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I've got a Genesis Equilibrium 725 steel frame and fork that came with an unbranded (but said to be Prestine) headset and Genesis-branded top cap and star fangled nut.

The headset and nut aren't fitted, and I'm considering buying a Cane Creek headset to use instead of the unbranded one, but my question here is specifically about the star fangled nut:

Can I use an expanding plug instead of the star fangled nut?

I am aware that an expanding plug must be used instead of the star fangled nut in a carbon steerer (e.g. see the entry for "Star Fangled Nut" in Sheldon Brown's glossary) and I have heard that expanding bolts can be used in aluminium steerers, but what about a steel steerer?

And should I be looking for a particular type of expansion plug?

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  • The answer below that you can is correct. I think you'll find that not every plug will expand far enough, since the walls of a steel steerer are much thinner. Oct 24 '20 at 17:46
  • Any particular reason why you want to use the expansion plug and not the star nut?
    – MaplePanda
    Oct 24 '20 at 18:34
  • @MaplePanda Ease of installation and removal, mainly Oct 24 '20 at 18:53
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Can I use an expanding plug instead of the star fangled nut?

Yes you can.


I thought I would expand this answer to say that:

-certain expanders add an extra 1-2mm to the top of the steerer tube, meaning you may need an extra spacer depending how you cut

-Quality steel steerers are thin walled so you may need to shim your expander with e.g. some inner tube if you need a bit more bite. Apart from eliminating a sharp edge and making things look neat, they only hold the bearing preload and don't hold the assembly together. You already know this but I've seen enough bikes with Mega Torque on the preload bolt in the last 3 months to know that there are a significant number of people who don't know how this system works.

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