Author Topic: Headset bolt only finger tight, if that  (Read 852 times)

etuj

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 2
    • View Profile
Headset bolt only finger tight, if that
« on: April 26, 2011, 09:47:37 AM »
Hi, first post on here and all!
I recently purchased a Cannondale Trail SL3 (2011), unfortunately this was not out of choice but an insurance replacement for my old F6.

I have a question about the headset bolt, it appears to only have to be finger tight before there is resistance in the steering, i.e. it doesn't appear to be pulling everything together (clamping) as it should or I would expect. When I first got the bike there was a knocking which I thought was the headset, it wasn't and turned out to be the forks, I also mentioned the headset but they just tightened it a bit more.

A friend looked at it yesterday and everything seems setup correctly (without taking it apart) but he said it could come loose or water could find its way in over time.

I could take it back to the bike shop but it's been back a number of times already and it's a bit of a trek, I doubt they will really do much other than tighten some more and say nothing is wrong. I know this bolt shouldn’t be too tight, yet I wouldn’t say it’s tight at the moment. Thanks.

Bazz

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 691
    • View Profile
Re: Headset bolt only finger tight, if that
« Reply #1 on: April 26, 2011, 09:54:26 AM »
Is there any play in the headset? it doesn't always take much to pre-load the bearings, if there is play and tightening up more restricts the movement, is there enough of a gap between the top of the fork steerer and the top of the stem (5mm)? Hard to be to precise without seeing it.

 Oh, and welcome to the forum :D
« Last Edit: April 26, 2011, 09:56:04 AM by Bazz »

unklehomer

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1381
    • View Profile
Re: Headset bolt only finger tight, if that
« Reply #2 on: April 26, 2011, 10:04:58 AM »
Hmmmm.  I would say tighter than finger tight, but not rammed tight as tight can be by any stretch.  Snug with an alan key pushing on the long end.  this bolt compresses the headset so its all nice and snug.  Next thing, in fact first thing, with the front brake on, if you push the bike forward is there knocking/slight movement in the headset?   If so then its loose, or I would not rule out there being a foreign object in the headset somewhere, maybe in the bearings, stopping it from going snugly together, check this before forcing it down as you risk damage if this is the case. (i once got a bike back from bike shop with two old bearings in there, i didn't spot it soon enough and the headset was destroyed.)  Usually if it looks like a headset isn't together properly, then it isn't.

My first step would be loosen stem bolts, loosen headset bolt, lift the stem and spacers and see if they will then slide back together properly, some cheaper headsets take a bit of cajolling into their proper positions and it may just be misaligned.
www.singletraction.org.uk - Yorkshire Volunteer Trail Building Massive.

www.cheekytrails.co.uk - fighting the footpath n@z!s.
Facebook: A Bike Is Not A Horse

etuj

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 2
    • View Profile
Re: Headset bolt only finger tight, if that
« Reply #3 on: April 26, 2011, 11:23:47 AM »
Thanks so much for the prompt replies.
No there is no knocking; there is also the correct gap between tube and steerer. We had a look yesterday and it just seemed odd that you hardly tighten it much before you get resistance when steering, you can also turn the spacers with your hands, ok not too easily but I was told you shouldn't be able to do that. I say finger tight..if you imagine screwing a screw in, you go all the way up the thread until you meet the first bit of resistance, it's just like that and you don't even go a full turn.

I reckon it's probably fine, the shop have tightened it too and nothing was said, I'll just keep an eye on it and make sure it doesn't keep working itself loose.