cost-efficient bike upgrading advice?

Discussion in 'General Bike Discussion' started by fixxt, Mar 2, 2010.

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  1. fixxt

    fixxt New Member

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    Hi!

    So I saw this forum advertised on reddit and I thought I'd join to see if anyone can help me with a dilemma I'm working through with my bike.

    I have a 1990's-era department store bike that I have, over the years, made a few upgrades to. I like it because with skinny tires and a comfortable seat I can keep up with my friends on their road bikes on the 20-30 mile rides, and sometimes even outpace them on hills. Working on a rust bucket is a lot less stressful when I don't know what I'm doing, and lets face it... nobody wants to steal a bike like mine.

    I bought a rigid fork to replace my long-defunct suspension. I screwed up and got a threadless fork, though. My headset is threaded and my stem fits into the top of the steerer tube. Is there any way to make it work? If not, how much work would it be to convert everything to a threadless setup? Its looking like around $30 for a new stem and headset to match the fork. This might be the point that I scrap this old bike, but I'm pretty short on cash right now so whatever option is cheapest will likely be what I go with.
     
  2. Industry_Hack

    Industry_Hack Total noob (& forum admin) Admin Staff Tavern Member

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    Is that 1", or 1-1/8" threadless?
     

  3. fixxt

    fixxt New Member

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    1 1/8''. I believe the stem is 1'' in order to fit into the steerer tube.

    Pardon me if I miss technical details, this is the first time I've messed with the headset assembly.
     
  4. Industry_Hack

    Industry_Hack Total noob (& forum admin) Admin Staff Tavern Member

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    We need to back up here. Got a photo? If your frame is designed for a 1-1/8" headset, you just need to make sure that the fork is too, and we can hook you up really cheap. If it's 1" threaded, you'll just need to get a 1" threadless headset to match the fork, and then get either a 1" threadless stem, or a 1-1/8" stem with an adapter. But your quill stem isn't going to work in threadless fork.
     
  5. fixxt

    fixxt New Member

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    I don't own a camera I'm afraid. You're dealing with a real poor soul here :( I measured the headset and fork to double-check, though:

    The headset is 1 1/8'' diameter as measured from the adjustable cup. The fork steerer tube is 1'' diameter, and the stem tube (quill?) is 1'' diameter. The new fork matches the size of the old one (besides being uncut) and is threadless.

    I'm going to say that my frame was designed for the 1 1/8'' headset, because that appears to be what it came with.

    Am I reading your last post right in guessing that I will need a new stem, but not necessarily a new headset?
     
  6. Mootsguy

    Mootsguy A Red Headed Stepchild

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    What you need is a threaded to threadless adapter. Its a tube that extends the steerer tube. Some bike stores should have it.

    Most 1 1/8" steerer tubes were in the late 90s/ early 2000s during transition from threaded to threadless. Any threadless fork can always be threaded w/ a fork tap.

    Basically, what you are looking for is this guy: [​IMG]

    Then you will indeed need a new stem.
     
  7. Industry_Hack

    Industry_Hack Total noob (& forum admin) Admin Staff Tavern Member

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    If your old fork is 1" threaded, your headset should be 1" threaded. So you would need a 1" threadless headset. From there, you will need a threadless stem.

    Your current headset probably looks similar to this:

    [​IMG]

    You'll need one of these:

    [​IMG]

    And then you will need to either find a 1" threadless stem, or one of these:

    [​IMG]

    and a 1-1/8" threadless stem. Possibly a shim for your bars as well. I have six threadless stem in my spares box right now.
     
  8. fixxt

    fixxt New Member

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    Alright, now its starting to make sense. That is indeed similiar to what my current headset looks like - bearings, adjustable cup, top nut. The size differences are a little confusing.

    Is there a noticeable performance benefit to upgrading my stem and headset? Or would it be more cost-effective to return the fork and get a threaded one?

    Also, I have read that threadless headsets are harder to install and adjust. I enjoy doing all the work myself, and I managed to overhaul the threaded setup with an adjustable wrench and hex key. Are there any other tools you need to work with a threadless system?

    Thanks a lot for all the help, by the way.
     
  9. Industry_Hack

    Industry_Hack Total noob (& forum admin) Admin Staff Tavern Member

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    A threaded fork would be simpler to install. Adjusting a threadless is much easier than adjusting a threaded, although neither is really any big deal.
     
  10. fixxt

    fixxt New Member

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    Alright, thanks to the both of you for the information.

    I think I'm going to eat the $5 in shipping and return the fork for now. The upgrade is apparently more complicated than I originally anticipated. Just the headset overhaul for now I suppose.
     
  11. chh55

    chh55 Drink plenty of water!!!

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    When buying a new (or used) threaded fork make sure that the steerer tube is long enough or a tad longer and that the threaded portion is long enough. If you buy one with a longer steerer thinking you can cut it to length you might end up with not enough threads.... let's just say that this has been known to happen:rolleyes:
     
  12. Industry_Hack

    Industry_Hack Total noob (& forum admin) Admin Staff Tavern Member

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    D'oh!