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Tight headset

Old 01-14-22, 02:34 AM
  #1  
alij2018
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Tight headset

So, this is weird issue. I just change my bearings of my headset. They are caged bearing. I tight the start nut normal, and I noticed a tightness sensation when moving the handlebar. When I ride also I can feel it.

I loose a little and still feel it. I cannot loose more else there will be a little play. I have never experienced something like this before.

I can ride the bike but I can feel that tightness sensation too. What are the possible causes for this?
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Old 01-14-22, 05:38 AM
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The upper bearing cup is probably bottoming out on the top of the frame and needs shimming for clearance. But would need to see some photos to confirm what is going on there.
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Old 01-14-22, 05:48 AM
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POints to ponder:

Did you replace bearing with the exact same model of retainer?
Is is possible the bearings are in upside down?
Did you pull the cups out of the frame in your service of the headset?

If all else fails:
Going to a loose bearing is an option as well.

rusty
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Old 01-14-22, 07:41 AM
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Originally Posted by 100bikes View Post
POints to ponder:

Did you replace bearing with the exact same model of retainer?
Is is possible the bearings are in upside down?
Did you pull the cups out of the frame in your service of the headset?

If all else fails:
Going to a loose bearing is an option as well.

rusty
+1, easy to do.
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Old 01-14-22, 08:27 AM
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alij2018
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Originally Posted by 100bikes View Post
POints to ponder:

Did you replace bearing with the exact same model of retainer?
Is is possible the bearings are in upside down?
Did you pull the cups out of the frame in your service of the headset?

If all else fails:
Going to a loose bearing is an option as well.

rusty
Yes I replaced same model. No they are not upside down. I didn't remove bearing cup.

I am planning to go sealed cartridcartridge next month maybe. Meanwhile I will ride the bike like it is.
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Old 01-14-22, 08:31 AM
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And yet you obviously did something wrong.... Maybe time for a visit to the shop?
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Old 01-14-22, 08:41 AM
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Originally Posted by shelbyfv View Post
And yet you obviously did something wrong.... Maybe time for a visit to the shop?
Not necessarily. Sometimes they do need shimming. My Giant Defy needed an extra top bearing shim when it arrived from the factory. Otherwise it would rub slightly on the top of the head tube as the bearing play was taken out. Without the shim I couldn't adjust the headset properly to remove bearing freeplay without binding the steering. It just needed another 0.25 mm shim to prevent binding.
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Old 01-14-22, 08:47 AM
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Just saying that apparently it worked OK before he messed with it.
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Old 01-14-22, 09:13 AM
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Originally Posted by shelbyfv View Post
Just saying that apparently it worked OK before he messed with it.
Yep, could be user error or just tolerances. No way of knowing with the info given.
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Old 01-14-22, 09:27 AM
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I forgot to add, when I got the caged bearing, it was a little bend. I tried to get it correct but not fully. Both caged bearings. Not sure if this is the cause. I will switch to cartridge bearing next month. I will keep riding meanwhile. This sucks.
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Old 01-14-22, 10:05 AM
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C'mon OP, you've been around for a few years. This is a mechanical question and should be in 'bicycle mechanics' not general discussion.
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Old 01-14-22, 10:07 AM
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i've had these same symptoms on a couple bike builds over the years : for me it was the top lock nut was very slightly running out of threads before touching the top of the fork tube. i added a 1 - 2 mm spacer in the headset stack and it fixed those symptoms
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Old 01-14-22, 10:21 AM
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Originally Posted by alij2018 View Post
So, this is weird issue. I just change my bearings of my headset. They are caged bearing. I tight the start nut normal, and I noticed a tightness sensation when moving the handlebar. When I ride also I can feel it.

I loose a little and still feel it. I cannot loose more else there will be a little play. I have never experienced something like this before.

I can ride the bike but I can feel that tightness sensation too. What are the possible causes for this?
I get the impression, though I am not completely sure, that this is a threaded headset ("tight the start nut") and not a threadless unit. I'm betting on the bent bearing cage. It also is possible that the bearing races are dented (you can see this visually) and that you have the so-called "indexed steering" as a result. This could happen because when you reassembled the headset things lined up differently than before you did the overhaul. Or maybe you had this issue before your maintenance but didn't realize it. I'm curious how you could install cartridge bearings in a threaded headset that was designed for loose/caged bearings.
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Old 01-14-22, 10:29 AM
  #14  
alij2018
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Originally Posted by KerryIrons View Post
I get the impression, though I am not completely sure, that this is a threaded headset ("tight the start nut") and not a threadless unit. I'm betting on the bent bearing cage. It also is possible that the bearing races are dented (you can see this visually) and that you have the so-called "indexed steering" as a result. This could happen because when you reassembled the headset things lined up differently than before you did the overhaul. Or maybe you had this issue before your maintenance but didn't realize it. I'm curious how you could install cartridge bearings in a threaded headset that was designed for loose/caged bearings.
No this is a threadless headset. I own a Cannondale Trail 5 2020. When I bought the bearings, they were a little bent in my bag. I tried to make them right but they were not fully. I thought that when they will be compressed, they will be shaped to normal again. Well, the bend thing is just an assumption. The only way to find out is to disassemble again. Like I said, even I loose the headset, I can still feel a little tightness. But the handlebar was moving better. However, I cannot ride like that as there will be play.

For the sealed bearing, well, i will install new bearing cup which are coming with it. Already bought online. It will be here next month. I used sealed before, never got that issue. In fact, I have assembled forks many times o different bikes too and even with caged bearing I have never experienced that.
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Old 01-14-22, 10:56 AM
  #15  
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Still got the old bearings? If so, pop the new bearings out of their cage, install them loose in the race (use grease to hold them in place) and add as many of the 'old' bearings as necessary to make up the remaining space in the race leaving room to add one more,(but don't). Headsets run smoother with loose balls as opposed to caged ones - much free-er to rock and roll as needed.
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Old 01-14-22, 11:47 AM
  #16  
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Originally Posted by KerryIrons View Post
I get the impression, though I am not completely sure, that this is a threaded headset ("tight the start nut") and not a threadless unit. I'm betting on the bent bearing cage. It also is possible that the bearing races are dented (you can see this visually) and that you have the so-called "indexed steering" as a result. This could happen because when you reassembled the headset things lined up differently than before you did the overhaul. Or maybe you had this issue before your maintenance but didn't realize it. I'm curious how you could install cartridge bearings in a threaded headset that was designed for loose/caged bearings.
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Old 01-14-22, 01:58 PM
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alij2018
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Originally Posted by brooklyn_bike View Post
i've had these same symptoms on a couple bike builds over the years : for me it was the top lock nut was very slightly running out of threads before touching the top of the fork tube. i added a 1 - 2 mm spacer in the headset stack and it fixed those symptoms
Bingo. I was waiting someone to comment on top cap or nut. You can be right. I just changed top cap. It decreases the the tightness a very very very little bit. I installed a flat bottom top cap. I guess, a 0.5mm or 1mm additional spacer may solve this. But I don't have right now. Neither the shop.
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