Thursday, October 18, 2007

Cheap Weight Tip #12: No Compression plug

Portland reader, Doug M. submits this cheap weight tip:

"Carbon steerer tubes: Just remove the compression plug! Once your stem height is set at its' final position, use the compression plug to set... headset bearing tension, then torque the stem bolts properly. You are now ready to remove the compression plug, and replace it with a light rubber or plastic plug!

Aluminum/steel steerer tubes: Use a compression plug instead of setting a star nut. Follow instructions above.

Sorry I have no pictures, but I have no camera, nor a gram scale.

Doug M.,
Portland, OR"

I have seen people replace their topcap with simple things like beer bottle caps, or you can do as I did and fabricate a carbon top cap (like the photo above).

Some people will say that a stem will crush your carbon steerer tube, check with the manufacturer before you do this one. I've never had a problem with it. But your results may vary. I was able to save about 14 grams if you're using a starnut and more if you are using a compression plug.

If you have a cheap weight dropping tip email it to me at plusonelap at gmail dot com.


Eric Silva said...

Definitely check with the manufacturer of your fork before doing this.

I've spoken to people at Reynolds and they said that the compression plug has to support the steerer from the inside as the stem clamps on it from the outside, otherwise failure of the steerer could occur. That would be painful.

KP said...

ok, here is a dumb question.

what are you using to cut such nice circles in the carbon sheet?

Zoo said...

no posts since October 18th, you're slacking :P

Anonymous said...

You should never remove the plug from a carbon steerer tube. It is integral to supporting the clamping force of the stem. The steerer tube will fail in short order if the bike is ridden without the plug. The suggestion to remove the plug should be removed from the web page.

Brent Steelman

Anonymous said...

In light of Mr. Steelmans' opinion, skip the tip. The suggestion was based on observations of forks( Time and easton) that used an external adjuster, plus the obsevations of how most compression plugs work(they seem to focus all the achoring force into a very narrow band). But listen to the guy that builds cross bikes for a living.
Consider that tip retracted.
Doug M.

Jeremy Burlingame said...

The tip is still valid for steel and aluminum steerer tubes. But yes for carbon sounds like its a no go. I rode my Woundup fork without a plug but it is carbon reinforced with aluminum.