Look 555 headset question.
Hey guys, I have a 2008 Look 555 carbon frame and need to replace the original FSA headset. It is obviously not the old school external cups design. If anyone is familiar with this frame and knows what style I need please let me know. I know little about the newer "integrated" or "internal" type headsets. I even saw one ad that stated that the new Look frames came with a "Look-fit" headset, who knows what that means!
You need an IS standard headset with 41mm OD bearings. FSA and Cane Creek both makes them.
Not that I doubt you, but how do you know you need to replace the headset?
(I really only ask for selfish reasons... I've got a '08 585 that's been giving me some grief in the headset region... too much preload and it gets too tight and doesn't ride at all well with no hands, too little and there's between 1/16" and 1/8" of play, which bothers me...)
Originally Posted by Wolfman
I've bought replacement bearings for about $20. It's not worth wondering whether the bearings are shot, just buy new ones or get a new headset. You should be able to apply a substantial preload tension and no have problems with the wheel self-centering after a turn. I don't know how or where you're measureing that much play, but there should be zero freeplay.
Originally Posted by Wolfman
C-40 is right. Both the bikes mentioned use a very standard "drop in" integrated type, aka Aheadset, in a common size. If building up a new bike from scratch, Look provided correct headsets, extra spacers, etc. with their framesets. If building up a used frameset that's missing the headset, the following might be needed... I can't imagine a two year old bike needing a headset replacement already.
The FSA model used is their "Orbit IS". I think they also offer a "carbon" version ("Orbit CF"?), but all that's different is that the tapered spacer and the top cap are carbon instead of aluminum. Cane Creek (and others) make the same items, but I don't know their model names. Actually, I think Cane Creek holds the patent on this design.
Look seems to mostly use FSA on their bikes for the past 5 or 6 years. It's a very standard 1-1/8" integrated headset using two identical TH Industries 36x45 bearings (which can also be bought separately, if you already have all the other bits).
But, frankly I think it unlikely for a headset to wear out and need replacement on a two year old bike! More likely, it's mis-adjusted... see below.
Yours sounds like a clearance/installation issue to me, not a problem with the bearings themselves (unless they are completely "wrong".... i.e., the incorrect stack height). Integrated headset bearings are pretty slow to "wear out", and when they do usually play will be minor and mostly it will just be a "gritty" feeling to the bearings calling for replacement. Seems pretty unlikely on a 2008 bike unless it's done a whole lotta miles in really nasty conditions.
More likely it's issues of incorrect installation, adjustment, and spacing.
Disassemble and start at the bottom to check for proper installation and adequate clearances. If the bottom cup in the head tube is not worn or damaged, and assuming the bearing is the correct stack height, when the bearing is installed and the fork loosely fitted in place you should see a mm or two of space between the head tube and the fork crown.
If there isn't adequate clearance and the head tube is rubbing against the top of the fork, there are a couple things to check. First, I can't recall if the HSC4 fork on the 555 uses a crown race that's pressed on. (I don't have one here to check... and my 555 has an HSC5 fork on it anyway, which doesn't use a crown race at all). Simply check your fork. If it has a 36 degree flange about 2 or 3mm wide cast into the carbon, right where the steerer tube joins the fork crown, it doesn't require a separate, metal crown race. If the steerer tube joins the fork crown with a sharp, 90 degree angle... i.e. has no flange... then it needs the metal crown race pressed on.
AFAIK, the HSC5 fork on the 585 does not require a separate crown race. On two of these forks I have, it's built in as described above. AFAIK, there wasn't an earlier version of this fork that lacks the built in 36 degree flange.
If needed, a crown race can be purchased separately or would be included with the headset kit. Also check that the bearing isn't some incorrect type. I'd estimate the proper one is about 5mm tall. Both the top and bottom bearings should be identical on these particular bikes. The bottom bearing installs with oriented with the internal chamfer down, so that it fits onto the crown race on the fork. That chamfer serves to center the bearing on the fork steerer tube.
Up inside the bottom of the head tube on the bike you should see a metal seat permanently installed. (Some Look models don't have this... they only have carbon fiber seats that are formed when the bike is initially laid up and use a separate, replaceable seat... the 595 and 586 for example... But I am fairly certain both the 555 and 585 do use a permanently installed, aluminum bearing seat.)
The bottom bearing should be easily fit up into the head tube by hand. For final installation, smear a bit of grease on it... mainly to help seal it against any water getting inside. The grease also helps hold the bearing from dropping out. It might prevent "creaking", too.
Next drop the top top bearing in place and by hand press the split ring "retainer" down inside it. In this case, the inside chamfer of the bearing faces upwards, for the split ring to fit into. The split ring serves to center the bearing and will stand proud a few mm.
Next place the tapered spacer tube on top. On the straight 1-1/8" Look steering tubes, this is usually an FSA carbon piece. This is where spacing problems usually seem to occur. Sometimes thin shims are needed on top of the split ring retainer, to raise up the tapered spacer so it doesn't rub against the top of the head tube. It sort of depends upon what tapered spacer is used. Most Look with the original headset seem to have two, three or four of these very thin shims in there. Thin spacers can be bought from Jenson, Tree Fort, Performance, etc.
An alternative is to carefully file or sand off a bit of the bottom of the tapered spacer. I did this when using another manufacturer's tapered carbon spacer on a recent build, when I just didn't have enough shims on hand to use on top of the split ring. By the way, carbon parts will dull a file or saw very quickly.
Between the shims and any material removed from the bottom of the tapered spacer, you should end up with about 1/2 to 1mm space between the tapered spacer and the head tube once the headset is fully preloaded (which comes later... read on).
Next, arrange the straight spacers and stem the way you want them (to achieve the handlebar position you want) onto the steerer tube on top of the tapered spacer. Look originally provides a "special", metal spacer that's about 5mm tall, to go on last. It's slightly tapered to make for a better finish appearance, but more importantly it is metal to help achieve proper bearing preload, since carbon to carbon parts rubbnig against each other tend to grab and make correct torquing difficult. The straight spacers or stem should end up standing proud of the top of the steerer tube two or three mm to allow enough preload to be put onto the bearings when you install the top cap.
The final step is to install that top cap and compressor (actually an expander) that fits down inside the steerer tube. It's important with carbon steerer tubes that the stem clamping bolts be snugged slightly first and that the compressor be adjusted to be pressing outward inside the area of the steerer tube that's "wrapped" or covered by the stem clamp.
Now, there are a variety of compression caps on the market. Look and FSA offer an identical one that's somewhat unique and works better than most. (Look probably buys them from FSA and has the Look logo put on them, then charges 3X as much!) What makes them unusual is that these caps use two sets of screw threads and two sizes of Allen wrenches to tighten. The first is 5mm that tightens the expander way down inside the cap. The second is 6mm that screws down the top cap itself and puts the preload onto the bearings. Both should be properly torqued and the final tightening with the 6mm wrench is where all play is removed from the steering. (For comparison, a lot of other expander caps use a single bolt for both purposes... and can be more difficult to get properly torqued and preloaded... OTOH, the Look/FSA expander cap works pretty well, so long as you know how to install it properly.)
Finally, finish tightening the clamping bolts on the stem to their proper torque.
Other important stuff...
The stem itself needs to be "carbon friendly". For example, if it's aluminum, the clamping "slot" area in particular should be deburred carefully to prevent it from "plowing into" the carbon when tightened. Some carbon friendly stems have a diagonal slot that might help. (Similar care needs to be taken when clamping carbon handlebars at the other end of the stem.)
Watch your torques closely with carbon fork steerer tubes... They can be split or damaged from over-tightening. Again, it's especially important that the expander end up positioned inside the clamping area of the stem, so that that clamp will provide counter-pressure against the expander... and vice versa.
This design of headset does seem to need occasional re-torquing, especially when it's used with carbon steerer tube forks where you are more limited on the amount of torque you can apply.
By the way, this is all demonstrated pretty well in some PDFs that can be downloaded from the Look USA website (and probably from other Look sites). Check in the service or support section for the manual for your particular bike. Alternately, there is a Fork Instructions manual. Figure "b" in that manual shows a good exploded view of the parts. It happens to show the adjustable "Tri" type stem being used, but simply substitute your stem. It also only shows the type of fork with the built in 36 degree flange (that doesn't require a crown race). And, note that it only shows one relatively small, straight spacer below the stem. You can add however many of these you need, in various sizes, above or below the stem. The only limit I've seen is the total spacing below the stem is typically limited to about 40mm max. And, too much protrusion above the stem looks sort of dumb (but a little might be done to keep from cutting the steerer and allow rasing the stem later, if that ever becomes desirable). The "special spacer" under the top cap is shown, but any standard metal spacer 5mm or taller can be substituted if you don't have and can't find this Look-specific item.
The 595 and 586 use a different "tapered" 1-1/8 to 1-1/4" headset arrangement, and the most recent version is quite different. Some of the Tri bikes use a different head set design too. So be careful to not consult those particular bikes' manuals. Both 585 and 555 use the more standard 1-1/8" straight Aheadset. Instruction manuals for 565 and 566 should be fine, too.
If none of the above makes sense, take the bike to a good LBS.... they can probably sort it out for you in a few minutes.
p.s. Wolfman, you shouldn't be riding with no hands anyway. I have scars to prove it.
Last edited by Amfoto1; 03-23-2010 at 10:47 AM.
I also found this on Look website. It should help explain what amfoto 1 was talking about.
2013 Giant Anthem Advanced X29.
2008 Look 585 - Great Bike!
2010 Lynskey R230 - Comfortable!
2012 Wilier Cross Carbon
Just a quick bump and a thank you, Amphoto1.
I never knew that you needed to preload the bearings (i.e. - tighten the expander) almost fully before you even approached tightening the stem bolts (i.e. - got everything straight). I always thought it was some sort of balancing act between the three bolts.
Cranked that puppy down, walked around to the front of the bike to align the bars, then tightened the stem bolts, and viola! Perfectly centered with no fork movement.
Well written Amfoto1, thanks for the tips.
I'd forgotten to put the thin spacers in and was having some drag issues. I replaced the tapered LOOK spacer w/ the one from my Madone that had more clearence and all is well. An added bonus is that the new tapered spacer is taller, allowing me to due away w/ one straight spacer.
Finish running cables and the new 595 is ready to roll.
Thanks again Amfoto, I had the same problem as well. I had 2 shims and I was wondering where the other one went, but it seems to be working alright with one. I did look on Looks web site, but I couldn't find the pdf. Anyhow thanks again.
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