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Any LiItespeed or Merlin owners had problems with their ....(18 posts)

Any LiItespeed or Merlin owners had problems with their ....ol
Jan 27, 2003 7:48 PM
intergrated headsets? I am an owner of a merlin frame with a cane creek headset and lately it's been making ticking like noises. This noise is evident when there is pressure on the handlebars, when you are out of the saddle or when riding over rough roads. Everything on the bike is well adjusted, greased etc.
Feedback welcome.
re: Any LiItespeed or Merlin owners had problems with their ....sprinter
Jan 27, 2003 8:03 PM
Your post doesn't state if you have any spacers between the headset and stem, but if you do they may be moving against each other very slightly. In my experience carbon spacers tend to do this more than aluminum. Also, if you've ridden the bike in the rain it's more likely to happen.
re: Any LiItespeed or Merlin owners had problems with their ....RCole
Jan 27, 2003 8:12 PM
I agree with the second post. My local shop added a small aluminum spacer (almost looked like a larger, flat washer). He said that carbon spacers are usually uneven and need an aluminum spacer as the 1st to ensure equal pressure to the headset. Good luck
O.K., listen upLazywriter
Jan 27, 2003 8:25 PM
You need new cups put into your headtube. I have a 2002 Vortex and had the ticking/clicking noise when under load etc. I knew something was up and my LBS was unsure of what it was but I did my own investigating.
I wound up informing my LBS of the problem and the fix and I spoke with Litespeed myself and had my LBS do the same. The new cups are "dedicated" cups to the integrated headsets and are machined differently (ie. new ones are more shallow and the bearing races sit more snug). The earlier cups were made a little different to accomodatre slight variations in bearing races. The ticking is caused by the ever so slight movement against the cup. It actually is hard to tell exactly where it comes from at times but it is the bearing/cup combo.
In fact, Litespeed sent out tons of the new cups to their sales reps who are supposed to deliver them to the LBS. Funny story is that after my bike was fixed, my LBS owner was talking to the Litespeed rep about the new cups. The sales rep went out to his car and had a bag full of them and said "oh that is what these are for!"
I was not ging to accept the fact that a frame of that level made any noise and Litespeed was very helpful to me. If I were you, I would email them first and print out the response and bring it to your LBS if they already don't know of the fix. Also, if you are running a Campy Hiddenset, you may have issues. Cane Creek works better and Litespeed will send the cups and a new headset to your LBS/dealer free of charge and all will be taken care of.
My bike is silent since they popped the new cups in. I actually enjoy knowing that the replacement of the cups is so easy in the event of future upgrades or alterations in designs. They simply pop out and new ones are pushed in. So if there is ever a change in bearings/headtube set up, the frames are soooooooo easily altered. Hope this helps and what I told you is the fix so don't worry. My frame was a early 2002 frame and they corrected the problem later in the year so only a small amount of frames are in need of these new cups.
Jan 27, 2003 9:14 PM
If you have the newer cups, then the guys above could be right, but I bet you need the new ones. I tried reducing spacers, eliminating them altogether, different materials etc but only fix was NEW CUPS.
At first I thought it was the bottom bracket, then the seatpost, then the pedal. Mine seem to be eminating from the bottom cup of headtube and reverberating down the downtube. Email Collins Bishop at litespeed or speak with Rebecca, they'll hook you up and tell you what is up.
P.S.Rob Sal
Jan 28, 2003 1:11 AM
Thankfully I have an adheadset set up, so my headset doesn't tick due to movement between bearing races and the frame. All this slight movement will mean that in time, possibly a LONG time, the seat the cups sit in will pit and not be able to hold the cups square to the fork.

From the way Lazytroll was ranting 'I'M RIGHT,I'M RIGHT!' on an earlier thread on such headsets I would have thought he had an ealier bike than a 02 Vortex on which to base his opinion.

As for carbon spacers, some of the one I saw in my local quality bike shop looked like they had been hacksawed freehand by Stevie Wonder!
Jan 28, 2003 5:20 AM
First off, I had my bike for over a year now and was pointing out how people in general were ranting and raving about integrated hs and what they meant for the industry. You weren't around here then if you cannot recall all the debates so I would be quiet if I were you.
Litespeed's design like other high end bike manufacturers makes it impossible for the frae to get damaged. The cups are solid and the bearing races could never distort the actual frame. Plus they simply pop out a lot easier than traditional hs design. You don't know what you are talking about. GO look at a Litespeed or Merlin not built up and you will see what I am talking about.
The integrated design is no different in most ways than a traditional set up. Earlier "truly integrated" hs would have no cups and inside of headtube would have actual bearing touching. That was potentially problematic and that is why noone uses this and the high end fraes didn't and don't.
LOLRob Sal
Jan 28, 2003 10:33 AM
Who are you to tell me I should be quiet!? I don't have a frame with an integrated headset at the moment, but just think...if I bought one a years time I could be able to rant and rave with as much 'I'M RIGHT, I'M RIGHT attitude as you !!!!

I recall the debates, on this site, on other American sites, on the British sites, bike reviews from equipment savvy pros, discussions whilst stood in a Merlin and Litespeed dealer with an unbuilt Merlin Cielo in my hand etc etc and ridden one for half an hour or so.

Now, I'm not saying these things are the devils child, the Merlin's headtube area I saw looked really pretty (though some aluminium thing also in the shop looked really ugly in the headset area) and I am not saying they're all gonna fail within miles of the warranty running out. I'm just more than slightly amused at your whole attitude, especially on the earlier thread, about YOU being right, as though you invented the integrated concept. All you have really done is bought in to a fashion led alternative way of doing things and found it works at least as well as the decades old way of doing things.

My final point is your optimism that your future upgrades/alterations in design will be fine but you also point out in the same post that a current Campag hiddenset won't work as well!! So its not THAT adaptable then?!
Jan 28, 2003 2:48 PM
You're not too bright, hugh? My "attitude" is what it is and I was simply pointing out how the whole integrated debate has been quelled since many many high end frames are using them. This in effect silenced the critics as the design is here to stay. I was right. Case closed.
Can't resist . . .Brad S
Jan 28, 2003 4:11 PM
to jump in to this debate. I'm really tired of your rants and not getting the facts straight.

The biggest criticism leveled against the newer headset fads was the truly "intergrated" headset, where the bearings just pop into the frame, the frame provides the bearing race and cup at the same time. This is really stupid, because if the machined bearing races in the frame get pitted (easy with an aluminum frame)(or are machined wrong), the frame is toast. And as you stated, these are/were stupid, but unfortunately many manufacturers still use this design, it is not going away as you state.

Now "internal" headsets are a whole nother ball of wax. These are represented by the CC/FSA zero stack and Columbus style headsets were a cup is PRESSED into the frame. Pretty much the exact same design as a regular aheadset except the bearing size can be made large and the headtube can be made larger which looks better with fat aluminum main triangles and also allows for a large welding contact for the top and down tubes. You can knock out the internal cup and replace it if the bearing race ever gets damaged. Also the look is "cleaner" to some people, but that is really an aesthetic thing.

Now there are no mechanical advantages at all to the "internal" headset compared to a standard aheadset. This design doesn't do anything better or allow for any easier maintanence than a standard aheadset design would. I wouldn't really say there are any major downfalls either, except the selection of headsets isn't the best right now, and the standards aren't really agreed upon yet (CC standard, King has their new standard, Columbus standard is different again). So choice is very limited (at least for now). I actually have a Pegoretti GGM that uses this design, but again unfortunately my headset choices are limited. But I like the design for big frames because it allows the use of large top and down tubes and a better welding contact area at the headtube like I mentioned earlier.

Then there is a third new design that is in between the integrated and the internal. Some people call it an integrated design, but I will refer to it as semi-integrated. The difference is that the frame doesn't act as the bearing race, instead a cup (plastic or aluminum) is DROPPED in (not pressed in) the frame. A good example of this design is the Campy Record hiddenset. This design seems better than the true integrated, as the drop in cups should protect the headtube, but I would feel better using the pressed in cups of the internal headset personally. It's possible if riding with a loose headset the drop in cups could shift around and damage the headtube machining, thus trashing the frame. Also, since the cups are dropped in and not pressed in, the machining of the frame still has to be perfect and I have seen a lot of Italian aluminum frames where this is not the case. Also, the headtube is more easily damaged when shipping just the frame, as the metal is very thin at the end of the headtube (I had a frame ruined by UPS because of this, where if it had been a conventional design it wouldn't have been dinged as bad (thicker wall tube) and I could have cleaned it up with a headtube cutter).

Only time will tell how well the integrated and "semi"-intergrated designs holdup, but only 1-2 years is not sufficient time. Give the design 5-10 years and see how many frames with this design are still rideable at that point. I personally don't mind the internal design, but would never buy a bike with the integrated or semi-intergrated design.

And before you start ranting some more LazyWriter, I consider the Litespeed/Merlin design an internal headset and don't really have a problem with it except again you are limited to what headset you use. No cool upgrades to the Chris king.
Can't resist . . .Lazywriter
Jan 28, 2003 6:01 PM
I agree with everything you say but I stated that most high end frames are moving away from the truly internal design.

As far as choices, I am limited but in reality, whoever makes the headset has become less important in the internal design as any high quality bearing will do. It is the frame manufacturing that becomes of paramount importance. I use Cane Creek IS-6 which are high quality stainless steel cased. Not much King could do to improve upon that. Therefore having a King headset will be more aesthetic than functional. If they (King) made a bearing cartridge for my Litespeed, the only real difference will be that small top cap that would come in one of their unique colors which is purely aesthetic. A cartridge is a cartridge and the level of quality varies more in the type of bearing used and stainless steel casing. Not going to vary greatly between manufacturers.
As far as the potential problems you mention, (pitting, knocking around etc). All those are results of poor maintenance and adjustment and can be problematic in both the integrated and traditional headset design.
As far as all the "choices" with integrated headsets, Shimano, King, CC and Campy are essentially the the choices. There are others but I would only consider these on my high end bikes. If my integrated hs works lasts 1/2 as long as the ones on my tradtiional headtubes (Shimano), I will still get many many many years without issue.
BTW to the other guy, Campy can be used on with the new cups in Litespeed and Merlins. It was the earlier cups that were an issue. I am not justifying or rationalizing my purchase. Trust me, if my bike were problematic, I would be the first to criticize and dump it for a new one. I just pointed out how the topic seems to have gone away when it initially conjured up so much contoversy. Even the magazines don't even mention the "negatives" anymore like they did in the beginning.
People resist change because they are afraid of the unkown. A quote which explains a lot.
Can't resist . . .Rob Sal
Jan 29, 2003 1:19 AM
My biggest worry is the number of standards for these headsets.
I think its gonna be a case of keeping an eye on the market, see which of the current 'standards' develops in to THE standard, and if the one your bike uses isn't the chosen one then make sure you buy a lifetime (of the frame) supply whilst you still can. And then you shouldn't have to worry.
Can't resist . . .Lazywriter
Jan 29, 2003 7:38 PM
It is not like the Cane Creek I am using is like the proprietary Pinarello headsets that are more obscure. Plus, Litespeed gives a lifetime warranty and would need to stand behing their own design based upon the warranty alone.
Worst case scenario, if I still have the bike in 15 years, I wil send it in to have the headtube chopped off and have the "next" style headtube welded on. I cannot foresee a need to go through more than 2-3 headset at best in the "lifetime of the frame". We all know we never keep bikes that long.
Can't resist . . .Rob Sal
Jan 30, 2003 1:10 AM
True, I keep saying this is my last bike for a long time, and it rarely is. So it may be 2-3 will be enough for the 'lifetime' of the frame especially if its an Al. You have to bear in mind though, some people will make the financial stretch to keep an expensive titanium frame for a LONG time, thats one of the selling points of Ti afterall.

As for a lifetime warranty, it depends how generous the company wants to be, personally I would not expect a frame builder to cover 'normal wear and tear', nor would I expect them to update a headset design under warranty.
Warranties cover poor workmanship which leads to frame failiure. I would call anything more (like your example of the free new cups) as good customer service. And frame makers can also go bust, leaving your lifetime warranty worthless.

I didn't know Pinarello had a proprietary headset! Doesn't sound promising, but then 'all' their frames are Al!!
Thanks for the feedback Lazy...ol
Jan 28, 2003 6:19 PM
I actually had the cups and the cane creek headset examined on my Merlin at my local LBS, and on inspection it was quite clear that there was far too much play between the bearings and the cups. I have already emailed Merlin and outlined the problem to them.
Once again thank you for your response.
No problem and I am confident thatLazywriter
Jan 28, 2003 7:15 PM
all will be in order once they pop in the right cups.
At least they're not BANKRUPT like Cannondale!!!!!philthy underwear
Jan 27, 2003 9:21 PM
At least they're not BANKRUPT like Cannondale!!!!!bugleboy
Jan 28, 2003 2:17 PM
what does that have to do with anything? They are going chapter 11 reorganization. Basically they will close the motorsports division, but the bikes will continue. Read the press release, please!