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Old 06-01-08, 06:29 PM   #1
raleigh83
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Tightening the head tube

On a lot of videos I've seen that road racers tighten the head tube around the fork a lot, to the point that they can push their bike by the seat alone and it won't move. Is this true, or just something I'm perceiving? Does it improve efficiency? What's the deal there?
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Old 06-01-08, 06:32 PM   #2
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can you give a link to one of these videos?
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Old 06-01-08, 06:55 PM   #3
Charles Wahl
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And how does a person tighten a head tube?
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Old 06-01-08, 07:02 PM   #4
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Sorry if my terminology is a bit wonky. All I know is that on my bike there is a giant nut where you can tighten it down, and it makes it more difficult to turn the handlebars. I don't have specific links, I was just perusing youtube and the like a while back. I noticed when some cyclists changed bikes or got up from a fall they were able to hold their bike by the seat and start jogging-- something I could never do on my bike. I'd have to hold the bars to stop it from turning itself. I was just wondering if this was just something they were doing by balancing their bike well, or if they had actually done something to tighten the fork and stop it from wobbling.
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Old 06-01-08, 07:09 PM   #5
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It's all balance to my knowledge.
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Old 06-01-08, 07:21 PM   #6
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I'm assuming you are referring to an older style headset nut. It can be tightened and loosened but too tight and the bearings will get wrecked quick and too loose and there is dangerous play in the entire front end. Either way, it seems unlikely that on-the-road adjustments for the purpose of refining the handling are unlikely in a race situation where the mechanics would be out of work quick if the headsets on the bikes they work on needed any adjustment at all.

But what do I really know?
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Old 06-01-08, 07:23 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raleigh83 View Post
Sorry if my terminology is a bit wonky. All I know is that on my bike there is a giant nut where you can tighten it down, and it makes it more difficult to turn the handlebars. I don't have specific links, I was just perusing youtube and the like a while back. I noticed when some cyclists changed bikes or got up from a fall they were able to hold their bike by the seat and start jogging-- something I could never do on my bike. I'd have to hold the bars to stop it from turning itself. I was just wondering if this was just something they were doing by balancing their bike well, or if they had actually done something to tighten the fork and stop it from wobbling.
It's balance. It's similar to riding with no hands. The bike has to be held very close to vertical, and if the wheel starts to turn, you tilt the bike slightly the opposite way and the wheel will straighten.
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Old 06-01-08, 07:38 PM   #8
raleigh83
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I guess balance must be it. I can't say I've had much practice in running behind my bike, maybe you do when you get to pro level. ;-) I'll loosen my headset nut just a touch from where I put it. I don't want bearing damage.
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Old 06-01-08, 08:07 PM   #9
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Your headset should be adjusted so that by locking up your front brake, you can't feel any play (just barely can't) when you've tightened the locknut. That means that you need to be able to feel a bit of play before you do the final tightening on the locknut. Any tighter and your bearings will go south quickly; any looser and you'll get the shimmies, esp. at high speed.

It's amazing what bike tricks you can learn when you make your living riding them.
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Old 06-01-08, 08:11 PM   #10
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It's all about balance. You have to be able to hold the bike pretty much perfectly straight to do this. I've tried it, I'm not very good at it but I am getting better.
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