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PostPosted: Mon Nov 01, 2010 7:30 pm 
Retro Guru

Joined: Mon Feb 15, 2010 6:00 pm
Posts: 608
Hello.

Just bought frame + fork with headset. It arrived and the headset stack height is way too large for the forks steerer column.

Took off the parts I can just unscrew; top nut, toothed spacer and toothed race, and there's only about 1cm of threads available above the part of the race that's pressed into the top of the headtube. Seems very short. Can only screw on the top nut a couple of turns, maybe about a third to half way at most, once everythings back on.

Anyway, guess I can't use it?
Very dissapointing as it's a very nice period headset and I was expecting it to fit. Not having to find one was part of the appeal of the frameset! etc etc. I'm also half wondering if the fork has been cut way too short at some point for some reason. Which is a worry as maybe nothing will fit. Hmmm.

Anyway... seems like the frame must have an incredibly small stack height? Can anyone suggest a period headset that I could look for that might fit. I don't have the tools to remove the races from the frame to work out what height I'd need, but any suggestions of low stack headsets would be appreciated.

If anyone can give any advice, much appreciate it. And if so, I can stick a picture up when I get a moment if that might help?


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 01, 2010 7:38 pm 
Old School Grand Master

Joined: Tue Oct 09, 2007 1:55 pm
Posts: 8202
Location: New Forest, UK
With a bike like that I imagine that it will have a nice cast fork crown. Your local friendly frame builder will be able to braze in a new steerer. It's a straightforward job, so shouldn't cost too much.

...now that's something you cannot do easily with a welded fork!


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 01, 2010 8:05 pm 
Retro Guru

Joined: Mon Feb 15, 2010 6:00 pm
Posts: 608
Thanks for that. And for making it sound nice and simple too.

I'd, already priced that up earlier - I always worry and jump straight to seeing how much the worst case scenario will cost. Mercian and Argos are both around 50 quid for a new fork column.

Not sure I have a local friendly frame builder! I'm in Edinburgh. Will be sending it away to be painted somewhere so guess if I need to do that I'll send it somewhere that can. Although I was thinking about Madgetts Cycles, Diss Norfolk, for a respray as they gave me a good price and the chap there seems very nice via email.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 01, 2010 8:28 pm 
Retro Guru

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2010 7:07 pm
Posts: 1321
Location: Cotswolds
Looks like you need about another 1/8 inch. Hope this is not too obvious, but check you havn't got too many balls in the upper and lower races. Is it possible to to shave a bit off the head lugs?
We used to get this problem when Campagnolo first made headsets with 3/16 balls.
Might be able to shave a bit off the locking washer?
The pressed in races only need a bit of 1" tubing and a gentle hammer, all we ever had in the 50's.
Send me pictures if you wish.
A new fork column is a bit drastic, with the refinishing as well.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 01, 2010 8:46 pm 
Retro Guru

Joined: Mon Feb 15, 2010 6:00 pm
Posts: 608
Thanks again Keith, you're always great for advice on this stuff.

I'll look in to your suggestions. I was wondering about the bearings and had a look, but if anything it seems there's too few rather than too many, they're certainly not packed in there. I guess I should check the bearings are the right size too! Think it might be a TDC headset. Maybe it's got 3/16 instead of 5/32 balls? Although that would only account for 1/16th of an inch (I think)!


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2010 10:53 am 
Retro Guru

Joined: Wed Dec 10, 2008 9:19 am
Posts: 2093
Location: Sheffield, top city
Ive been there before on this one too.
I attempted to shave off a bit from the head lugs, which was a real ballache, as without a facing tool, its practically impossible to ensure an all-round square cut at the ends, meaning the headset cups either wont sit straight or will show gaps where you've shaved off too much. Maybe youre a patient chap, who will carefully and painfully achieve it, my ADHD meant I sorta lived with the bodge!
Alternatively, when I converted a frame from threaded to threadless, my local framebuilder extended the steerer tube on a pair of forks. The steerer gets cut midway and an internal sleeve is applied to weld a longer steerer onto it. Very impressed and cost me £20 including repainting the forks. However, if youre using a quill stem, you might have problems inserting it where the internal sleeve sits.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2010 11:19 am 
Retro Guru

Joined: Mon Feb 15, 2010 6:00 pm
Posts: 608
Thanks for the reply.

My LBS has a very nice Campagnolo facing tool so maybe that will be the best way? I reckon I'd achieve an equally bodge job filing myself! Although maybe not as I'm more OCD than ADHD!

I am tempted to find an alternative to having a new steerer put on the fork as it's nice to have the matching serial no. on frame and fork (see OCD!) but I'll have to see. As it does look like it would need to find more like 1/4" - 1/2" by filing to make the headset fit. Unless Keith's idea of shaving the lock ring washer too helps.

Anyhow, I'll go down to my friendly LBS at the weekend and see if they have time to take the headset and races out and check everythings in there correctly, make sure the balls are correct size etc etc and go from there. That way I can see what stack height headset I'd need and come back here and see if it's possible to find!

In the meantime thanks for all the advice, might put a picture up tonight if I have time.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2010 11:22 am 
Retro Guru

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2010 7:07 pm
Posts: 1321
Location: Cotswolds
It would be better to buy another frame with a shorter headset and swap them?
Hope it works out OK


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2010 11:32 am 
Retro Guru

Joined: Mon Feb 15, 2010 6:00 pm
Posts: 608
I totally agree on that! I'm just worried it looks really short for fitting any stack height heaset. I'll stop worrying prematurely and measure it all up once I take it out.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2010 1:37 pm 
rider | rBoTM Winner
rider | rBoTM Winner
User avatar

Joined: Fri Jan 25, 2008 1:42 pm
Posts: 5131
Location: Wakefield, Yorkshire
The Tange Passage 1" headset is 30.3mm stack height (relatively small compared to other similar headsets) and looks quite 'vintage' - but is this still to big?


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