headset adjustment problem

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by Gary Smiley, Aug 23, 2005.

  1. Gary Smiley

    Gary Smiley Guest

    Recently I had to replace a threaded fork, which I did with the help of a
    bike mechanic. But I can't quite seem to get it perfect. If I tighten the
    headset too loosely, the fork wobbles. If i just tighten the headset enough
    to eliminate the wobble, then the headset will be a bit too tight and the
    fork won't rotate as freely as I would like- for example I can't ride "no
    hands". It's either one or the other, no matter what I do. My mechanic had
    me replace the bearings container with just packed bearings in grease (with
    2 removed). Could this be making the difference? Is there anything else I
    should do?
     
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  2. Gary Smiley writes:

    > Recently I had to replace a threaded fork, which I did with the help
    > of a bike mechanic. But I can't quite seem to get it perfect. If I
    > tighten the headset too loosely, the fork wobbles. If i just tighten
    > the headset enough to eliminate the wobble, then the headset will be
    > a bit too tight and the fork won't rotate as freely as I would like-
    > for example I can't ride "no hands". It's either one or the other,
    > no matter what I do. My mechanic had me replace the bearings
    > container with just packed bearings in grease (with 2
    > removed). Could this be making the difference? Is there anything
    > else I should do?


    Are the bearing balls in a cage? If not, it sounds like classic "one
    ball or more up on the ledge" aka out of the race and up on the rim.
    Put in a 20 ball cage toss the thing together (which is easy with
    caged balls) and adjust.

    To test for clearance, bounce the front wheel on the ground and listen
    for bearing chatter. When bearing chatter is gone, put the bicycle on
    your shoulder with the front wheel hanging almost on its neutral axis
    (does not want to flop to the side OR straight ahead, and tilt the
    frame from side to side. The steering should coast to a stop rather
    than with a slow shuddering indexed stop.

    After you've done all that and got it right, you'll understand why I
    believe threadless steer tubes are far better fork mounts.

    http://www.sheldonbrown.com/brandt/threadless-headset.html

    Jobst Brandt
     
  3. On Tue, 23 Aug 2005 21:53:08 -0400, Gary Smiley wrote:

    > Recently I had to replace a threaded fork, which I did with the help of a
    > bike mechanic. But I can't quite seem to get it perfect. If I tighten the
    > headset too loosely, the fork wobbles. If i just tighten the headset enough
    > to eliminate the wobble, then the headset will be a bit too tight and the
    > fork won't rotate as freely as I would like- for example I can't ride "no
    > hands". It's either one or the other, no matter what I do.


    Sounds like the crown race is not properly seated (I assume that you used
    the old headset. If not, it could be any of the pressed races). It could
    be that the fork needs to be prepped, as well, so that the race can seat
    properly.

    > My mechanic had
    > me replace the bearings container with just packed bearings in grease
    > (with 2 removed).


    2 removed? You mean, fewer bearings than were in the retainer? I would
    fit in as many bearings as you can without binding. But removing the
    retainer per se is not a problem.

    --

    David L. Johnson

    __o | And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all
    _`\(,_ | mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so
    (_)/ (_) | that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am
    nothing. [1 Corinth. 13:2]
     
  4. yes-get those bearings in there. this is a no spin application at a
    slow speed-the bearings can sort themselves out without hi speed impact

    try searching to "DIY Headset in tech archives.

    i do not know how to adjust a headset-i have ritchey logics on a
    threaded stem
    not according to the instructions i read.
    my best results come from tightnesses that exceed the instructions.
    the forks turning feel is STIFF!!
    but there's no wheel on the fork.
    i blue eom loctite everything with a clean surface.

    if your race is worn elliptically-and a wear groove into the cone
    surface is probabbbly elliptical-what else would you expect?
    then turning into the tight tolerance from an adjustment on the larger
    tolerance forces the mechanism apart.

    the other deal is you have a retainer in upside down or maybe the wrong
    size bearings.

    if its an old bike give up on it and install a chris king,
     
  5. Gary Smiley wrote:

    > Recently I had to replace a threaded fork, which I did with the help of a
    > bike mechanic. But I can't quite seem to get it perfect. If I tighten the
    > headset too loosely, the fork wobbles. If i just tighten the headset enough
    > to eliminate the wobble, then the headset will be a bit too tight and the
    > fork won't rotate as freely as I would like- for example I can't ride "no
    > hands". It's either one or the other, no matter what I do. My mechanic had
    > me replace the bearings container with just packed bearings in grease (with
    > 2 removed). Could this be making the difference? Is there anything else I
    > should do?
    >
    >

    Get the headtube faces checked out. These are exactly the symptoms of
    non-parallel faces, and it's quick to rectify in a decent shop.
     
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