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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Bike rode fine for the first few hundred miles. Now the headset won't stay tightened, and even when tightened correctly, one can still feel a bit of play in there. I can ride a few miles but as soon as I torque on it as in climbing,..."klunk!" It's like it just pops out of place at the top bearing.

LBS wrench guy has been in touch with the De Rosa importer, and Campy as well discussing the issue. By phone description with them, both companies believe the componentry is correct. According to my LBS, things "seem" to be seated correctly and doesn't look like any flaws in the headtube. He also doesn't think the top bearing can be "pressed" any further down and doesn't want to crank on the thing to try anyway, because he's pretty sure from talking with De Rosa, it is where it's supposed to be. But he's not entirely sure.

2007 De Rosa Idols come with Record headset already installed at the factory, I don't understand "fully integrated" vs. "partially integrated" so I'm not sure which this is.

I bought the bike "almost new" from a person who swears he knows nothing of any prior headset problems. I do wonder though, as the first "spacer" (the cap that snugs down onto the headtube over the top bearing ring and internal dust cap) is a "Colnago." Internal bearing dust caps say "campagnolo."

Shown in the pics are what the bearing assembly looks like after it "klunks" out of place when riding (you can see where the metal from the Colnago cap and the dust cover are shredding from rubbing after the headset pops.) Also shown is the bottom bearing.

So, the bike has to go back in to the LBS. If we can't figger it out, De Rosa importer says it may have to go back to them to see if they can sort it out. I seriously do not want to be without my bike for Lord knows how long!

Does anyone out there have any clues/experience with this problem???
 
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Some silly questions;

Is the steer tube alloy or is it carbon?

Did the expander plug in the tube by any chance get greased when the bike was being installed? This would certainly prevent it holding tight when you reef down on the top cap.

I have been known to stack up a bunch of spacers ( to reach above the steer tube ) put a block of wood across them and give the whole she-bang a smart rap with a hammer to really seat everything.

Is the Plastic ring on the headset worn? does it need to be replaced? Does it need to be there? I have one bike that was magically better as soon as I tossed that useless piece of plastic in the garbage can. It takes up space and creates unneeded volume in the headset stack.

I am also a firm believer in the locking headset spacers - you get everything firmly seated in place then put on the locking headset spacer, immediately above the headset , tighten it down hard and then install the stem. They work well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
toomanybikes said:
Some silly questions;

Is the steer tube alloy or is it carbon?

Did the expander plug in the tube by any chance get greased when the bike was being installed? This would certainly prevent it holding tight when you reef down on the top cap.

I have been known to stack up a bunch of spacers ( to reach above the steer tube ) put a block of wood across them and give the whole she-bang a smart rap with a hammer to really seat everything.

Is the Plastic ring on the headset worn? does it need to be replaced? Does it need to be there? I have one bike that was magically better as soon as I tossed that useless piece of plastic in the garbage can. It takes up space and creates unneeded volume in the headset stack.

I am also a firm believer in the locking headset spacers - you get everything firmly seated in place then put on the locking headset spacer, immediately above the headset , tighten it down hard and then install the stem. They work well.

Hi TooMany,

The steer tube is carbon. I have no idea about expander plug. The whole headset/fork was assembled in Italy. But that is an interesting point.

Yeah my LBS was saying the plastic ring looked fine and esplained it's just there as a little added nonsense piece in his opinion too. I note that it does not seem to want to snug down in. I think I'll go remove it, reassemble and see how it feels.

Back in fifteen. (I'm slow).

Thank you, for the ideas bud.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Nope. removing plastic doo-hickey didn't work.

So I put the plastic doo-hickey back in (making sure to pull up on steer tube at same time so I could push down firmly in place). Still had a tiny bit of play. When I bounced the front end, it got worse.

Why oh why does it do this. :cryin:

You know TooMany, back when I had my old 87 steel De Rosa...I rode the ever loving snot out it, raced it, crashed it in maybe three races, crashed it once when I clipped my buddy's back wheel, (noob error) and aside from a cable tightening or two...nothing ever, ever, ever, went out of whack on it.

These new-fangled contraptions are ticking me off.
 
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OldEndicottHiway said:
Nope. removing plastic doo-hickey didn't work.

So I put the plastic doo-hickey back in (making sure to pull up on steer tube at same time so I could push down firmly in place). Still had a tiny bit of play. When I bounced the front end, it got worse.

Why oh why does it do this. :cryin:

You know TooMany, back when I had my old 87 steel De Rosa...I rode the ever loving snot out it, raced it, crashed it in maybe three races, crashed it once when I clipped my buddy's back wheel, (noob error) and aside from a cable tightening or two...nothing ever, ever, ever, went out of whack on it.

These new-fangled contraptions are ticking me off.
Is the crown race fully seated?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
As far as I can ascertain by look and feel, yes.

As for if there's a problem with the interface between the crown bearing and the bottom cup in the headset... that is getting way beyond my knowledge/ability to determine. LBS took a look up there and said they see no apparent problem with the bottom cup.

The top cup does protrude above the head tube by about 2mm (you can see in the pic) but again, LBS says this shouldn't be an issue at all as long as everything is seating, which it appears to do.

I'm wondering if it isn't the expander like you said, but according to LBS this "looks" OK too.

Well, time to take it back in and hope and pray the mystery can be solved. LBS doesn't think getting a new headset will fix the problem.
 

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A couple o' quick suggestions:

Try another LBS and have them inspect the headset, headtube, and the fork steerer tube, then have them reassemble the headset. If that doesn't do the trick, you might also consider going to the expense of getting a replacement headset: save some money and get a Campy integrated headset a few clicks down from Record (not too much of a difference between Record and Veloce when it comes to integrated headsets IMHO).

Finally, is your stem able to cinch down at the proper torque onto the steerer tube or is it maxing out? You may need to shim the stem a bit. A thin piece of aluminum from a soda can will do the trick.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
One last thing before I head to bed...

Could it possibly be putting another spacer (or cutting the steer tube) would work?

I'm completely tech-dumb here. But it seems that when I hit the "dead end" when tightening down that top bolt, things haven't been "pulled together" completely when I hit where I think I should not torque that bolt any further.

Earlier I experimented by removing one of the 2mm spacers and the problem was worse. I hit that "dead end" when tightening the bolt even before the top cap was flush with the steer tube.

It could be that the Colnago seats well over the top cup, but that it is shorter than what was originally on the bike???

I'm grasping at straws here as I've never dealt with this stuff, and don't understand how it all works.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Yeah Bill I'm thinking I might take to a shop in the Seattle area (it's a long drive!) which is the closest De Rosa dealer.

Yes, the stem bolts do not max out; it seems to fit very well.

However, did you read my above entry about the the possibility of the top bolt maxing out?
(I do notice though, that only about 3/4 of that bolt is threading down before what feels like I'm "hitting bottom" when I torque it. I judge 3/4 based on the marks left behind on the bolt itslef indicating how far it's threading into that expander.)

Am I way off on my thinking here? I haven't a clue...


BTW, thank you, and Toomany as well for taking the time to help me with this! I'm sure you have your own bikes to be working on. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Ah HA.

Maybe that's it. I just removed a spacer again to test my little theory. Sure enough, I hit the end of being able to torque that top bolt before things got pulled tight.

(I do loosen the stem and apply slight upward pull on the stem before tightening the top bolt. Is this correct?)

I put the spacer back in and it was "better" (less play in the headset) but not perfect.

Perhaps one more spacer and there will be enough stack height to provide adequate leverage when torquing things together (or "apart" as I understand it)?

What think ye all? Please keep in mind up until a few days ago I've never even seen this stuff internally before so if my theory is laughable, this is why.

Thanks for bearing with me. :thumbsup:

OK. Seriously off to bed. Thank you both!!!
 
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There should be ( when everything is set up right) a couple of MM space between the top of the spacer/stem stack and the top of the steer tube. This allows for the top cap to press it all down together when you tightten the bolt on the top cap.

The bolt tightens into the expander plug and pulls the top cap down tight, which compresses the whole spacer stack into a tight "unit" and also loads the headset bearings.

Makes sense if it's coming loose that maybe there isn't room at the top of the stack for the top cap to pull down properly an load the bearings. Can't hurt to try another 1mm or 2 mm spacer and see what happens.

You shouldn't have to be taking to Seattle - it isn't that complex a set-up, surely your guy there can figure this out - I would go the shop and just buy the spacers - do the test at home.
 

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As Dave Hickey suggests, double check that the top of the steerer tube is a couple mm below the top of the stem and any speacers you may have above the stem.

Also, if the top bolt is bottoming out before everything is sufficiently tightened, then you will need to slide the expander plug (within the steerer tube) down a bit further. Expander plugs intended for carbon steerer tubes are prone to slip.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks Bill, Toomany and Dave

Will buy the spacers before going to work today. I Can't wait to get back home tonight and see if it does the trick. I really do think it's as simple as this. Keeping my fingers crossed and prayers sent.

Test ride tomorrow...:)
 
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BTW - I have 2 De Rosas.

Neither of them have this problem, of course they both have threaded headsets and "old fashioned" quill stems!!!
 

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I'd also try the extra spacer.

I also had a problem with seating a Record headset a while back and it turned out I had the plastic ring upside down. I can't remember though if it's orientated right in your pic.
 
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