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Old 12-28-12, 04:24 PM   #1
aidanpringle
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Headset Question

I've recently acquired a new road bike (thanks Santa) and I've noticed that on most road bike the headset is just spacers then stem but on mine ive noticed there is a clamp like a seat post clamp located just above the fork bearings, does anyone know what this is for ?

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Old 12-28-12, 04:47 PM   #2
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There are a couple of possibilities. Firstly, the headset could be a standard threadless one, in which case that clamp (which may in fact be a seatpost clamp, they're available in the right size) would simply allow the stem to be removed without causing the headset bearings to go out of adjustment. I suppose it might make sense to set a bike up that way if you weren't sure exactly what length stem you wanted, as it would make it less of a hassle to change out stems until you found one that fitted, but unless you were doing that, it wouldn't really make a difference. The only time things like that really turn up are when they also include a cable stop for a cantilever or centrepull front brake, which that one doesn't seem to, so it's a bit of a mystery why it's there.

The second possibility is that your headset is similar to some of the earlier threadless designs, which had a clamp-on fitting on the fork steerer that the upper bearing cone threaded into, allowing the bearing to be adjusted to remove play in the same way that the star-nut, cap bolt, spacers and stem do on on a conventional threadless system. As far as I'm aware, headsets like that haven't been made in quite a long time, so the first possibility is more likely.

Those are the only two things I can think of, and either way, it's not going to do you any harm, so you may as well keep it there.
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Old 12-28-12, 05:13 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Airburst View Post
There are a couple of possibilities. Firstly, the headset could be a standard threadless one, in which case that clamp (which may in fact be a seatpost clamp, they're available in the right size) would simply allow the stem to be removed without causing the headset bearings to go out of adjustment. I suppose it might make sense to set a bike up that way if you weren't sure exactly what length stem you wanted, as it would make it less of a hassle to change out stems until you found one that fitted, but unless you were doing that, it wouldn't really make a difference. The only time things like that really turn up are when they also include a cable stop for a cantilever or centrepull front brake, which that one doesn't seem to, so it's a bit of a mystery why it's there.

The second possibility is that your headset is similar to some of the earlier threadless designs, which had a clamp-on fitting on the fork steerer that the upper bearing cone threaded into, allowing the bearing to be adjusted to remove play in the same way that the star-nut, cap bolt, spacers and stem do on on a conventional threadless system. As far as I'm aware, headsets like that haven't been made in quite a long time, so the first possibility is more likely.

Those are the only two things I can think of, and either way, it's not going to do you any harm, so you may as well keep it there.
It's a 2012 bike so I will assume its the first and just allows stem adjustment with out having to readjust bearings, thanks for reply !
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Old 12-28-12, 05:40 PM   #4
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Another reason for the clamp below the stem relates for racing. Many people, including myself, prefer to keep our stems "race tight" meaning tight enough to control the bike, but loose enough to slip and allow the bar to turn in a crash. The reason is that the slippage can save a fork from twisting when the wheel spins until the bar hits the frame.

Some people find that race tight stems slip a bit and lose the headset adjustments on bumpy roads, so the clamp below keeps the headset tight, without giving up the race tight approach.
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Old 12-31-12, 12:59 AM   #5
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This is how Woodman describes the Steerer Clamps they sell. http://www.woodmancomponents.com/Web...%88%2002:57:26
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The Steerer Clamp holds the fork and threadless headset assembly together when you remove your bicycle’s stem for shipping, transport or storage. Typically, if you remove your stem, your threadless fork and headset will come apart and you risk losing small parts like bearings or spacers. Furthermore, when it’s time to reassemble the bike, properly adjusting the headset preload typically requires a qualified mechanic. Our Steerer Clamp eliminates all of these problems. Simply install the Steerer Clamp beneath your stem, have a qualified mechanic adjust the headset preload, and then tighten Steerer Clamp. All that’s required for reassembly is to align the stem with the front wheel and tighten it to the correct torque specification.
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Old 12-31-12, 02:09 AM   #6
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I had to spend a few extra bucks to buy one of those, and that one came included..

lucky bugger...


I bought mine, yes, to keep the fork in, and so, integrated headset, together...
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Old 12-31-12, 10:50 AM   #7
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This is how Woodman describes the Steerer Clamps they sell. http://www.woodmancomponents.com/Web...%88%2002:57:26
That's brilliant. Do you know who sells those? Neither of the US distributors' websites shows that product at all.

And I wish it came in silver! :-)
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Old 12-31-12, 12:39 PM   #8
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That's brilliant. Do you know who sells those? Neither of the US distributors' websites shows that product at all.

And I wish it came in silver! :-)
Outside Outfitters http://www.outsideoutfitters.com/ps-...ing-clamp.aspx
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Old 12-31-12, 12:57 PM   #9
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Where these things would be particularly useful would be on S&S coupled bikes where it's necessary to remove the stem/handlebar assembly to pack it for travel. The clamp would hold the fork in place and maintain the headset adjustment. Depsite what Woodman (or their lawyer) says, it shouldn't require an outside "qualified mechanic" to adjust most headsets.
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Old 12-31-12, 04:36 PM   #10
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Yeah, I put one on the road bike that I travel with so it's easier to take the bars off and pack it in the case. Upon arrival I can just throw the bars on and tighten the stem "race tight".
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Old 12-31-12, 07:38 PM   #11
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thanks for all the replies !
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Old 12-31-12, 07:46 PM   #12
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28.6 is a standard seat post clamp size so it may be possible to just use one of those, my bikes headset clamp is just a smaller version of its seat post clamp. and you can get seat post clamps in silver...
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Old 12-31-12, 07:59 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by aidanpringle View Post
28.6 is a standard seat post clamp size so it may be possible to just use one of those, my bikes headset clamp is just a smaller version of its seat post clamp. and you can get seat post clamps in silver...
This is fine, but now what will you use for the seat. Seriously, this makes sense if seat clamps are less expensive then fork clamps. However there's on caveat. Headset clamps need parallel tops and bottoms where seat clamps don't, so not all seat clamps are suitable for fork use.
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Old 12-31-12, 08:06 PM   #14
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I hadn't thought of the parallel tube problem. Seat clamp and fork clamps are around the same price and seat clamps come in a wider range of colours.
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Old 01-01-13, 01:42 PM   #15
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Thanks! Looks like Problem Solvers offers something similar that also comes in silver: http://www.universalcycles.com/shopp...95&category=98
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