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How many Head-Set Spacers are too many?

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How many Head-Set Spacers are too many?

Old 07-23-20, 09:11 PM
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How many Head-Set Spacers are too many?

The owner of this bike insists the fork is original, I'm not so sure...
.................................................................................................... ....





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Old 07-23-20, 09:44 PM
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Depends, I did this on purpose for better reach later on.

Can't imagine the Raleigh came that way.

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Old 07-23-20, 09:52 PM
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That is one artfully crafted cluster !

I don't even know what question to ask first....
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Old 07-23-20, 09:56 PM
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The fork is original... the frame is a replacement. 😊

Otto
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Old 07-23-20, 09:58 PM
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The short answer is 2.

There was no reason to stack spacers BITD with quill stems. It just was not done.
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Old 07-23-20, 10:22 PM
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That's a one-year-only Raleigh International Mk.II. Japanese made and liquidated through Michael's Cyclery when Raleigh USA was taken over by Huffy and sold only as framesets. See: 1982-83 Raleigh International Identification? Raleighsonic bike

As such, the fork is correct for it and the paint original. There's no reason to assume the fork isn't original except for the stack height, but the chances of a nicely kept International Mk.II being reunited with another International Mk.II fork is pretty difficult, even in these days of the world wide web.

Charles Wahl bought one new, so perhaps he can explain whether they came with extra steerer for the assembler or not. If not, I'd take a guess that something happened along the line where there was a missing or damaged fork on a frame and Michael's substituted one from a frame the next size up for delivery.

I have no reason to doubt the owner's claim.

-Kurt
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Old 07-23-20, 10:28 PM
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Originally Posted by cudak888 View Post
I have no reason to doubt the owner's claim.
Yeah, despite my comments above, I don't doubt that it's original, because that was a weird period for Raleigh. A pro shop would have chopped the steer tube to the correct length before putting it out on the floor, but if it came that way out of the box, I suspect many if not most shops would not have bothered.
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Old 07-23-20, 10:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Salamandrine View Post
Yeah, despite my comments above, I don't doubt that it's original, because that was a weird period for Raleigh. A pro shop would have chopped the steer tube to the correct length before putting it out on the floor, but if it came that way out of the box, I suspect many if not most shops would not have bothered.
The component choices and the lack of dropout adjusters make me think a deal-seeker with a few bike tools decided to do a home frame swap BITD.

-Kurt
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Old 07-23-20, 10:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Salamandrine View Post
The short answer is 2.
This.

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Old 07-23-20, 10:41 PM
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Originally Posted by branko_76 View Post
That is one artfully crafted cluster !

I don't even know what question to ask first....
Tx! The spacer is from Jamie Swann courtesy of gugie, really saved my bacon, only option I could find and worked perfect. Stem is VO Grand Cru, Nitto 177 bars and 4 spacers like yours but broken up 2 x 2. I have some stainless tubing that I made one for only 2 spacers but really like the current setup so...

Here's the build thread if you want.

The old and the new, the ying and the yang, the good, bad and the ugly, you decide.
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Old 07-23-20, 10:43 PM
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Originally Posted by cudak888 View Post
The component choices and the lack of dropout adjusters make me think a deal-seeker with a few bike tools decided to do a home frame swap BITD.

-Kurt
Yeah, I think that's likely. I'm not a Raleigh guy, but that does look like a frameset plus random parts type build. It appears to be a Raleigh fork, but for the wrong frame, or more likely it was built up from a frameset by an amateur, and they simply didn't figure out that the steer tube needed to be trimmed. .
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Old 07-23-20, 10:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Salamandrine View Post
Yeah, I think that's likely. I'm not a Raleigh guy, but that does look like a frameset plus random parts type build. It appears to be a Raleigh fork, but for the wrong frame, or more likely it was built up from a frameset by an amateur, and they simply didn't figure out that the steer tube needed to be trimmed. .
The latter. There's no possibility that it's for the wrong frame. See this thread: 1982-83 Raleigh International Identification? Raleighsonic bike

-Kurt
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Old 07-24-20, 06:41 AM
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As previously noted by Kurt, the fork is OEM and these frames were part of the liquidation of Raleigh stock that Huffy refused to assume when they obtained the Raleigh license for the USA in late 1982. We've seen enough of them with properly sized forks to know that the subject frameset is an anomaly.

When originally manufactured, these were not intended for sale as framesets but as bicycles. However, due to the timing of the deal with Huffy, they were caught in limbo and it was decided to liquidate then as framesets. There are several possible scenarios that could cause such as mismatch but the most likely is that an employee at Michsel's Cyclery simply selected the incorrect fork when preparing a shipment for a customer order. When these were shipped from Japan, they almost certainly would have shipped in separate crates for frames and forks, with the matching being performed at Michael's Cyclery.

Edit: Given the height of the OP's stem, I think he lucked out. The slightly longer steering column mitigates the tall stem effect..

Last edited by T-Mar; 07-24-20 at 06:50 AM.
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Old 07-24-20, 06:56 AM
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I own one of these, and built it up as a gravel bike.
It really only clears 35 in the rear, though. I tried 38s, need them here, but no mud clearance. Any frame guys out there that would like to do a chainstay crimp for me?

That's a low stack headset on the OPs bike, and on mine, I had no issue putting a centerpull hanger on with whatever headset I had in the parts bin. So I don't think this frame was designed/built requiring a low stack headset. I'm going to have to check to see what I do have installed.

EDIT: I checked out the other thread, with that nice spec diagram, and the designed stack height is 46mm. The Tange headset pictured is shorter than that spec.

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Old 07-24-20, 06:57 AM
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My Raleigh from Michael's Cyclery had a steerer that was just long enough to fit a Campagnolo Super Record headset, with it's taller alloy spacer replaced by a thinner chromed one.



My guess is that the frame was sold to someone out of a place like that (if not Michael's) with a fork for a larger frame.

I passed that frame on to Neal Lerner almost a decade ago, don't know whether it's still in his rotation. But it lives on in his Flickr and mine. It was fun to ride, but too small for me; my first "serious" bike.

Here's the OP's Raleigh, I think:




Originally Posted by cudak888 View Post
That's a one-year-only Raleigh International Mk.II. Japanese made and liquidated through Michael's Cyclery when Raleigh USA was taken over by Huffy and sold only as framesets. See: 1982-83 Raleigh International Identification? Raleighsonic bike

As such, the fork is correct for it and the paint original. There's no reason to assume the fork isn't original except for the stack height, but the chances of a nicely kept International Mk.II being reunited with another International Mk.II fork is pretty difficult, even in these days of the world wide web.

Charles Wahl bought one new, so perhaps he can explain whether they came with extra steerer for the assembler or not. If not, I'd take a guess that something happened along the line where there was a missing or damaged fork on a frame and Michael's substituted one from a frame the next size up for delivery.

I have no reason to doubt the owner's claim.

-Kurt

Last edited by Charles Wahl; 07-24-20 at 07:07 AM.
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Old 07-24-20, 07:40 AM
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Originally Posted by T-Mar View Post
... the most likely is that an employee at Michsel's Cyclery simply selected the incorrect fork when preparing a shipment for a customer order.
Which means, some short time later when the taller-frame bike was being assembled, there was an "oh $#!+" moment when no fork of the correct length could be found. To be a fly on the wall that afternoon....

(Gotta wonder if that bike spent its service life with zero spacers, and the lock nut mashed directly to the top race.)
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Old 07-24-20, 07:55 AM
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Oddly, though, the number of spacers is 5, only 4 more than would be normal. Even if each is 3 mm thick, that's only half an inch, but the chart above suggests that they were sold in even inch increments. So the question is: what bike did that fork fit correctly?
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Old 07-24-20, 08:06 AM
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After seeing the elegantly designed and crafted head-tube cluster owned by merziac , and reading some the comments here, I'm starting to think that the original owner may have been a mechanic who wanted a smaller frame with a taller steering column.
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Old 07-24-20, 08:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Charles Wahl View Post
Oddly, though, the number of spacers is 5, only 4 more than would be normal. Even if each is 3 mm thick, that's only half an inch, but the chart above suggests that they were sold in even inch increments. So the question is: what bike did that fork fit correctly?
Built-in designed stack height = 46mm. Tange Levin = 33mm. That's 13mm worth of extra spacers needed.
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Old 07-24-20, 08:59 AM
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Good catch! Who builds bikes to have that sort of stack height? I don't have any like that! was there some fixture one was expected to use on a touring bike, like a tall brake hanger or decaleur? One question for the OP: is the steerer overthreaded enough that it could simply be cut down to a size that required 1/2" less spacer stack?
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Old 07-24-20, 09:00 AM
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Some stack heights are funky when replacing a headset with something different. More often for me, I can't fit the top nut on and have to find a lesser stack headset. But a few times I have used extra spacers...as Ex-Pres stated.
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Old 07-24-20, 09:06 AM
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Originally Posted by branko_76 View Post
After seeing the elegantly designed and crafted head-tube cluster owned by merziac , and reading some the comments here, I'm starting to think that the original owner may have been a mechanic who wanted a smaller frame with a taller steering column.
While that is possible, I think it is extremely unlikely. Extra 'stack' just wasn't something that was done during this time. As always, there's probably an exception out there somewhere if you look hard enough. At most a washer might be added to compensate for a removed CPSC reflector or center pull cable stop hanger, but even then the correct way to do it would have been to trim the steerer.

I think it's much more likely that a home mechanic assembled it from the frameset, noticed the steer tube was a little long, but lacked the confidence and/or the hacksaw to trim it the right length correctly.

Flash forward to the here and now, and there's no reason not to trim it down correctly, and use one spacer. Given a few decades of hindsight, there isn't any harm in some extra 'stack' either. The only possible issue is that the expander of a vintage quill stem might end up in the threaded portion of the steer tube. That should be avoided.

Thanks cudak888 and T-mar for the information about these framesets.
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Old 07-24-20, 09:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Salamandrine View Post
While that is possible, I think it is extremely unlikely. Extra 'stack' just wasn't something that was done during this time. As always, there's probably an exception out there somewhere if you look hard enough. At most a washer might be added to compensate for a removed CPSC reflector or center pull cable stop hanger, but even then the correct way to do it would have been to trim the steerer.

.
We are all guessing here so no need to negate any one opinion, any scenario can be "extremely unlikely".

Given the higher than normal positioning of the stem, it's "plausible" that the extra stack height was chosen to facilitate higher handlebars.
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Old 07-24-20, 09:32 AM
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I'm not negating anyone's opinion here, just stating my own.

If that technomic stem is original, then the original assembler clearly was going for a higher handlebar position. It's possible or even probable that the builder figured there was no logical point in chopping the steer tube. Those stems are long enough that the wedge would be in a safe place even with the extra washers. (I suggest that this be verified)

AFA my estimate of the likely hood that a pro mechanic did this, I repaired or otherwise worked on thousands of bikes during this period, and never saw that many extra washers on a headset. Therefore, the conclusion that it is unlikely. But there it is with a big stack of washers, so obviously someone did it.
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Old 07-24-20, 09:38 AM
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Originally Posted by ofajen View Post
The fork is original... the frame is a replacement. 😊

Otto
This is the most likely scenario....
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