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  1. #1
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    Do I need a headlock

    So today I was tinkering on my bike and I noticed my headset was a bit loose so I went to tighten it. As I was attempting to tighten it I noticed it was slightly easy to tighten but I could keep spinning it. It got to the point in which I had no pressure at all. So I removed the cap and my star nut was pulled all the way back up the steerer tube (shouldn't ever happen?). I decided to set it back down and attempt to tighten it again. As you can guess it would not tighten yet again. Frustrated I gave up and ran here for some input.

    The Fork is a brand new Manitou R7 Elite and has never seen the trail. The Star Nut is the star nut that comes with the Cane Creek S 3 headset that is installed on my bike. Is there a way to save the star nut and continue to use it or do I need to upgrade to a headlock? Can I leave the star nut in or do I need to remove it before installing the headlock?

    Sorry if this is in the wrong place.
    Big Foot Blue KHS XC704r

  2. #2
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    I would try another star nut, headlocks work but are heavy. you may have just got a bunk star nut. if a second start nut doesn't work than look at compression plugs for carbon steer tubes. they work as well

    how was the star nut installed? a specific setter will work the best.
    Quote Originally Posted by thefuzzbl
    aluminium has a tendency to fail when you need it most. i.e. you end up with a bad day.

  3. #3
    MattSavage
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    yeah, try a new starnut and make sure whoever installs it, get's it in straight and deep enough.
    "I wrote a hit play! What have you ever done?!"

    Have Ashtray, Will Travel....

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by scooter916
    I would try another star nut, headlocks work but are heavy. you may have just got a bunk star nut. if a second start nut doesn't work than look at compression plugs for carbon steer tubes. they work as well

    how was the star nut installed? a specific setter will work the best.
    I installed it the ghetto way I guess. Getting it lined up straight and setting it using the head of the bolt and a rubber mallet. That was the same way my last one was set and I had no issues.

    I may just upgrade into a headlock rather than attempting to set another star nut with out a set.
    Big Foot Blue KHS XC704r

  5. #5
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    its not an "upgrade" go to your lbs and pay them the 5 bucks to bang in a star nut for you, problem solved!

    you screwed up installing the star nut, its not really a product or setup fault. just have to get someone to do it correctly.

  6. #6
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    Really sounds like the star nut is the problem. A headlock is really a solution to a problem that does not exist. I have not seen a use for one on big forks, and I would for sure not consider one on a 100mm xc fork.

  7. #7
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    Well I am always the DIY guy so maybe when the time is right I will buy a star nut set. I have about 5 months till the bike will see anything so I got plenty of time. The set and a new star nut will cost a few dollars more, so I will probably go in that direction unless that fails to work then I will get a headlock.
    Big Foot Blue KHS XC704r

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dremer03
    So today I was tinkering on my bike and I noticed my headset was a bit loose so I went to tighten it. As I was attempting to tighten it I noticed it was slightly easy to tighten but I could keep spinning it. It got to the point in which I had no pressure at all. So I removed the cap and my star nut was pulled all the way back up the steerer tube (shouldn't ever happen?). I decided to set it back down and attempt to tighten it again. As you can guess it would not tighten yet again. Frustrated I gave up and ran here for some input.

    The Fork is a brand new Manitou R7 Elite and has never seen the trail. The Star Nut is the star nut that comes with the Cane Creek S 3 headset that is installed on my bike. Is there a way to save the star nut and continue to use it or do I need to upgrade to a headlock? Can I leave the star nut in or do I need to remove it before installing the headlock?

    Sorry if this is in the wrong place.
    Some star nuts are a little wider than others. Maybe you just need another (possibly wider?) star nut. Your ghetto install method should work fine as long as it ends up in there straight. I did countless forks this way before I got a star nut tool (Nashbar has a really cheap one that works great).

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by kapusta
    Some star nuts are a little wider than others. Maybe you just need another (possibly wider?) star nut. Your ghetto install method should work fine as long as it ends up in there straight. I did countless forks this way before I got a star nut tool (Nashbar has a really cheap one that works great).
    I thought it would work fine, appeared to be straight, and worked when I first installed it and had it tight. The bike hasn't been on the trail like I said, but I have been practicing loading my fork and lifting my bike in my basement. I dont know if that could cause a issue but thats about all the action it has seen. The Star Nut came from a good headset so I would think it would be good, but perhaps it is just a dud like everyone is saying. Chances are I would be getting the Dia Compe 1 1/8th Star Nut, and a star nut set from a company that shall remain name less.
    Big Foot Blue KHS XC704r

  10. #10
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    How do I remove the old star nut? Do I need to drive it through the bottom of the steerer tube?
    Big Foot Blue KHS XC704r

  11. #11
    AZ
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    Yep ..........

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by AZ.MTNS
    Yep ..........
    best way to do that?
    Big Foot Blue KHS XC704r

  13. #13
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    On forks with 5" or more travel I use a headlock. It has worked well for me, and has always kept everything tight. Yes, you shouldn't need it, but on a long travel fork it's good insurance which has paid off well for me.

    The irony of recommending this to Dremer is killing me, but the Sette headlock is top notch, well made, and only 68 grams, which is going to give you, roughly, a 50g weight penalty over a star nut and steel bolt.

  14. #14
    AZ
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dremer03
    best way to do that?


    You could drive it out with a wooden dowel and a hammer .

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by bad mechanic
    On forks with 5" or more travel I use a headlock. It has worked well for me, and has always kept everything tight. Yes, you shouldn't need it, but on a long travel fork it's good insurance which has paid off well for me.

    The irony of recommending this to Dremer is killing me, but the Sette headlock is top notch, well made, and only 68 grams, which is going to give you, roughly, a 50g weight penalty over a star nut and steel bolt.
    If the new star nut doesnt work that would be more the likely the direction I would be heading.

    Quote Originally Posted by AZ.MTNS
    You could drive it out with a wooden dowel and a hammer .
    Thanks, I think I can manage that.
    Big Foot Blue KHS XC704r

  16. #16
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    Keep us posted what happened.
    roccowt.
    rocnbikemeld

  17. #17
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    theres no reason a star nut wont work.. probably 99% of threadless bikes have them.

  18. #18
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    others have said it, but the headlock users disregard it, so i'll repeat. you don't need a headlock, nobody does. the purpose of the star nut is to provide initial bearing pre-load. the headset stays together because of the stem maintaining the pre-load. you should be able to run a headset without the top cap altogether, once the stem is tightened.

    don't buy a headlock.

    to quote a well known metaphor - solving a headset problem with a headlock, is like solving obesity with buying larger cloths. you treat a symptom, not the problem.

    buy another star nut, and be more careful with it.

  19. #19
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    Just to make sure we are not missing something...

    Did you loosen the stem bolts that hold it on the steerer tube, before you started tightening the top bolt?

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by perttime
    Just to make sure we are not missing something...

    Did you loosen the stem bolts that hold it on the steerer tube, before you started tightening the top bolt?
    I believe I had it loose, but perhaps I didn't enough. So I just barely went and tried again with the stem loose enough that I could slide it off, but I got the same results. Its doesn't tighten and the headset still rocks. In the past on my old fork I was able to tighten it down to the point of not being able to move the whole front of the bike (obviously too tight), I cant even come close on this steerer tube. I do have my old fork still with the star nut installed. Would it be bad to knock that star nut out and try to install it in my new fork? Or is it considered basically a 1 use part?
    Last edited by Dremer03; 12-21-2009 at 06:41 AM.
    Big Foot Blue KHS XC704r

  21. #21
    AZ
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    Since the one in your old fork works where it is , I'd leave it where it is .

  22. #22
    local trails rider
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    The fork is new...
    What about headset and frame?
    Is the head tube faced?

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by perttime
    The fork is new...
    What about headset and frame?
    Is the head tube faced?
    The Frame is less than a year old, the Headset was new this summer (Cane Creek S 3), and the star nut had never been installed in another fork. The head tube was never faced, but when everything was originally installed on the bike the person who helped me (bike mechanic) saw no reason to do it. The Reken has very smooth powder coat. I did not have a problem until I installed the new fork.
    Big Foot Blue KHS XC704r

  24. #24
    MattSavage
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    Just get a new starnut and have it installed by a professional with proper tools... Since you're fork is off, a shop will do it for 5 bucks or 6 pack or whatever...
    "I wrote a hit play! What have you ever done?!"

    Have Ashtray, Will Travel....

  25. #25
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    It could be a weak star nut...

    ... on the other hand, it should not take a lot of force to get the headset to proper tension. Better check that there are no other snags in the system.

  26. #26
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    Just hammer another star-nut in and be done with it. As 'brake jack' already said, once the headset bearings are properly preloaded and the stem bolts are properly tightened the star-nut/headlock/headdoctor/whatever becomes irrelevant. You could ride around with the top-cap and bolt removed if you like; it's not doing anything.

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  27. #27
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    If Dremer is tightening it down so much to pull out a properly installed star nut then there is for sure something else wrong if he is still getting play.

    1. - ensure there is enough gap between the top of the steer tube, and the top of the spacer/stem. I recommend 4-6mm to ensure clearance w the top cap.

    2. if 1 is cheking out, then check your headset bearings

    3. it is possible for an ovalized headtube as well. This would be bad / expensive,


    Once again, a headlock is not the solution for a 100mm fork. It is only a crutch for 150mm+ forks using non-aheadset devices *cough*chris king*cough*

  28. #28
    AZ
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    Repaired ? Still working on it ?

  29. #29
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    Star nuts are like a quarter at the local bike shop. Get one, this is being majorly over thought. Get a deep wall socket that just barely fits inside the steer tube. Tap in the star nut, and then insert the socket to drive it in to the correct depth. With the socket in there it CANT go in crooked. Also, don't drive the old star nut out of the bottom of the steerer, just pull it up through the top since it's already pretty close to there anyway.
    Ocala Mountain Bike Association - www.omba.org

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by AZ.MTNS
    Repaired ? Still working on it ?
    Still need parts, and tools. Should have something worked out by next week.
    Big Foot Blue KHS XC704r

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim311
    Star nuts are like a quarter at the local bike shop. Get one, this is being majorly over thought. Get a deep wall socket that just barely fits inside the steer tube. Tap in the star nut, and then insert the socket to drive it in to the correct depth. With the socket in there it CANT go in crooked. Also, don't drive the old star nut out of the bottom of the steerer, just pull it up through the top since it's already pretty close to there anyway.
    You need to put some grease in the steer tube before taking the old star nut out I think.(?) Then wash it all out before installing the new one. (just a guess)
    roccowt.
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  32. #32
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    So I have removed the star nut, and I am a bit iffy about putting a new one in. The inside of my steerer tube looks all F'ed up from me trying to get that one to work. So I am worried about installing another and having it not work. I may take a picture later of the inside so perhaps some people can help me determine if installing a new one is a lost cause (dont want to install if it wont work). I did just in case I bought a headlock, star nut, and star nut setter to have all my bases covered. Everything should be here Wednesday and I should have a real update then. Everything else looked good, everything is seated, and installed correctly.
    Big Foot Blue KHS XC704r

  33. #33
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    I realise that this probably isn't a great deal of help to you now, but perhaps you could have saved yourself the trouble, and perhaps the money, and just bought a Head Doctor (link). How much did you pay for the Headlock and setting tool?

    The bottom portion (without top-cap and bolt) of the Head Doctors sometimes show up on eBay for a few pounds/dollars.

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  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveUK
    I realise that this probably isn't a great deal of help to you now, but perhaps you could have saved yourself the trouble, and perhaps the money, and just bought a Head Doctor (link). How much did you pay for the Headlock and setting tool?

    The bottom portion (without top-cap and bolt) of the Head Doctors sometimes show up on eBay for a few pounds/dollars.
    I think for now I will more than likely use the headlock, but in the future the item you linked looks great.
    Big Foot Blue KHS XC704r

  35. #35
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    Picture of the scaring done from pulling the star nut up multiple times. BTW if someone comes by this topic and tries to drive a Star Nut out the bottom of it, it will destroy the star nut...one time use only I guess.

    Big Foot Blue KHS XC704r

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dremer03
    Picture of the scaring done from pulling the star nut up multiple times. BTW if someone comes by this topic and tries to drive a Star Nut out the bottom of it, it will destroy the star nut...one time use only I guess.

    You would have guessed wrong - I have transferred a star nut from one fork to another (when I was too lazy to get a new $2 replacement part).

    Cant wait to see your photo. Never seen anyone able to damage the inside of a steertube so much with a star nut that they can not install a new one.

    I really think all you wanted to do was use a headlock so go for it. It makes sense to put a heavy object designed maybe for long travel forks on an xc rig.

    Hopefully the color matches?

  37. #37
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    K, photo now showing, not sure why you couldnt use a star nut but if you already have a headlock.......

  38. #38
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    Picture is there, I destroyed 2 star nuts. The one I knocked out of the steerer tube on my new fork and the one from my Dart 2 which I was going to try and stick in my new fork. I can provide pictures of the destroyed star nuts if you need proof?
    Big Foot Blue KHS XC704r

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by 006_007
    K, photo now showing, not sure why you couldnt use a star nut but if you already have a headlock.......
    I bought a star nut, star nut set, and a headlock. Extra parts are always good and I wanted to cover all my bases.
    Big Foot Blue KHS XC704r

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dremer03
    Picture is there, I destroyed 2 star nuts. The one I knocked out of the steerer tube on my new fork and the one from my Dart 2 which I was going to try and stick in my new fork. I can provide pictures of the destroyed star nuts if you need proof?

    Yes please. Seriously - installing a star nut is a very basic procedure.....

    Are they being destroyed installing them, or are they being pulled up the top when you are attempting to torque it all together?

  41. #41
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    Also get us a pic of the "stack assembly" - Fork in the headset, any spacers, stem, and then the pic similar to the pic you have of your fork.

    Star nut inserted

    No headset cap though as I wanna see how far your star nut is set, and how much gap you have at the top.

    Thanks

  42. #42
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    Getting a picture of the star nut inserted is impossible because like I said I took it out. There was no more than a 1/8th of a inch of a spacer above the steerer tube. I can mock it up to make sure, and take a picture if needed.

    Picture of the 2 star nuts in question. Them being so messed up could have something to do with the size dowel I used to remove them. Either way I am not worried about them, they are cheap and I have 2 more coming, and the proper tool to set them.

    Big Foot Blue KHS XC704r

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dremer03
    There was no more than a 1/8th of a inch of a spacer above the steerer tube. I can mock it up to make sure, and take a picture if needed.

    So there was not even 1/8 of an inch of space between the top of the steer tube, and the top of your spacer/stem assembly (with the spacer being higher then the steer tube)?

    That is a very small amount - if you take a look at the machined "ledge" on your headset cap, you can see that is just over 1/16" of an inch - it sounds like you may be getting interference/binding there, which is why when you torque everything down you are pulling star nuts out instead of tightening everything down properly.

    get us a pic of the mock up to confirm suspicions.

    Also, that star nut on the right doesnt look completely destroyed

  44. #44
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    Can the Star Nuts be bent back? I will get a picture asap to confirm your suspicions. I have new spacers coming so I can how higher. I am also currently running a uncut steerer tube until I get my bike tweaked perfectly.
    Big Foot Blue KHS XC704r

  45. #45
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    Looks like you are correct.

    I have now learned a important lesson, thank you.
    Big Foot Blue KHS XC704r

  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dremer03
    Looks like you are correct.

    I have now learned a important lesson, thank you.
    NP, get about twice as much space there and you will be good togo

    you may be able to bend the used star nuts back - sometimes they will break though. That one on the right is probably salvageable - and they only need to hold together long enough to tighten down the headset. Once the stem gets clamped down , the star nuts job is done till next time.

  47. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by 006_007
    NP, get about twice as much space there and you will be good togo

    you may be able to bend the used star nuts back - sometimes they will break though. That one on the right is probably salvageable - and they only need to hold together long enough to tighten down the headset. Once the stem gets clamped down , the star nuts job is done till next time.
    Thanks for the correct diagnoses, I would have probably done the same thing.

    I have 10, 10mm spacers coming with everything else so I have plenty to go around stocking up on a few things.
    Big Foot Blue KHS XC704r

  48. #48
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    Also, for a quick fix...
    If you have another bike sitting around, pull a spacer off of it, and use it to install the top cap, and tighten it down. Then once the stem is on and tight, pull the top cap, and remove the borrowed spacer. Then just snug the top cap back on. You might see a small gap there, but it will work fine that way.

  49. #49
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    I got everything last night, I plan on installing a new star nut at first and trying that. If I cant I do have the Sette Headlock also just in case.

    To answer a previous question I payed $12.98 for the headlock, $2.00 for a Starnut, and Star Nut Setter was $11.98.
    Big Foot Blue KHS XC704r

  50. #50
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    A headlock will not help your problem.

    Some steerer are thinner then other. All you need to do if you starnut does not catch well is to pry it a little (remove the curve in the starnut) to make it fit tighter in the steerer. (Starnut size (diameter) inscrease)

    If you need to tighten it A LOT and it's still not tight. It's because :

    1. Bearing are dead
    2. Some part in your headset is misplaced, wrong one or simply not there.
    3. You need more spacer over your stem. (Top cap touching steerer)

    There is no need to install the starnut more then 3/8in-1/2in in the steerer.

    Notice : DONT EVER push the starnut all the way down the steerer. At least, look at the bottom of your fork before doing so. The steerer is often tapered a lot and the starnut will no pass. It's usually way less complicated to drill the middle of the starnut and pry it make out with a flat screwdriver.

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