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  1. #1
    More Energy than Sense aroundoz's Avatar
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    Threaded Headset Question

    I just overhauled a Bridgestone MB1 which included installing a new headset. Unfortunately, the shop cut the steer a bit too short. I can only get about 2 1/4 turns on the nut. I am told three is minimal. I am not sure if I should just ride it and see how it goes. I did use a little loctite on the threads but I am not one for bandage repairs.

    I used a Tange Levin headset which has about 33.4 stack height. A Tange passge has 30.2. Would replacing the headset with the latter fix the problem or do I need a new fork? And actually a new Tange fork is only about $40 so it would almost be a wash. Help.

  2. #2
    mechanically sound frankenmike's Avatar
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    Sound like the shop needs to replace either the fork or headset on their dime.

  3. #3
    surly old man jgedwa's Avatar
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    With the present headset fully tightened down, how far is the top of the steerer from the lip on top of the headset topnut? I think that may be a more useful measurement than the number of turns you can get on it. 2 1/4 sounds pretty scant, however.

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    Quote Originally Posted by frankenmike View Post
    Sound like the shop needs to replace either the fork or headset on their dime.
    +1. If you paid for the service then the shop should make it right.

  5. #5
    More Energy than Sense aroundoz's Avatar
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    I agree with having the shop take care of it but since you brought it up....

    It would be difficult to prove who was at fault. I don't own a steerer cutter, since I usually use a pipe cutter on threadless tubes and seldom have to work on threaded steerers anymore, until now. So I gave them the measurement on the plus side and they made the cut. If anything I was planning on adding a spacer. I like to do as much of the work as possible so only wanted them to make the cut as opposed to giving them the bike. I would have taken it apart anyway when I got the bike home to make sure they greased, assembled and adjusted it correctly.

    Small town, small shop, I want to keep the peace since I am always open to the possibility that I didn't communicate things to them clearly. Definitely not the preferred way of doing things and I have convinced myself to purchase some headset tools which are about the only items I now need to complete my collection of bike tools.

    So now that you know the entire story....

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    Senior Member Grand Bois's Avatar
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    Why did the the steerer need to be cut? Was it a replacement fork?

    I suppose you know that a non-original fork substantially reduces the value of your MB-1. I tried and failed to find an MB-1 for a price I was willing to pay. I ended up settling for an MB-2 and it wasn't cheap.

  7. #7
    Old fart JohnDThompson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aroundoz View Post
    I agree with having the shop take care of it but since you brought it up....

    It would be difficult to prove who was at fault. I don't own a steerer cutter, since I usually use a pipe cutter on threadless tubes and seldom have to work on threaded steerers anymore, until now. So I gave them the measurement on the plus side and they made the cut. If anything I was planning on adding a spacer. I like to do as much of the work as possible so only wanted them to make the cut as opposed to giving them the bike. I would have taken it apart anyway when I got the bike home to make sure they greased, assembled and adjusted it correctly.

    Small town, small shop, I want to keep the peace since I am always open to the possibility that I didn't communicate things to them clearly. Definitely not the preferred way of doing things and I have convinced myself to purchase some headset tools which are about the only items I now need to complete my collection of bike tools.

    So now that you know the entire story....
    A couple things you can try:

    1) A headset with a shorter stack
    2) Mill the top of the head tube down by a millimetre or so. Taking material off the top doesn't affect the front-end geometry.

  8. #8
    Senior Member cyclodan's Avatar
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    Are there any fat spacers that can be swapped for thinner ones? How about a cable hanger? If you have one that goes in like a spacer you can eliminate it and use the type that attaches to the stem itself.
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  9. #9
    Rumblefish jtarver's Avatar
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    I had this problem on an old Moto, I went down one size bearing and was able to make it work. Seems to be holding up fine, might qualify as a "band aid" repair.
    1973 Crescent Pepita FG, 1987 Panasonic DX-4000, 1991 Trek 1400 FG, 1990's Gary Fisher Hoo-Koo-e-Koo SS, 1990's Denti Road Tech Five, 2009 Surly Long Haul Trucker

  10. #10
    More Energy than Sense aroundoz's Avatar
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    Unfortunately there are no spacers or a cable hanger. I was lucky to have a thinner lock ring which helped.

    Dirtdrop, the more I think about the replacement fork the less I like it. The dropouts look cheap compared to the stock MB1s and for sure it would lower the value.

    I think I will first try the Tange Passage which should give me 3 more mm at least in theory and if that is not enough, I like the idea of milling the top of the headtube a mm or two which should make up the difference.

  11. #11
    I live in a bicycle. smovlov's Avatar
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    Could be costly but could you get a frame builder to braze a new steerer in for you?
    I think further therefore I go farther.
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  12. #12
    More Energy than Sense aroundoz's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=Dirtdrop;8281502]Why did the the steerer need to be cut? Was it a replacement fork?

    Forgot to answer this. The headset that came w/ the frame was toast and had a huge stack height. Enough of a height where it required a one cm spacer but for a threaded fork, that's too much since I wasn't able to eliminate the play from the fork when adjusting.

    I have heard of brazing on a new steerer but I think since 3-4mm is all I need, the different headset and facing will be the ticket.

    Anyway, just did 20miles on it. First ride in 3 months and it didn't loosen up. Here is a picture. I know the stem and seat post don't visually fit the bike but they make it work for my lanky frame. Any it's nice to finally have a winter bike and commuter.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  13. #13
    Senior Member Grand Bois's Avatar
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    Cutting the steerer was a mistake from the beginning. A long steerer with spacers reinforces tall stems like you're using.

  14. #14
    More Energy than Sense aroundoz's Avatar
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    Except that I was not able to eliminate the play in the headset when I had a 1cm spacer in the stack. Someone else told me that for a threaded steerer, you should use no more than 3mm of spacer. After it was cut, it was not a problem getting the proper adjustment.

    I have to ask if you are speaking from experience and if so, what was I doing wrong.

  15. #15
    Decrepit Member Scooper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aroundoz View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Dirtdrop View Post
    Why did the the steerer need to be cut? Was it a replacement fork?


    Forgot to answer this.
    The headset that came w/ the frame was toast and had a huge stack height. Enough of a height where it required a one cm spacer but for a threaded fork, that's too much since I wasn't able to eliminate the play from the fork when adjusting.

    I have heard of brazing on a new steerer but I think since 3-4mm is all I need, the different headset and facing will be the ticket.

    Anyway, just did 20miles on it. First ride in 3 months and it didn't loosen up. Here is a picture. I know the stem and seat post don't visually fit the bike but they make it work for my lanky frame. Any it's nice to finally have a winter bike and commuter.
    Quote Originally Posted by aroundoz View Post
    Except that I was not able to eliminate the play in the headset when I had a 1cm spacer in the stack. Someone else told me that for a threaded steerer, you should use no more than 3mm of spacer. After it was cut, it was not a problem getting the proper adjustment.

    I have to ask if you are speaking from experience and if so, what was I doing wrong.
    I'm not sure I understand why you'd have play in the fork because of the spacer; the bearing cups for the headset controlling the fork play are at the top and bottom of the head tube. As Dirtdrop says, a long steerer with spacers reinforces tall stems. Here is an admittedly exaggerated example, but there has never been any fork play or looseness in the headset (based on my personal experience).

    - Stan

  16. #16
    More Energy than Sense aroundoz's Avatar
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    That's a work of art.

    I wish I had an answer why there was play. I even tightened the cup all of the way down to see if that would eliminate it and it didn't. The mechanic at the shop said 3mm max so I opted to cut it. I hypothesized, that the longer steerer would actually create greater leverage against the headset but the above photo negates that theory. All I know is that after it was cut, even with the minimal amount of thread showing, there was no play.

    Is there a difference between a 1" threadless spacer and a 1" threaded spacer? If not, than I am out of ideas.

  17. #17
    Senior Member AnthonyG's Avatar
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    I recommend that you remove the lock ring to start with and just have the lock nut straight on the top bearing race. Its possible that you will need to keep an eye on it but I wouldn't expect it to come loose.

    Anthony

  18. #18
    Large Member Geordi Laforge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aroundoz View Post
    Is there a difference between a 1" threadless spacer and a 1" threaded spacer? If not, than I am out of ideas.
    I am wondering the same thing. is a spacer just a spacer - just in different sizes?

  19. #19
    Insane Bicycle Mechanic Jeff Wills's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aroundoz View Post
    Is there a difference between a 1" threadless spacer and a 1" threaded spacer? If not, than I am out of ideas.
    Yes and no. A threaded headset washer will usually have a tang to fit in the slot cut in the back of the threads. This makes it easier to adjust since tightening the locknut won't move the upper cup as easily. You can get away without the washer, but adjustment is lots tougher.

    I'll echo an earlier suggestion: you can gain length on the fork steerer by having the top of the frame's headtube machined down. You can even have the bottom faced- it'll change the geometry a tiny amount. but usually not enough to notice.
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  20. #20
    Large Member Geordi Laforge's Avatar
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    so, using a 1" threadless spacer on a threaded system isnt a good idea?

  21. #21
    AEO
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    it's fine, you can use the threadless spacers on a threaded fork no problem. In fact, in most cases they are better.
    No worries about those silly notches in the spacers binding your steerer if they don't fit too well or are slight worn.

    the headsets with washers are usually indented to accept the washer. The spacers won't fit where the washer is supposed to go.

    use a pair of wrenches when tightening, don't have to worry about the thing loosening or over tightening.
    Food for thought: if you aren't dead by 2050, you and your entire family will be within a few years from starvation. Now that is a cruel gift to leave for your offspring. ;)
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