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Thread: Head Tube Size

  1. #1
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    Head Tube Size

    Hey ya'll,
    i'm currently a first time builder (to be), and I'm having a bit of trouble comprehending just about everything. I'm reading the Paterek Manual, I've looked through Sheldon Brown's site, and talked to various people. I've still got heaps of questions!

    One that's getting me is that head tube size. I'm looking to make a single speed as my first build for simplicity sake. I'd like to have a 1 1/8" head tube. What size head tube should I be looking at purchasing? Various options include 31.7mm, 36mm, 46.4mm, etc. Sheldon Brown said that 1 1/8 is a 28.6, so is this the true size that I'll be looking for? If so, I guess I'm a bit out of luck at the moment with buying one that works for me!

    Thanks,
    Gavin

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    28.6 mm is the metric conversion for 1 1/8 inches. That will be the actual outside diameter of your 1 1/8 steerer tube. Go with the 36 mm headtube.

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    Is this a mountain bike or road bike? For a road bike the 36mm will allow you to use a 1 1/8 steerer and straight steerer forks are still common, so no problem with that. If it's a mountain bike, I would go for the 46.4 which has a 44mm ID and will work with a straight 1 1/8 steerer with both cups internal or with a tapered fork with the top cup internal and the lower cup external. Tapered steerers are the norm now in mountain bike forks, so your choices will be limited for a straight steerer fork if you go with a 36mm headtube.

  4. #4
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    Thanks for the help
    It's a road bike, so i'll look for a 36mm.

    Next question (just mention if this should be a separate topic). I'm buying a tube set which comes with a 31.8mm head tube in the kit. I was intending on purchasing the 36mm head tube separately. It's going to be a lugged bike, so what is the criteria with metal type for the separate head tube? Does it need to be identical metal (i.e. steel), and is there a "lug appropriate" type I should be looking for?

    as a direct reference:

    kit: http://www.cycle-frames.com/bicycle-...-BB-SHELL.html
    head tube: http://www.cycle-frames.com/bicycle-...0SM-x-200.html

    Thanks,
    Gav
    Last edited by g_firkser; 12-06-13 at 11:20 PM. Reason: added information

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    That plan won't work well. Along with the new headtube, you will also need to buy headlugs to fit the 36mm headtube. By then you will have spent quite a bit more than what you saved on the special.
    I can think of two options here. First, stick with the tube and lug special and also order the fork kit with the 1 inch steerer (farther down on the specials page). Make sure you know the proper length steerer if you go threaded. If unthreaded, make sure you can find a 1 inch unthreaded headset too. I think they are out there, haven't ever looked for one.
    The other option is to start over and decide if you want oversize or double oversize and choose compatable tubes and lugs that aren't on special. Make sure you specify the headtube size when ordering both the lugs and the tubes if you decide to go oversize.
    Long post but I hope it helps. Good luck.
    Last edited by busdriver1959; 12-07-13 at 06:30 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by busdriver1959 View Post
    That plan won't work well. Along with the new headtube, you will also need to buy headlugs to fit the 36mm headtube. Good luck.
    Thanks a ton for that reply. Length tends to = education as far as I'm concerned Ya, the different lug size occured to me later on after posting last. I'll probably go with your second option and try to find a lug set to match a tube set. It's unfortunate there aren't many other suppliers that can offer full sets ready to go.
    As for OS or Double OS. I've actually got no clue. As this is my first bike, it's more about the build than the practicality. Cheap is better for this one.

  7. #7
    Andrew R Stewart Andrew R Stewart's Avatar
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    Tube diameter relates to tube stiffness. So how stiff do you want the frame to be. This relates to the rider's size and the frame's intended use (such as carrying 75lbs of camping loads or of riding centuries and wanting as smooth a ride as possible). For a first frame consider going luggless where possible. Far easier to end up with the geometry that you want (less lug bending). The crown and BB are the two joints where using socketed fittings makes more sense. Andy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by g_firkser View Post
    Hey ya'll,
    i'm currently a first time builder (to be), and I'm having a bit of trouble comprehending just about everything. I'm reading the Paterek Manual, I've looked through Sheldon Brown's site, and talked to various people. I've still got heaps of questions!

    One that's getting me is that head tube size. I'm looking to make a single speed as my first build for simplicity sake. I'd like to have a 1 1/8" head tube. What size head tube should I be looking at purchasing? Various options include 31.7mm, 36mm, 46.4mm, etc. Sheldon Brown said that 1 1/8 is a 28.6, so is this the true size that I'll be looking for? If so, I guess I'm a bit out of luck at the moment with buying one that works for me!

    Thanks,
    Gavin
    Q_f'ser; Best recommendation for the first 50 frames or so is to just visit one of the supplies from the "frame building suppliers thread" at the top of this forum and order one of their starter kits which will have all the tubes, the lugs, the bottom bracket, the misc bits, etc. That way you will have all the materials, correctly sized and sorted, to make a decent frame and only have to invest 15 minutes and a small amount of money to get to the point of starting the build. They even have special "beginners tubesets" that are really inexpensive (call them loss leaders). Picking and choosing individual tubes to build up you own tube set is what I would call an "advanced skill". Too easy to make mistakes and also to get lost for days in the minutia of it.

    Hope that helps

    /K

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    that's a rad idea! Thanks I'll definitely check out suppliers.
    I was looking at Nova's page, and they're good, but still leave me with a few options i'm unsure of. I think i've spent about 2 months trying to figure out if i'm getting the right bits n pieces. All for a bike i'll end up hitting with a hammer just for stress testing.

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