I swapped all my parts to new frame, ended up with extra headset spacer that doesn't fit :( (pics)

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12/7/2016 6:37 AM
Edited Date/Time: 12/7/2016 6:39 AM

So I finally finished rawing and replacing the BB of a frame I'd gotten and I swapped all of my parts over, problem is that when I went to put the front end together, the lowest spacer above the top headset bearing would not fit, if I put it on it would make it so the dust cover was like 10mm above the frame, I don't know why it wouldn't fit I tried over and over and could not seat it! So I just went ahead and used *only* the spacer above it - the one with the notch cut out of it - and that's all I've got there, it feels solid but am afraid of damaging my headset and/or headtube!

I took some pictures to show how I *think* it should be assembled (ie showing the 3 pieces I expected to go on my steer tube between the frame and the stem, the upper headset bearing *then* thick spacer *then* notched-spacer *then* dust cap, I put descriptions on the pics to be clear what I mean (the pics are of spare parts, my bike is assembled now and the dust cap is sitting at its normal ~1mm from the headtube, the bike rides well and steering feels solid) Here's the pics with descriptions in an imgur album:



12/7/2016 7:58 AM


12/7/2016 10:05 AM

It goes bearing, compression ring, dust cap. In your pics you've got a race on top of the bearing, then the compression ring. That race doesn't need to be there. That race is for the forks, if they don't have an integrated race


12/7/2016 1:57 PM

cmc & grumpy steve, thanks a ton guys! I couldn't figure out why I didn't have *two* of them!!! Even if it didn't fit, I figured I should've had two leftover not one... So, when assembling the front-end, my nicer, tapered (United) forks had been cut flush for my stem on my old frame and, with the new frame having a taller headtube, my best forks were no longer tall enough to take my stem - so went to shed to grab a pair of old (I shudder to think what they may be, could be quality could be walmart, I cannot recall where I picked them up and they're straight-tubing which IMO just looks terrible!)

Well, it's great to know that the top of the headset is all set, and I think my bottom half is too - I'm going to upload a picture of the forks I have on now, they appear to have an integrated race but would love confirmation (am also going to upload a pic of the black forks I'd taken off my old bike, these appear to *not* have an integrated race, which would explain why I had just a single one of these kicking around after I had all my parts laid out!) Confirmation would be greatly appreciated though!!Photo



12/7/2016 2:11 PM

The black forks look like they do have an integrated race. It's basically just the chamfer on the top of the crown. I can't see that on the white forks as they're installed and have a weird crown on them. Did you have a spacer under your stem before? Your steerer might be long enough if you lose a spacer


12/9/2016 8:41 AM
Edited Date/Time: 12/9/2016 8:53 AM

I dunno, I'd swear that that spacer came from my black forks, from between the upper headset bearing and the notched spacer, beneath my dust cap (maybe it fit there, and I'd just been riding it wrong) It may also have come from between the fork's crown (or chamfer?) and bottom headset bearing but I don't believe it did. I'd swapped all my parts from my black frame (the black forks are stock to it, a 2012 united SU2), but when switching to the new frame I didn't realize its headtube was taller and that I couldn't use my flush-cut black forks anymore, I had those white ones but the washer wasn't with them, no parts were with them they just had socks pulled over their legs to protect them when I jammed them behind my washing machine lol, thank god I had them though otherwise I would've had to swap everything back over to my black united frame, all that time rawing my new frame, finding the BB type / ordering / installing it, then the whole swap, would've all been for naught! I would have cried lol, deciding if buying a new fork was worth it to try the 20.5" frame that I'm not sure I'll prefer to my 21"!!

I'm surprised that pic doesn't show convincing support for the bottom headset bearing, but am 99% sure (sure enough that I probably won't check it til next time I have to remove the stem-from-forks for some other reason), but if it wasn't aligned to the bearing properly (ie if it were pressing the faceplate or for any reason not allowing it to spin freely), then it wouldn't have installed & rode right, like I was able to seat it and used the compression cap to put it slightly-tight, rode it a bit now and it's solid, the spin of the bars isn't as stiff (it always relaxes after a few miles, hence why I over-tighten it) but it's still a touch tight and it spins smooth as butter, so whatever that plating on the white fork is I imagine it's sufficient and safe, hope so at least!!


12/9/2016 9:02 AM

The one with the notch is the upper bearing race. It goes inbetween the headset cap and the bearing. Sometimes if the headset cap rubs the frame, you will also need to throw in a thin 1mm spacer or two. Nothing else should be inbetween the bearing and cap.


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12/9/2016 9:09 AM

HardBMX_Tim wrote:

The one with the notch is the upper bearing race. It goes inbetween the headset cap and the bearing. Sometimes if the headset ...more

I've had that issue, where the headset cap rubs the frame. It seems strange--you'd think that the integrated head tubes would all be made to the same spec....


12/11/2016 8:56 AM

cmc wrote:
I've had that issue, where the headset cap rubs the frame. It seems strange--you'd think that the integrated head tubes would ...more

Yeah you'd think so right? At least *most* of the parts are interchangeable, def gotta give credit to the industry's progress the past two decades!!


12/11/2016 10:28 AM

A headset will often come with a thin spacer specifically to prevent the dust cover touching the frame. It's less than 1mm thick, and is enough to do its job. Or you could just file the dust cover down a touch


12/11/2016 2:03 PM
Edited Date/Time: 12/11/2016 2:06 PM

that must be the one I'm referring to, it's not a mm thick at any point, but the surface area and form of it seem entirely sufficient for even weight distribution from the dust cap's downward pressure into the headset bearing - is that not always there? The 'compression ring' in the diagram someone posted up-thread?

[and to be clear, the dust cover touching was never the problem, I was trying to get an extra spacer in there - incorrectly lol - and because of that my dust cover was way too *high*, once I went w/o that everything fit like a glove, the fork and/or frame are even straighter than my old ones (which weren't bad by any means, but slightly off), these seem dead-on, I haven't found an imbalance yet, am gonna spend some time with string & measuring tape soon though :D


12/15/2016 8:49 PM

Those forks are for an unsealed standard headset, not and integrated sealed headset. I dont think thats very safe. So your running walmart forks on an aftermarket frame, and they are actually weaker than they would be on a walmart bike. Yikes. Why would you chop your forks so severly? How can they be that much different? I dont understand, but you should try and get your better forks on there. You could literally die from forks breaking! Its the last area you want to half ass!


12/22/2016 5:45 PM

For some reason it looks like my original reply didn't go through, so apologies if this is a double-reply (and for the fact it will be shorter/blunter than my original, my dinner's ready tho lol)

There's no reason to believe those are cheap forks, in fact there's every reason to believe they came with the very frame they currently reside on, as, yes, they're *my* backup forks, but this frame I just got was a frame I bought-back from someone, and these forks are *from that frame*. I bought it used (craigslist or facebook, cannot recall), but they came together in a solid 'custom' I bought.

Now, as to 'unsealed standard headset', I honestly cannot even remember the last time I saw open bearing cartridges on a bmx, only a fixed-gear or racing bike (vintage styles lol), in fact I used the sealed bearing cartridges from my black SU2's headset in the raw frame, so my current setup is the forks&frame I bought as a pair (on a working, solid bike), but the bearing cartridges are the ones from my black United SU2, and I can assure you all 4 bearing cartridges are 100% identical in dimensions, I'm just riding the ones from my other frame&fork set because they're cleaner&nicer than the ones in this raw frame/white fork combo.

I'm very, very serious about bike safety, so I do very much welcome a reply from you on this, but frankly I think there's a misunderstanding (or two) on your part about what these parts are. I'd be happy to take extra pics if helpful, as I NEED TO KNOW if there is something wrong, it's why I started this thread lol, and furthermore I'm currently on the market for forks (for another reason, to get a shorter rake, so I can ride my larger united frame and still have the wheelbase I get with this 20.5"), so this is important to me!