Why do headsets phase me so?



P

PJay

Guest
I'm moving on slowly and surely learning bike maintenance but seem to have
developed a bit of a block around adjusting aheadsets!

I think it stems (excuse the pun) from keenly fitting a stem some years ago,
riding to the bike shop and being told that there was some movement in the
headset. Somewhere along the line I also picked up the knowledge that a
loose headset can result in an ovalised headtube.

I've since adjusted my headset and got an 'OK' from the LBS so I know that I
can do it but still feel really unsure of myself and keep imagining that I'm
going to ovalise the headtube.

I've done a lot of maintenance tasks, including BBs and reckon that, if I
can get my headset phobia sorted, I'm pretty close to being able to build up
my own bike (headset pressing aside).

Any confidence building tips out there? Once no play is detectable at the
lower race is the pre-load sufficient (I have the tendancy to err on the
side of overtightening and be a bit heavy handed)? Also, how easy is it to
ovalise a headtube, would a small amount of slack do it or would it have to
be blindingly (and un-rideably) obvious that the headset was loose before
damage would be done!

I feel a bit of a numpty posting this but I thought I'd ask :) (don't know
the smiley for embarassed!).

Cheers,
PJay
 
R

Ron Ruff

Guest
PJay wrote:
>
> I've since adjusted my headset and got an 'OK' from the LBS so I know that I
> can do it but still feel really unsure of myself and keep imagining that I'm
> going to ovalise the headtube.
>

In my experience, it is easy tell when it is too loose, because the
fork will rattle when riding. You can also feel this by applying the
front brake and rocking the bike forward and back. It feels secure,
then it is ok... if not, tighten it.

Getting it too tight seems a more likely problem to me. If you feel any
resistance when turning the fork (off the ground), then it is too
tight... but sometimes it is hard to tell with all those cables hanging
off the front.
 
V

Vee

Guest
PJay wrote:
<snip>

> Any confidence building tips out there?


Based on your post, you know what you're doing. Get rid of the slack
without creating binding. Stop tightening when you begin to feel
resistance in the wrench. Check your work by bouncing the front end.
Hollow rattling noise? Too loose. Next, grab the frame just behind
the headtube and lift the front wheel off the ground. Bar bind while
it swings to the side? Too tight. Otherwise, it's fine.

>Also, how easy is it to ovalise a headtube?


Ovalizing a headtube requires considerable neglect, or exceptionally
hard use, or both. Unless there's an interface problem between your
current headset and frame, you don't have to worry about it.

-Vee
 
L

Leo Lichtman

Guest
A classic sign of an over-tight ball bearing is a "lumpy" feel as the
bearing rotates.
 
L

Llatikcuf

Guest
PJay wrote:
> I'm moving on slowly and surely learning bike maintenance but seem to have
> developed a bit of a block around adjusting aheadsets!
>
> I think it stems (excuse the pun) from keenly fitting a stem some years ago,
> riding to the bike shop and being told that there was some movement in the
> headset. Somewhere along the line I also picked up the knowledge that a
> loose headset can result in an ovalised headtube.
>
> I've since adjusted my headset and got an 'OK' from the LBS so I know that I
> can do it but still feel really unsure of myself and keep imagining that I'm
> going to ovalise the headtube.
>
> I've done a lot of maintenance tasks, including BBs and reckon that, if I
> can get my headset phobia sorted, I'm pretty close to being able to build up
> my own bike (headset pressing aside).
>
> Any confidence building tips out there? Once no play is detectable at the
> lower race is the pre-load sufficient (I have the tendancy to err on the
> side of overtightening and be a bit heavy handed)? Also, how easy is it to
> ovalise a headtube, would a small amount of slack do it or would it have to
> be blindingly (and un-rideably) obvious that the headset was loose before
> damage would be done!
>


I usually tighten mine down pretty tight to begin with, just to get all
the slack out and then loosen until there is just a little tension on
the bolt. There is a lot of grey area here, as long as it's not
rattling loose or binding tight you're ok.

Seems to work!

-Nate
 
Paul Davis writes:

> I'm moving on slowly and surely learning bike maintenance but seem
> to have developed a bit of a block around adjusting aheadsets!


> I think it stems (excuse the pun) from keenly fitting a stem some
> years ago, riding to the bike shop and being told that there was
> some movement in the headset. Somewhere along the line I also
> picked up the knowledge that a loose headset can result in an
> ovalized headtube.


Not to worry. There is no way that head bearing adjustment can cause
a head tube to become oval. That has got to be a super myth of
bicycling. Just try to imagine what forces would cause that.

> I've since adjusted my headset and got an 'OK' from the LBS so I
> know that I can do it but still feel really unsure of myself and
> keep imagining that I'm going to ova Lise the headtube.


> I've done a lot of maintenance tasks, including BB's and reckon
> that, if I can get my headset phobia sorted, I'm pretty close to
> being able to build up my own bike (headset pressing aside).


> Any confidence building tips out there? Once no play is detectable
> at the lower race is the pre-load sufficient (I have the tendency to
> err on the side of overtightening and be a bit heavy handed)? Also,
> how easy is it to ovalize a headtube, would a small amount of slack
> do it or would it have to be blindingly (and un-ridably) obvious
> that the headset was loose before damage would be done!


It's hard to damage a head bearing by adjustment, it being such a
large diameter that it can take great force. The only reason it is so
large is that it must fit around the steertube. Whether the bearing
is too tight can be determined by holding the bicycle off the ground
tilted forward just enough so the wheel tends to barely swing to the
straight ahead position. At this point tilting the bicycle slightly
from side-to-side should make the wheel steer smoothly likewise.

Whether it is too loose is easy to tell on a road bicycle by bouncing
the front end on the floor with a hard tire. If the bearing chatters,
it's too loose.

The spooky part is that if the head bearing is dimpled, it will have
no correct adjustment because when in the dimple it will be looses and
turned a few degrees to one side it will be to tight.

http://www.sheldonbrown.com/brandt/indexed-steering.html

Jobst Brandt
 
V

Vee

Guest
[email protected] wrote:
> Paul Davis writes:
>
> > I'm moving on slowly and surely learning bike maintenance but seem
> > to have developed a bit of a block around adjusting aheadsets!

>
> > I think it stems (excuse the pun) from keenly fitting a stem some
> > years ago, riding to the bike shop and being told that there was
> > some movement in the headset. Somewhere along the line I also
> > picked up the knowledge that a loose headset can result in an
> > ovalized headtube.

>
> Not to worry. There is no way that head bearing adjustment can cause
> a head tube to become oval. That has got to be a super myth of
> bicycling. Just try to imagine what forces would cause that.


Are you simply saying that the act of adjustment cannot damage the head
tube, or are you also saying that riding with a loose headset won't
hurt the frame? You can't ovalize your head tube by over-tightening
the top-cap, of course. But am I wrong in thinking that riding with a
loose headset allows the fork to bang around enough that the fork race
and lower headset cup will eventually loosen?

-Vee
 
P

PJay

Guest
Thanks for all the help, I guess that adjusting headsets isn't that tough,
it's more of a confidence thing for me - still knowing that it's hard to
ovalise a headtube will help here.

I was wondering whether there are any other tips for adjusting cartridge
headset (I'm guessing it's a tad more difficult to bind these) as this is
the type I have (Cane Creek S2). Sooner of later I guess I'm likely to need
to replace the cartridges, I could go to a bike shop but I'm starting to
like (and feel proud of) doing my own maintance. Hopefully if I can do it
once without damaging anything I'll get over my fears (I did with bottom
brackets!).

Thanks again for helping me out, it's much appreciated.

With Kind Regards
PJay
"PJay" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]
> I'm moving on slowly and surely learning bike maintenance but seem to have
> developed a bit of a block around adjusting aheadsets!
>
> I think it stems (excuse the pun) from keenly fitting a stem some years
> ago, riding to the bike shop and being told that there was some movement
> in the headset. Somewhere along the line I also picked up the knowledge
> that a loose headset can result in an ovalised headtube.
>
> I've since adjusted my headset and got an 'OK' from the LBS so I know that
> I can do it but still feel really unsure of myself and keep imagining that
> I'm going to ovalise the headtube.
>
> I've done a lot of maintenance tasks, including BBs and reckon that, if I
> can get my headset phobia sorted, I'm pretty close to being able to build
> up my own bike (headset pressing aside).
>
> Any confidence building tips out there? Once no play is detectable at the
> lower race is the pre-load sufficient (I have the tendancy to err on the
> side of overtightening and be a bit heavy handed)? Also, how easy is it to
> ovalise a headtube, would a small amount of slack do it or would it have
> to be blindingly (and un-rideably) obvious that the headset was loose
> before damage would be done!
>
> I feel a bit of a numpty posting this but I thought I'd ask :) (don't
> know the smiley for embarassed!).
>
> Cheers,
> PJay
>
 
Vee Powell writes:

>>> I'm moving on slowly and surely learning bike maintenance but seem
>>> to have developed a bit of a block around adjusting aheadsets!


>>> I think it stems (excuse the pun) from keenly fitting a stem some
>>> years ago, riding to the bike shop and being told that there was
>>> some movement in the headset. Somewhere along the line I also
>>> picked up the knowledge that a loose headset can result in an
>>> ovalized headtube.


>> Not to worry. There is no way that head bearing adjustment can
>> cause a head tube to become oval. That has got to be a super myth
>> of bicycling. Just try to imagine what forces would cause that.


> Are you simply saying that the act of adjustment cannot damage the
> head tube, or are you also saying that riding with a loose headset
> won't hurt the frame? You can't ovalize your head tube by
> over-tightening the top-cap, of course. But am I wrong in thinking
> that riding with a loose headset allows the fork to bang around
> enough that the fork race and lower headset cup will eventually
> loosen?


The image you project is like a fork with no bearing running free in a
head tube. We are talking about ball bearings, ones that chatter and
rattle when they have a few thousandths of an inch excess clearance.
This cannot damage a head tube, the interface being a hardened steel
bearing cup being loaded by a hardened steel inner race by way of
bearing balls.

From what the OP said, I gathered this was probably a quill stem type
head bearing, the ones that are a pain to adjust. With a threadless
steertube, the little socket head screw in the cap can't do any damage
even if it was intended. These are easy to adjust and require no
special tools and skills.

Ideally, head bearing adjustment is done with no bars or wheel in
place. In that mode, the free rotation can be felt by hand and by
backing off from a little to tight is easy. The stem clamp then holds
the adjustment in place.

Jobst Brandt
 
P

PJay

Guest
Sorry, I might not have been clear. I was talking about aheadsets
(threadless headsets). I appreciate that they're probably not too tough to
pre-load correctly but was under the impression that if too loose they could
ovalise the headtube (I'd assume from the steerer knocking around inside the
headtube). I was, in part, wondering whether a loosely adjusted threadless
headset capable of damaging a headtube would be obvious (audible knocking)
or whether a slightly loose headset might also be capable of damaging the
headtube.

I'm almost certainly worrying too much but being rather new to maintenance
do rather lack confidence, a situation not help when I believe that failiure
to do something 100% correctly might lead to expensive damage. If I could
feel comfortable that if I could not detect any play in the cups I would
damage the frame I'd probably feel a bit more comfortable in tensioning a
headset.

Sorry, I'm a bit of a beginner.



<[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]
> Vee Powell writes:
>
>>>> I'm moving on slowly and surely learning bike maintenance but seem
>>>> to have developed a bit of a block around adjusting aheadsets!

>
>>>> I think it stems (excuse the pun) from keenly fitting a stem some
>>>> years ago, riding to the bike shop and being told that there was
>>>> some movement in the headset. Somewhere along the line I also
>>>> picked up the knowledge that a loose headset can result in an
>>>> ovalized headtube.

>
>>> Not to worry. There is no way that head bearing adjustment can
>>> cause a head tube to become oval. That has got to be a super myth
>>> of bicycling. Just try to imagine what forces would cause that.

>
>> Are you simply saying that the act of adjustment cannot damage the
>> head tube, or are you also saying that riding with a loose headset
>> won't hurt the frame? You can't ovalize your head tube by
>> over-tightening the top-cap, of course. But am I wrong in thinking
>> that riding with a loose headset allows the fork to bang around
>> enough that the fork race and lower headset cup will eventually
>> loosen?

>
> The image you project is like a fork with no bearing running free in a
> head tube. We are talking about ball bearings, ones that chatter and
> rattle when they have a few thousandths of an inch excess clearance.
> This cannot damage a head tube, the interface being a hardened steel
> bearing cup being loaded by a hardened steel inner race by way of
> bearing balls.
>
> From what the OP said, I gathered this was probably a quill stem type
> head bearing, the ones that are a pain to adjust. With a threadless
> steertube, the little socket head screw in the cap can't do any damage
> even if it was intended. These are easy to adjust and require no
> special tools and skills.
>
> Ideally, head bearing adjustment is done with no bars or wheel in
> place. In that mode, the free rotation can be felt by hand and by
> backing off from a little to tight is easy. The stem clamp then holds
> the adjustment in place.
>
> Jobst Brandt
 
S

Scott

Guest
PJay wrote:
> I'm moving on slowly and surely learning bike maintenance but seem to have
> developed a bit of a block around adjusting aheadsets!
>
> I think it stems (excuse the pun) from keenly fitting a stem some years ago,
> riding to the bike shop and being told that there was some movement in the
> headset. Somewhere along the line I also picked up the knowledge that a
> loose headset can result in an ovalised headtube.
>
> I've since adjusted my headset and got an 'OK' from the LBS so I know that I
> can do it but still feel really unsure of myself and keep imagining that I'm
> going to ovalise the headtube.
>
> I've done a lot of maintenance tasks, including BBs and reckon that, if I
> can get my headset phobia sorted, I'm pretty close to being able to build up
> my own bike (headset pressing aside).
>
> Any confidence building tips out there? Once no play is detectable at the
> lower race is the pre-load sufficient (I have the tendancy to err on the
> side of overtightening and be a bit heavy handed)? Also, how easy is it to
> ovalise a headtube, would a small amount of slack do it or would it have to
> be blindingly (and un-rideably) obvious that the headset was loose before
> damage would be done!
>
> I feel a bit of a numpty posting this but I thought I'd ask :) (don't know
> the smiley for embarassed!).
>
> Cheers,
> PJay


Are you in the early phase of being fazed, or are you nearing the 'over
it' phase?
 
J

Jasper Janssen

Guest
On 22 Nov 2005 16:01:15 -0800, "Vee" <[email protected]> wrote:

>Ovalizing a headtube requires considerable neglect, or exceptionally
>hard use, or both. Unless there's an interface problem between your
>current headset and frame, you don't have to worry about it.


Only time I've had it happen was with a JIS/ISO mismatch between the
headset and frame (on a secondhand bike). The cups and the fork cone
weren't so much pressfit as held in place by the threaded upper race.

Jasper
 
J

Jasper Janssen

Guest
On 23 Nov 2005 04:59:51 -0800, "Vee" <[email protected]> wrote:

>Are you simply saying that the act of adjustment cannot damage the head
>tube, or are you also saying that riding with a loose headset won't
>hurt the frame? You can't ovalize your head tube by over-tightening
>the top-cap, of course. But am I wrong in thinking that riding with a
>loose headset allows the fork to bang around enough that the fork race
>and lower headset cup will eventually loosen?


Nope. When you're actually on the bike, half of your weight is pressing
down on the lower bearing, which means it's not loose, pretty much by
definition. The race that becomes loose is the top one, which mainly deals
with a force at the rear of the race that keeps the fork from tilting
backward. It's certainly possible to damage the bearing that way, but
you're not gonna fret away the pressfit of the cup and the headtube.

There are some issues with integrated headsets, though, because the
bearings sit loosely in the headtube, rather than pressfit, so it's
possible to erode the bearing seat there. Then there's undersized headset
cups (like everything else, they come in more than one size), which can
definitely cause ovalization on both ends.

Jasper
 
P

PJay

Guest
Probably middling, but hopefully approaching the less fazed phase! :)


"Scott" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]
>
> PJay wrote:
>> I'm moving on slowly and surely learning bike maintenance but seem to
>> have
>> developed a bit of a block around adjusting aheadsets!
>>
>> I think it stems (excuse the pun) from keenly fitting a stem some years
>> ago,
>> riding to the bike shop and being told that there was some movement in
>> the
>> headset. Somewhere along the line I also picked up the knowledge that a
>> loose headset can result in an ovalised headtube.
>>
>> I've since adjusted my headset and got an 'OK' from the LBS so I know
>> that I
>> can do it but still feel really unsure of myself and keep imagining that
>> I'm
>> going to ovalise the headtube.
>>
>> I've done a lot of maintenance tasks, including BBs and reckon that, if I
>> can get my headset phobia sorted, I'm pretty close to being able to build
>> up
>> my own bike (headset pressing aside).
>>
>> Any confidence building tips out there? Once no play is detectable at the
>> lower race is the pre-load sufficient (I have the tendancy to err on the
>> side of overtightening and be a bit heavy handed)? Also, how easy is it
>> to
>> ovalise a headtube, would a small amount of slack do it or would it have
>> to
>> be blindingly (and un-rideably) obvious that the headset was loose before
>> damage would be done!
>>
>> I feel a bit of a numpty posting this but I thought I'd ask :) (don't
>> know
>> the smiley for embarassed!).
>>
>> Cheers,
>> PJay

>
> Are you in the early phase of being fazed, or are you nearing the 'over
> it' phase?
>
 
L

Leo Lichtman

Guest
"PJay" wrote: Probably middling, but hopefully approaching the less fazed
phase! :)
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
Okay, as long as you're not being two-phased.
 
T

tlarwa

Guest
I just kinda like the word "numpty" ....
"Leo Lichtman" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]
>
> "PJay" wrote: Probably middling, but hopefully approaching the less fazed
> phase! :)
> ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
> Okay, as long as you're not being two-phased.
>
 
P

Pat

Guest
: Are you in the early phase of being fazed, or are you nearing the 'over
: it' phase?

This reminds me of people writing that they "tow the line" or have music
"touch a cord" or try to "loose some weight"...so many of those common
idioms that people miss by a mile.

Pat in TX
 
L

Leo Lichtman

Guest
"Pat" wrote: (clip)..so many of those common idioms that people miss by a
mile.
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
You sleigh me, Pat.
 
B

Bill Sornson

Guest
Pat wrote:
>> Are you in the early phase of being fazed, or are you nearing the
>> 'over it' phase?

>
> This reminds me of people writing that they "tow the line" or have
> music "touch a cord" or try to "loose some weight"...so many of those
> common idioms that people miss by a mile.


Not to be picky, but I don't think all three of those examples fit. "Loose
some weight" is just misspelling "lose" (surprisingly common for some
reason). "Tow the line" and "touch (strike?) a cord" reveal a more profound
carelessness (to be charitable).

The OP's faux pas (foe pa?) probably falls somewhere in-between.

Bill "slow night" S.