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Old 09-13-10, 03:10 PM   #1
NinetiesKid
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my first threadless fork/headset

Hi all,

I just purchased my first bike (on CL) that has a threadless fork and integrated headset.

My question is, while looking at the portion of the fork above the head tube, there is the top crown of the headset, a large spacer, then my stem. My concern is the 1/8" space above the stem but below the top cap of the fork which is not covered with a spacer (I can see the fork).

Is this okay? The other spacer I have is far too big, should I cut it down, or just buy one of the appropriate size? Or is it okay as is so long as everything is tightened properly?

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Old 09-13-10, 03:20 PM   #2
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You will need another spacer.

The top-cap should compress all the spacers, thus setting the bearing tension in the headset. In your case, it's just tightening onto the steerer, doing nothing.

In your case, you'd need a spacer about twice the size of that gap. The spacer or stem should actually extend beyond the top of the steerer about 2-3mm, as shown here...



(http://www.parktool.com/repair/readhowto.asp?id=65)
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Old 09-13-10, 03:36 PM   #3
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I'd put one of these under your spacer, It will keep the fork in the frame.
http://www.bikeman.com/HD9974.html QBP item, can be ordered thru your LBS.
With a Integrated headset, there are a bunch of small parts that fall out when the fork steerer is not clamped , with the stem .

so then after fitting this , pulling the stem off won't result in the fork falling out.
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Old 09-13-10, 03:40 PM   #4
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You can put the extra spacer above or below the stem, depending on where you want your handlebars to end up. (By the way, the stem can be flipped upside down if you want the handlebars higher.)

Whereever you put it, loosen the two pinch bolts on the back of the stem, install the spacers and stem how you want it, adjust the pre-load bolt at the center of the cap above the stem to where it is tight enough to remove any play in the headset but loose enough that it doesn't bind, straighten the stem so it is parallel with the front wheel, and then tighten the stem pinch bolts. It is essential that the bearing pre-load be set before the pinch bolts are tightened.
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Old 09-13-10, 03:47 PM   #5
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This is what I thought. I'm slightly confused as to what they were doing with the bike without this as the other spacer included is 1/2".

alright, so 1/4" is approx 6.35 mm, but I'm finding individual spacers that are 5mm and the Chris King headset spacer kit includes a 6mm spacer (though I'd rather not spend $30 on a single spacer. I imagine 5 would be good enough?
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Old 09-13-10, 03:51 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
I'd put one of these under your spacer, It will keep the fork in the frame.
http://www.bikeman.com/HD9974.html QBP item, can be ordered thru your LBS.
With a Integrated headset, there are a bunch of small parts that fall out when the fork steerer is not clamped , with the stem .

so then after fitting this , pulling the stem off won't result in the fork falling out.
I really like that thing (as this has already happened to me while fooling around with it) and it seems to be about the correct size. Thanks!
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Old 09-13-10, 03:59 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by JiveTurkey View Post
Whereever you put it, loosen the two pinch bolts on the back of the stem, install the spacers and stem how you want it, adjust the pre-load bolt at the center of the cap above the stem to where it is tight enough to remove any play in the headset but loose enough that it doesn't bind, straighten the stem so it is parallel with the front wheel, and then tighten the stem pinch bolts. It is essential that the bearing pre-load be set before the pinch bolts are tightened.
I think I understand this correctly. If I were to lift the front wheel and bring it down to the ground, there should be no up and down movement in the fork (or sound of slight movement) if the bearing pre-load is set.
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Old 09-13-10, 04:03 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by NinetiesKid View Post
I think I understand this correctly. If I were to lift the front wheel and bring it down to the ground, there should be no up and down movement in the fork (or sound of slight movement) if the bearing pre-load is set.
A better way is this: Squeeze the front brake and rock the bike forward and back; there will be some movement but there shouldn't be any clicking or loose kind of feeling. Next, lift the front end of the bike by the top tube and rotate the wheel/fork left to right; it should be smooth.
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Old 09-13-10, 04:09 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by NinetiesKid View Post
This is what I thought. I'm slightly confused as to what they were doing with the bike without this as the other spacer included is 1/2".

alright, so 1/4" is approx 6.35 mm, but I'm finding individual spacers that are 5mm and the Chris King headset spacer kit includes a 6mm spacer (though I'd rather not spend $30 on a single spacer. I imagine 5 would be good enough?
Do you have a bike shop nearby? Buying such a small part online isn't usually worth it. Your LBS should have spacers of many heights so you can the right one.

From the pic, it looks like you just have one really tall spacer below the stem; is this right? If you find you want to fine-tune your handlebar height, you may want to get several spacers of various heights that add up to the correct overall height. Then, you can put the stem anywhere on that part of the steerer.
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Old 09-13-10, 04:57 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by JiveTurkey View Post
Do you have a bike shop nearby? Buying such a small part online isn't usually worth it. Your LBS should have spacers of many heights so you can the right one.

From the pic, it looks like you just have one really tall spacer below the stem; is this right? If you find you want to fine-tune your handlebar height, you may want to get several spacers of various heights that add up to the correct overall height. Then, you can put the stem anywhere on that part of the steerer.
Yeah, I live close to a LBS, I was just investigating common sizes of spacers before I went asking around for one. I was also thinking about getting a few of varying sizes in an attempt to fine tune the stack height.

Thanks a lot for all the help!
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