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Old 02-06-09, 08:30 AM   #1
Tom M
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Headset problem?

I just built up a Rob Roy and had the LBS install a CK headset. Here's my problem: when I ride, there's a gyroscope feeling in the steering. It feels like there's torque on the fork and front wheel that sometimes fights against the way I'm going. The CK instructions says that that new seals will produce some resistance in the first 50-100 hours of use. Is that what this is? I don't know if it matters, but I'm riding 23mm Continental Ultra Gatorskins. Thanks.
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Old 02-06-09, 09:00 AM   #2
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it sound like yes you need to do the break in , if it still do it after that then take it back to your lbs for adjustment. if you can't wait then take it to them sooner.
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Old 02-06-09, 09:09 AM   #3
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I certainly never felt anything like that on my bike that's equipped with a CK headset. Since you had the headset installed at the LBS, I would go back there and ask them to check it out. Maybe the preload is too tight. Maybe it's not seated properly and the bearings are binding. If the latter, maybe the headtube needs to be faced.
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Old 02-06-09, 09:51 AM   #4
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BTW, you can check to see if the preload is too tight by grabbing the seatpost and lifting the bike completely off the ground, then turning the front wheel to the side. If it immediately and freely returns to center on its own, the preload isn't too tight.

Last edited by well biked; 02-06-09 at 10:03 AM.
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Old 02-06-09, 03:56 PM   #5
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I'd guess that the preload is too tight, that or you are really really sensitive.
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Old 02-06-09, 10:47 PM   #6
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improperly pressed in headset?
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Old 02-07-09, 01:15 AM   #7
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http://chrisking.com/tech/tech_headsets

Taking care not to shear o-ring, slide bearing cap, any spacers, and then stem over steerer tube. Place stem cap on top of stem and insert screw through cap, threading into star nut. Tighten approx. 4-10 in.-lb. (Max. 15 in. lb.)

Adjust alignment of stem and secure according to stem manufacturers specifications.

Check headset for proper adjustment. When properly adjusted, the fork will rotate smoothly without play or restriction. Some settling may occur after 1st few rides; readjust if necessary. If necessary, adjust cap nut and stem bolts as above until proper adjustment is achieved. NOTE: New seals will produce some resistance in rotation for the first 50-100 hours of use. Avoid confusing this with rubbing or binding that may result from improper installation or stems that are not properly faced.

A Note on Threadless Stems:
We recommend using stems with a split clamp and either one or two bolts (preferably two).

It is important to check the bottom face of all threadless stems.
Many are not square to the steerer tube and may cause headset parts to sit unevenly or rub on the cups.

*make sure you stem and spacers are parallel(square).
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Old 02-07-09, 05:37 PM   #8
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Thanks, all. I took slightly less than 1/2 turn off the preload, and that seemed to help. The LBS did the installation, so I can only assume they did all the checks cited. I don't think it's a matter of me being really sensitive. This is the first bike with a threadless stem and tires smaller than 1-1/4 inch that I've ever ridden, fwiw.
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Old 02-19-09, 07:15 PM   #9
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Headset problem, part 2

First, I tried to adjust the headset myself. I loosened the stem bolts, then the bolt holding the cap until there was play in the fork. To check play, I grabbed the head tube with one hand, the fork with the other, and pulled to see if the fork moved. Then I tightened the cap bolt until the fork wouldn't move in the head tube. Then I tightened the stem. With the bike angled in the stand, the wheel wouldn't come back to center if I turned it left or right. If I loosened the stem, backed off the cap bolt, the wheel would return to center, but there was play.

I took it to the LBS and they adjusted it there. To check for play, they lifted the bike by the stem and bounced the front wheel and listened for thunking. It sounded good in the store. When I got the bike home, I found that if I held the front brake and pushed on the handlebars, I could see the fork moving relative to the bottom of the headset.

So, should I (1) take it back to the LBS, (2) ride it as is, (3) take it to another LBS, or (4) adjust the headset again (it will be tight) and ride it for awhile and wait for it to loosen up?
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Old 02-20-09, 09:15 AM   #10
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When I got the bike home, I found that if I held the front brake and pushed on the handlebars, I could see the fork moving relative to the bottom of the headset.
You are probably just compressing the o-ring slightly when you do that.

Read Kings tech that I posted above.

If your stem is poorly machined it will cock the top bearing cap and the headset
will hang up when turning it.
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Old 02-20-09, 10:20 AM   #11
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Took it to another LBS today. Turns out the crown race (base plate?) was installed upside down. The installed it correctly and said there should be no problems.
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Old 02-20-09, 10:28 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Tom M View Post
Took it to another LBS today. Turns out the crown race (base plate?) was installed upside down. The installed it correctly and said there should be no problems.
HAhahahahahahahahaha lmao.
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Old 02-20-09, 10:30 AM   #13
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Took it to another LBS today. Turns out the crown race (base plate?) was installed upside down. The installed it correctly and said there should be no problems.
Classic example of why I do my own maintenance (both car and bike).

The last time I let a LBS touch my bike, (fork replacement), about 15 miles down the road, my handlebars suddenly pivoted downward in the stem. Then a few miles later I discovered the brake pads were halfway off the rim because they had not bothered to adjust them when they were moved to the new fork.

After that, I bought all the Park tools needed to work on forks and headsets, so I can ensure the job is done right.
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Old 02-20-09, 06:32 PM   #14
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How do you put the thing in upside down and not know it?
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Old 02-27-09, 08:37 AM   #15
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How do you put the thing in upside down and not know it?
Very carefully....
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