Results 1 to 10 of 10
  1. #1
    650b me
    Reputation: golden boy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    1,030

    Concerned about head tube durability

    So I've been riding my first frame that I built at UBI for about a year and a half now. It has a 36.6mm OD head tube. Fork is a Fox 100mm 26" model. Maybe a month ago a creaking noise developed in the front end and steadily got worse. I had my fork professionally overhauled, as it was due. Mechanic said the creaking was coming from the headset - a 3 year old Chris King nothreadset. He said he saw signs of wear in the upper race.

    Long story short, I disassembled the front end. When I popped the upper headset cup out, it was just that easy - it popped out with one mild tap of a rubber mallet. Myself, I could not see visible signs of wear anywhere in the headset. Not that I'm comparing myself to the experienced eye of the mechanic who serviced my fork. Later, when I went to reinstall the upper headset cup, I could literally start it with my hands! I don't remember it installing that easily when I originally assembled the bike. I would have noticed something like that. When I did fully reinstall the upper cup, I put some blue Loctite on OD. Pressing it in with the Park headset press was so easy, I could practically spin the handle with one finger.

    Finally, to my question: Could it be that over time, the steerer tube has caused "flagpoling" of the head tube, especially at the upper end? Recall that it is a 36.6 mm OD head tube. I'm not an especially hard rider, I don't tend to break parts, and I was under the impression that CK headsets are "lifetime" headsets. All of which leads me to suspect that over time the steerer tube has deformed the head tube. Any thoughts from your own experiences? I'm concerned about durability, since I hope to someday build frames professionally.

  2. #2
    Moderator Moderator
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    3,926
    Ovalized head tubes can happen but without some precipitating event (ie crash, garage encounter, long ride on a loose headset that you never stopped to tighten) it's IMO unlikely. Did the fork overhaul fix the creak? If not, did the loctite fix the creak?

    Usually if anything is going to ovalize it's the LOWER cup, not the upper one, so that's pretty weird if you managed it.

    Keep in mind too that since your frame is a great transmitter of weird noises, the creak can be caused by something nowhere near the headset or head tube, in theory.

    -Walt
    Waltworks Custom Bicycles
    Park City, UT USA
    www.waltworks.com
    waltworks.blogspot.com

  3. #3
    RCP Fabrication
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    389
    Kings tend to run on the smaller side. They machine to 34.0mm and require a 33.90 (with NO tolerance) on the head tube ID. Most other mfg's machine to 34.10 +/- .05.

  4. #4
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Posts
    95
    Also, the older king headsets use an o-ring instead of a split compression race around the steerer. They were often problematic, and have switched to a split race now. It's a cheap upgrade to swap out the one part.

  5. #5
    650b me
    Reputation: golden boy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    1,030
    The fork overhaul did not fix the creak. The Loctite helped but did not completely eliminate the creak. But I didn't locktite the lower headset cup, so maybe it's loose-fitting too.

    I found out about the King part switch while researching the issue. I have the older style o-ring. When I move this headset to frame #2 (for my wife, currently under construction) I will upgrade to the split race.

    Frame #3 (on the drawing board) will use a TT 44mm head tube, so less concerned about durability issues there. Thanks everyone.

  6. #6
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Posts
    1,386
    You sure its not the dreaded Fox steerer/crown interface creak you're hearing?

  7. #7
    Harrumph
    Reputation: G-reg's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    1,561
    I recommend the split ring "upgrade." With Fox steerer, a fresh King O ring can help too.

    Did the top cup fit tight when you first built it up? If a top cup has *become* loose I'd start looking for cracks. Quickly facing/chasing the head tube again might highlight anything odd.
    Slowly slipping to retrogrouchyness

  8. #8
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    160
    Have you tried swapping the top and bottom cups (or fitting another headset)? If any other cup is loose in the top of the headtube, and creaks, it is likely the frame. If a different cup solves the problem, then you're fine (apart from needing a new cup).

  9. #9
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    1,817
    Keep in mind that you can get oversized cups from King if this continues to be an issue.
    Oh noes. I'm going to drink the Kool-Aid.

  10. #10
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Posts
    1,630
    Quote Originally Posted by TigWorld View Post
    You sure its not the dreaded Fox steerer/crown interface creak you're hearing?
    This.

    I don't know many Fox forks that have not had the infamous creaking.

Similar Threads

  1. Should seat tube or post always be parallel with the head tube?
    By Speeder500 in forum Downhill - Freeride
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 10-08-2013, 05:20 PM
  2. Seat tube, top tube, head tube deal
    By calstar in forum Frame Building
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 08-29-2013, 10:12 AM
  3. Reynolds 853: 44mm head tube, 30.9mm seat tube
    By butasan in forum Bike and Frame discussion
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 04-07-2012, 10:30 AM
  4. 2012 Air9 Head tube / head set questions
    By Nooge in forum Niner Bikes
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 12-27-2011, 02:51 PM
  5. 2011 hydroform tube durability
    By Zero Signal in forum Niner Bikes
    Replies: 14
    Last Post: 10-15-2011, 03:55 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •