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HELP!! Threadless headset keeps loosening while riding...(12 posts)

HELP!! Threadless headset keeps loosening while riding...Cima Coppi
May 10, 2002 2:17 AM
Hello all,

I have a new dilemma that is beginning to make me go crazy. Here is the technical scoop. I have a King 1" threadless headset with a Reynolds Ouzo Pro fork, Cinelli Solido stem, and two spacers. The spacer below the stem is 1.2cm in height, and I have one above the stem that is .6cm in height. When I first set this all up, both spacers where below the stem, but I thought I'd try out lowering the stem, so I moved things around. Before this, the setup never loosened with both spacers below the stem.

I can tighten down everything so there is no movement in the headset and it steers smooth, but after less than 30 miles of riding, the headset becomes loose. I think its the spacer above the stem that is causing the pressure cap to not stay tight. Any thoughts?

As always, your input is greatly appreciated.

re: HELP!! Threadless headset keeps loosening while riding...Rusty Coggs
May 10, 2002 4:59 AM
Not an answer,but once the adjustment is properly made,the STEM TIGHTENED to the steerer is what holds the adjustment. You could remove the top cap and throw it away and the adjustment would not change.You are doing something wrong,or possibly the spacer on top is preventing proper adjuustment somehow.
Rusty is correctDave Hickey
May 10, 2002 5:48 AM
If the stem is tight, the headset will stay adjusted. It sound like the stem is slipping. The only thing the top cap/star nut do is allow you to adjust the headset. Once it's adjusted the stem hold it in place.
May 10, 2002 8:30 AM
Try cleaning the mating surfaces with some degreaser. It's pretty easy to get a thin film in there.
re: HELP!! Threadless headset keeps loosening while rider
May 10, 2002 5:11 AM
I'll take a crack at this one. I may not be correct, but spokewrench may help out.

I would check the star nut length from top of steer tube. It's suppose to be 15mm and maybe yours is futher than that. Could also be the bolt is not long enough to put enough pressure on the adjustment.

I had a ringle headset a few years back wouldn't tighten for my stem when I had spacers. Put a cheap canecreek on and the headset stayed tight.

The shop I MTB raced for said the spacers and stem didn't want to mate to keep the headset tighten. The mechanic suggested that I get a different stem. Don't know why a $30 headset tighten, but not the $100 one.

Hope it's just the bolt needs to be longer, or you may have to put the spacer back down under the stem. Or try a different stem.

Hope you get some other post.

Good luck,

You know what causes the problem, and PA rider, I believe is onPaul
May 10, 2002 5:29 AM
target. The bolt may be to short for the star nut when the spacer is stacked over the stem. Or it's not fitting correctly against the cap. You should be able to measure this depth when stacked. Try a longer bolt as your first step, or a different cap.
Disagree about the bolt ...Leak
May 10, 2002 10:47 AM
I would disagree about the bolt being too short. Unless he is using a different (i.e. taller) spacer on top than he used when it was under the stem, the overall distance for the bolt is the same whether the spacer is on top of the stem or below it.

re: HELP!! Threadless headset keeps loosening while riding...Tommasini
May 10, 2002 6:54 AM
I used to have a 1 bolt 3T Forgie with no slippage problems. Then when I went to a 2 bolt 3T Zipp stem, I got slippage. The top bolt could be tightened down futher (via noticing the closeness of the 2 "ears" to each other) and never got up the correct torque. The bottom bolt always locked up firm. I corrected the situation by moving the expander plug up higher in the steerer tube so it is centered between the 2 bolts - now both bolts have the same solid "feel" when tightening and the stem/headset slippage/loosening is gone. Moving the plug required that I chuck a few parts such as the spring and top cap of the plug, plus be diligent about getting the plug to take hold in the right place - but the side benefit is a reduction of a few grams plus the greater benefit of a solid connection.(BTW - 1" Look steerer).
Check the Reynolds compression assemblyBipedZed
May 10, 2002 7:40 AM
I've had to replace the assembly due to overtorque-ing of the expansion plug screw which stripped the threads in the expansion plug and caused it to not expand enough to grip the steerer. You may be getting enough preload to eliminate play while rocking it back and forth but it is not enough to keep it adjusted from the vibrations from the road no matter how tight the stem is. With the King/Ouzo Pro combination I've always had to really put a lot of preload on the cartridge bearings to keep it adjusted. Not so much that it is binding, but more than say a smooth Campy headset would feel.
Thanks Everyone, I'll be trying out your recommendations (nm)Cima Coppi
May 10, 2002 10:26 AM
Consider this...Tarantula
May 10, 2002 10:48 PM
I had a similar problem with a Muscle fork and a Cinelli Solida Magnum stem and bar. After Phutzing with it for a couple of days, I took it to my LBS and the resident genius decided that the assembly was missing a washer. The washer went in and helped keep the steerer tube in place. No problems since then.
I'm betting the expander plug position is the problem.Spoke Wrench
May 12, 2002 5:01 PM
With the spacer on top, the plug is sitting up higher, relative to the stem, in the steer tube, not centered under the stem clamp. My bet is the stem can't clamp tightly enough against the hollow steer tube.

If I'm right, the solution would be to cut the excess off of the top of the steer tube and do away with the spacer on top.

Good luck.