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Headset issue on new Pedalforce RS2 build

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Headset issue on new Pedalforce RS2 build

Old 09-14-13, 04:56 PM
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fronesis
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Headset issue on new Pedalforce RS2 build

I hope I'm posting in the right place, but I need some wisdom.

I've just had my LBS build up a pedalforce RS2 frameset, and took my first ride today. I love the bike, but I have one issue to sort out first:

When I placed the order I noticed that the pedalforce website will let you spec *everything* on the bike, but they say nothing about a headset. I did a custom campy build, so I talked to the guy at pedalforce and told him I would (obviously) need a headset too.

The weird thing is that ALL my components came from Pedalforce's office in the states, all in brand new boxes (good stuff for a good price!). But the headset came in an unmarked plastic bag inside the Frameset box, which shipped straight from Taiwan.

So the headset had no markings and also lacked a top cap. On the mechanic's notes he states that he had trouble achieving ANY preload and wondered if this was even the right headset He then stated that he put in a new wedge and that "improved" the problem. I took only small note of this until the end of a 40 mile ride when I noticed a LOT of play in the headset. I checked it out myself, and while all the sealed bearings seem to be there (but I am NOT a headset expert), it's true that there is just NO way to get any load on the bearings when tightening the top cap. I've called my LBS, but they can't sort anything out until the middle of next week, and I was hoping to ride tomorrow. I also emailed pedalforce, but don't expect to hear back on the weekend.

The pedalforce website specs say that the RS2 frameset takes a "Campagnolo Hiddenset or FSA Orbit CE compatible integrated headset." So my current thought is that if I could just find an FSA Orbit CE headset locally tomorrow, I could install it and be on my way; the headsets are cheap, and if I'm reading correctly about installing integrated headsets, the install is straightforward (no special tools needed).

My questions:
1. Does the logic above make sense, or am I missing something?
2. Anyone have any advice on how to find bike shops that carry FSA? (Performance bike doesn't have the CE on their website, and none of the LBS's seem to carry FSA headsets?
3. Is it a bad idea to ride the bike with the current play in the headset?

thanks in advance!
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Old 09-14-13, 05:24 PM
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Integrated (hidden) headsets with cartridge bearings have a very short parts list. Centering cone (crown race) on the fork, bearings top and bottom of the head tube. Centering cone to fit the upper bearing, and some sort of top bearing cap (not the top cap for the stem stack) to to keep dirt and water out of the upper bearing , and give it all a finished look. On some the top cap centers the bearing, and the split cone centers the cap, so make sure the assembly sequence up there matches your headset.

I can't say where the mechanic is going wrong, and hope it's not something silly like not enough stem/spacer stack to extend beyond the steerer (the #1 cause of headsets that don't tighten), or an inverted bearing (the #1 cause of headsets that are either too loose or too tight).

If you want to have a go at this yourself, pull off the top cap, stem and spacers, then bearing cover and centering cone, and see if the cone is engaging the bearing or cover whichever has the matching taper.
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Old 09-14-13, 06:39 PM
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Originally Posted by fronesis View Post
My questions:
1. Does the logic above make sense, or am I missing something?
I doubt the headset bearings are the problem here. As FB mentioned, it's very likely that your fork simply isn't cut short enough to allow the bearings to be properly preloaded. The other issue could be the expander wedge. If it's not properly installed, again you won't be able to pull any compression on the bearings. If compression is possible but it results in an immediately overtight headset then something is assembled incorrectly (been a bunch of threads where that was the culprit lately).

About those compression plugs, they usually come with the fork (carbon steerer forks that need this type of plug) and should include a headset cap as they are frequently designed to work with the plug. If your mechanic grabbed any old headset top cap, that could be part of the problem too. Your quickest path to success likely includes finding a complete compression plug assembly and swapping that in to replace the current mismatched assembly of parts.

Also, most headsets don't come with compression plugs (the FSA's don't) so buying a new one likely won't get your any closer to a tight headset. If there's any issue it's almost certainly with the fork's steerer tube length or the compression plug, in my opinion.

Originally Posted by fronesis View Post
2. Anyone have any advice on how to find bike shops that carry FSA? (Performance bike doesn't have the CE on their website, and none of the LBS's seem to carry FSA headsets?
Neglecting what I said above, if you want a headset, any Campagnolo compatible (41.8/42mm ID headtube and 45/45 degree angled seats) headset will work. Ritchey, Campagnolo, and Cane Creek also make headsets that fit this spec. Some of Cane Creeks even include a compression plug. Click link below:

http://www.universalcycles.com/shopp...&category=1690

Originally Posted by fronesis View Post
3. Is it a bad idea to ride the bike with the current play in the headset?
Yes, not only are you risking damaging your frame, you are also sacrificing your steering and braking control. I suggest figuring out the root cause of the problem ASAP and getting it addressed before riding that bike another mile.
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Old 09-14-13, 07:02 PM
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Thanks very much to both of you – enormously helpful. A few follow-ups:

1. I've now taken everything apart and put it back together twice. I think everything is there – just as FB describe it – and the bearings are oriented correctly etc. The bearings are also yellow, which I read online means they are the campy 45/45.

2. My current theory is that the compression plug was installed too high up in the steerer tube, so that it was impossible to pull the fork up enough when tightening the cap. I'm trying to figure out if what I'm saying here is what both of you are saying about the fork either being too long or the spacer stack not being high enough. That is, there needs to be enough stack above the fork (so more stack or less fork steerer tube = same thing), so that the top cap can get leverage on the compression plug and pull the fork up enough to load the bearings. Right?

I have now reinstalled it and I AM getting pre-load on the bearings. The play is gone. The only thing I did differently was make sure the compression plug was installed slightly further down in the steerer tube, so that I had the ability to pull it tight – and it worked.

My only worry is that it does seem like a very small distance between having play and being overtight. But I'm not sure exactly what counts as overtight. I now have it so that there is ZERO play, and the fork will turn without any binding or crunching, etc. But I do hear a sound when I turn the forks (more of a shushing sound than anything else); this may just be the bearings pressed up into the head tube. I'm not sure. If I lift the front wheel off the ground, holding the top tube, and twist the bike, the wheel and bars will turn left and right on their own. So nothing is binding up, but I'm paranoid about the sound as I feel like it should sound smoother or that the fork should be looser. Maybe I just need more grease? Or maybe this is a sign that something is wrong? Any opinions on this would be very helpful.

3. FWIW I think I have to have the campy bearings that are 45/45 angle, but that they have to be 46mm OD. That's what's listed on the pedalforce website, and is what shows up in the Orbit CE specs: http://www.fullspeedahead.com/produc.../Orbit-CE-Plus

4. I will not ride the bike with play in the headset. That's what I thought, but thanks for the confirmation.
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Old 09-14-13, 07:04 PM
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Any Integrated 1-1/8 head set is OK FSA Orbit CE or Cane Creek IS-2 Integrated 1-1/8 will work fine.
I also would have to wonder if the stem was cut correctly.
I have a RS2 and its been great ride!.
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Old 09-14-13, 09:01 PM
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Originally Posted by fronesis View Post
Thanks very much to both of you – enormously helpful. A few follow-ups:


2. My current theory is that the compression plug was installed too high up in the steerer tube, so that it was impossible to pull the fork up enough when tightening the cap.


My only worry is that it does seem like a very small distance between having play and being overtight.
Some headsets, especially cartridge hearing headsets, can move from loose to tight very suddenly. I prefer to adjust and test by rocking the fork forward and back with the front brake on. Some times you can also test by lifting the front wheel and dropping it from a 6" or so. A loose headset makes a clearly identifiable knock sound. In the end riding tells the story, steering should be perfectly free, otherwise it's too tight. If you hear a click when you apply the front brake, it's your fork shifting back because the headset is too loose. If you have free steering that doesn't click, you're spot on.

From your description, I suspect that the expander was high, and you were running out of thread on the cap bolt.

But if it works, it works, and all's well that ends well.
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Old 09-15-13, 03:57 PM
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Ok, more info, more questions:

I test-rode the bike today and the headset became loose again. In tinkering with it more, it seems the difference between too loose and too tight is MINUSCULE. So I took it all apart again and looked CLOSELY at my bearings.

They measure an OD of 41mm. I measured 9 times, and had my wife measure without telling her anything about what I was looking for. We both see 41mm, and NOT 41.8mm.

Looking at the park tool site, it says clearly that there are two different Integrated Headset specs: 41mm, and the Campy 41.8mm. Link here: http://www.parktool.com/blog/repair-...tandards#campy Also, the FSA Orbit CE is a 41.8mm bearing, whereas the FSA Orbit IS is a 41mm bearing. They sell both; they are different. So I don't think the Cane Creek integrated headset (a 41mm) will work.

Pedalforce's website says clearly that the RS2 frameset takes a Campy Hiddenset or FSA Orbit CE (they specify CE), compatible. I also measured the OD of my headtube and it is 46mm; the FSA website says the Orbit CE (with its 41.8mm bearings, just like campy) is for 46mm OD headtubes bikes.

So my current conclusion is that I was sent the 41mm bearings when my bike needs the 41.8mm bearings, and this explains why it looks like it should work, and almost does work, but can't quite get dialed in correctly. Also, the mechanic who built the bike said he got NO preload at first, but then he swapped in a different split wedge then the one the headset came with, and this enabled him to get pre-load. So my further guess here is that these bearings are "kind of working" because of this split wedge.

I guess my only question is: does that make sense to others? If it does, then I'll be getting a new headset asap...
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Old 09-15-13, 04:21 PM
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These bearings locate by and on the conical sections, so a variation in OD wouldn't matter. Each bearing has an inside bevel on one side to meet the crown or centering cone, and an outside tape on the other to fit into the conical part of the bearing seat in the head tube.

Check that the bearings are right side up in both positions, with the external tapers facing each other as mirror images.
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Old 09-15-13, 04:31 PM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
Each bearing has an inside bevel on one side to meet the crown or centering cone, and an outside tape on the other to fit into the conical part of the bearing seat in the head tube.
...
Check that the bearings are right side up in both positions, with the external tapers facing each other as mirror images.
Yes, they are both installed exactly that way. The crown and centering cone are also in place. I've looked incredibly closely at what I have here, and online at how to install these, and I'm 99.9% sure it's set up correctly.

These bearings locate by and on the conical sections, so a variation in OD wouldn't matter.
But this part confuses me. I see what you mean about "locating" by way of the conical sections, but it still seems like the overall size of the bearing would matter. Why does FSA sell two different headsets, one with 41mm OD bearings and one with 41.8mm bearings, if the OD doesn't matter?

If these bearings are the right size, then I am completely stumped.
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Old 09-15-13, 04:54 PM
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Originally Posted by fronesis View Post
Yes, they are both installed exactly that way. The crown and centering cone are also in place. I've looked incredibly closely at what I have here, and online at how to install these, and I'm 99.9% sure it's set up correctly.



But this part confuses me. I see what you mean about "locating" by way of the conical sections, but it still seems like the overall size of the bearing would matter. Why does FSA sell two different headsets, one with 41mm OD bearings and one with 41.8mm bearings, if the OD doesn't matter?

If these bearings are the right size, then I am completely stumped.
I don't know the bearings, but bearings (in general) can be located based on a taper, or a cylindrical interface, but not both. Location by a cylindrical interface would call for a press fit of the type that traditional press in headsets used for a century.

The integrated system using angled location eliminates the the need for the precision and risk of cracking in carbon. However the angles have to match between the bearing and frame, and the mating surface must be clean.

When I see a loose/tight headset, I look for an inverted bearing or something else that causes dry sliding contact. Otherwise, I look for a sloppy fit someplace that isn't stable unless it's jammed together.

I have a sneaking suspicion that your problem is something simple that would be obvious to an experienced mechanic if he sees it in the flesh, but it' hard to help when working blind.
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Old 09-15-13, 05:08 PM
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Originally Posted by fronesis View Post
I guess my only question is: does that make sense to others? If it does, then I'll be getting a new headset asap...
The bearings should measure 41.8mm. ID should be 30.5mm. My spare set of Ritchey Campy-headset-compatible bearings even says "45 x 45 degrees" right on the side. It does sound like you have the wrong bearings.
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Old 09-15-13, 05:12 PM
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Originally Posted by fronesis View Post
Why does FSA sell two different headsets, one with 41mm OD bearings and one with 41.8mm bearings, if the OD doesn't matter?
Because the bearing seats have different angles. The 41mm OD bearings use a 36 x 45 degree seat vs. 45 x 45 for the 41.8mm bearings.
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Old 09-15-13, 05:15 PM
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Originally Posted by joejack951 View Post
Because the bearing seats have different angles. The 41mm OD bearings use a 36 x 45 degree seat vs. 45 x 45 for the 41.8mm bearings.
Well, there it is. It seems that the angles don't match properly.
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Old 09-15-13, 05:34 PM
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Originally Posted by joejack951 View Post
The bearings should measure 41.8mm. ID should be 30.5mm. My spare set of Ritchey Campy-headset-compatible bearings even says "45 x 45 degrees" right on the side. It does sound like you have the wrong bearings.
Originally Posted by joejack951 View Post
Because the bearing seats have different angles. The 41mm OD bearings use a 36 x 45 degree seat vs. 45 x 45 for the 41.8mm bearings.
Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
Well, there it is. It seems that the angles don't match properly.
Aha! Yes, that's exactly right. I was poring over the FSA tech specs on the IS and CE differences, but failed to note this crucial difference.

I've now done a crude, but careful and close up examination, and the internal angle on my bearings is definitely different from the external angle – meaning I do NOT have the 45/45 bearings I'm supposed to have. So I need to get my hands on the proper headset.

One final question: can I use the new (proper) headset with the old installed crown race for the fork, or will I need to remove the old one (i.e. take it to my LBS) and replace it with the new one?

Thanks again to all of you for the help!

p.s. Just in case someone finds this thread in the future, just for the record: the 41.8 OD 45/45 bearings (campy) have an ID of 30.9m while the 41 OD 36/45 bearings have an ID of 30.2.
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Old 09-15-13, 06:26 PM
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Originally Posted by fronesis View Post
One final question: can I use the new (proper) headset with the old installed crown race for the fork, or will I need to remove the old one (i.e. take it to my LBS) and replace it with the new one?
That depends on that angle of the seat on that race. If it's 45 degrees, sure. If it's 36 degrees, no. I'm not sure which (internal or external) seat on the 36/45 bearings is which as I've never had my hands on a set. The new headset will come with a crown race so as long as you can remove the old one you might as well if there's any question about the seat.

Originally Posted by fronesis View Post
p.s. Just in case someone finds this thread in the future, just for the record: the 41.8 OD 45/45 bearings (campy) have an ID of 30.9m while the 41 OD 36/45 bearings have an ID of 30.2.
Hmmm, seems the ID is fairly arbitrary by bearing manufacturer then. My Ritchey bearings are 30.5mm ID as noted in an earlier post. Since all that's required of the ID is to clear the 1 1/8" (28.6mm) steerer tube, it seems manufacturers use whatever they want. Point being, don't judge an integrated headset bearing by its ID
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Old 09-15-13, 06:31 PM
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Originally Posted by joejack951 View Post
That depends on that angle of the seat on that race. If it's 45 degrees, sure. If it's 36 degrees, no. I'm not sure which (internal or external) seat on the 36/45 bearings is which as I've never had my hands on a set.
Of course – that makes sense. On a 36/45, the 36 is the internal angle. So assuming the race was matched properly with the headset (the wrong headset, but still) they sent, then the race would be for a 36/45 and not for the 45/45 I need to buy. So I'll have to remove the old race and install the new one.

The new headset will come with a crown race so as long as you can remove the old one you might as well if there's any question about the seat.
Sure. I was just afraid of damaging my brand new fork trying to get the race off without a race tool. Maybe it's easier than I was thinking?

Hmmm, seems the ID is fairly arbitrary by bearing manufacturer then. My Ritchey bearings are 30.5mm ID as noted in an earlier post. Since all that's required of the ID is to clear the 1 1/8" (28.6mm) steerer tube, it seems manufacturers use whatever they want. Point being, don't judge an integrated headset bearing by its ID
Absolutely!
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Old 09-15-13, 06:31 PM
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I'll hopefully save you the time of another set of posts by adding what I've learned about setting up cartridge bearing headsets. Unlike the loose ball headsets I've worked on, cartridge bearing headsets need considerably more preload to feel tight and, as importantly, stay tight. I learned after repeated adjustments that the proper preload for a cartridge bearing is as much as you can dial in without causing binding, in stark contrast to loose ball headsets where anything past "snug" immediately results in binding.
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Old 09-15-13, 06:35 PM
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Originally Posted by fronesis View Post
Of course – that makes sense. On a 36/45, the 36 is the internal angle. So assuming the race was matched properly with the headset (the wrong headset, but still) they sent, then the race would be for a 36/45 and not for the 45/45 I need to buy. So I'll have to remove the old race and install the new one.
Ah, nice to know about 36 being the internal angle. I'll try to retain that bit!

Originally Posted by fronesis View Post
Sure. I was just afraid of damaging my brand new fork trying to get the race off without a race tool. Maybe it's easier than I was thinking?
If the race is split as many are, you might be able to pop it off by hand or with gentle pressure from a screw driver. Since you aren't concerned about reusing it, focus on not gouging your fork's crown race and just drive it off using a screw driver if it's tightly pressed on. You may want to wrap the steerer tube in a rag or some other sort of padding in case you slip.
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Old 09-16-13, 06:59 AM
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Originally Posted by joejack951 View Post
I'll hopefully save you the time of another set of posts by adding what I've learned about setting up cartridge bearing headsets. Unlike the loose ball headsets I've worked on, cartridge bearing headsets need considerably more preload to feel tight and, as importantly, stay tight. I learned after repeated adjustments that the proper preload for a cartridge bearing is as much as you can dial in without causing binding, in stark contrast to loose ball headsets where anything past "snug" immediately results in binding.
Thanks, that's very helpful, and also helps explains what was happening with my current bearings (the wrong ones). Since the angle was wrong on the bearings there ended up being basically ZERO gap between so loose that the headset wasn't tight to so tight that there was binding.

Originally Posted by joejack951 View Post
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If the race is split as many are, you might be able to pop it off by hand or with gentle pressure from a screw driver. Since you aren't concerned about reusing it, focus on not gouging your fork's crown race and just drive it off using a screw driver if it's tightly pressed on. You may want to wrap the steerer tube in a rag or some other sort of padding in case you slip.
Thanks for that. I can't see an obvious split on the race, so I'll probably just take the fork to my LBS and ask him to pop off the old race and install the new one.
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Old 09-20-13, 02:52 PM
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fronesis
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Just a final note to wrap up this thread:

I received my FSA Orbit CE headset yesterday. It was actually very hard to tell the difference between the bearings I started with and the bearings that came with the FSA headset, but I do think the internal angles were slightly different. In any case, the mating between the crown race and the bottom bearing was TOTALLY different: on the new headset there was a perfect connection, and on the old headset it was wobbly and loose.

I removed the old crown race with one of those nashbar crown race removers and that worked fine. I then went to install the new crown race with a PVC tube that came with a headset press I bought on eBay. But the pipe was too large for the race. So I just took the fork and race to my LBS and they popped it on. I then installed the headset and it was night and day difference – preload was easily achieved without any trace of binding at all, and it all tightened up nicely – no problem.

Took it out on a 30 mile test ride today and nothing changed – didn't loosen up at all.


So I guess the takeaway point is if your internal cartridge headset won't stay tight or immediately binds once it is tight, then it's worth triple-checking that you have the right bearings and race (or the right overall headset).
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