I got a 2007 GT Timberline Fitness Series bicycle that was a frame only. I'm trying to put it together and almost have it complete except for one part, the headset. I noticed it when I was test riding it downhill. So I held the front brake lever while rocking bike back and forth to feel if the headset was loose. It was real loose. I tightened it but now it's hard to turn the handlebars which normally means I overtightened it. However, I can still feel the headset rocking when doing brake lever test. Plus I can hear a knocking sound. How can it be too tight but loose at the same time? By the way it's a threaded fork with adjustable quill stem cup and cone style.

  • Is the headset new? It sounds a lot like the bearings would be damaged.
    – ojs
    Mar 9 at 7:30
  • No headset is not new
    – Alison
    Mar 10 at 8:10

1 Answer 1


Sounds like the ball bearing cage you have in the headset is the wrong diameter.

Buy the correct-sized cage populated with bearing balls, if you can find them. The bearings aren't expensive, but finding the Right Size might be a challenge.

Another option is to remove the bearing balls and place them separately inside the ball bearing race, but this is fiddly. You'll need more bearing balls than the cage itself had, and will likely need to do the same on both the top and bottom headset races. And not drop any on re-assembly. Also, you're guaranteed to drop some balls next time it gets disassembled for maintenance.

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