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Headset Stack Height

Old 01-16-10, 05:31 PM
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KonAaron Snake 
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Headset Stack Height

I'm having an issue I've never run into before and was wondering if other members had either encountered it or could suggest an alternative...

The Campagnolo Frankenstein headset that came on the bike when I bought it used never fit properly or felt securely fastened. I was told by the seller that he had cobbled together a headset from various campy parts and just assumed that he did it poorly and used parts that didn't fit one another correctly. I purchased a fantastic condition c-record headset for the bike (thanks Cyclotoine!), but found that it doesn't fit at all. The old lock nut was apparently only on by a half thread and the c-record won't even get a half thread with no washers. I took it to a shop and was told the stack height was wrong for campy headsets and my only option was to grind the frame's head tube down if I wanted to use a campy headset. Naturally this was not an appealing option.

The bike is getting a Tange headset that will fit it, but I'd really like to use a Campagnolo headset to match the rest of the parts group. It seems wrong to have a $14 tange headset on a De Rosa somehow.

Can anyone suggest any alternatives to using the tange headset? Were any of the Campagnolo ones made with different stack heights? The only alternative I've been able to find is a Chris King, which is both pricey and not ideal.
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Old 01-16-10, 05:47 PM
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A replacement fork with a longer steerer tube is one option. Or more expensive would be to have a frame builder extend the length of your existing steerer. You gotta really like the bike to go that route, imo.

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Old 01-16-10, 06:31 PM
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that tange headset (probably passage) looks nice and has absolutely no decals, markings, etc. it looks great on any bike. it is not like you are putting a chris king on there.
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Old 01-16-10, 06:32 PM
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the older campy pista headset has a shorter stack height, but they are hard to find and expensive. I had the same problem w/ my new to me '79 raleigh track bike. I wanted to run a campy headset I already had, but could not. It came with a chris king headset which fits, so I am using that. Could you install the tange, but substitute the top part with campy?
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Old 01-16-10, 06:32 PM
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The Tange Levin pretty much replaced the Campy headsets on many handbuilt racers like your De Rosa. They were as good as Campy's - and 1/3rd the cost back then. No shame. I have one on my 1983 PUCH Reynold's 531 frame-set. I properly maintain it - and it has given me 0 problems.
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Old 01-16-10, 07:04 PM
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Norksagent...no...the lock nut won't even fit without washers.

That Pista headset route sounds like a definite possibility...I might give that a try.

I think Panther and illwafer are almost certainly right...I'll probably just go the Tange route. I don't want to change out the beautiful and original De Rosa fork and the adding to the steerer sounds VERY pricey and complicated.
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Old 01-16-10, 08:09 PM
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Originally Posted by norskagent View Post
the older campy pista headset has a shorter stack height, but they are hard to find and expensive.
The Campy "Sport" headset has identical stack as the Pista and seems every bit as nice. The only difference I've found is that the threaded cup has only 2 wrench flats on it vs 8 on the Pista. All the other parts appear identical -- beautiful ground and polished races, triple chrome plated, etc. They are often mistaken for Pista headsets, in fact, and are somewhat more common and less expensive. The outside of the cups, like those on the Pista, are completely unmarked. Only the locknut shows a visible Campagnolo name when the unit is installed.
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Old 01-16-10, 08:23 PM
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John...do you happen to know the stack height on one of those?
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Old 01-16-10, 08:26 PM
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the campy pista is ~33.7mm, so I assume the gran sport is also. My chris king is 33 mm, as well as the tange. campy NR is 39mm.
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Old 01-16-10, 08:38 PM
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Sometimes life just works. My Raleigh Professional in team livery just happens to have a GS headset which I've been meaning to replace forever. It sounds like the perfect answer is to switch the GS headset over to the De Rosa and get the headset I've WANTED to have on the Raleigh all along.
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Old 01-16-10, 08:40 PM
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The 90's era Campagnolo Record threaded headsets have a fairly low stack height. I'd say 3mm lower than the Zeus headset I took off my Gazelle when I had it swapped.
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Old 01-16-10, 08:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Panthers007 View Post
The Tange Levin pretty much replaced the Campy headsets on many handbuilt racers like your De Rosa. They were as good as Campy's - and 1/3rd the cost back then. No shame. I have one on my 1983 PUCH Reynold's 531 frame-set. I properly maintain it - and it has given me 0 problems.
+1. That's what I have on my Palo Alto. It is a nice headset, and pretty. Shiny unmarked chrome..... MMMmmmmmmmmm........
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Old 01-17-10, 12:59 AM
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The one time my Tange acted up, it was suddenly too short. Nothing had changed. It had been fine for a year or 3. And, suddenly - too short? And I've heard this same story from a few people. The judicious application of a spacer can solve a mysterious problem. I keep a good inventory of spacers for these weird circumstances.

But the mystery itself remains.
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Old 01-17-10, 01:26 AM
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You should try the Record headset. I think it is over 2mm shorter than the C-Record.
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Old 01-17-10, 08:10 AM
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2mm isn't going to cut it, but thanks for the suggestion.

I'm going to call a local frame builder, Bilenky, and ask how much extending the steering tube would run (which I'm sure will go higher than I want). I'd be willing to spend maybe $50...and I'm sure that won't accomplish it.

When that fails, I think I'll just use the tange...if it's good enough for the likes of some of you folks, it's good enough for me. I guess the C-record headset will end up making it's way over to the Colnago.
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Old 01-17-10, 08:30 AM
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Originally Posted by KonAaron Snake View Post
2mm isn't going to cut it, but thanks for the suggestion.

I'm going to call a local frame builder, Bilenky, and ask how much extending the steering tube would run (which I'm sure will go higher than I want). I'd be willing to spend maybe $50...and I'm sure that won't accomplish it.

When that fails, I think I'll just use the tange...if it's good enough for the likes of some of you folks, it's good enough for me. I guess the C-record headset will end up making it's way over to the Colnago.
let me know how this goes. I had it done once for a customer but that was back in... well sometime ago. as unlikely as it seems I have a 'spare' MAX fork I want to have the steerer extended and then the whole thing chromed. I thought if I had it made long enough to match my longest steerer, I can use it on any bike should the need arise.
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Old 01-17-10, 08:52 AM
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Originally Posted by KonAaron Snake View Post
2mm isn't going to cut it, but thanks for the suggestion.

I'm going to call a local frame builder, Bilenky, and ask how much extending the steering tube would run (which I'm sure will go higher than I want). I'd be willing to spend maybe $50...and I'm sure that won't accomplish it.
I know someone who had Franklin Frames in Ohio extend a steerer tube, and the price was at least double that, I believe.

Neal
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Old 01-17-10, 09:05 AM
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nlerner...I'm 100% sure that you're right and I'm also sure that the job and work involved is WORTH what the frame builder asked...but I think $50 is as much stupidity as I can justify just to use a specific headset. I'll call and ask what the cost is because I'm curious, but I've asked Bilenky about pricing on other jobs and I'd wager he's going to want $200 plus for this. He wanted over $100 just to add some threads to a steerer, and this sounds more difficult/pricey.
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Old 01-17-10, 09:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Panthers007 View Post
The one time my Tange acted up, it was suddenly too short. Nothing had changed. It had been fine for a year or 3. And, suddenly - too short? And I've heard this same story from a few people. The judicious application of a spacer can solve a mysterious problem. I keep a good inventory of spacers for these weird circumstances.

But the mystery itself remains.

Maybe the headset cups settled in to the headtube a little bit(?) Or, if you're using an aluminum spacer, it could be that the spacer actually compressed just enough to cause the locknut to bottom-out on the steer tube.

I've had headsets do this before as well, and this is what I imagined was the cause.
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