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Old 11-30-03, 04:19 PM   #1
Jay_2004
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Headset Tightening

Hey everyone, I just subscribed to the bike forums, and already I have a question. I took my bike apart about 3 months ago now...and i put it back together, and i cant get the right adjestment in my headset. Its either too loose, or its too tight, and my bars dont turn freely. I tried experimenting wit hthe star nut, and tying to get something ight, but no such luck. Does anyone have any tips for me...im new to mountain biking and im still learning...thanks
Jay
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Old 11-30-03, 04:35 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Jay_2004
Hey everyone, I just subscribed to the bike forums, and already I have a question. I took my bike apart about 3 months ago now...and i put it back together, and i cant get the right adjestment in my headset. Its either too loose, or its too tight, and my bars dont turn freely. I tried experimenting wit hthe star nut, and tying to get something ight, but no such luck. Does anyone have any tips for me...im new to mountain biking and im still learning...thanks
Jay
You just have to keep playing with it, and if its on that supercycle that you have.....well...
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Old 11-30-03, 05:37 PM   #3
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what type of headset do you have? i've had problems tightening cane creek headsets, because they have rubber seals, so you can't tighten them too much.

if you type in " barnett's manual" on the search, you will find links to the whole volume, which can help you out.
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Old 11-30-03, 09:04 PM   #4
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check you haven't put the bearing races in upside down.
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Old 12-01-03, 08:42 AM   #5
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check you haven't put the bearing races in upside down.
That's what I was going to say!

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Old 12-01-03, 03:40 PM   #6
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haaha! exactly what i was thinking too! if the bearings are upside down, something might feel like its restricting the headset movement.
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Old 12-01-03, 06:10 PM   #7
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Hey everyone...thanks alot for all the info...ill go out to the garage and try reversing my berrings to see if it might work better. If not, ill just keep trying.....and as you should all know...i do need a new bike for the spring...im really looking forward to getting into mountain biking....it rocks!....thanks again.....Jay

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Old 12-01-03, 07:39 PM   #8
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when that happened to me, i found that the bottom bearing was upside down. Both bearing rings should go towards the headset.
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Old 12-02-03, 12:43 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay_2004
Hey everyone, I just subscribed to the bike forums, and already I have a question. I took my bike apart about 3 months ago now...and i put it back together, and i cant get the right adjestment in my headset. Its either too loose, or its too tight, and my bars dont turn freely. I tried experimenting wit hthe star nut, and tying to get something ight, but no such luck. Does anyone have any tips for me...im new to mountain biking and im still learning...thanks
Jay

Jay, it's probably best that you take your bike to your local bike shop to have them tune everything up for you. If you sweet talk them, you may convince them to let you watch a little bit of the process and ask questions. In the meantime, let's get that headset right.

First, take off the stem. Lift the frame a bit to separate the crown race from the lower portion of the head tube, and check to make sure that everything down there is seating back into place properly. Depending on the type of headset you have, you may have a spacer or washer, some mounted bearings, and a couple other little plastic doo-hickeys, or you may just have a sealed bearing cartridge. Either way, make sure no bearings are missing, everything is greased well, is clean, and is put back on in the order and direction it's supposed to go. If you're unsure, don't guess.... just take the pieces to your LBS. But as was said in previous replies, the bearings face into the headset (bottom ones face up, the ones on top face down).

Next, seat the head tube back on the fork race, and use your fingers to guide everything into place so that all is seated correctly. Now take the top half of the headset, the bearings, and any other applicable parts depending on the heasdset model, grease everything up really well and carefully seat them into place. Wipe down your steerer tube with a rag to get any extra grease off, maybe even use a rag wetted with Simple Green. Now place your stem and spacers on the fork's steerer tube. The stem and spacers should stack up just a little higher than the steerer tube, anywhere from an 1/8" to 3/16". Don't tighten the stem yet. Put the top cap on the headset and tighten until you feel a little resistance.

Now check again to make sure everything is seated properly and that nothing is offset, out of place, catching/binding, or rattling around. If all is smooth, grab a little bit of front brake and give a little forward and back motion with the bars. There may still be a little bit of play, but if at all, it shouldn't be much. When grabbing a bit of front brake, if there is some play, try to eyeball where the steerer tube / headset sits dead center in the head tube, and then hold it there with one hand while giving the top cap another couple turns. Once you feel it tighten, go slowly and tighten just a bit more....not too much though or you'll pop that star nut right outta there.

OK, now align your stem so that your handlebar is straight and tighten the bolts on your stem. Grab a handful of front brake and give that bike a good shake. You should feel no play in the headset. If you do, then you have a bad headset.

Good luck!

Last edited by The real ElJefe; 12-02-03 at 12:48 PM.
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Old 12-02-03, 04:05 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by mindbogger
haaha! exactly what i was thinking too! if the bearings are upside down, something might feel like its restricting the headset movement.
Quote:
Originally Posted by mindbogger
when that happened to me, i found that the bottom bearing was upside down. Both bearing rings should go towards the headset.

No no......they were talking about the bearing RACES, not the bearing retainers.

Last edited by KleinMp99; 12-02-03 at 05:01 PM.
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