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Thread: Fork Expander Plug Woes

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    Default Fork Expander Plug Woes

    Over the past few months I have had 3 of my riding buddies bring me their bikes to sort out headsets that kept loosening. The LBS solution was to readjust and move on, but the underlying problem was not solved. Of course you need to torque the stem bolts to spec, and carbon paste should be applied to the stem/steerer interface, but even with everything else checked off, there still can be problems. I have found that a wimpy expander plug is often the culprit. I know that in theory the plug is only there to make the initial preload adjustment, but in practice, the plug needs to be a pretty robust affair to permanently hold an adjustment...and a loose carbon steerer can be damaged easily by road vibration. In the past, I have glued in wimpy steerer plugs with epoxy and that is 100% effective in my experience. For whatever reason, some of my friends were reluctant to let me mix up the two parts and go to it...So we were in the market for some robust steerer plugs. Deda and Cinelli seem to sell the same plug, which is pretty robust part......There must be some demand for them as they are chronically out of stock EVERYWHERE...I thought it might be helpful to mention this as it may solve some troubleshooting time if you are plagued with a loosening headset...

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    Default Re: Fork Expander Plug Woes

    Chronically loose headsets can be attributed to two things in my experience; a stem with a poorly sized or non square bore or a non-faced headset. As you know, the plug should really have nothing to do with the headset staying tight. As far as expander plugs go, specialized makes a nice one. Or, if you can talk your pals into epoxy, take a look at this:

    http://www.cornercycle.com/custom_ca...ork_insert.htm
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Default Re: Fork Expander Plug Woes

    Accept no substitute. Specialized makes the best I have yet seen. Very robust and spreads the internal pressure very evenly. 1" and 1 1/8" sleeves are included. When I first saw one of these I got rid of all my cheesy, cheapo expanders with rubber bands immediately.

    All my bikes with carbon forks use this Specialized expander.


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    Default Re: Fork Expander Plug Woes

    I've had both Reynolds and Cannondale compression plug top caps loosen, even when torqued to manufacturer's specs. A small amount of blue Loctite on the threads solved the problem completely. Since blue Loctite is easily removable, regular maintenance is not impacted.

    - Greg

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    Default Re: Fork Expander Plug Woes

    they do loosen in the steerer and cause problems.
    best thing is to glue in the plug imo
    that spec thing looks like it would work

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    Default Re: Fork Expander Plug Woes

    they do loosen in the steerer and cause problems.
    best thing is to glue in the plug imo
    that spec thing looks like it would work

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    Default Re: Fork Expander Plug Woes

    I concur with the Specialized plug. It's a great product and is also longer than every other plug I've used so it supports more of the steerer tube against the clamping pressure of the stem.

    Get one.

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    Default Re: Fork Expander Plug Woes

    Quote Originally Posted by bdaghisallo View Post
    I concur with the Specialized plug. It's a great product and is also longer than every other plug I've used so it supports more of the steerer tube against the clamping pressure of the stem.
    Right, which is why I figure the plugs are not just for setting the bearing preload. My Colnago fork came with a nice long burled one like that but there's a glued in plug down in the steerer that keeps it from going in deep enough. I'll have to get the Specialized one so I can get rid of this shorter FSA one I have on there. Didn't know about it so thanks!

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    Default Re: Fork Expander Plug Woes

    Always liked the glued-in expander for the old Alpha Q forks. The ENVE plug is pretty substantial, but the Specialized looks longer.

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    Default Re: Fork Expander Plug Woes

    Quote Originally Posted by teleguy57 View Post
    Always liked the glued-in expander for the old Alpha Q forks. The ENVE plug is pretty substantial, but the Specialized looks longer.
    Yup, the ENVE plug is a very nicely machined block of aluminum, but it isn't that long. It certainly doesn't reach the whole clamping area. I've been using one without issue for a while now, though, and I think if ENVE were concerned about stem clamp support, they would make a longer plug. They seem pretty on top of the carbon fork thing. Also always use carbon paste on the plug/inside the steerer regardless of brand.

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    Default Re: Fork Expander Plug Woes

    I was impressed by the expander plug on my Colnago. I've always been curious about the Corner Cycle insert—I would've thought that the internal diameters of fork steerers would vary enough that the insert might not work depending on the fork. Gotta love George Sykes in any case.

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    Default Re: Fork Expander Plug Woes

    thanks, shoney. Somehow the obvious about using carbon paste on the plug escaped me. Mini-project for the weekend...

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    Default Re: Fork Expander Plug Woes

    I prefer the Specialized plug. I have had to wrap a bit of sandpaper around the exterior in order for it to bite, but that's only happened with one fork (BH)...the steerer was quite thin.

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    Default Re: Fork Expander Plug Woes

    Thanks for the info on the specialized plug. it looks like I may replace my Enve plug by this one.

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    Default Re: Fork Expander Plug Woes

    longer is far better if your plug is less than 30mm it is junk, toss it or use it an an arbor for crafting do doodads

    frequent maintenance means that when the cables and housing a changed at 3monts time the fork and expander are checked too failure to do this is not pro

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    Default Re: Fork Expander Plug Woes

    Profile actually makes a good one. $12. Whatever space age material it is made out of seems to grip just about any material. And the design fits a range of steer I.D.s.

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    Default Re: Fork Expander Plug Woes

    Put me in the Specialized camp. Their plug has been bombproof for me over the past 2 years. I find it to be the best I've used.

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    Default Re: Fork Expander Plug Woes

    Another thread, another purchase. Got two specialized plug. Priced at $10 it is reasonable...

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    Default Re: Fork Expander Plug Woes

    is it possible to get the specialized plugs online? my local specialized dealer does not / will not sell them.....

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    Default Re: Fork Expander Plug Woes

    Quote Originally Posted by wankie View Post
    is it possible to get the specialized plugs online? my local specialized dealer does not / will not sell them.....
    Bought mine on the specialized web site but it could be that they only ship CONUS

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