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Hey folks,

I'm using a King headset with a Bontrager Select Stem, and the gap between the bearing cap and the upper cup is not even all the way around. I had my head tube faced, and my star nut is straight, and it isn't the spacers. Though I haven't measured it with a caliper, I'm pretty sure the stem is a bit out of spec (shorter on one side than the other, just marginally) as it's not ultra-high quality. I don't have this problem with the Kings on my other bikes, which have other stems (FSA and Thomson), just this one.

It doesn't bind at all, but the gap is very close on one side and wider on the other. My question is, what's the worst that can happen if I run this set-up? According to King, if the cap doesn't sit evenly, the seas will boil, the sky will turn yellow, dog and cats will start living together, and there'll be mass hysteria...

But in a practical world (where one millionth of a millimeter deviation from specification isn't considered anathema), I'm assuming the bearings will just wear a little faster (8 years instead of 10?) than if it was absolutely perfect. I guess the issue is loading the bearings of the headset unevenly.

Should I run it as is and not worry about it? Or pony up for a better stem (which I'd like to avoid...)? Is this a big deal, a little deal, or umm, no deal at all?

Thanks in advance.
 

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I've noticed this effect on the Bontrager stems. As long as you can get the headset adjusted properly, it should only be a cosmetic effect. The top cap is only used to preload the bearings and doesn't carry any load. That said, it is a real eyesore and I would probably try something else. The Ritchey stems are a good alternative - they're cheap, strong, well-made, and are nothing too bizarre.
 

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I had this problem on my King headset for a long time. For me, it was the cap itself and not the stem... It worked fine for about a year, but eventually my headset started loosening up and needed tightening on every ride. I got a new bearing cap and the problem went away. Strangely enough, I can't remember if I got it free from King or if I just went out and bought it.
 
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