Stripped headset thread - time for a new bike?

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Boyonabike
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Joined: 22 Oct 2019, 10:46pm

Stripped headset thread - time for a new bike?

Postby Boyonabike » 28 Oct 2019, 11:03pm

Having noticed my headset looking a bit wobbly recently I took it to my local bike shop as I don't have a wide enough spanner in my kit. Chap turned it...and turned it...and round and round it went. Stripped thread. Not good he said, you can't continue cycling with that. Oh and it's an old frame (at least ten years old), a steel Dawes hybrid so you won't be able to get replacement forks. But I have lots of new bikes I can sell you, which one would you like?

Actually none of them as I rather like my existing bike thanks very much. It has quite a lot of features I put together myself and I've been told that as they aren't compatible with contemporary bikes I won't be able to replace it with the same feature set.

Short of buying a new bike, is there anything else I could do (that would cost less than the cost of a new bike) to fix my existing bike?

Supplementary question. If it's not fixable can anyone recommend me a new hybrid bike that includes drop bars with interrupter levers, pannier rack and hub gears with coaster brake? Or one that these mods can easily be done to? I'm being quite specific but that (admittedly odd) combination suits my commute perfectly and I'd be loathed to compromise on any of those in. Budget let's say £500-£1k.
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Brucey
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Re: Stripped headset thread - time for a new bike?

Postby Brucey » 28 Oct 2019, 11:13pm

for want of a nail, the kingdom was lost....?

FWIW I have repaired quite a few forks with damaged steerer threads.

The method I normally use is to put a few localised build-ups of MIG weld metal onto the damaged part of the steerer, grind those back to 25.4mm diameter, and recut the thread into them. Often the ID of the steerer has pulled in a bit, so the ID needs a little attention from the die grinder (or a reamer) before it is 'size' again. The weld metal is normally quite a bit harder than the steerer ever was, so you don't need to build up the full circumference if you don't want to, it'll be strong enough without.

Other options include to have a fork built, or to have a framebuilder fit a new steerer, or to permanently bond a quill to ahead stem converter into the steerer, (having trimmed the steerer) and convert to a threadless headset.

Before anything else though, I'd try a new top nut; they are often not well made and can be quite soft, so the problem might (in part) lay there.

PS another dodge that often works is to shorten the head tube/steerer of the bike slightly, and/or fit a different type of headset; this can leave the headset parts bearing against undamaged steerer threads.

cheers
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Boyonabike
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Joined: 22 Oct 2019, 10:46pm

Re: Stripped headset thread - time for a new bike?

Postby Boyonabike » 28 Oct 2019, 11:52pm

Many thanks - if repairable can you suggest anyone in the West Midlands willing to take a look?

Polisman
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Joined: 9 May 2019, 2:23pm

Re: Stripped headset thread - time for a new bike?

Postby Polisman » 29 Oct 2019, 3:43am

Much cheaper, more elegant solution: buy a pair of threadless cro-mo 1 inch chrome forks. Available online from £50-100. The above solution welding/threading is going to be significantly more expensive. Why bother when you can have a brand new pair of shiny chrome forks. Decent Ahead stems from a tenner.

These are threaded, would probably fit. Ask the seller for steerer length (under £50 posted) :
https://rover.ebay.com/rover/0/0/0?mpre ... 4011942627

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531colin
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Location: North Yorkshire

Re: Stripped headset thread - time for a new bike?

Postby 531colin » 29 Oct 2019, 7:40am

YST (used to?) make headsets for that exact repair. The top clamps on the stripped thread, it has its own adjusting thread and a locking clamp, not locknut.
I used to stock it, never used one, still got them somewhere; I guess you need 1" not 1 1/8"...?
Yours for a tenner, posted....but I'm away from the PC for a couple of days. PM me your address if you want it.

Its this one....https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/YST-G-Force-1-1-8-threadless-Headset-NEW-old-stock/362441405327...although there is no evidence this seller knows what the headset is for!
Last edited by 531colin on 29 Oct 2019, 7:44am, edited 2 times in total.

mattsccm
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Re: Stripped headset thread - time for a new bike?

Postby mattsccm » 29 Oct 2019, 7:41am

Bet you any bike recycler will have a stack of old bikes with a similar fork. Just find one with the same length steering column.
Alright you may need to check the threads but I bet they will match and maybe trail etc vary but not much if at all. Things to worry about after riding it.
As for a similar bike? No hope. Drops and hub gear? Few and far between and at a low price? Nope. With suicide levers? Wrong century and more. Mid cable versions exist though and are somewhat more effective.
You have a bike that suits you so why not just bung in a new fork once you have checked that it is not the headset?

rjb
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Re: Stripped headset thread - time for a new bike?

Postby rjb » 29 Oct 2019, 8:24am

A BBB aheadset converter is another solution but you will also need an ahead stem. You may have to search for one as I haven't seen one for some time.
Thread here discusses it and look for Crepello. :wink:
viewtopic.php?t=53559

I've got the instructions for one tucked away so will try and find them later.
At the last count:- Focus Variado, Peugeot 531 pro, Dawes Discovery Tandem, Dawes Kingpin, Raleigh 20, Falcon K2 MTB dropped bar tourer, Longstaff trike conversion on a Falcon corsa. :D

Brucey
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Joined: 4 Jan 2012, 6:25pm

Re: Stripped headset thread - time for a new bike?

Postby Brucey » 29 Oct 2019, 8:55am

its worth commenting that the state of the extant steer threads is 'unknown' at present. IME if the threads under the locknut are in bad condition (e.g. because the headset has been run loose for too long) then the threads under the adjusting race will usually be bad too. It is worth looking at how the thing has been assembled in the first place; the locknut may have been hanging on by a few threads only, and a different headset or even the same headset differently spaced might work OK.

Even thinking about a new bike without inspecting the steerer properly is jumping the gun a bit.

cheers
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

yostumpy
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Re: Stripped headset thread - time for a new bike?

Postby yostumpy » 30 Oct 2019, 7:14am

Is it possible that the threads on the fork (steel) are ok, but the threads on the headset have gone ( aluminium). A bodge, would be to wrap a good few turn of ptfe tape on the fork threads. Tighten up the adjuster nut to get it right, then fit a threadless headset locking spacer loose (1" ?) then fit the threaded lock ring. Nip up the lock ring, then tighten up the locking spacer. Nb if you can't get a 1" locking spacer then use a 1 1/8" with a shim..... "more than one way to skin a wabbit"

cycle tramp
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Re: Stripped headset thread - time for a new bike?

Postby cycle tramp » 30 Oct 2019, 6:39pm

Boyonabike wrote:Actually none of them as I rather like my existing bike thanks very much. It has quite a lot of features I put together myself and I've been told that as they aren't compatible with contemporary bikes I won't be able to replace it with the same feature set.
.


Nothing to add to the conversation, but it looks like a really interesting bike... any chance of a couple more photos?

Valbrona
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Re: Stripped headset thread - time for a new bike?

Postby Valbrona » 31 Oct 2019, 6:06am

For Christ's sake, if that's the length of your handlebar stem … buy a new bike. Your current frame is way too big for you.

Just a frame might be worth considering.
I should coco.

Brucey
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Re: Stripped headset thread - time for a new bike?

Postby Brucey » 31 Oct 2019, 8:01am

Valbrona wrote:For Christ's sake, if that's the length of your handlebar stem … buy a new bike. Your current frame is way too big for you....


that is just fashion, isn't it?.... the contact points on the bike/handling could suit the rider perfectly....?

cheers
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Gattonero
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Re: Stripped headset thread - time for a new bike?

Postby Gattonero » 1 Nov 2019, 8:04am

Valbrona wrote:For Christ's sake, if that's the length of your handlebar stem … buy a new bike. Your current frame is way too big for you.

Just a frame might be worth considering.


That bike is going to be rather twichy!
It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best,
since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them.
Thus you remember them as they actually are...

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Gattonero
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Re: Stripped headset thread - time for a new bike?

Postby Gattonero » 1 Nov 2019, 8:10am

Polisman wrote:Much cheaper, more elegant solution: buy a pair of threadless cro-mo 1 inch chrome forks. Available online from £50-100. The above solution welding/threading is going to be significantly more expensive. Why bother when you can have a brand new pair of shiny chrome forks. Decent Ahead stems from a tenner.

These are threaded, would probably fit. Ask the seller for steerer length (under £50 posted) :
https://rover.ebay.com/rover/0/0/0?mpre ... 4011942627


To buy a new set of forks ought to be the most sensible solution, also the most cost-effective in the long-term too.
Yet, I am not convinced by the super-short stem, those are ok on Dutch-bikes or the ones that are ridden at low speed, but blimey I wouldn't like to be downhill at 60kmh on a bike with such short stem :shock:

Anyone advocating to "build up" metal by welding, is mostly wrong.
First, threads are not just "cut" but the cutting die (provided you can find one, most shops would have one to only "chase" the threads) but are also extruded by the die action.
Now, welding metal is not the same as the forks, plus it's a metal that has gone through some heat-treatment because the welding; this makes it a bad candidate to have threads cut into. Let alone the fact that you are going to create a heat-affected zone right where the metal was already weakened.
Is all this trouble worth, when a set of new forks would cost pretty much the same of the money to be given to a machine shop for trying to fix something that is bound to be decommisioned?
The answer is simple :wink:
It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best,
since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them.
Thus you remember them as they actually are...

Boyonabike
Posts: 10
Joined: 22 Oct 2019, 10:46pm

Re: Stripped headset thread - time for a new bike?

Postby Boyonabike » 3 Nov 2019, 10:21pm

cycle tramp wrote:
Boyonabike wrote:Actually none of them as I rather like my existing bike thanks very much. It has quite a lot of features I put together myself and I've been told that as they aren't compatible with contemporary bikes I won't be able to replace it with the same feature set.
.


Nothing to add to the conversation, but it looks like a really interesting bike... any chance of a couple more photos?


Thanks for the kind words and help everyone - time for a photo and more background:

20191103_204955.jpg


As you might have guessed, there's a bit of a story to the bike. I originally bought it as a Dawes Diploma (traditionally styled crossbar framed hybrid) 30 years ago with the dreadful Sturmey Archer five speed hub and just swapped the handlebars to drops and stuck on a B17 saddle. I needed a bike for commuting to university in London (mostly flat) and occasional light weekend touring and that combination worked a treat.

It chewed through the original hub gears fairly quickly and after the second one died I fitted a Nexus 7 with coaster brake about fifteen years ago. Ten years ago the frame started to rust so Dawes swapped the frame out for what had become the Graduate (under warranty as it had a lifetime frame warranty - kudos to them!) Unfortunately since then it's never been quite right, I suspect the geometry changed a bit for the worse.

I fitted a Brooks Flyer saddle as the B17 just wasn't comfortable, but the Flyer hasn't been any better (I tend to slide into the U in the middle of the saddle front to back, but angling the saddle up or down just makes things worse). The stem was the only one the bike shop could find that would still fit the 22mm drop bars - which I had to use as that was the only thing they could get the Nexus shifter to fit on. Frame size should actually be OK (50cm from bottom bracket to top of frame seatpost, and I'm quite short at only 170cm tall and inside leg 74cm). Pedal and seat height seem fine, bars should really be an inch or so further forward (I can just see the front wheel hub ahead of the bars). I mostly ride on the hoods so the "suicide brake levers" are handy - I can't actually see the problem with them as they actually fit really well and are secured with a locknut so there's zero chance of flying loose when pulling. Besides in traffic I use the coaster brake a lot.

The bike is quite heavy - 18kg with its cheap steel frame - and going up moderate hills in anything other than bottom is quite the effort so I've been looking into fitting an electric (front hub) motor. In prepping the bike up for that I realised the headset was loose, and given the age of the other components and the difficulty of finding matches for their size any more I did begin to wonder if I should cut my losses.

However my original requirements remain absolutely met by the bike - the combination of drops and a coaster hub (and if it wasn't so darned uncomfortable, a Brooks saddle) should be a winner for a bike that does everything I need it to reasonably well - commuting in heavy traffic where the safety of the coaster brake and the reliability of the hub gears pay dividends, and light touring where the drops come into their own. I recently changed jobs to one that involves a hilly 30 mile commute which probably does count as light touring - hence the wish to fit an electric motor as I'm presently doing the commute in the car. As there just don't appear to be any suitable off-the-shelf electric bikes that could be modded to my present specification I shall either have to compromise a lot on a new bike or keep the existing bike going a fair bit longer.