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Old 09-03-11, 08:01 PM   #1
finsfree
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Headset Question

I have a 2011 Motobecane Sprint road bike and i am having an issue with the headset.
I have watched the youtube.com videos on how to adjust it, but I think I may have bigger issues than that.

By grabbing the front brake and pushing the bike back and forth with my other hand I can heard the knocking in the headset, so I tighten the screw. I can tighten the screw so far that it binds the bearing in the headset and it still will knock by grabbing the front brake and pushing my bike back and forth again.

What is going on here?
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Old 09-03-11, 08:13 PM   #2
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When you tighten the screw very tight, is the headset binding making it difficult to turn the bars? Or is it just the screw that seems to be getting awfully tight?

If the latter, it's likely that the steerer is a bit long and the top cap is bottoming against the fork rather than pushing the stem and spacer stack down to compress the headset.

If the former, you headset might be missing the centering cone, so while you're compressing the bearings, but not securing the top bearing to the steerer.

BTW- I should have said this first, you are loosening the stem before trying to adjust the headset, aren't you?

First step is to confirm the steerer length. Tighten the stem, remove the top cap and check that the fork ends about 1/8" below the top of the stem and spacer stack. If so, the next step is to loosen the stem, and pull everything above the upper bearing off and confirm that the centering cone sticks above the headset slightly and the spacers can push it down to secure the headset.
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Old 09-03-11, 08:37 PM   #3
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IMO the problem is that the OP doesnt have a space between the fork steering tube and the stem or spacers... would you please take the top cup and screw out 100% and take a picture from the top for us please?
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Old 09-03-11, 08:50 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
When you tighten the screw very tight, is the headset binding making it difficult to turn the bars? Or is it just the screw that seems to be getting awfully tight?

If the latter, it's likely that the steerer is a bit long and the top cap is bottoming against the fork rather than pushing the stem and spacer stack down to compress the headset.

If the former, you headset might be missing the centering cone, so while you're compressing the bearings, but not securing the top bearing to the steerer.

BTW- I should have said this first, you are loosening the stem before trying to adjust the headset, aren't you?


First step is to confirm the steerer length. Tighten the stem, remove the top cap and check that the fork ends about 1/8" below the top of the stem and spacer stack. If so, the next step is to loosen the stem, and pull everything above the upper bearing off and confirm that the centering cone sticks above the headset slightly and the spacers can push it down to secure the headset.
Yes I did loosen the stem before adjusting headset. And yes, then I say the headset is binding I am talking about turning the handle bar from right to left. I just greased the headset bearing too and I can still feel them bind.

Maybe, I am not sure what you call it, where the bearings sit, could that be wallowed out? If that is the case this is beyond me. I got like 5,000 miles on it and never had it in a bike show yet for service.
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Old 09-03-11, 09:00 PM   #5
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There u have the video

http://www.canecreek.com/tech-headse...enance%202.flv

Pay attention at 30 secs, the guy takes the stem out, the steering tube is not all the way up and flushed with the stem, if your steering tube is flushed with the stem or with the spacer clearly thats the problem. Big chance u did not put all the spacers on or something. Again, a picture would help.

At min 1:50 when the guy put all together u can see a gap between the steering tube and the stem or a spacer, if yours is flushed then u are missing a spacer.
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Old 09-03-11, 09:03 PM   #6
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IMO the problem is that the OP doesnt have a space between the fork steering tube and the stem or spacers... would you please take the top cup and screw out 100% and take a picture from the top for us please?
Here you are
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Old 09-03-11, 09:18 PM   #7
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Looks ok... do this... just lose the stem and tight that screw up, and see if you have the play with the stem lose. If not, then u are doing something wrong
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Old 09-03-11, 09:27 PM   #8
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Looks ok... do this... just lose the stem and tight that screw up, and see if you have the play with the stem lose. If not, then u are doing something wrong
I have play wether the stem screws are lose or not. All spacers are where they are supposed to be too.
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Old 09-03-11, 10:36 PM   #9
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Ran out of ideas, w/o seeing it is hard to say. sorry.
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Old 09-03-11, 10:57 PM   #10
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OK, since you pulled it apart for service that opens up other options.

The most likely is you put the bearing retainer in upside down.
Next is the possibility that you forgot or mis-installed the centering cone, or there's a spacer (not the stacking spacers) misplaced or missing.

If you didn't have the problem before taking it apart, you can probably rule out a bellmouthed headtube. Besides these usually cause very subtle movement, not what you're describing.

Take it apart sown to removing the fork, and start fresh checking every step along the way, then recheck by pushing the centering cone down manually with a spacer before installing the stem.
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