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I just purchased an Easton EC90 SLX carbon fork. I will be installing it on my 2005 Litespeed Vortex (with integrated head tube) as soon as my Cane Creek IS-8 integrated headset arrives from Excel Sports.

The Easton installation instructions are at this link:

http://www.eastonbike.com/downloadable_files_unprotected/instal_instr/fork_07-EN.pdf

In figure 5 and 6 on page 2 of 2, it says to have the top of the steerer tube sticking out 7- 8 mm past the top of the stem clamp and then put a 10mm spacer above that so the top of the steer tube is 2-3 mm below the top of the spacer, then install the top cap.

I can see some sense in this because it keeps the clam pressure away from the very top of the steerer tube; however, I don't like the looks of the spacer above the stem clamp. I would like to have the top of the steer tube 2-3 mm below the top of the stem clamp as it was on my previous fork.

What are your opinions? Do I need to extent the steerer tube past the top of the stem clamp like Easton advises or can safely have the top of the steerer tube 2-3 mm below the top of the stem clamp?

All advice will be considered. ";0-)

Thanks in advance. bornin53
 

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Unsafe at Any Speed
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My 2 cents worth of advice is : by all means follow theirs.

Keeping stem pressure off the very end of the steerer is one thing, but there's more.

All stems I have seen have hollow horizontal tubes, unfortunately not blanked off at the steerer interface. You have an open tube, often with sharp edges too, against the steerer.

When a steerer is cut 2mm below the top of the stem, the stem's top edge might not even sit on the steerer, not properly anyway. The top part of the stem could be mainly supported by some sharp edges near the end of the steerer tube.

When there is the slightest rocking of the stem - when the steerer clamp is undertorqued, this is very likely given the meagre support - these edges will surely damage your steerer.

So, do allow a length of steerer to extend past the top of the stem. Looks be [email protected]#d.

BTW, my bike was built with the steerer end below the stem's top edge. I noticed ridges and wear marks on the steerer and moved the thinner spacer above the stem ASAP.

And while you're about it, make absolutely sure the stem has smooth edges where it will sit against your steerer tube. Mine felt pretty sharp and I smoothed the edges with 400 paper. Smooth only, not round. There is preciously little surface area to that interface already...


IMHO a rethink of stems is in order. The existing ones probably grew up with aluminum steerers, and better ones (blanked holes) are really required for carbon.
 

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I have another twist on this issue.
What if you have a 1" carbon steerer (SL 90) with an aluminum 1 1/8" shim under the stem. Does this negate the need for the 10mm spacer above the stem?
I would think that this would be a strong configuration and would protect the steerer adequately.
 

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MerlinJude said:
I have another twist on this issue.
What if you have a 1" carbon steerer (SL 90) with an aluminum 1 1/8" shim under the stem. Does this negate the need for the 10mm spacer above the stem?
I would think that this would be a strong configuration and would protect the steerer adequately.
The 1 cm spacer above the stem ensures that the stem will be positioned 7-8 mm's below the top of the steerer tube for optimal clamping force. Spacers below the stem lend nothing to this, so you still need that top spacer.
 
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