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  1. #1
    Senior Member Rob_E's Avatar
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    Raleigh Twenty handlebar/fork question

    I've read enough to know that the fork/handlebar set up is something that some people stuggle with or at least feel the need to upgrade. I was going to try it out stock, but I'm not sure that's an option.

    I bought the Twenty off of a guy who had started messing with it and never finished. He's left town, unfortunately, to parts unknown, so I can't really ask him what's what. All I have is a frame and a box of parts. Today I thought I'd try and make that frame and parts into a rolling bicycle, and hit a snag right off the bat. I don't think I have the complete fork/handlebar set up. I thought I'd run it by the many R20 folks here for input, advice. I have two ballbearing rings and a clamp. The top of the fork is threaded, but I have nothing to thread on to it. Also there's no cup for the top ballbearing ring. I thought someone might tell me what I'm missing and whether or not it's something I can pick up easily or if it's one of the many proprietary items unique to the R20.

    In addition to the parts mentioned, I have a threadless headset that the previous owner was considering working into his build.

    One thing that confuses me is that there's a gap between the threading of the fork tube and the cone for the ballbearings. Other threaded forks I've dealt with are threaded down to the cup/cone because one piece is threaded until it is snug against the other. Short of some spacers and a cup with no thread, I don't quite see how this is accomplished. Any insights?
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  2. #2
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    You are missing a couple of pieces. The bottom gets a bearing the top is a nylon bushing. There is a chrome cap that goes over it and then the clamp (which you have) goes above the cap. The headset nut goes above the cap, clamp and the headlight bracket.

    Also read what Sheldon Brown had to say about the Twenty. You are limited in the number and types of upgrades with the stock fork. A BMX fork can be used but will require welding to extend the head tube portion.

    Aaron

    Last edited by wahoonc; 07-26-09 at 05:15 AM.
    Webshots is bailing out, if you find any of my posts with corrupt picture files and want to see them corrected please let me know. :(

    ISO: A late 1980's Giant Iguana MTB frameset (or complete bike) 23" Red with yellow graphics.

    "Cycling should be a way of life, not a hobby.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member Rob_E's Avatar
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    Thanks. That's good info. I don't really understand what the nylon bushing is. I gather that's one of the non-standard parts and therefore not easily replaceable. Is that the case? I'm assuming I could pick up a headset nut, but the bushing and the cap seem like they might not be easy to come by.

    Here's what I'm wondering, and someone can tell me if this is just stupid: Because of the gap between the threads at the top of the fork's tube, I'm wondering if I can use the cups and bearings from the threadless headset along with the original fork. Instead of tightening it in with the cap and star nut, I could tighten it down with a headset bolt, using the clamp as a spacer and as it's original purpose, to hold the stock handlebar stem in place. I don't know what issues I would face attempting that, but it sounds like replacing the original bearings/cup/bushings would be tricky and perhaps undesireable, but finding a suitable replacement fork might be similarly tricky.

  4. #4
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    I don't have the tools to take mine apart or I would for a picture. The nylon bushing is used in lieu of a bearing on top. The nuts are proprietary 26tpi and are not easy to find either. Best bet is going to be to get a new fork and have an extension welded on the top of it. There are a few guys with Twentys that have done it, that could probably walk you through the process. I have left a lot of mine stock so I can't be of much help there.

    Aaron
    Webshots is bailing out, if you find any of my posts with corrupt picture files and want to see them corrected please let me know. :(

    ISO: A late 1980's Giant Iguana MTB frameset (or complete bike) 23" Red with yellow graphics.

    "Cycling should be a way of life, not a hobby.
    RIDE, YOU FOOL, RIDE!"
    _Nicodemus

    "Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
    Aluminum: barely a hundred
    Which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?"
    _krazygluon

  5. #5
    Schwinnasaur Schwinnsta's Avatar
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    There is a reason that they used nylon at the top, but I forgot.

    Here is a set up that involves no welding and I think it would easy to alter to your own whims but the originator spent $25 total fork and stem and no welding just standard parts. http://web.mac.com/phatatude/Green_Space/Raleigh_Twenty_Blog/Entries/2008/3/26_Steering_Tube....html

    Nice solution. I am not sure how the cap at the top works or if he is using the spacer as the bearing or if the cap provides one.

    What I like about the original is adjustable on the fly can be turned for space saving when bike is folded but it can't be easily removed like the seat post can.

  6. #6
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schwinnsta View Post
    There is a reason that they used nylon at the top, but I forgot.

    Here is a set up that involves no welding and I think it would easy to alter to your own whims but the originator spent $25 total fork and stem and no welding just standard parts. http://web.mac.com/phatatude/Green_Space/Raleigh_Twenty_Blog/Entries/2008/3/26_Steering_Tube....html

    Nice solution. I am not sure how the cap at the top works or if he is using the spacer as the bearing or if the cap provides one.

    What I like about the original is adjustable on the fly can be turned for space saving when bike is folded but it can't be easily removed like the seat post can.
    Good deal, that was one of the ones I remembered but could not find the link. The nylon bushing makes the steering more stable, probably cheaper too.

    Aaron
    Webshots is bailing out, if you find any of my posts with corrupt picture files and want to see them corrected please let me know. :(

    ISO: A late 1980's Giant Iguana MTB frameset (or complete bike) 23" Red with yellow graphics.

    "Cycling should be a way of life, not a hobby.
    RIDE, YOU FOOL, RIDE!"
    _Nicodemus

    "Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
    Aluminum: barely a hundred
    Which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?"
    _krazygluon

  7. #7
    Senior Member Rob_E's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schwinnsta View Post
    What I like about the original is adjustable on the fly can be turned for space saving when bike is folded but it can't be easily removed like the seat post can.
    Yes, that seems like a great feature to me. One thing I want my R20 to do is replace my break-apart bike for some trips. My old Tote/Cycle is great for riding around town on and for trips where I've got lots of room, but it ends up being only slightly more portable than my full sized bike and with only slightly less break down, set up issues to worry about. Quick release handlebars would be great for a fast fold without dissassembly. I'm hoping I can find a way to make that work. But I certainly appreciate the other link. I'm happy to see that there's a fairly easy, welding-free way to make this thing work. It may come to that, or that may be a temporary fix, but I'm not sold on it yet. If all I need is a 26 tpi headset nut to manage some other solution, I may just keep an eye out. I believe that's standard for most old Raleigh's (not just the 20's), so I can probably track one of those down more easily than I can track down the twenty-specific headset part.

  8. #8
    BrooklynRocks globalrider's Avatar
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    NASHBAR actually sells some bits that could help

    Nashbar sell a number of stem adapters/extenders that may help resolve your problem, combining them with your replacement fork and the parts from the original setup. the adapter would give you more choices in how to setup your handlebars. good luck
    Charles
    Greeting from Brooklyn, NY and anywhere else :)
    http://homebrewhpv.blogspot.com/

  9. #9
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    I have replaced the nylon bushing at the top with a threadless headset bearing. I also replaced the bottom one at the same time.


    From memory I used the original fork.

    I fitted the head tube with the threadless outer cups (pretty straight forward). In place of a press I used a threaded bar with some large washers and nuts to clamp the two cups into the head tube.

    The cone of the bottom bearing was fitted to the fork.

    The fork is then threaded into the headset (with the little balls in the bottom bearing!)

    At the top I dropped the balls into the top cup, then the threadless cone onto that (it had a little plastic spacer to make it fit onto the fork tube diameter).

    Then I used the chrome cap followed by the little light clip as a spacer. Then the fork "quick release" clamp (loosened).

    Finally I popped the "blind" (the one that has a curved top) utover the top and tightened everything up. Once tight a bit of loctite to prevent any unscrewing and then do up the fork clamp.

    Worked a treat.

    The arrangement of the R20 is really a threadless setup that is tightened and clamped using a thread rather than a star washer and separate clamp.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Rob_E's Avatar
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    That's good to know. I'm waiting on some parts to come in: the temporary, expandable star nut headset used in the build listed above, and a one inch seat post clamp. I'm hoping that I can use the star nut contraption to snug my fork into the head tube, hold it in place with the clamp, and not have to worry in the short term about the lack of a headset nut at the top. Problem is that tightening the clamp may prevent the handlebars from going in properly, so we'll see.

  11. #11
    Senior Member social suicide's Avatar
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    That nylon bushing gave the Twenty a "big bike" feel.

  12. #12
    Senior Member badmother's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob_E View Post
    That's good to know. I'm waiting on some parts to come in: the temporary, expandable star nut headset used in the build listed above, and a one inch seat post clamp. I'm hoping that I can use the star nut contraption to snug my fork into the head tube, hold it in place with the clamp, and not have to worry in the short term about the lack of a headset nut at the top. Problem is that tightening the clamp may prevent the handlebars from going in properly, so we'll see.

    You are talking about your stem, not your handlebar, right? I did something similar.

    Got the star nut in the headtube, furthere down than normal.

    Put a 1 1/8" seatpost in, uppside down, slim part went down into the forks tube. 1" clamp put in place when doing this.

    Put a top cap on the now top of the "stem" and a screw (or quick release from seatpost) that was joined with a threaded rod and therefor could go into the star nut. Thighten.

    Tighten the 1" clamp.

    Then I put an ahead stem on top.

    I used a threaded headset, but what I describe is the normal way to tighten down a threadless headset, just with a much longer "stem" added.

    I want it to be more "quick release" (no 1" clamp) so now Iam looking for someone to weld the lower part of a quill stem to the slim part of a seattube and do the same now with a quill tightened seatpost w some sort of quick release on top. Difficult to explain without pix.

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