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  1. #1
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    Steerer Tube too short

    I recently purchased a used GT Aggressor 1.0 2012 and while trying to raise the stem and handlebar I discovered that the steerer tube only came up about halfway through the stem. There are no spacers below the stem, and the stem bolt still screw in. I bought a new stem and handlebar this afternoon and the new stem still has the same problem with the steerer tube only coming up halfway through the stem. The bike has very few of the original parts, and the front fork is a Rock Shox Indy S.

    So my question is this: What would be the cheapest way to lengthen the steerer tube? I've done a little research on my own and have come across several different opinions on the matter ranging from getting steerer tube extenders all the way to new forks. I use the bike for getting around campus and I'm trying to make this repair on a college budget. I don't plan on doing any hardcore mountain biking with it, but I wouldn't say that I only ride the bike on the street either. Any guidance or advice you all can offer is greatly appreciated!


    -Chris

  2. #2
    Andrew R Stewart Andrew R Stewart's Avatar
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    It sounds like the fork is not OE. And the seller just slapped things together to sell the bike. Most threadless stems have two pinch bolts that secure the stem around the steerer, one upper and one lower. the usual advice is to have the steerer extend up inside the stem to a point just above the upper pinch bolt or to a point a few MMs below the top of the stem (usually only a few MMs between these two amounts). This way both of the stem's pinch bolts are fully contracting the stem's clamp around the steerer.

    With just the lower pinch bolt doing this there is a lot of lost security. If a shop had done this and there should bean accident with the stem coming loose the victim would have a good negligence claim.

    So what to do- I would not consider trying to lengthen the steerer. Yes, it can be done but the vast majority of frame builders wouldn't offer this unless there was some compelling reason that was more then just $. (Like the bike was the last Wright Brothers bike and was only going to be on museum display). I do know a few would consider this, check that they are fully insured, and expect to pay big bucks.

    It's doubtful that the headset can be made any "shorter" to let more steerer be used for the stem.

    It's doubtful that a stem is available with a shorter height.

    So there's two options that I can think of. First is to get a pinch collar that fits onto the steerer to perform the duties of keeping the headset in adjustment. Then use a quill stem that goes inside the steerer (after removing the star nut).

    Second is to replace the steerer with a taller one. Either a steerer/crown/leg unit that is installed in to the lower legs or a whole new fork. Your choice.

    Have you gone back to who sold you this bike and talked with them about this? Have you shown the bike to a LBS to confirm all you've found? Andy.

  3. #3
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    RS Indy , find a better fork IMO. I'd rather ride a rigid fork than a Indy.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew R Stewart View Post
    So there's two options that I can think of. First is to get a pinch collar that fits onto the steerer to perform the duties of keeping the headset in adjustment. Then use a quill stem that goes inside the steerer (after removing the star nut).

    Second is to replace the steerer with a taller one. Either a steerer/crown/leg unit that is installed in to the lower legs or a whole new fork. Your choice.
    Andrew,

    The steerer only extends to about halfway between the two pinch bolts. I wasn't super worried about anything happening on my short ride back to campus, but I definitely wanted to come up with a more secure and stable solution.

    I was initially leaning towards the first option that you mentioned. I have one question, however. What exactly do you mean by a pinch collar to keep the headset aligned? I have a very basic understanding of how all these parts work, and my only knowledge comes from what I've read on the internet over the past few days. Before last Friday I had no idea what any of these parts were.

    I contacted the previous owner this afternoon and he said he did not have the original fork, but would try and find one for me. I'm not holding my breath for this to come to fruition, however, so I want to figure out what my Plan B is.

    When I purchased the new stem and handlebar this afternoon it was in a local bike shop. They confirmed everything I had assumed and were the ones to tell me I would probably need a new fork to remedy the problem.

    Thank you for your informative and detailed answer! I appreciate the quick answer to my question.

    -Chris

  5. #5
    Andrew R Stewart Andrew R Stewart's Avatar
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    I have seen, but do not remember by who, a collar that would pinch around the steerer much like a stem. But take up less vertical dimension. Kind of like a steerer mounted cable hanger that has a pinch bolt. Good luck. Andy

  6. #6
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    steel sleeve stem raisers are one kludge, but I wouldnt do big drop off road afterwards.

    just JRA transportation riding.

    http://sheldonbrown.com/harris/stems/index.html
    bottom of the page



    1.0" (25.4 mm)...

    "fits oversized forks with 1-1/8" threaded headsets. (Not very common)"

    But .. this is same as a 1.125" threadless [1" ID, 9/8" OD] steerer.. when installed .

    wedge bolt tightens inside the steerer.

    If you plan to service it, the use of a compression cap http://problemsolversbike.com/products/compression_plug

    which can be removed easier than a star nut, would do the job.
    Last edited by fietsbob; 02-09-14 at 09:43 AM.

  7. #7
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    I did a kluge on my mountain bike. Totally not "bike shop approved" but no one can say that it is unsafe after they see what I did. This is a total budget trick that I did, nearly free.

    My steerer extended to just past the bottom bolt in the stem. But the fork was a very nice Rockshox fork that is one level below top of the line when it was new (2011 I think).

    So I noticed that one of my threaded to threadless adapters almost would fit inside the Rockshox steerer. What I did first was acquire a canti brake collar for a 1 1/8 threadless steerer. They have a little adjusting bolt that tightens it down to the steerer. So I put that as my first collar on the steerer but left it loose. Then I put a couple of spacers in place, enough spacers to extend just past the steerer. Then I put the cap and bolt on and adjusted it for proper preload, maybe a tiny hair tight. I then tightened down the canti brake cable stop collar fully so it would then hold the preload in place. Removed the top cap and bolt and spacers. Then I used a 2x4 and supported the crown of the fork and knocked the star nut all the way to the bottom of the steerer. It actually fell apart so I was able to pull it out. I used the 2x4 to absorb the shock of me knocking the start nut out.

    Now the fun part, I had to sand down the threaded adapter a mm or so all around it so it would fit snugly yet still move inside the steerer. Kept on sanding it using whatever tools I had to sand the outside of the threaded adapter. It was a pain but since it was aluminum, it wasn't too bad. Took about an hour using hand tools. Wasn't pretty but when I was done, it did fit inside the steerer snugly. When it was fully inserted, it then extended the steerer almost 1 1/2 inches or so, the height of the stem.

    I then took the threaded to threadless adapter out and had to sand down the wedge nut the same way (that was a pain side it was steel, I ended up using a grinder). The top cap of my threadless adapter was smaller than the steerer so I was able to then put the adapter in place and tightened it fully down. I then had a steerer that was extended by 1 1/2 inches or more (whatever the height of a stem is). I then put a spacer and then my stem in place and tightened down the stem.

    Now when you think about it, my fork's steerer is extended legitimately using a threaded to threadless adapter that is designed to handle just as much shock and torque as the actual steerer so I do not worry one bit about it.

    Is it a bike shop quality job? Hell no but it does work. Just took me a couple of hours to sand down the threaded to threadless adapter enough to fit inside the steerer.
    "When dealing with stuff like this consider that this is a bicycle, not a spaceship." -- FBinNY

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobotech View Post
    I did a kluge on my mountain bike.
    seen this item?
    http://problemsolversbike.com/produc...headset_spacer
    might be useful for headset adjustments considering you have no starnut or top cap

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by xenologer View Post
    seen this item?
    http://problemsolversbike.com/produc...headset_spacer
    might be useful for headset adjustments considering you have no starnut or top cap
    Hey! That is neat! I think I will get one for my bike, then I won't have to do the extra steps. I can just slap everything together without the star nut present and then use the micro-adjuster to properly get the preload needed! Thanks!
    "When dealing with stuff like this consider that this is a bicycle, not a spaceship." -- FBinNY

  10. #10
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    Thanks for all the advice, guys! I don't have the equipment to do anything too homemade so I'll likely end up trying to find a cheap, used fork to replace it with if the previous owner doesn't come through with his offer.

    -Chris

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