Thursday, August 28, 2008

Next, add -0.6mm of glitch...

I mentioned in an earlier post my headset seemed a bit tight.

No problem. I ordered headset wrenches so I could handle my own adjustments. Since I own several bikes with 1" threaded headsets, I thought these tools would be a logical choice to add to my pile of mostly working bike tools.

Last night, the wrenches arrived with my latest shipment. I knew I didn't have any time to start wheelbuilding, but I figured I could at least try out my new tools. I headed down to my combination bike shop/laundry room and clamped the frame in the bike stand.

I purchased two types of wrenches, a Park combination 32mm - 36mm headset wrench and a Tacx brand 32mm wrench, longer, with a rubber cushioned handle. I had no problem fitting the Park wrench onto the headset nuts, but the Tacx wrench seemed very tight. I laid a towel over the top tube to prevent scratching and gouging, then proceeded with a bit of gentle persuasion (read: rubber mallet) to get the wrench on the nut. I loosened the headset nut a bit, tightened the jam nut and rotated the fork. Everything worked as planned, and the steerer turns much smoother and easier.

I read in Zinn's book that headset adjustment should really be done with the stem and handlebar in place. Okay, that should be quick and easy to try, right? I got the box of Rivbike parts out of the closet, procured my new stem, and proceed to slip the stem on the Nitto bars I received with the frame.

Everything was fine until I got to the clamping sleeve in the middle of the handlebar. The stem just did not want to slip over that portion of the bar. I figured maybe the clamp had just been tightened a bit much and was a bit squished, so I gently tried prying it apart. No soap. I used a bit more force. Still no good. I slipped the stem off the bars, gave the clamp a good pry and slipped it back on. Nada.

This shouldn't be that hard...that stem should just slip right on. I noticed I was marking up the clamping sleeve (the shiny stamped 'Nitto' area in the center of the bars), and didn't want to risk really destroying it. I closely looked at the stem markings and noticed "25.4 dia." Rut-roh. Could it be? I grabbed my trusty digital calipers and measured the handlebar clamping sleeve. Sure enough, 26.0 mm. Damn.

So I have the wrong stem. I tried calling Rivbike this morning, but no answer (strange...) so I've e-mailed Miesha to see what I need to do to return this stem and get the right one. In the meantime, I'll be thinking about my upcoming wheelbuild. I'm hoping this means my build glitch is out of the way early and rest should go smoothly, right?

Lets hope so! I'm keeping my fingers crossed :>)

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