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Mr_Pacman 05-23-20 12:06 PM

Small gap in headset. Is this a problem?
I've got a 2017 Jamis Renegade. According to the specs on the Jamis website, the headset is an FSA Orbit c-40b. I'm not sure how to confirm that by looking at the headset.

I haven't used the bike too much, and today noticed a very small gap at the bottom of the headset:

I took off the top cap, removed the stem and this is what I see:

I did a lot of reading online and was expecting to perhaps see a bearing upside down. Is that silver ring with the split in it the bearing, or is it some type of snap ring?

I pushed as hard as I could on it with finger strength and it's not budging at all. I then put the black cap on top of it (not sure what this piece is called) and it still won't budge.

When I put the cap on, we still get that gap:

Any thoughts on if it's supposed to be like this, or if I have an issue? If it's an issue, can it be fixed by me (I've got limited experience but do have basic tools and can follow instructions) or is this something that a bike store with some type of a press will need to address?


Juan el Boricua 05-23-20 01:12 PM

That silvery split ring is called a compression ring; it wedges between "bearing cover" and fork to maintain headset adjustment. Although I've read and worked on some threadless headsets I've no experience on your particular model; on the onesthat I have, that gap is seen and it is just cosmetic. If your headset is not indexing or too loose, then everything is as it should be. But please wait for any of the more knowledgeable people from the forum chime, in just in case.

Andrew R Stewart 05-23-20 02:43 PM

Don't be too worried about that gap. Even if it was 1/4 the amount water and the dissolved crap will get past it. It's doing the maintenance periodically that will keep the bearings running nicely. Andy

Miele Man 05-23-20 07:55 PM

Originally Posted by Andrew R Stewart (Post 21492943)
Don't be too worried about that gap. Even if it was 1/4 the amount water and the dissolved crap will get past it. It's doing the maintenance periodically that will keep the bearings running nicely. Andy

For simple cosmetic reasons, could a large O-ring be put where that gap is to hide it and maybe keep out more water? Or would that stiffen the steering to much?


Andrew R Stewart 05-23-20 08:25 PM

All a contact O ring will do WRT intrusion is to reduce the size of the grit getting in. and reduce the water getting out. Water reduces mountains and cuts through rock so a seal is little long term protection, hence my periodic maintenance commit. If the o ring is in contact/compression it will add steering friction but this too will reduce over time. Andy

Mr_Pacman 05-23-20 08:42 PM

Thanks for all of the replies. My concerns with this gap were the following, in order of importance:

1) Safety
2) premature wear/tear on components
3) cosmetics.

If I'm reading this correctly, it appears to be more of a cosmetic issue vs safety / wear so I'm happy about that.

Andrew Stewart, what's the best way to maintain this if I can't get the compression ring out? I ride this bike in the summer in dry conditions. I don't ride in the wet or on mountain trails with lots of dirt. It's mainly street riding and the occasional hard packed gravel or dirt.

Thanks for your help with this. I'll button it all back up as I'm going for a 30km ride tomorrow.


Andrew R Stewart 05-23-20 09:13 PM

James- Like most all bike systems a periodic take apart, cleaning, assessing of wear and reassembly (with original or replacement pending assessment) with proper technique and lube is all that's needed. A lot of words to meant maintaining the bike. Of course no water exposure means that far less grit/grime will be collected at the inner seal of the actual bearing. Remember that bike bearings have had non contact seals (what most often call dust caps) for decades with these bikes doing just fine is taken care of. Of course in today's world of big marketing claims and little "value" of care during the life of a component (meaning parts are now considered to be disposable, what with development/marketing cycles happening so frequently) the idea of extending the life of parts is less important then how to install new ones. Andy

AKHIker 05-24-20 09:27 PM

Also seen the small gap on many different bikes. As long as there's no play and it's all moving smooth, it's all good

cpach 05-24-20 09:43 PM

The top cap needs some clearance to the top of the headset cup to turn. That's more than ideal, but not a functional problem. I wouldn't worry about it.

ilcaccillo 05-25-20 12:50 PM

I use Weldtite Citrus Degreaser, works great for chain cleaning.

I leave it there for some hours and then work with the toothbrush

CliffordK 05-25-20 01:33 PM

You could probably reduce the thickness of the split ring slightly with a file (or a lathe). You don't want to go to far, but perhaps enough to cut the gap in half. It wouldn't make a big difference, but it might help cosmetically. However, you'd have to be very careful not to significantly taper it otherwise you could damage the headset.

princo 05-26-20 12:29 AM

Loosen the stem bolts and try tightening the top cap while the stem is loose as this will push down the all the rings and close the gap. If you fully tightened the stem prior to the top cap, when you tighten the top cap, this will put pressure only on the rings that are on top of the stem and not the ones below it, including the last one (with the FSA logo).

Thruhiker 05-26-20 08:24 AM

Just a heads up, citrus cleaners and degreasers should not be used on anodized aluminum. I'm told it ruins the finish.

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