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  1. #1
    I Ride for Donuts
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    New bike! Headset help?

    OK guys, I got this mostly complete Giant road bike in a major craigslist victory. It appears to have a sort of unique headset...it's 1", which is weird enough...but it also looks to be an integrated, or zero stack sort of design... The frame is an OCR 2 from somewhere close to 2002 (?) Fork is a carbon Easton EC50. I can't find a replacement headset that looks right. I assume it's a threaded steerer becuase of that lock-nut looking thing?

    The bearings don't feel good... I need to at least tear it down and grease things up, but I'd like to just replace it while I'm at it. What are my options? I'd be fine replacing that wacky adjustable stem if I had to...

    I ride mountain bikes... is this stuff normal on a road bike, or is this one weird?

    Mostly I'm curious about where to find a replacement headset if there is such a thing. I googled for it, and everything I could come up with was 1 1/8"

    Advice? Questions? Comments?
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails New bike! Headset help?-picture1.jpg  

    New bike! Headset help?-picture2.jpg  

    New bike! Headset help?-picture3.jpg  

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  2. #2
    weirdo
    Reputation: rodar y rodar's Avatar
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    Wow, that is funky. Are you sure it isn`t a 1-1/4 headtube with some kind of reducer to adapt to a 1" steerer? You might try removing the stem and headset to peek into the headtube, maybe even find a model number on the headset.

    And if you don`t get any real answers here (ie: somebody who knows, not more idle speculation like you`re getting from me ) I`d ask on BFnet`s mechanic section. There are some mossbacks hanging out there who`ve seen just about everything.

  3. #3
    Squeaky Wheel
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    Looks like a threaded headset with some sort of adjustable stem on it. The headset looks pretty standard, never seen one of those stems before. Bike Forum would be a good place to post the pic, plus you might take a look at Sheldon Brown's pages:

    http://sheldonbrown.com/gloss_ha-i.html#headset

  4. #4
    I Ride for Donuts
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    OK I found the bike on bikepedia.com...it's a 2001: http://www.bikepedia.com/QuickBike/B...nt&Model=OCR+2

    They list the headset as a "1" threadless cane creek zs integrated"

    How is that threadless? It's got a giant nut on it. I'm going to have to pull it apart and figure it out. The stem looks to be the stock one also, from the one picture on bikepedia...forks are not stock though. If it's a threadless headset, I'm going to be bummed that they cut the steerer tube that short to accept the weird adjustable stem... I'd much rather have a pinch-bolt style stem on there...but I'll take what I can get.
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  5. #5
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    Did you buy it from one of these guys that was having trouble with their Giant OCR headsets? Might be something relevant for you...

    http://www.bikeforums.net/archive/in.../t-341318.html

    http://www.cyclingforums.com/forum/t...ctory-of-sorts

  6. #6
    I Ride for Donuts
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    ^^ Thanks, there is some good info there...looks like there might be a cane creek bit that will allow me to use a standard headset... gonna email cane creek and see if they've got any advice.
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  7. #7
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    You might also try looking at the bearings carefully for a part number when you pull it apart. I had a headset problem with my wife's bike that turned out to have some bizarre integrated headset that you couldn't get any more. But, the bearings were a sealed set and had a part number stamped in the top. A quick net search on the number turned up a dealer for the bearings alone. It was a non-bike related place, but a lot of companies don't use purpose built parts for their off-standard solutions.

    Good luck!

  8. #8
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    It looks like they may have threaded the top of a threadless steerer to fit a compression nut with nylon sleeve to seal water out of a joint between a normal 7/8" adjustable quill stem normally meant for 1" threaded steerers where the adjustment nut has the nylon seal. That would make for a stronger 1" steerer than a fully threaded one as it would have no threads in the bearing thrust area (walls get very thin in the thread bottoms and are stress risers). Never seen one before. The stem looks like a Kalloy adjustable with a fair reach on it. I assume there is an Allen head bolt in the shiny patch in the pic that appears to be a recess on the top of it.

    Good luck and keep us posted.

  9. #9
    One Colorful Rider
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  10. #10
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    OK, after some not-so-delicate work with the WD-40, a big wrench, and a rubber mallet, I have reached the point of no return. This sucker was stuck. Glad the frame is aluminum... rust on all the steel bits in there.

    Behold, a 1" threaded fork...made in the 21st century and out of carbon fiber, no less. Who knew? Bikepedia was wrong in their description... obviously not a 'zero stack threadless'...although I can see why they'd mess it up... zero stack and threaded steerers just don't go together... different decades.

    Exibit B... a traditional quill situation on the bottom of that funky adjustable stem (which has the Giant brand on it, by the way... they must have thought they were on to something...apparently it didn't 'take'.

    And I was sort of pleased to find cartridge bearings in there (hopefully with a part # stamped on them)...but I was bummed to find that with the way the cups are pressed in with this zero-stack set-up, the only way to remove the bearing units is to pound out the cups. I didn't do that yet, but I'm going to have to...the bearings are shot. I'm holding out on this until I can confirm that I can get a replacement headset. If I can't get a headset, I'll drive the cups out anyway and see if I can get a part number on the cartridge bearings.... at least there's no races, they'd be destroyed...new bearings would do it.

    There is a part # for the headset on one of the links that MtbX posted (thanks)...and one report of a guy who apparently got some sort of adapter, or bearing races, or something that let him use a 1 1/8 threadless headset on one of these frames. I'm definitely going to look into that.

    I sent Cane Creek an email asking them if A) they have the full replacement headset and B) if there is a way to convert this thing to 1 1/8 threadless.

    I kind of like the retro thing that it has going, but it's an odd blend of old and new. Give me one or the other. I may do some quill stem shopping and call it good. I do like this carbon fork, and I don't want to get into this thing for too much money... It was basically free to begin with. At the very least I can eliminate the spacers the dude had going above the locknut...that just looks funky. If you have an adjustable stem, why use all those spacers?

    I'll let you know what Cane Creek says...
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails New bike! Headset help?-fork.jpg  

    New bike! Headset help?-quill.jpg  

    New bike! Headset help?-bearings.jpg  

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  11. #11
    weirdo
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    By gum, that`s a freak of nature allright. As far as the fugly stem, although I`d much rather it be on your bike than on mine, the combination of quill bottom and pivoting top does make sense. In theory, you`d be able to adjust both the reach and the height independently. I hope Cane Creek gives you some good news. If you see any way that custom cut bushings could help you convert it to 1-1/8, give me a holler- I know of a machinist who`d be willing to fab some pro bono in order to keep an old bike on the road.

  12. #12
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    Glad the surgeyry went well, and hope you find a headset donor for the next operation. If that works well you could ride & adjust the stem for a while to figure out what kind of reach is comfy for you, then get a prettier one with the right reach.

  13. #13
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    Rodar, thanks for the offer.. still waiting on an answer from Cane Creek... I assume the weekend dealyed a response from them. I'll see what they say. I have the rest of the parts coming for the bike... I may just grease it up and re-assemble, and deal with the lumpy bearings for a couple weeks so I can ride it and play with stem position... it's not loose, just a tad stiff and lumpy. I'm leaning towards replacing it rather than converting it...mostly because the only fork option I have if I go 1 1/8 is the carbon cyclocross fork from my Nashbike... I think running canti brakes on it would be even weirder than the stem that's on there. Although I could run a front disc that way...
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  14. #14
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    Was thinking about where I had seen the taller nut stack on a threaded steering tube and why. Rivendell www.rivbike.com has it on a lot of their offerings, such as the Bombadil. Quills can only be extended safely up to their marked lines, and dropped until they bottom or reach the butted part of the steerer. A short stack height lets you use a standard length quill at max height and it will be as high as if it was 50 mm longer on a normally setup threaded headset. For bikes where the bars are likely to be placed about seat height, it helps.
    Last edited by BrianMc; 04-05-2011 at 05:58 AM.

  15. #15
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    If you haven't heard back yet, you could try their fit finder http://www.canecreek.com/headset-fit-finder

    It doesn't list your bike, but guides through some pix etc. to ?????

  16. #16
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    I went through the fit-finder, and had to guess on internal diameter of the headtube opening... based on my guess it ended with "no matches found, but that doesn't mean we can't help you..."

    Then (yesterday) I got an email backfrom a Cane Creek tech saying that in order to answer my question, he'd need my internal head tube diameter measurement.

    ...So that's next. I know I saw it somewhere on the internet... I don't have digital calipers, but I know a guy....
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  17. #17
    Fat!Drunk!Slow!
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    CB, with all your bikes, you should just go buy a digi cali! They are worth every penny and cheap @ lowes or HD!

  18. #18
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    I know... I've seen them at harbor freight for super cheap too... I have a good friend with one that I just borrow when I need. it. The other issue is that the bearings are actually the same piece as the cups of this headset, so you have to remove the cups in order to remove the bearings...and I don't want to drive the cups out unless I know I'm going to be able to replace them. It's the weirdest lame piece of engineering I've run across.

    But the answer appears to be 41.4mm for an internal diameter.
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  19. #19
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    Well... don't believe everything you read on the internet.


    The conversation with Cane Creek is going something like this:
    Me: Do you have a headset for this bike, or can I convert it to 1 1/8"?
    Them: What is the internal head tube measurement?
    Me: 41.4mm. But that's what I'm getting from other sources, I didn't measure mine because I don't want to hammer the cups out unless I know I can find a replacement.
    Them: You can't get an accurate measurement unless you hammer the cups out.
    Me: I know, but I'm pretty sure from what I'm reading that it's 41.4. If it is, do you have something that will work?
    Them: Hard to say without an internal head tube measurement. You should hammer the cups out, you'll need to do that to replace it anyway.
    Me: I realize that, but I don't want to hammer them out unless I know that a replacement exists.

    and so on...

    So I've got everything else here to make this thing into a bike, and I thought I'd at least temporarily piece it back together while I'm working out the headset situation...

    Last nght I was cleaning up the 'cartridge bearings' that are contained within the headset cups...looking carefully for any way to get some grease of any kind in there, and I noticed a strange gap in one part. After brushing, spraying, and cleaning it up a bit I discovered what had the distinct appearance of a C-clip....

    Lo and behold, this is not a cartridge bearing. What we have here is a headest cup which doubles as the lower race for the bearings, then the loose bearings sit on top of that, and the upper race sits down onto them. Then a C-clip holds the upper race in place by sitting in a groove on the cup/lower race piece.

    I pulled the upper one apart to discover bone dry bearings rolling on a lumpy sludge of rust-soaked clay powder and spider parts.
    After pulling everything apart I found the races to be in pretty decent shape (no grooves or nicks in the important parts). So I went to work with the carb cleaner and wire brush, re-packed, re-assembled, repeated on the bottom, and I think I can get several years out of this thing.

    With the bike on the stand, if I turn the bars one way and let go, they swing back and forth 4 or 5 times on a frictionless ride dictated by gravity...as it should be. I had to refresh my threaded headset tightening skills to get it just right, but there's no play in it. The bearings aren't perfect, but I have no qualms about throwing this thing together and riding the heck out of it.

    I will continue to pursue the headset situation... ideally I'd like to convert it to 1 1/8 threadless if I can...it seems like others have pulled this off from what I'm reading. I'm sure Cane Creek will come through with a solution once I can convince them on the measurement. I tried emailing Giant, by the way... if you can find a single email address on their website I'll give you a dollar. It's like they're hiding from you.

    Pikturs:
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails New bike! Headset help?-picture1.jpg  

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    New bike! Headset help?-picture3.jpg  

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  20. #20
    weirdo
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    Good job, CB! Glad you got it going again, especially for free.

    Dang, whoever you talked to at Cane Creek was about as helpful as talking to a computeized system.
    "Press one to pound your headset against the wall"

  21. #21
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    I take it you don't recommend spider parts as a lube replacement in headsets, then?

    I haven't dealt with free bearings in a headset since the 1972 Raleigh. It's not even a caged set. Thought the lock ring setup interesing. Getting the fork in to hold bottom bearlings then turning fork and frame and doing the top so no bearings escaped could be fun when you do it so rarely and forget the tricks to it. With no wear, it suggests the grease was still functional enough before it was set aside and spiders moved in. Could easily outlast it's owner, if you didn't want to mess with changing it out. Lots of very nice quill stems available still.

  22. #22
    I Ride for Donuts
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    I did the top one first... I put a hand under the headtube and started knocking them down into my hand, but then I realized that it would be easy to have a few of them go down into the frame tubes (fairly large holes inside the headtube leading down into the frame tubes...so I tilted the stand so gravity would prevent this, and got them out without incident. Getting everything back in was easy... I packed the loose bearings into the grease that I pre-packed onto the upper race (the free one, see pic) and then set it into place as one unit with all the bearings attached via grease. The C-clip prevented all of this from falling out when I flipped the frame over in the stand to do the bottom using the same method... no issues, and I don't think I lost any of the bearings

    I'm kind of excited to shop for a quill stem... maybe it will spark my inner retro-grouch. I'll play with fit using the adjustable one for a while... stay tuned for the complete bike... hopefully after the weekend.
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  23. #23
    I Ride for Donuts
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    I made up numbers to make the Cane Creek guy happy, and he finally gave me an answer

    Turns out Giant produced a headset specifically for retro-fitting these headtubes (which they used for a few years I guess) with a 1 1/8 threadless steerer. It was manufacturered under license from Cane Creek, but is not a Cane Creek part. It was made by VP (Taiwan I think), and Cane Creek Stocks it.

    Part number is VP-A10, and you can order it by calling Cane Creek at 800-234-2725
    (for future searchers who come across this thread)
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  24. #24
    weirdo
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    Cool. Are you going to get yourself a new fork and go for it? Just ride with the expertly refurbished headset and see how things go? Oh, and is there a direct replacement available so you could replace the headset and not have to get a new fork?

    Although everybody wants a new fork almost as much as a new wheelset

  25. #25
    I Ride for Donuts
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    Well, I'd like to find a direct replacement still, just to know that it's out there, but I don't want to start that whole process over with Cane Creek. I asked two questions at the beginning, and getting to the bottom of one of them was challenging enough... I don't want to go back to the fork in the road and head down the other path.

    Also, I'm pretty confident that I can get some good life out of this one as is... if it's functional, I can't see getting a direct replacement. If I replace it, it will be to switch to 1 1/8 steerer.

    I don't want to spend the money, or I'd be ordering the headset and shopping for a fork... but this bike was basically free... I'm going to ride it as is, and if I can save the looks of the front end with a $25 quill stem, I'll go that route after I get the fit figured out.

    I do have a carbon cyclocross fork from the Nashbike, which is 1 1/8... that is tempting. I will probably get this headset just to have it on hand...who knows when the stock will run out. I didn't get a price from CC, but I'm hoping it's low end...being an obscure Taiwan replacement part.
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