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  1. #1
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    Is this a new idea or is it being done?

    I just realized, the star nut, the bolt that goes in it, and the sturdy/heavy cap are rather unnecessary once the stem is tightened down.

    There are probably no releasable star nuts, but are there plastic plugs to take place of the bolt and the regular headset cap?

  2. #2
    Max
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    i got rid of star nut 3 years ago. i use a long endlessly threaded bolt instead, which i tighten on both ends of the steerer using washers and hex nuts.
    once the stem is tightened, i remove them, and enjoy my rides. some might want to put a sticker on the top, i dont. i really like watching my tire spin through the steerer tube


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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlackCat
    I just realized, the star nut, the bolt that goes in it, and the sturdy/heavy cap are rather unnecessary once the stem is tightened down.

    There are probably no releasable star nuts, but are there plastic plugs to take place of the bolt and the regular headset cap?
    I run some of my bikes w/ no star nut and/or no topcap. I use the Conix nut that comes w/ my FSA Orbit XL II headsets to setup the headset/stem and then remove it if I'm being a total weight weenie. Works fine.

    http://www.chainreactioncycles.com/M...spx?ModelID=66

    I also have a topcap plug thingy that came w/ my USE Ring-Go-Star that I sometimes use to plug up the steerer tube.

    http://www.chainreactioncycles.com/M...x?ModelID=2741

    baker

  4. #4
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    I removed my star nut last winter, and rode all summer without any head cap. No problems. I installed a new fork in the fall, and never even put a star nut in. I used an FSA Expander head cap to adjust the headset. Once the stem bolts were torqued down, I removed the head cap. Again, no problems.

    Now, I do check the torque on those stem bolts periodically; if they were to loosen up, I could be in for a world of hurt! Likewise, if I crash, and my stem is knocked askew, I'm be up a creek. but these are risks I am willing to take for a 27-gram weight savings. Does that make me a fool? Maybe. A weight weenie? Definitely!

  5. #5
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    You guys are kidding, right?

    Are you really risking injury over a few grams, or is it me? I am in shock. I mean it. Who wants to loose teeth first? Just because it worked for a season, does not mean that it is a good idea. Use logic here, fellas.
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by damion
    Are you really risking injury over a few grams, or is it me? I am in shock. I mean it. Who wants to loose teeth first? Just because it worked for a season, does not mean that it is a good idea. Use logic here, fellas.
    I risk injury everytime I ride my bike. A stem attached to the steerer w/ 2 bolts and no topcap is less risky than most of the stuff I do while riding my bike. You take your risks and I'll take mine...

    baker

  7. #7
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    The risk is certainly minimal. Everyone would notice the handlebar and the wheel not perfectly perpendicular long before it gets loose enough to cause a crash.

    The idea of the long bolt is great. Home Depot should have everything to make one. But are there any commercially available caps just for the purpose of plugging up the hole? Plastic preferably.

  8. #8
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    dunno, i have never been looking into those plastic caps. some bacardi bottle cap or like might look cool and make for double fun: empty the bottle (1.) or enjoy the unique look (2.)

    oce the stem is tighten, it shouldnt come apart. and even in the imposible case that it might suddenly come very loose, it would twist, not just slide off the steerer tube, since because of the stem the load works in a rectangular direction. cant express it properly. just imagine: to take the stem off, you'd have to pull it upright by grabbing it close to the steerer. if you grabbed it at the bar, it would tilt, thus making it more difficult for the stem to come off.

    however, IF the stem would come loose, you'd first notice play in your headset. this results from a minor movement in the stem (less than 1 mm), and usually there are still 50 mm of clamping surface left.

    to cut a long story short: it works!

    BTW: do cannondale stems have an aheadset-cap?


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  9. #9
    Max
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    of course using loctite 648 glue always helps, esp. with carbon steerers!


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  10. #10
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  11. #11
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    I had a plan of doing exactly the same thing with my bike but few days ago ran into trouble with removing the starnut. I tried to drill it out and it was just taking ages and ages. Any tips on how to get rid of a starnut painlessly?

    As for the safety of the system, remember that you'd crash equally well if your stem loosened with the cap on. It's the loss of steering that would cause you to crash in both cases, not the stem coming off.
    If in doubt - pedal harder!!!

  12. #12
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    why

    Quote Originally Posted by BlackCat
    I just realized, the star nut, the bolt that goes in it, and the sturdy/heavy cap are rather unnecessary once the stem is tightened down.

    There are probably no releasable star nuts, but are there plastic plugs to take place of the bolt and the regular headset cap?
    You think the aheadset stem cap is too heavy? oh, that's right, this must be the weightweenie forum. have you considered just leaving it off? once the stem is set it and the screw do nothing. btw, that screw is useful as it is the same size as many seatpost clamp bolts, so you always have a spare with you.
    Don't pay the $85 fee to ride land you own! Resist!

  13. #13
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    It's not heavy, but the bolt/cap/nut combo is 32 grams as I just measured. Close to 0.1lb for free.

  14. #14
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    emergency field repair

    I run this system with no problems on my aluminum steerer forks.
    It especially looks nice when the top of the steer tube is flush with the top of the stem and you smooth and polish the aluminum of the steer tube.
    I just use a long screw driver to beat the star nut down and out through the hole at the bottom of the steerer. It isn't very gentle and the starnut gets mangled, but it works for me. I also use a long threaded bolt and washers to preload the headset before tightening the stem bolts.

    A friend told me that he used to use this system and was able to repair it in the field by tightening the bolts so the stem was almost snug on the steerer and then using his shoe to beat it down and load the headset bearings. Finally he would tighten the stem bolts fully and continue to risk his very life for one ounce of weight savings! Yeaah!

  15. #15
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    I destroyed my star nut in the removing, but here's how I did it: I used needle-nose pliers to pry the prongs of the top half of the star nut away from the steerer. I then threaded on the top cap, and screwed the bolt down. With only the lower half of the star nut still digging into the steerer, I could pull the star nut most of the way out with the bolt, and the rest of the way with the pliers. Afterwards, I smoothed out the gouges in the steerer with a file, then sand paper. Come to think of it, it may have been better to push the star nut out the bottom of the steerer. Maybe next time...if there is a next time.

  16. #16
    Max
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    i used a wodden stick, about 1 inch in diameter and simply knocked the nut through the bottom of the steerer


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  17. #17
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    It'll go through? The ID of the steerer tube gets a bunch smaller at the bottom on the forks that I've seen.
    "I've come to believe that common sense is not that common" - Matt Timmerman

  18. #18
    Max
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    i havent concerned myself with such marginal problems and it shouldn't be much of a problem for the starnut to clear even slightly smaller IDs. after all you're hitting it with a 1 kg hammer *lol*
    Last edited by Max; 01-06-2005 at 03:05 PM.


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  19. #19
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    here's my rather long story

    Bought a used SID Race with carbon steerer ...also bought a used headset (Cane Creek S6). Upon attempting to install the fork, my friend and I both realized something was very wrong. The fork was extremely loose even after tightening everything up.

    Took it to LBS to ask if the compression ring goes on the top or bottom (we had it on the upper bearing, all the movement was originating from the bottom). I showed the "mechanic" all the parts that I received for the headset and he took the compression ring and slid it onto the steerer. It wouldn't go all the way down to touch the crown since the base of the steerer has a buldge (larger diameter). He quickly told me that the headset wasn't compatible with that fork. That didn't make much sense to me but I told him I had to get the bike together as I had a race that weekend. He gave me two options: He could either sell me another kind of headset or he could tediously sand down the bottom of the steerer at the shop hourly rate so the compression ring would go all the way down. He was very reluctant to do this though and I wasn't interested in a cheap fix which would be some heavy headset for more than I paid for my S6.

    I took the fork home and had my friend try to reinstall it again this time with the compression ring at the bottom like the mechanic said. My friend was under the impression that the sanding wasn't necessary. The ring would get pushed down tight into its place when tightening the bolt and expander plug. Well first of all, it was so tight trying to get the comp. ring to move down that the expander plug wasn't gripping sufficiently. He got it to grip and then started tightening the bolt. SNAP! ...the steel bolt snapped and the worst part was seeing the crack in the carbon steerer

    There goes a very expensive part. Obviously the sanding was needed so he sanded it after the damage was done and also cut off as much of the cracked steerer as possible now with no choice but to run zero spacers.

    After sanding, the compression ring would have the ability to be pushed down to the crown with a new bolt and the expander plug. We also realized this had to be snug or else the steerer would be garbage for sure so took care not too over sand the steerer base. Tightened everything up again and now it was perfect at the lower bearing and totally loose at the upper bearing. That confirrmed what my friend initially thought ...the compression ring has to be at the top!

    We looked at the parts diagram on the Cane Creek website ....ohhhh, that's kinda interesting ...the website shows a part I never received ...it seems the person I bought the used headset from inadvertently did not include the CROWN RACE!! ...who would of thought.

    But now, because of the modification the compression ring jammed on the bottom of the steerer needs to stay put and simply order another compresson ring for the top.

    The part eventually arrived and the fork was successfully installed. I had always intended to run the bike without a cap, bolt and expander plug so that's how I did it. The problem seemed to be that a bit of the crack in the steerer still remained and I didn't want to overtighten the stem and risk further damage. As a result, the headset worked itself loose. Tightened it back up by placing a wooden block on the stem and giving it a few good whacks with a hammer to ensure everything was tight. But still, the headset would come loose eventually while riding. Finally tightened the stem (Syntace) more thinking it was perhaps too loose and the steerer cracked again and got slightly crushed in at the back adjacent to the bolts. Damn, having an expander plug in, would have prevented that.

    In conclusion, I wouldn't expect any problems riding without the cap, bolt and expander plug/star nut if you have an aluminium steerer. With regards to a carbon steerer, I don't know if the carbon is simply too 'elastic' to be run like this without the headset coming loose or if the initial crack was the main cause. In any event, I'm sure for a carbon steerer, the Loctite that Max mentioned would have helped.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by bulC
    You think the aheadset stem cap is too heavy? oh, that's right, this must be the weightweenie forum. have you considered just leaving it off? once the stem is set it and the screw do nothing. btw, that screw is useful as it is the same size as many seatpost clamp bolts, so you always have a spare with you.
    That's a great idea as long as you don't have a Thompson or the like with a dowel-shaped nut that you also lose when the bolt falls out of your seatpost (I found that out a couple of weeks ago).
    There are no stupid questions but there are A LOT of inquisitive idiots.


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  21. #21
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    I'd not remove the starnut/top cap assembly. A friend of mine has a scar (from several years ago) just below his nipple from his landing on his bike/topcap.

    If he'd removed his topcap he'd probably have lost his nipple or man-boob. He'd be half the man he is today...
    Take the long cut, we'll get there eventually.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Scary
    This is the exact reason some people should not be home mechanics. Carbon is considered "failed" if it is scored. You had a crack in it, then wonder why it crushed more when you tightened the stem down. You may not realize this but carbon fiber is either nylon or epoxy reinforced by woven carbon strands. While the material displays incredible strength characterisitcs, it is not the best material to be clamped (it scores easily). Carbon steerers are to be run through a stem (with spacers on top) so that the loads from bolt tightening are placed solely on the barrel and not on an exposed (cut) end. Had you read the instructions with your SID you would have never run your fork the way you tried. Glad it held together while you were winning that SPORT race with no training. Guess you spend to much time wrenching...
    In retrospect, it's not so surprising that it crushed when tightening the stem down. The steerer already had a bit of a crack in it. If I would have simply put the expander plug back in, even with the crack, everything would have been fine. The "crushed" portion is very minimal ...it's at the very top of the steerer near the bolts. It's marginally pushed in but the expander plug will still fit in.

    I'm certainly not worried about catastrophic failure but I will be racing with the expander plug in from now on simply because headsets coming loose in a race isn't very ideal.. Even how it is now, the stem isn't going to come off and with some Loctite could easily still be run without the expander plug.

    My friend is my wrencher and the irony here is that he had installed the same headset on his bike a few months earlier but his was new and came with a crown race. Somehow his memory was a tad messed up or he could have pointed out I am missing the crown race. The young "mechanic" at the LBS was no good either as he should have pointed that out also and not tried to put a compression ring at the base of a steerer.

    Scary, now I have to mention that you seem to write "to" quite often when it should be "too". I thought this was carelessness at first but I see it all too often from you.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by eurorider
    In retrospect, it's not so surprising that it crushed when tightening the stem down. The steerer already had a bit of a crack in it. If I would have simply put the expander plug back in, even with the crack, everything would have been fine. The "crushed" portion is very minimal ...it's at the very top of the steerer near the bolts. It's marginally pushed in but the expander plug will still fit in.

    I'm certainly not worried about catastrophic failure but I will be racing with the expander plug in from now on simply because headsets coming loose in a race isn't very ideal.. Even how it is now, the stem isn't going to come off and with some Loctite could easily still be run without the expander plug.

    My friend is my wrencher and the irony here is that he had installed the same headset on his bike a few months earlier but his was new and came with a crown race. Somehow his memory was a tad messed up or he could have pointed out I am missing the crown race. The young "mechanic" at the LBS was no good either as he should have pointed that out also and not tried to put a compression ring at the base of a steerer.

    Scary, now I have to mention that you seem to write "to" quite often when it should be "too". I thought this was carelessness at first but I see it all too often from you.
    Wow .. thats some scary stuff there... Personally I think you're taking some serious risks. Esp with your "mechanics" and LBS. All you would've had to do to see if the nut goes in the top or bottom is to look at another bike for .01sec.

  24. #24
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    Remedial lessons all around

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Scary
    "Too" should be interchangeable with "also"... If I subbed it in from my last statement above, you would look at me like I did not know how to speak.
    Oh and to make Motivated happy, using the word "to" is lighter than using the word "too" (see MX post).
    "too" used as a replacement for "also": "Poor grammar is common on the 'wheels' forum and on this 'weight weenies' forum too."

    "too" used as an expression of excess: "Poor grammar on the internet is far too common."

    Perhaps remedial lessons are in order, as these are early grade-school writing and reading skills.

    Also, anyone who fails to recognize that the crown race is missing from a headset should NEVER be allowed near a bike to install a headset until they have spent a little more time studying the concept of how a headset works. It's obvious that the people who worked on the case of the crushed SID did not fully understand the necessary components to a properly working aheadset system. Like the use of the word "too" in the English language, the aheadset concept is ridiculously simple and any but the greenest beginners should know how it works.

    HTF
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  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hardtailforever
    Also, anyone who fails to recognize that the crown race is missing from a headset should NEVER be allowed near a bike to install a headset until they have spent a little more time studying the concept of how a headset works. It's obvious that the people who worked on the case of the crushed SID did not fully understand the necessary components to a properly working aheadset system. Like the use of the word "too" in the English language, the aheadset concept is ridiculously simple and any but the greenest beginners should know how it works.

    HTF
    I agree, it's pretty damn simple to install a headset. My friend had correctly installed the identical headset on his build a few months before. These bikes were our first builds and our previous bikes had threaded designs. Regardless, he is mechanically inclined ...he can build a solid wheel and he completely rebuilt his Civic and Prelude engines to perfection. He lives in another city and was only visiting on the weekends so when he was installing it, he couldn't use his bike as a reference.

    Usually, you would think that even if you bought a used headset, it would come with the absolutely necessary parts like a crown race. The seller stated that the cap, bolt and star nut were not included, which was perfectly fine since my F99 came with a cap and the SID already had an expander plug in it when I got it. It also doesn't help that we were unsure so to be safe, I sought the advice of a mechanic at the LBS and was misled.
    Last edited by eurorider; 01-10-2005 at 10:47 AM.

  26. #26
    all hail der Fuhrer Bush
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    why I love visiting the weight weenie forum

    if they were to loosen up, I could be in for a world of hurt! Likewise, if I crash, and my stem is knocked askew, I'm be up a creek. but these are risks I am willing to take for a 27-gram weight savings.

    fool? weight weenie? I was going to say complete idiot. why ANY risk for less than a single ounce weight savings? you could spit a couple hockers before your ride and save that much. someday, maybe not today, or tomorrow, but someday, maybe years from now, your idiotic weight savings obsession is gonna bite you in the arse bigtime, and while you're walking out in the dark and cold, remember these words from bulC: You are an idiot.
    Don't pay the $85 fee to ride land you own! Resist!

  27. #27
    giddy up!
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    That may be true in regards to his long walk out of the backcountry with your words echoing in his head, however, hear the collective voice of all mtbr-ites as we say to you.....

    "YOU ARE AN IDIOT"

    Seriously, only an idiot would take the time to go out of their way to put others down. This is the weight weenies forum. They discuss ways to lighten up their bikes. That's what they do! Why hang out in here when you know what they're up to?

    That's the question, why do you hang out in these forums if everyone gets you soo riled up as to go around calling people idiots and correcting their spelling.

    Calm down.

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  28. #28
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    it only came loose once on a pre-ride and I didn't have to walk out of the cold and dark wilderness ...lol ...I just babied it back to the pits.

  29. #29
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    This is one of the funniest threads I've ever read. I can't ever imagine being SO obsesed with weight that I would look at getting rid of the top cap. It might give you around a .00002 second advantage over a 20 mile stretch. Don't even try to tell me anyone can feel the difference. This is too funny!

    Not doggin on the low weight department, it's just that some of you guys are WAY too much into this. It's almost like a mental disease, like an eating disorder. "ohh no I'm 110 lbs, I'm sooooo fat!"

    When will the madness end? When you get soooo thin that something is bound to completely break? At what point does one loose sight of making themselves as strong as they can, in favor of going faster without going stronger?

  30. #30
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    Regarding this thread, it seems the emphasis should be on "weenie". What's surprising is the large number pulling such a cockamamie stunt . However I must say I've laughed until tears welled in my eyes.

    Having said that, I saved weight in this area by cutting off most of the star nut's wings, only driving it in about half the distance, and using a short 'ti' bolt and a lightened cap (Milled & drilled). It's a very light, spiffy looking set-up that ensures I can straighten my bars after a fall and simplifies maintenance & upkeep.

    Incidently, to save even more weight, I've been thinking about only running one pedal. Of course I would alternate which pedal I'd remove to ensure both legs maintained equal fitness levels. Has anyone tried this and on the non-pedal side did you remove the cleat on that shoe, too?

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by gruppo

    Incidently, to save even more weight, I've been thinking about only running one pedal. Of course I would alternate which pedal I'd remove to ensure both legs maintained equal fitness levels. Has anyone tried this and on the non-pedal side did you remove the cleat on that shoe, too?


    It would be cool to have one huge leg and have the other be half the size. You would get hired as a pro football kicker in no time. Think about it, play football for a couple months, pay the bills and bike the rest of the time!


    On the note of light bikes:

    They sure are fun to blast around on, but for a big guy like me who likes to ride on the edge, I can't risk breaking a vital part and crashing into a tree or flying off a cliff. A heavy bike only sucks to first few times you ride it on a long ride. After that, your legs get burly and you don't even notice the weight.

  32. #32
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    Ultra light Cup

    Quote Originally Posted by Max
    i got rid of star nut 3 years ago.
    I use a home made Carbon-fiber-nomex Cup that weights 1gr, with the aluminum bolt it is somewhere between 2-3 grams total (my scale has a 1gr precision limit).

    No need to take risks and VERY minimal weight

  33. #33
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    ??? is that the weight including the expander inside the steerer? pics?


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  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Max
    ??? is that the weight including the expander inside the steerer? pics?
    No the weight does not include the star-nut, just the cup and the aluminum screw. I might get around posting photos (rather uninteresting) but it is an hassle becaus emy dig-camera still has a serial port ... and the Mac wants a USB ... and i have to go through a PC ( ) and ... it is an hassle

  35. #35
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    Headlocks

    Quote Originally Posted by BudhaGoodha


    It would be cool to have one huge leg and have the other be half the size. You would get hired as a pro football kicker in no time. Think about it, play football for a couple months, pay the bills and bike the rest of the time!


    On the note of light bikes:

    They sure are fun to blast around on, but for a big guy like me who likes to ride on the edge, I can't risk breaking a vital part and crashing into a tree or flying off a cliff. A heavy bike only sucks to first few times you ride it on a long ride. After that, your legs get burly and you don't even notice the weight.

    I've just gotten this:

    http://www.pricepoint.com/detail.htm...8&hprice=19.98

    it's probably overkill. could probably do without anything after pinching the stem to the steerer, but it's somewhat trick, and I don't enjoy avoidable failures on the trail, reaching to the sky, yelling, "WHY, GOD, WHY"

  36. #36
    Max
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    you'd have problems to mount THAT on a carbon steerer fork though


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  37. #37
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    carbon? what's carbon

    Quote Originally Posted by Max
    you'd have problems to mount THAT on a carbon steerer fork though

    ummmm....who's talking about carbon steerers? jeez, u hurt my feelingz.

  38. #38
    Max
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    well, i mean (and that's what was the final conclusion in another thread posted some time ago) that with alloy steerers the top cap/SFN is of no function at all once the stem is tightened properly (maybe with a litle help of Loctite).

    on the other hand, carbon steerers might not take the force that's imposed by overtorquened stem bolts. that's why we started talking about light steerer plugs, and whether they are necessary or not.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Max
    well, i mean (and that's what was the final conclusion in another thread posted some time ago) that with alloy steerers the top cap/SFN is of no function at all once the stem is tightened properly (maybe with a litle help of Loctite).

    on the other hand, carbon steerers might not take the force that's imposed by overtorquened stem bolts. that's why we started talking about light steerer plugs, and whether they are necessary or not.

    got it. so, i'm a little late to the party, but basically the SFN is there for making fork installation easier? and it is not a safety add-on? i'd think that the Headlock would help, in the rare event that the top of the steerer fails or crushes at the stem area. I guess in general if that ever happened, whether with or without SFN or headlock, you be f--ked and bumming. so in sum, we're all f--ked?

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    well, carbon layers can take high stress as long as it is tensile stress. compression on the other hand aint that good for carbon steerers. so a special carbon steerer plug might help to work against the compression force resulting from overtightening the stem.

    dunno if that answers your Q, but if your steerer breaks - no matter if alloy or carbon - a SFN or a headlock doesnt help you at all. but that's a rather theoretical question, as i have never heard of a xc fork breaking at the stem mount. if one breaks, then at the transition steerer-crown.

    IMHO the headlock only adds weight. a SFN might be a better option due to the extra strength in the clamping area.


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