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  1. #1
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    Help - I've no idea what I'm doing

    I'm currently attempting to build my first bike as I'm tired of not knowing how to do everything myself. (This will be my third bike)

    I'll almost there, but can't get rid of the play in the fork. The fork would rock back and forth a bit, so I loosened everything up and then pushed the stem down much harder by hand because it was super tight when putting it on in the first place. That took care of the rocking, so I think my theory was correct that I just hadn't actually pushed it down all the way to begin with. There is one more issue to remedy:

    The fork doesn't move back and forth anymore, and everything is relatively tight, but not quite tight enough because I can still spin the spacers with my fingers. They aren't super loose, but I can still spin them with just a little effort which isn't good. How can I fix this? Does this mean that the stem still isn't down far enough? There is one other small issue that may be the solution.

    The top cap? that you screw in to the top sits slightly above the stem. On my other bikes it goes down until it's flush, but this one won't.

    I am building up a Specialized Tarmac SL6 that I got used. It contains an expanded in the top of the fork/head unit area. Do I just need to add another spacer? The amount the top cap sits above the expander is only a couple of millimeters and odds much less than the thinner spacers that I got with the bike. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    I have a photo but don't see an option for uploading it on here. Here is a link:
    https://ibb.co/h27Bzd
    Last edited by AG8PO; 06-12-2018 at 06:42 AM. Reason: Adding link for photo

  2. #2
    'brifter' is a lame word.
    Reputation: cxwrench's Avatar
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    1) You're posting about how to fix something...this should be in 'components/wrenching'.
    2) You don't have to upload photos, just put them on imgur or some other photo hosting site and link to them...they'll still show up in your post. Adding a non-live link is ok, but not great. This is a very easy thing to do and makes your posts much easier to read.

    That said, w/o seeing photos my best guess is that your top cap is bottoming out on the expander in the fork and not allowing you to properly tighten the headset. This means you need another spacer somewhere. Doesn't matter if it's under the stem or on top of it.
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  3. #3
    tlg
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    Quote Originally Posted by cxwrench View Post
    That said, w/o seeing photos my best guess is that your top cap is bottoming out on the expander in the fork and not allowing you to properly tighten the headset.
    That, or he's simply not tightening it enough. Hard to tell from the explanation that he's actually tightening the headset.

    Quote Originally Posted by AG8PO View Post
    The fork would rock back and forth a bit, so I loosened everything up and then pushed the stem down much harder by hand because it was super tight when putting it on in the first place.
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  4. #4
    'brifter' is a lame word.
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    Quote Originally Posted by tlg View Post
    That, or he's simply not tightening it enough. Hard to tell from the explanation that he's actually tightening the headset.
    True, hey OP are you tightening by using the bolt and top cap? That's how you tighten a headset, not by pushing down on the stem. I'm sure you've heard of YouTube...go look for a video about how to adjust a threadless headset. Better than waiting for an answer here or trying to figure out how to post photos.
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by AG8PO View Post
    The fork would rock back and forth a bit, so I loosened everything up and then pushed the stem down much harder by hand
    From this statement, it appears that you don't know that the top cap is what is used to tighten the adjustment of the headset. If you tighten the top cap and the spacers can still be moved, then you need to add another (maybe 3 mm) spacer. The top edged of the top spacer should be a couple of mm above the top of the steerer tube. Then you install the top cap and tighten it so you just eliminate any play felt when rocking the fork.

  6. #6
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    From the picture in the link, you've got a bunch of spacer below the stem, none above it. Per what Kerry Irons said, you use the top cap to tighten (and stem shouldn't be tightened yet else this wouldn't work), and you MAY need one more spacer.

    All in all, though, if you are new to this here's one step where it might be worth taking to shop and getting help. Also, if you really don't want that many spacers you could check your fit and get the tube cut.

    Whatever you do, don't over-tighten anything, and use a torque wrench especially with carbon and especially while you're just learning how to do this stuff. Make sure you really know what you're doing with headset/fork install or get help. You want to make sure you have the right parts, for instance don't be hammering a star-fangled nut into a carbon steerer tube, etc...

    Edit: I think it looks like you need one more spacer if you're not going to cut the tube. Also, I attached link to the image below, but if you're going to post a lot here you should learn to do this, there are a couple ways to do it but neither is really hard. There's an insert image icon in the toolbar when you are posting.

    Edit 2: Could it be possible you are missing a piece of the STEM? Some have a piece that fits in there that helps change angles, if you are supposed to have that and don't, the thing is going to be loose and dangerous.

    Last edited by jetdog9; 06-12-2018 at 09:33 AM.

  7. #7
    tlg
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    Oh wow! That is so wrong!

    Can't really tell what that is under the top cap. It looks like the expander. And if so, doesn't appear to be in correctly.


    AG8PO... this is one area where it's not a good thing to have no idea what you're doing. Serious injury can occur. I suggest you take it to a shop and get it done right. After that you can work on learning once you see it properly.
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  8. #8
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    +1 on watching some You Tube videos or under the supervision of the local builder have them show you so that you can DIY. A 3-5mm spacer on top will allow you to adjust the headset. Use a torque wrench when snugging the fasteners up.

  9. #9
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    To everyone who replied, thank you!
    This was my first post here, and the only douchebag-ish post was surprisingly by the same person who gave the first and problem solving answer. (cxwrench→(douchebag part) I'm sure you've heard of YouTube...go look for a video about how to adjust a threadless headset. Better than waiting for an answer here or trying to figure out how to post photos. →I've unfortunately never heard of YouTube, or know anything about posting photos. Feel free to enlighten me via private message so I'll have some other useless text to ignore. It is apparent that you have enough free time to accommodate. And a non-live link was provided (right below the sentence I wrote that you referenced in your ignorant post). I posted using mobile, and saw no option to upload a photo or it would have been done. But no matter, someone else figured it out and even managed to have it show up on here (thank you, by the way))

    To everyone else, thank you. I added one spacer and the problem was solved. To hopefully answer everyone's doubts/concerns without replying directly: I know you have to screw the top cap down to tighten everything. I own and was using an electronic torque wrench for everything since it's all carbon (except for the stem), and I also know that the headset is extremely important and one of the quickest ways to get injured or worse if not done correctly, which is why I was asking here before giving up and going to a cycle shop this weekend.

    From previous experience, I did know about tightening the top cap, but got a bit confused as I used all the spacers provided and there was still play. Perhaps one was somehow misplaced when the frame set was mailed to me. Whatever the case, everything is good to go now. Thanks again, guys!

  10. #10
    'brifter' is a lame word.
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    Quote Originally Posted by AG8PO View Post
    To everyone who replied, thank you!
    This was my first post here, and the only douchebag-ish post was surprisingly by the same person who gave the first and problem solving answer. (cxwrench→(douchebag part) I'm sure you've heard of YouTube...go look for a video about how to adjust a threadless headset. Better than waiting for an answer here or trying to figure out how to post photos. →I've unfortunately never heard of YouTube, or know anything about posting photos. Feel free to enlighten me via private message so I'll have some other useless text to ignore. It is apparent that you have enough free time to accommodate. And a non-live link was provided (right below the sentence I wrote that you referenced in your ignorant post). I posted using mobile, and saw no option to upload a photo or it would have been done. But no matter, someone else figured it out and even managed to have it show up on here (thank you, by the way))

    To everyone else, thank you. I added one spacer and the problem was solved. To hopefully answer everyone's doubts/concerns without replying directly: I know you have to screw the top cap down to tighten everything. I own and was using an electronic torque wrench for everything since it's all carbon (except for the stem), and I also know that the headset is extremely important and one of the quickest ways to get injured or worse if not done correctly, which is why I was asking here before giving up and going to a cycle shop this weekend.

    From previous experience, I did know about tightening the top cap, but got a bit confused as I used all the spacers provided and there was still play. Perhaps one was somehow misplaced when the frame set was mailed to me. Whatever the case, everything is good to go now. Thanks again, guys!
    You're kidding, right?
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  11. #11
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    WOW.. I sure hope the OP is kidding
    "I refuse to be afraid of tomorrow, for I have seen yesterday & I love today!!"

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  12. #12
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    Probably shouldn't be putting a bike together if you don't know what your doing, just say'in!
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  13. #13
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    Is the OP like 70 years old?? NEVER heard of youtube? REALLY???????
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