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  1. #1
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    Headset Bottom Cup Ovalized

    Cane Creek 40 series, ZS44 tapered on a Fox 34.

    Is this common for the bottom cup to "waller" out over time? By "waller" I mean the bottom cup is longer by 0.012"+ fore/aft than side to side so that it is oval shaped. There are significant wear marks on the left/right side of the cup (black anodizing worn down to shiny metal) and no other witness marks on the front or rear of the cup. This is on the chamfered contact portion of the cup.

    Tightened up as much as I can, with new bearings, it still knocks around. Top cap is not bottoming, has 4-5mm of clearance.

    I'm gonna pull the cup and measure the headtube and see if that is round, or kind of close.

    Really want to know if this is normal wear and I should just pop in a new headset or if something else might be suspicious i.e. headset install, ovalized headtube, etc...

    Before I tried the bearing replacement it started making noise and then got really loose, and wouldn't tighten up again. Felt OK after new bearings, then loosed up quickly after a ride, then tightened, then loosened again, and now won't stay tight and clunks. Headset and install is just about 2 years old...
    Life is too short to ride a bike you don't love.

  2. #2
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    This is not normal by any means. Check the headtube. What bike is it?
    I choose to live and to lie..kill and to give and to die..learn and love and to do what it takes to step through. MJK

  3. #3
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    Not normal.
    Need new cup. Bearing should be fine.

    -F
    It's never easier - you just go faster.

  4. #4
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    2016 Transition Trans Am 29

    I already talked with them about the issue, they want me to measure the HT for possible warranty.

    I haven't popped the cup yet, but I measured the id where it presses into the HT and it didn't seem ovalized. It was round within a couple thousandths. Makes me think the damage is localized to the bearing cup.
    Life is too short to ride a bike you don't love.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by l'oiseau View Post
    Tightened up as much as I can, with new bearings, it still knocks around. Top cap is not bottoming, has 4-5mm of clearance.
    If I'm understanding this correctly, you need another headset spacer. Riding the bike without the proper bearing preload is likely what caused your problem. Otherwise it's possible your headtube is out of spec or slightly ovalized. You could get it faced and reamed.

    You need a new bottom cup and another spacer from the sound of it.
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  6. #6
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    Head tubes ovalizing used to be an issue with 1-1/8" non tapered headsets and long travel forks. I haven't heard of ovalizing in years. There has to be something going on with your preload, or CaneCreek has a soft bearing cup. Hopefully you caught it and can correct it before your headtube ovalizes.
    "The maturity of an 8 year-old boy coupled with the insecurity of a teen aged girl."

  7. #7
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    One thing Transition does do is they make tough bikes. Hopefully it will just be the cup.
    I choose to live and to lie..kill and to give and to die..learn and love and to do what it takes to step through. MJK

  8. #8
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    It's not the spacer... I have tons of clearance... 4-5mm from the lip on the cap to the top of the fork. No way I could compress the bearings that much.

    I'm not worried I did any damage to the bike. The cup is thin Aluminum and the bike is very thick, and reinforced steel. If the HT is caused the cup to deform, it's because it was out of spec from welding I'd bet. That's the issue I discussed with Transition.

    I'm advised not to ream if it is the HT as that may make cause the cup to be too loose in the HT. I've talked to a few bike shops, etc about this.

    At first I thought the HT (being ovate from manufacture) or install might have been the issue, but in retrospect, I think it loosened up on me after a rebuild due to the grease packing out and I beat the snot out of that lower cup. There actually is a witness mark on the front which I didn't see before where the crown race was bashing into it, probably causing the damage. I think there may have been some wear/damage before that helped this as I was having a strange noise I couldn't identify last fall. Finally thought it was the brake pads but now I'm pretty sure it was coming from that lower cup. Not sure what caused the premature failure as the preload always seemed good to me previously. I even had some guys at the LBS check it and they thought it felt right after I set it. So it's not user error as far as I can tell, but at some point I effed that cup up and I was trying to understand how so I don't just ruin another HS.
    Life is too short to ride a bike you don't love.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fleas View Post
    Not normal.
    Need new cup. Bearing should be fine.

    -F
    Yes - I'm going to replace the whole HS now as I don't want to mess around anymore but knowing what I know now I should have just replaced that cup and kept the original bearings, they felt fine. That is assuming nothing is whacked with the frame.

    I'll try to take a picture of the cup when I pull it out for reference. I'd say if you have any looseness and see wear like this, then replace it immediately. I had a feeling when I saw those wear marks on the cup that I should replace it.
    Life is too short to ride a bike you don't love.

  10. #10
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    Two words: Chris King
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  11. #11
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    Just FYI:

    Pulled the lower cup and measured it. Measures round within a thousandth in my hand.

    Measured the HT. Measures 0.010" out of round as the cup did when it was pressed in.

    Frame is going to be warrantied.

    No idea if the frame came this way or if it ovalized from riding, but I have a hard time believing the latter. I'll measure the new one before anything goes in so I at least have a baseline if it were to happen again.
    Life is too short to ride a bike you don't love.

  12. #12
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    Do yourself a favor and get rid of that headset. Had one in my Yeti, nothing but problems. Now run a Hope, no problems at all.

  13. #13
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    I've had two other bikes with this headset and no issues.

    It's hard for me to call the headset junk when the frame is what appears to be the problem.

    I wanted to update this to show people you should check your bike frame if you have a headset failure, it may very well be the frame and not the headset.
    Life is too short to ride a bike you don't love.

  14. #14
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    Hard to believe Transition would let one slip by, but I guess sh!t happens.
    I choose to live and to lie..kill and to give and to die..learn and love and to do what it takes to step through. MJK

  15. #15
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    No idea how they check or control this during manufacture, but it's apparently not impossible that it deformed from riding. I don't buy it, but many people do. If I had the measurements from when I built the bike, we'd know... either way, they made it right with no fuss. New bike is on the way. As much as I'd like no issues with my bike, this is important to me.

    I was also adamant that I wasn't going to give up the bike unless they had the exact same bike. It fits me like a glove and the geo is the perfect blend of XC and AM for my riding, so even if they didn't warranty it, I was going to have the head tube machined and put in an oversized headset. It would have been expensive, but it's hard to find a bike like this now that isn't boost, and buying a new frame and building a new rear wheel would be more expensive.
    Life is too short to ride a bike you don't love.

  16. #16
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    Transition is a great company. I had 5 of their bikes over the years and they always treated me great. Although I never had a warranty issue, I used to call them just to talk about bikes and their setups.
    I choose to live and to lie..kill and to give and to die..learn and love and to do what it takes to step through. MJK

  17. #17
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    Well to add to the collective wisdom of this thread, I can say a two things with great certainty:

    1 - I no longer own a Trans Am.
    2 - The headset ovalization I spoke about above WAS NOT from riding.

    Measure your headtubes kids... BEFORE you ride your bike. This is no joke.

    And FWIW trying to find someone willing to ream a headtube is like trying to find someone to testify that "PCP" is "safe and fun".
    Life is too short to ride a bike you don't love.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by l'oiseau View Post
    Well to add to the collective wisdom of this thread, I can say a two things with great certainty:

    1 - I no longer own a Trans Am.
    2 - The headset ovalization I spoke about above WAS NOT from riding.

    Measure your headtubes kids... BEFORE you ride your bike. This is no joke.

    And FWIW trying to find someone willing to ream a headtube is like trying to find someone to testify that "PCP" is "safe and fun".
    so it was a factory defect in frame?

    what are they providing as warranty?


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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by cjsb View Post
    so it was a factory defect in frame?

    what are they providing as warranty?


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Yes.

    At first another Trans Am, but that happened to have the same issue when I took it out of the box and measured it, hence my certainty on the cause of the first one.

    Now I'm going with a Vanquish. They didn't give it to me for free, but after a lot of deliberation on my options of which there were a few, it seemed like the right move. It was ultimately the most expensive move.

    I'm pretty sure a $160 ream tool could fix either of the frames I had but no one wants to do that.

    Either way they were going to do something about it. Their customer service was not the issue.
    Life is too short to ride a bike you don't love.

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