steerer tube to fork crown, etc.
    Assumption # 2: A welded repair in the middle of the headtube is safer than one above the headtube (where your cut is currently)

    So I cut another ~1.5 inches off the steerer (feeling bold, as the shorty fork was worthless to me anyhow....) placing the top of the steerer tube at about mid-headtube level. Then I had a local welding shop place a 2" long aluminum insert into the steerer for added rigidity/support of the weld (at the cost of a couple ounces of added weight). Then, they welded on another piece of 1 1/8" tubing. Making the additional cut not only placed the weld within the headtube, but made room for the star nut to be inserted - it wouldn't have fit with the insert at the height of my initial cut.

    Total cost: $30.00 from the welding shop. The guys there took it on as an amusing challenge ("Didn't you measure first? HOW much did this piece cost???!!!) And not being a real gonzo rider, I'm comfortable with the level of presumed risk....
    Last edited by jwa; 08-24-08 at 09:47 AM.

  14. #14
    What is this demonry?! Szczuldo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jwa View Post
    ...
    So I cut another ~1.5 inches off the steerer (feeling bold, as the shorty fork was worthless to me anyhow....) placing the top of the steerer tube at about mid-headtube level. Then I had a local welding shop place a 2" long aluminum insert into the steerer for added rigidity/support of the weld (at the cost of a couple ounces of added weight). Then, they welded on another piece of 1 1/8" tubing. Making the additional cut not only placed the weld within the headtube, but made room for the star nut to be inserted - it wouldn't have fit with the insert at the height of my initial cut.

    ...
    Very interesting idea but it seems that the welds would somewhat interfere with getting through the bottom part of the headset unless they were quite smooth. Either way I need to keep this idea in mind in case I have the same issue except chances are when I make this mistake it will be on a carbon steerer fork.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Szczuldo View Post
    Very interesting idea but it seems that the welds would somewhat interfere with getting through the bottom part of the headset unless they were quite smooth.
    The shop probably took the weld to a grinder or used a lathe to remove the excess material.

  16. #16
    jwa
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    Quote Originally Posted by joejack951 View Post
    The shop probably took the weld to a grinder or used a lathe to remove the excess material.
    Yes - I called it to their attention when they gave the fork back to me - took all of about 2 minutes for them to grind it smooth.

  17. #17
    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jwa View Post
    Yes - I called it to their attention when they gave the fork back to me - took all of about 2 minutes for them to grind it smooth.
    Be VERY CAREFUL about grinding welds. Due to the uneven surface and non-homogeneous metallurgy through the HAZ, they are prime areas for concentration of stress-risers. If you grind down a weld, you MUST remove all of the deep gouges. Follow up with smoother and smoother grits of sandpaper and finally rubbing then polishing compound so that the surface is immaculate. Cracks starts on the surface and spreads from there inwards, so you want to have a smooth pristine surface across that weld.

    Although in this case, I'd worry more about the two ends of the inner sleeve. Good engineering practice would be to bevel the insides of the two ends.

  18. #18
    jwa
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    Quote Originally Posted by DannoXYZ View Post
    Although in this case, I'd worry more about the two ends of the inner sleeve. Good engineering practice would be to bevel the insides of the two ends.
    Born a poor young country boy (Mother Nature's son), I know nothing of such engineering issues. The welding shop didn't have tubing that would work as an inner sleeve, but they had a solid aluminum cylinder of appropriate diameter. A tube insert would be lighter & more aesthetically pleasing, but the solid insert sounded tougher to me - and, was available.... Guess I shoulda made that clear in my initial description.

  19. #19
    w.a.s.t.e. firthy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DMF View Post
    New anagram for the day --> S.O.L.
    Quote Originally Posted by BCRider View Post
    If it's for an all welded cheaper MTB fork or a road fork that IS welded then the S. O. L. is the operative anagram for the day.
    Hate to be a pedant, but S.O.L. is an acronym, or more specifically, an initialism—you say each letter separately rather than speak it as one word.

    An anagram would be a rearrangement of letters, in which there are only five other permutations for SOL: OLS, LSO, SLO, OSL, and LOS.

  20. #20
    Elitist Troglodyte DMF's Avatar
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    You are, of course, correct, you PTIA. <-- anagram of an acronym
    Stupidity got us into this mess - why can't it get us out?

    - Will Rogers

  21. #21
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    I lengthened the steerer tube on a Rock Shox Judy fork about 8-10 yrs. ago by welding on a section from another old fork. Its still in use.

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