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so I've replaced the bottom headset on my 2016 Kona Jake the Snake as the old one was rough and rusted. The replacement is the same size in all dimensions however doesn't seem to fit in properly - between the fork and the bottom of the frame there's a sizeable gap. There's no movement in the headset, it's just got about 5mm of space.

The headset purchased is the following: https://www.evanscycles.com/pro-headset-replacement-bearing-outer-52-inner-40-height-7-mm-EV204261

headset gap

This photo shows that gap, I estimate it to be around 5mm.

gap

this photo shows how it was before tightened the compression screw on the top. I noticed it wasn't quite right so tried to remove it - but it's now jammed into the frame. Comparing the old headset's fit onto the fork, it sits in a very similar way, albeit with a very slightly smaller gap.

stock image

This image shows the factory photos of the bike - the gap is visible, which makes me think it's always been like this. There's no crown race on the bottom of the fork, only the taper.

I guess my question is threefold - firstly is there anything that can be done to fix this? the second is, is this safe to ride like this? It seems it's been close to this from factory and the replacement headset is identical to the old one (both are cartridges btw!) The final question is - if it isn't sad for fixable - how does one go about removing a wedged headset cartridge from the frame without mangling it?

Many thanks!

enter image description here

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Some forks have an integrated crown race, and yours is one of them. enter image description here

When you get a new headset for use with such a fork, you leave the crown race out.

Some sources imply the existence of 36° integrated crown races, but all the ones I've ever seen are the common IS 45°. As long as you've chosen a non-weird headset, it should just work.

Do not ride it like you have it pictured. The crown race that's jammed against your fork could damage it. (It probably wouldn't, but don't risk it.)

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  • Thanks for the reply. So is the crown race the inner part of the headset cartridge? It came as a 1-piece unit – tomandco Jun 14 at 11:59
  • For reference - this is the new bearing I fitted: evanscycles.com/… . I've edited the question to include it. – tomandco Jun 14 at 12:07
  • @tomandco The crown race is the contact point on the fork for the lower headset bearing. It's the silver thing in the picture. Using the one from the box is redundant and won't fit because your fork has one built in. – Nathan Knutson Jun 15 at 2:10
  • Hmm I'm not sure I understand, sorry. There wasn't one in the box. All that came was the cartridge bearing which is what's visible in the picture – tomandco Jun 15 at 7:08
  • @tomandco The silver part that's touching the fork is the crown race, it's not part of the bearing. It might be a little stuck to it but it should come right off. – Nathan Knutson Jun 15 at 7:20

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