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Old 05-08-11, 03:10 PM   #1
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Play/Gap between headset and head tube

I recently purchased a cheap carbon ebay road frame from Hong - Fu. Appreciated this was a risk, and now possibly regretting the move. Looking for some advice/confirmation about the fit of the integrated head set.

The bottom bearing race was installed on the fork properly by my LBS, and I installed the rest. The bottom bearing is a very firm/tight fit, but the top bearing is loose and has play from side to side/front to back (both are angular contact, and installed correctly). The gap is about 1mm or more if I push it to one side. This seems to be resulting in loud creaking noises with efforts out of the saddle or with side to side movement of the frame and bars while riding or sprinting. Not matter how tight, or how loose, the preload is on the top cap, I get the noise. I don't get a lot of play fore and aft under braking. Just riding along seated without moving around much there is no noise, it definitely seems to be when flexing the frame side to side (which makes sense to me, the steerer tube is obviously moving left to right and moving the bearing inside the head tube).

I've got some pics and a video linked to below, that I sent to the manufucturer. They claimed this movement is 'normal' but I suspect they would say that. Can anyone confirm my understanding here, which is that this is not 'normal' and that quality carbon fibre frames from all the big brands do not exhibit such significant play/gap or movemement between the head tube and top bearing? I have never had this on other carbon fibre bikes (my old giant was integrated and didn't do this), nor non integrated headsets (like the CK on my MTB).

Many thanks.
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Old 05-08-11, 07:06 PM   #2
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Normal my arse; I wouldn't ride it.

That's poo. I'd be jumping up and down like a cut snake.

Maybe you can get a slightly oversized bearing, or perhaps a shim (beer can, maybe)? You could try wrapping a layer or two of tape (careful you don't offset it with a half-layer) around the bearing...
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Old 05-08-11, 10:00 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by rynogee View Post
... fit of the integrated head set.

... The gap is about 1mm or more if I push it to one side. ...
What brand headset did you install?

The Cane Creek integrated standard uses an approximately 41mm interface, while Campagnolo uses approximately 42mm.
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