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Colnago headset play(10 posts)

Colnago headset playrefidnasb
Jan 26, 2004 7:02 AM
I just bought a new Colnago and messing around with it last night(applying the front brake and rocking it forwards and backwards) I noticed a little play in the headset. It's in the top of the headset, where the headset meets the top of the headtube of the frame. It's just a tiny bit of play, less than 1/4 a mm, but it seems odd. Is this normal? I cannot get the play in it unless I apply the front brake at a dead stop and rock it....or grab the fork with my left hand and the stem with my right.

This is the headset that came with the bike:

The "play" is occuring 1/2 inch below the rubber seals, where the "bulb" egg-shaped part of the headset contacts the cups on the frame.

The top-cap and stem are tight, ruling those out.

I've always used integrated headsets on mountain bikes(cannondales) and never experienced this before. Is this typical?

I live 90 miles from the nearest bike shop(rural Texas) it would be quite a trip to drive it in 180 miles round trip.
More info pleaseDave Hickey
Jan 26, 2004 7:34 AM
What do you mean by "The top-cap and stem are tight, ruling those out"?

Have you tried loosening the stem bolts and tightening the top cap? That usually gets rid of the play.
try tightening it...C-40
Jan 26, 2004 7:39 AM
Just becasue the stem and top cap are tight doesn't mean that they are properly adjusted.

Adjusting the bearings on a threadless headset is about a 2-minute job. Loosen the bolts clamping the stem to the steering tube. Tighten the top cap until there is some resistance felt when turning the fork, then loosen 1/4 turn or less. The bearings should have a slight preload tension and NO play. Once that is done, you should be good to go.

For other basic bike mechanical instructions, try Lots of good basic procedures are decscribed there.
Jan 26, 2004 9:10 AM
That did the trick.

I feel retarded for not trying that, live and learn I guess.

Well at least you recognized the problem before.... (nm)B2
Jan 26, 2004 4:33 PM
Well at least you recognized the problem before.... (nm)refidnasb
Jan 27, 2004 7:07 AM
I got the bike over the weekend, took a spin in the driveway and noticed the problem. The only reason I noticed it was because I was installing a cyclocomputer and jacking around with the brakes. Otherwise I might not have noticed till the headtube ovalized...or worse.

The shop I bought it from just did a piss poor job building it up. I saw the bike as it arrived in the Trial-Tir(Colnago distributor) box, and it looks like all they did was cut the zip ties, tighten the stem and throw the wheels on. You'd think they would want to take their time with such a nice bike.

And....they stole my Colnago water bottle and Colnago frame pump. I know I was supposed to get one of each, even saw it in the small box with the warranty paperwork, but when I picked the bike up the pump and water bottle were gone. The bike shop said that it did not come with the bottle or pump, but I know this is total BS.

Oh well.
re: Colnago headset playOverhill
Jan 28, 2004 9:23 AM
A friend of mine has the same problem with his headset [Campy on a Colnago], has tried the solution suggested, and he still has difficulties. After tightening, per above instructions, then after a 20 mile ride, the headset is loose again. The play is only very slight, but there should be none with this quality. I have experienced the same problem on a bike which I recently converted to a threadless system. Both of these bikes have 1" steer tubes, but I don't think that should make a difference. Any other suggestions? Thanks.
two possibilites....C-40
Jan 28, 2004 4:09 PM
I've been using threadless headset for six seasons and never had one loosen up. If installed and adjusted properly, they are much more reliable than the threaded headsets.

On an initial build, it's not uncommon for the lower crown race to not be fully seated. After riding a few miles the race becomes fully seated, which leaves the bearings loose. Only one readjustment should be required. After that, there is no reason for a threadless headset to become loose, unless the headset was not properly adjusted or the stem not properly tightened in the first place.

Some folks are afraid to tighten the top cap enough to cause slight binding of the fork. If this is not done and then the top cap bolt backed off slightly, it impossible to know that all of the play was removed.

If the user does not know how to properly tighten the expanding mandrel required for a carbon steerer, it could cause the stem to loosen, resulting in misadjustment of the bearings. With a steel or Al steerer that uses a star-fangled nut, slippage of the nut could prevent the top cap from exerting the required pressure on the stem.

After the stem is tightened, the top cap really serves no purpose. It could be removed without harm.
another possibilty...C-40
Jan 28, 2004 4:14 PM
One other common mistake is not cutting the steering tube to the proper length. There must be a gap between the top of the steerer and the top cap, or the top cap will press against the steerer instead of the stem amd never properly tighten the bearings.

Some people like to leave the steering tube a little long, protruding 1-2mm above the stem and place a 3-5mm spacer on top of the stem to insure a gap between the top cap and the steering tube.
No worriesrefidnasb
Jan 28, 2004 7:39 PM
I posted the original topic, and after a 40 mile ride this evening, the headset has stayed tight. I'm guessing either the bike shop never tightened the headset/topcap/stem in the first place or it became a little loose in my initial ride around the block. Regardless, I'll be checking it after the next few rides.

I would just be sick if I screwed up my new bike after lusting for a Colnago for so many years. It's so fast and quick.