fork in head tube play

zaxatron
Posts: 3
Joined: Fri Sep 22, 2017 6:36 pm

fork in head tube play

Postby zaxatron » Sat Oct 07, 2017 12:37 am

Hi everyone,

I have rebuilt my old Merida Sports S3 road bike (I am no qualified bike mechanic) with a newer group set and have just noticed that there is a lot of play between the fork steerer tube and the head tube inside.

So I thought that I would tighten the cap on top (I have loosened the stem first), but the play still remains no matter how tight I make the bolt on top.
I can see the top of the steerer tube is flush with the top of the stem. I thought the steerer tube should be lower but 2mm.
The stem was ported across from another bicycle that I had.

I pulled the fork apart and there is a bearing on top and one the bottom and noticed there is play.

Do you think that there are problems with the bearings or anything else in the fork? Is it serviceable?

Need some help

Thanks

Cheers

Zaxa

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Duck!
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Re: fork in head tube play

Postby Duck! » Sat Oct 07, 2017 1:21 am

The different frames could well have different head tube lengths, as suggested by the top of the steerer aligning with the top of the stem. You will need another spacer, even if only a 2.5mm one, in the stack; it is essential for proper assembly to have 2-3mm of stem or spacer above the top of the steerer tube, otherwise the cap will bottom out and you will not achieve correct preload.
I had a thought, but it got run over as it crossed my mind.

Philistine
Posts: 83
Joined: Mon Apr 18, 2016 1:57 pm

Re: fork in head tube play

Postby Philistine » Sat Oct 07, 2017 10:41 am

Duck! wrote: it is essential for proper assembly to have 2-3mm of stem or spacer above the top of the steerer tube, otherwise the cap will bottom out and you will not achieve correct preload.


Both of my main bikes are set up like this because that gives me my preferred handlebar height. However, I have seen many other people's bikes with the stem level with the top of the steerer tube, and I had the impression I was supposed to cut the latter to get mine to line up this way. I never did so because I doubted my ability to cut the steerer tube accurately enough (and because it is non-reversible). It seems from your comments that I have got the correct set up through serendipity.

zaxatron
Posts: 3
Joined: Fri Sep 22, 2017 6:36 pm

Re: fork in head tube play

Postby zaxatron » Sat Oct 07, 2017 11:54 am

Duck! wrote:You will need another spacer, even if only a 2.5mm one, in the stack; it is essential for proper assembly to have 2-3mm of stem or spacer above the top of the steerer tube, otherwise the cap will bottom out and you will not achieve correct preload.


Hi Duck!,

you were spot on. Thank you.

This morning I went to my LBS who provided me with another spacer which did the trick.
Now there is no play in the fork and the head tube.

Regards

Zaxa

eeksll
Posts: 2226
Joined: Tue Oct 20, 2009 10:36 pm

Re: fork in head tube play

Postby eeksll » Sat Oct 07, 2017 12:48 pm

as far as I understand, the spacer on top allows maximal contact area between the stem and the steerer.

I have been sent a notice by orbea saying I shouldn't have a spacer on top.

In the case of the notice, it looks like the expander cannot be fully inserted. In my case however, the expander can be fully inserted, further to that, the expander I have is very short and the way it works, prevents the expander from actually sitting anywhere near the top of the steerer. At the moment I have set mine up to have no spacer on top, but thinking I should probably move a spacer from bottom to top...

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