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headset question.(10 posts)

headset question.Frith
Jul 7, 2003 12:07 PM
noticed some play in the headset of my giant tcr comp. I tightened it by hand and that seemed to eliminate most but not all of the play. I got the bike less than 4mo's ago so taking it into the LBS for a look is an option. On the other hand is there an easy way to make the adjustment myself with my limeted wrench knowledge.
re: or .....Rusty Coggs
Jul 7, 2003 12:51 PM
...a maintenance book. assuming threadless,the stem where it clamps to the steerer has to be loosened,the bearing preload set with the hex bolt in the top cap and the stem retightened to hold the adjustment.
What am I missing here?Spoke Wrench
Jul 7, 2003 1:10 PM
1. You have identified a defect your bike.
2. Left alone the defect can eventually ruin your frame.
3. It's an adjustment that you don't know how to do.
4. Your LBS will do it for FREE and check out the rest of the bike.

Why wouldn't you want your LBS to fix it for you?
How did you learn to wrench?Frith
Jul 7, 2003 8:10 PM
1. Did you learn by taking your bike to the shop for every minor glitch?
2. Did you learn by fixing things that you thought you had sufficient knowledge of yourself?
3. Did you learn by making assesments as to which things were worth learning to fix yourself and which were more complicated?

I will take it to the LBS but I thought I'd post this question on the off chance that it was something I could do fairly easy myself.
learning...? By observing and being taught.davet
Jul 7, 2003 8:40 PM
Your intentions to learn how to work on your own bike are good, and correct. But the adjustment for the headset can be critical and if you get it wrong, best case is that you can damage the headset. Worst case is that you can damage your body from a crash, because of a loose headset.

The best of both worlds would have you go to your LBS for the headset adjustment, and ask if you can observe and learn how to do it yourself. Not hard to do, but easy to screw it up.
Its not that hard Frith you should fix it yourself !the bull
Jul 8, 2003 3:34 AM
Why is everyone making a big deal out of a headset adjustment?
1 loosen the stem
2 take the play out of the headset by tighting the top cap(rock the bike with the frt brake and tighten the set till the play is gone).
3 make sure bars are where you want them.
4 tighten the stem.
Were not sticking o-ring seals in the space shuttle here!
Stop making bike mechanics out to be rocket science!
If the stem is tightend properly there is no danger of hurting yourself.
Actually, we are talking about an O-ring seal.Spoke Wrench
Jul 8, 2003 1:32 PM
It's under the lower cup. After you loosen everything up, it sometimes drops down. If you're not careful, you'll pinch it between the cup and crown race. It can't be fixed after that so your choices are new headset, find a source for a replacement seal, or go without.

A too loose headset can cause your head tube to ovalize. Once that metal has been stretched, you can't unstretch it so the frame is ruined. Who pays for the replacement frame and what are you going to ride while the manufacturer and dealer are argueing amongst themselves? Misuse isn't a warranty issue. You may find yourself explaining why you think the dealer or manufacturer should pay for subsequent damage caused by a defect that you didn't allow them to correct.

I learned bicycle maintenance on some pretty crummy equipment. Whenever I screwed something up, replacements weren't very expensive because I'd go around the subdivision on garbage pick-up day and salvage a headset off of somebody's cast off.

I think that the situation with new bikes is different. You've already pre-paid for the service and you have a warranty to protect. Unless you are already confident of your wrenching skills, why wouldn't you want to make use of this service that you've already paid for?
While extereme and somewhat true...the bull
Jul 9, 2003 8:57 AM
Why take a bike to a shop that could take days to get your bike back to you if you can do it yourself in a couple of minutes and have the satisfaction of working on your own bike.Just take the time to read the instructions and understand what your do!
Yup, but you're not the guy who asked.Spoke Wrench
Jul 9, 2003 4:00 PM
The guy who asked isn't as confident of his wrenching ability as you are, has a problem that can be expensive if not corrected, and has a pre-paid service deal with his bike shop.

My answer was intended for guys like him and I think that it's very good advice.
It is up to you to learn.Atombomber
Jul 8, 2003 7:24 AM
There was no internet when I started working on my bikes, and resources were very limited. Even if there were decent books, I was only 7 years old and in grade 1, and technical reading would have been a tad too advanced. With occasional assistance from our dad, me and my older brother (9 yo) would keep our fleet of bikes running smoothly. With money we earned, we would buy as many bikes as we could afford at the police auction and piece together our specialized bikes. We built bikes for trails, jumping, and distance.

Once you understand the concept, you should be able to work on any part of the bike barring limitations on your tool collection. Some tools just aren't feasible to purchase, such as headset press, bottom bracket chaser and facer, head tube facer, alignment tools, etc. and use your local COMPETENT bike shop for the work which requires those tools. Bearings, chain and cables are all you really need to worry about for general maintenance.

As I posted somewhere else;
When things are loose and should be tight, tighten.
When things are tight and should be loose, loosen.
Lubricate items regularly which require regular lubrication.
Grease items regularly which which require regular greasing.
Replace items when they need replacing.
Repair items when the get damaged.
Clean item that should be clean.

Not rocket science, just common sense.