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Headset overtightening
#1
I have a Fondriest and could not get the headset to tighten without over tightening and then it will not steer properly because of heavy drag on the bars. I replaced the headset with no change so I replaced the steel fork with s Hylix carbon fiber bar and another new heatset and pinch steering head lock. Still it wont adjust properly. it acts as if the bottom headset bearing is too deep in the cup. If I adjust the fork so that there is no play in the bearing the fork is too tight. Loosening it up and the fork rattles. I have built up dozens and dozens of bi8kes without this problem and have replaced all of the parts that could effect that so don't tell me I don't know how to adjust a headset.

Any ideas of what the problem could be would be appreciated. The drag on the bars is barely short of crashing you. The steel fork was threaded and the Hylix fork is threadless. The group is Campy Record 11 speed.
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#2
(04-04-2024, 04:23 PM)Frankly Wrote:  I have a Fondriest and could not get the headset to tighten without over tightening and then it will not steer properly because of heavy drag on the bars. I replaced the headset with no change so I replaced the steel fork with s Hylix carbon fiber bar and another new heatset and pinch steering head lock. Still it wont adjust properly. it acts as if the bottom headset bearing is too deep in the cup. If I adjust the fork so that there is no play in the bearing the fork is too tight. Loosening it up and the fork rattles. I have built up dozens and dozens of bi8kes without this problem and have replaced all of the parts that could effect that so don't tell me I don't know how to adjust a headset.

Any ideas of what the problem could be would be appreciated. The drag on the bars is barely short of crashing you. The steel fork was threaded and the Hylix fork is threadless. The group is Campy Record 11 speed.

I have a Fondriest also ('98/'99 X Status) with the original build components on it (headset Campagnolo); steel threaded fork. No issues after 25 years. Have you had it since new? If not it may be that another owner/shop put the wrong size bearings in it. I also have not really had the problem you are referring to, but my thought is that the seating surface is not allowing the race to fit properly, or same with the cup in the head tube which would cause it to bind before you can properly take up the excess play until, as you stated, it becomes too tight. I will pass your issue on to some folks I know and see what their take on it is.
Take care,
Jesper

"I am become Death, the destroyer of bicycles." NJS
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#3
Make sure you have the proper distance between the top cap and the steerer tube.

There should be 3mm gap.

This is a simple, and common cause of what you're experiencing.
  Reply
#4
(04-05-2024, 02:51 AM)ReapThaWhirlwind Wrote:  Make sure you have the proper distance between the top cap and the steerer tube.

There should be 3mm gap.

This is a simple, and common cause of what you're experiencing.



There is the possibility that the head tube was not properly faced which would cause misalignment and thus binding the headset when adjusting to remove end play.
Take care,
Jesper

"I am become Death, the destroyer of bicycles." NJS
  Reply
#5
(04-04-2024, 10:22 PM)Jesper Wrote:  
(04-04-2024, 04:23 PM)Frankly Wrote:  I have a Fondriest and could not get the headset to tighten without over tightening and then it will not steer properly because of heavy drag on the bars. I replaced the headset with no change so I replaced the steel fork with s Hylix carbon fiber bar and another new heatset and pinch steering head lock. Still it wont adjust properly. it acts as if the bottom headset bearing is too deep in the cup. If I adjust the fork so that there is no play in the bearing the fork is too tight. Loosening it up and the fork rattles. I have built up dozens and dozens of bi8kes without this problem and have replaced all of the parts that could effect that so don't tell me I don't know how to adjust a headset.

Any ideas of what the problem could be would be appreciated. The drag on the bars is barely short of crashing you. The steel fork was threaded and the Hylix fork is threadless. The group is Campy Record 11 speed.

I have a Fondriest also ('98/'99 X Status) with the original build components on it (headset Campagnolo); steel threaded fork. No issues after 25 years. Have you had it since new? If not it may be that another owner/shop put the wrong size bearings in it. I also have not really had the problem you are referring to, but my thought is that the seating surface is not allowing the race to fit properly, or same with the cup in the head tube which would cause it to bind before you can properly take up the excess play until, as you stated, it becomes too tight. I will pass your issue on to some folks I know and see what their take on it is.

I have an X-Status as well. The headset had to be replaced, after I bought it used, because it had never been cleaned and re-greased making it crunchy when you turned it - though it didn't steer badly. Those loose bearing headsets weren't available anymore and the races were badly worn so I just bought a sealed bearing headset. Then it simply would not adjust. I assumed that the press on lower race was worn so I got a carbon fiber fork. But it feels like the lower split crown is too thin and if you tighten it enough so that the headset doesn't click when you hold the front brake and shake the bike back and forth, the headset is too tight and you cannot steer the bike because it is binding somewhere.

My assumption is that the lower split crown is too short vertically and that the base of the steering tube is rubbing against the lower headset cup. I have 8 bikes and this is the only one that has given me any trouble adjusting the headset. And I tried replacing the original threaded headset with a seal bearing unit also.

At this point I'm about to take it to a local shop owned by one of the mechanics that used to work for the 7-11 team. But I've been working on my own bikes forever and never had a problem like this.

(04-05-2024, 01:56 PM)Jesper Wrote:  
(04-05-2024, 02:51 AM)ReapThaWhirlwind Wrote:  Make sure you have the proper distance between the top cap and the steerer tube.

There should be 3mm gap.

This is a simple, and common cause of what you're experiencing.



There is the possibility that the head tube was not properly faced which would cause misalignment and thus binding the headset when adjusting to remove end play.


That sounds like a good idea but the top cap has more than enough clearance and if that were the problem wouldn't it be too loose rather than too tight? The top cap rotates with the bearing. And 1" steering parts are hard to come by.

(04-05-2024, 01:56 PM)Jesper Wrote:  
(04-05-2024, 02:51 AM)ReapThaWhirlwind Wrote:  Make sure you have the proper distance between the top cap and the steerer tube.

There should be 3mm gap.

This is a simple, and common cause of what you're experiencing.



There is the possibility that the head tube was not properly faced which would cause misalignment and thus binding the headset when adjusting to remove end play.


That sounds like a good idea but the top cap has more than enough clearance and it that were the problem wouldn't it be too loose rather than too tight? The top cap rotates with the bearing. And 1" steering parts are hard to come by.
  Reply
#6
(04-04-2024, 04:23 PM)Frankly Wrote:  I have a Fondriest and could not get the headset to tighten without over tightening and then it will not steer properly because of heavy drag on the bars. I replaced the headset with no change so I replaced the steel fork with s Hylix carbon fiber bar and another new heatset and pinch steering head lock. Still it wont adjust properly. it acts as if the bottom headset bearing is too deep in the cup. If I adjust the fork so that there is no play in the bearing the fork is too tight. Loosening it up and the fork rattles. I have built up dozens and dozens of bi8kes without this problem and have replaced all of the parts that could effect that so don't tell me I don't know how to adjust a headset.

Any ideas of what the problem could be would be appreciated. The drag on the bars is barely short of crashing you. The steel fork was threaded and the Hylix fork is threadless. The group is Campy Record 11 speed.
It is possible that the head tube of the frame is not aligned due to a manufacturing flaw or an earlier mishap. First get this verified from a mechanic, if you can't do this. There are some good youtube videos you can watch to check yourself.
Check the upper cap. It is possible for even a fresh one to have a flaw that keeps it from being adjusted properly. If you can, try using an alternative top cap.
The steerer tube diameter of the Hylix fork and the Fondriest head tube may not be exactly the same. To be sure, measure the steerer tube and check its dimensions against those of the frame.
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