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Headset/fork wobbles...

JohnE

filthy rascist
May 13, 2005
12,647
664
Front Range, dude...
So dropped a new fork onto my Moots...re used the old King HS w/ a new race. Cant seem to get it dialed in good enough not to wobble just a touch when I brake...suggestions? Usually I have no issues ith head sets...is it possible the star nut isnt deep enough?
 

kazlx

Patches O'Houlihan
Aug 7, 2006
6,721
1,575
Tustin, CA
Besides the stuff already mentioned, make sure the front brake is tight. I chased what felt like a headset wobble one time that was the front brake.
 

Jm_

Turbo Monkey
Jan 14, 2002
9,603
1,960
AK
Um, is this a new CK with the Cane Creek compression ring setup? If not, that right there is probably the issue. The older CK headsets were flawed and for years they refused to update the design, blaming the play on the user installation, o-ring, bearings and all sorts of stuff that made no sense. If it doesn't have the compression ring, you can upgrade it now. As soon as the CC patent ran out, CK changed their design.

Amongst the symptoms: Loose headset. Headset comes loose while riding even though it was tightened. Steerer tube scored. O-ring deformed.
 
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OGRipper

Turbo Monkey
Feb 3, 2004
9,758
182
NORCAL is the hizzle
Yeah, if you've moved that headset around a number of times the o-ring is probably mangled. For a cheap fix I would try just replacing the o-ring first.

I think this problem has been exaggerated. It's an issue on DH bikes but for everything else, unless the o-ring got deformed, it should be fine. I, like many others, have used the o-ring King headsets on road and trail bikes for years without any problems.
 

kazlx

Patches O'Houlihan
Aug 7, 2006
6,721
1,575
Tustin, CA
As far as my issue, it was disc brakes. The adapter was loose and it was giving that chattery feeling when braking that felt like the headset wobbling.
 

Jm_

Turbo Monkey
Jan 14, 2002
9,603
1,960
AK
Yeah, if you've moved that headset around a number of times the o-ring is probably mangled. For a cheap fix I would try just replacing the o-ring first.

I think this problem has been exaggerated. It's an issue on DH bikes but for everything else, unless the o-ring got deformed, it should be fine. I, like many others, have used the o-ring King headsets on road and trail bikes for years without any problems.
And back when bikes only had 2" of front travel, this was correct. Even 29ers have super-long axle to crown lengths relatively. A 29er with 3" of travel is a massively long lever compared to those old Mag 21s when CKs were designed. The o-ring was a piss-poor design. It's that simple. A "cheap fix" of replacing the o-ring isn't going to help here if he has an older CK. Relying on a o-ring to keep pressure up against the bearings and keep the steerer from rocking about is ridiculous. As something other than metal or bushing material, it will compress to nearly nothing when you have a frontal impact, and then something else has to give, and you end up with the loose headset. CK rightly updated their design. Sometimes it's not a huge deal for an old short travel 26er bike that has ran a CK "forever", but a few owners have been surprised when they took their fork off and noticed the steerer nearly scored through.
 
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JohnE

filthy rascist
May 13, 2005
12,647
664
Front Range, dude...
- Looked at the old fork steerer tube, see no scoring.
- Dont no how old the hs is, I got the bike second hand...its an 03 according to the folks in Steamboat.
- Will prolly slide over to the high end LBS next week and have him look at it.

Cant find King bearings on the interweb anywhere, do they exist aftermarket or will any 1 1/8 work?
 

Mike87

Chimp
Aug 8, 2011
16
0
Hauser, Idaho
I have had the same problem (wobbling) and it turned out to be a spacer that was a little too short and would not allow the stem washer to seat fully without hitting the fork steerer tube. Changed it out for a slightly longer one and the problem was solved.
 

Jm_

Turbo Monkey
Jan 14, 2002
9,603
1,960
AK
BEARING CAPS



Designed for our NoThreadSet threadless system and available in 1” and 1 1/8”. Match your current headset color or mix it up for a custom look. Includes o-ring.

GripLock™ bearing cap
Our headsets feature an all-new bearing cap design. GripLock™ is a multi-piece bearing cap that utilizes a split ring that improves steerer tube interface
http://chrisking.com/parts/bearingcaps

Although it's "possible" the bearings are bad, it's not likely. Headset bearings don't see much wear and tear, and CKs headset bearings really are decent, one of the few using tapered/angular-contact-roller. There is a tendency with real cheap headsets to use low quality skate-board bearings, but most these days are decent above about 40-50 bucks. I've had plenty of headsets go past 10 years on the same bearings, and if you have an angular contact bearing like CK, and it did develop some "play", having a compression ring (split ring) would take that right back out when you tighten it.

The only other issues I've seen are star-nuts that pull up when you tighten them and not enough spacers (sometimes you think you have enough, but it bottoms out). Those should be relatively obvious issues, and again, CK bearings are pretty good and not a likely suspect. In fact, on a modern headset, it's hard to get any "looseness" at all, because they have compression rings and you simply tighten down so there's no play. If the bearings were bad, when you did this, the entire bearing would jam and catastrophically self-destruct (which I've seen happen).

Although I have more experience over the years with my own bikes due to the time factor, I have worked in a shop and worked on hundreds of headsets. They are not complicated parts. CK has a history of being fairly arrogant and one-sided in how they see things. They make some high quality stuff, but they are not perfect. Just like Park tools. Most are great, the best in fact for the job, but there are a few areas where competitors make hands down better tools.
 
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JohnE

filthy rascist
May 13, 2005
12,647
664
Front Range, dude...
So took the whole thing apart, find no issues anywhere. Re-assembling, and I go to look for the split ring, and I have no split ring. Dont remember ever seeing one. Ever. Have a mystery split ring in my parts bin, but it doesnt fit...anyone know where I can get a CK split ring? They have been very helpful via their FB page, but referred me to dealers/distributors in Germany, none of which is near me...

Nothing on Ebay of note either. Would like to escape this without spending a gazillion samoleans.