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Oval headtube help(8 posts)

Oval headtube helpbriburke
Dec 30, 2002 9:59 PM
I know this board is geared primarily towards road bikes, but I'm have a problem with my mountain bike that I could use a hand on.

I just got the bad call from the LBS - the headtube on my 1996 Team Marin (steel, hardtail) mountain bike is ovalized, and they can't install the new Chris King headset which I bought, too late, to stop this problem. The LBS says its about 2mm out of round.

I'm really attached to this frame, and was wondering what my options are to have it still rideable. They mentioned trying to get a "crashed" frame replacement from Marin, but I'm not holding out hope. In '96 the Team Marin was a nice, but mass-produced frame, the new Team Marin is a handmade frame for about $3000.

I've heard that replacing the headtube on steel bikes is an option, but on tig-welded bikes it may not be feasible. I've been told this is a tig-welded frame.

I contacted Spicer Cycles, and they said they could weld rings around the top and bottom to get it back into round ($50 for the work and about $80 for powder coating). Is that a feasible option?

I'm so disappointed because I decided last year that I really love this bike, and would like to keep riding it for as long as I can imagine.

re: Am I missing something?crosscut
Dec 30, 2002 11:21 PM
How did the headtube become oval shaped? Was the headset you removed also oval? I'm not a rocket scientist and I don't play one on television, but I would think a little judicious torque on a vice with the headtube in its jaws would put the thing back into an adequate circumference. Maybe I'm over-simplifying.
re: Oval headtube helpgtx
Dec 30, 2002 11:33 PM
I'd consider a repair on a pricier frame, but... Also, that frame works best with 63mm travel forks, which are pretty much gone now. I'd let the shop work the warranty angle, and if that doesn't work out move on. Good luck.
Samething happened to my mtbscottfromcali
Dec 31, 2002 12:34 AM
KHS FXT Pro, how does it happen someone asked? Probably with mine, 200lbs, 4 piston hydrolic disc brakes, and fast stops :) Good luck with the fix.
re: Oval headtube helpJFunk
Dec 31, 2002 3:20 AM

What you can do is buy a King Steelset. It is a headset they started making to help prevent this exact problem. But it can also help fix it on those already ovalized.

The cups are about 1 inch deep each so they sit in the head tube much further than standard cups. This allows them to seat on non-ovalized tube. I know a couple of guys who have made this work. The only catch is that your head tube must be both long enough and milled deep enough to accept the cups. The milling part can be done relatively cheap, but a bike of this vintage should have the whole tube milled to the same diameter so it should slide right in!

Talk to your shop about this option and check out King's website about this item. I think it is a bit more than a standard King headset, but well worth it to save the frame, and WAY cheaper than replacing the whole headtube. If you shop says this isn't possible, find another shop. Any good mechanic will know that the ovalized potion will end within a couple mm of the innner edge of the bottom headset cup. Your shop shold be willling to give you a credit on the new standard headset they were unable to install for you towards the Steelset too.

Good luck and let us know how it works out. Also check out MTBR's discussion archives for more info on this problem.

re: Oval headtube helpbugleboy
Dec 31, 2002 6:37 AM
Once the headtube is ovalized you are out of luck. Just get a new frame. Is it really worth the time and money to try and fix it?
re: Oval headtube helpJFunk
Dec 31, 2002 7:46 AM
No no no. See my above post. This works, I've seen it work. I have been a mechanic for 10 years and KNOW it can work.

re: Oval headtube helpbriburke
Dec 31, 2002 7:05 AM
That's something I'll have to check out. The headtube is definately over two inches long, so it should be able to the King Steelset.