Anyone running a short steerer expander plug on a Orbea Opal or Orca?

Discuss light weight issues concerning road bikes & parts.
JerryLook
Posts: 127
Joined: Thu Dec 07, 2017 2:18 am

by JerryLook

I picked up a 2010 Orbea Opal frame. The expander plug that came with it is about 70 grams. I’d like to set the bearing preload with this expander and then switch it out for something like a Schmolke ahead plug or expander SL.

I have read about some forks with carbon steerers are ok with little to no expander plugs. Like the Supersix Hi Mod is one that I read about.

Just wondering if anyone with an Orbea around my vintage has installed one of these short plugs. And did the stem work its way loose over time?

Thanks
2010 Orbea Opal 54cm
6.5kg

by Weenie


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Lewn777
Posts: 396
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by Lewn777

From what I've read and seen I wouldn't use a light-weight short expander plug unless the manufacturer officially okays it.

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If you look at the enve expander plug, it's this way because it's clearly what the engineers envision to be safe for their steerers.

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Obviously Cannondale engineers consider a small light short expander to be enough. Seems unusual, as I suspect most manufacturers would consider this insufficient, and would worry their steerer would get crushed or damaged. Clearly Cannondale have tested this with their steerers.

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However I look at the boring heavy long compression plug on my Fuji which looks like this, I'm tempted to switch it out and save weight, but something tells me that's not what the engineers would want, and I'm opening myself up to danger.

So at the moment I'd say don't try to switch it out, especially after what a YouTube expert called ]Raoul Luescher said on this subject.
[YouTube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8bSnbjHiFXc[/YouTube]

EDIT: 70g does seem very heavy. I'm sure you could get an expander plug about the same length weighing about 40-45g, then run a carbon top cap and an aluminium alloy or titanium bolt. I think that would be safe, so there is probably 30-50g or so you could save from this area without putting yourself at any risk.
Last edited by Lewn777 on Sat Apr 07, 2018 1:40 am, edited 1 time in total.

pdlpsher1
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Location: CO

by pdlpsher1

+1. Watch the YouTube video. It’s very informative.


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JerryLook
Posts: 127
Joined: Thu Dec 07, 2017 2:18 am

by JerryLook

The plug that came with my bike is the longer style. Its an Orbea plug that came with the frame. Its 46mm long. It would be about in line with the bottom stem bolt. Using a shorter plug would put it in line with the upper stem bolt. Is there a difference there? I have read about the plug offering some addtional steerer strength.

The video was interesting. Seems like he thinks most of the expander plugs are crap. I think there would be a lot of broken or cracked steerers if those plugs were as bad as he made them seem. I do agree that the taller plugs are probably more supportive. It just seems like so many of them only really support one stem bolt

How about the Cervelo sleeve method, that has to be lighter than the traditional expander plug. Has anyone used on of those on a different brand bike?

My plug only really offers support on the bottom part. The rest of the plug is a sloppy fit in the steerer. Maybe I can find a similar style plug that is lighter. My other option is to just cut the steerer shorter. I plan on running the stem slammed as best I can with my existing bearing cover. There will be about 1 cm spacer above the stem. I could always cut that off.
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2010 Orbea Opal 54cm
6.5kg

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Lewn777
Posts: 396
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by Lewn777

JerryLook wrote:
Sat Apr 07, 2018 2:04 am
The plug that came with my bike is the longer style. Its an Orbea plug that came with the frame. Its 46mm long. It would be about in line with the bottom stem bolt. Using a shorter plug would put it in line with the upper stem bolt. Is there a difference there? I have read about the plug offering some addtional steerer strength.

The video was interesting. Seems like he thinks most of the expander plugs are crap. I think there would be a lot of broken or cracked steerers if those plugs were as bad as he made them seem. I do agree that the taller plugs are probably more supportive. It just seems like so many of them only really support one stem bolt

How about the Cervelo sleeve method, that has to be lighter than the traditional expander plug. Has anyone used on of those on a different brand bike?

My plug only really offers support on the bottom part. The rest of the plug is a sloppy fit in the steerer. Maybe I can find a similar style plug that is lighter. My other option is to just cut the steerer shorter. I plan on running the stem slammed as best I can with my existing bearing cover. There will be about 1 cm spacer above the stem. I could always cut that off.
That is an unusual plug from Orbea. It only seems to be putting pressure onto a small area of the steerer around the bottom bolt of the stem. If it was me I'd try to find either a longer plug that's lighter for piece of mind, or a lighter plug that mimics the dimensions of your original expander plug. Maybe you could try emailing Orbea? It does look like you might be safe as the contact area on the plug is only small so you maybe have a well enough manufactured steerer to be able to deal with the forces.

I think the Cervelo sleeve method is very good. Seems strong, light and safe.

JerryLook
Posts: 127
Joined: Thu Dec 07, 2017 2:18 am

by JerryLook

I’ll look into getting a sleeve. I assume I would have to very accurately measure the inside of the steerer, and find a aluminum sleeve that is tight fitting. I wonder what epoxy Cervelo uses to bond it?

I’ll also email Orbea and ask them what my options are.
2010 Orbea Opal 54cm
6.5kg

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Kayrehn
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by Kayrehn

On the other hand, loads of people use ww expanders that does nothing to support the steerer from the inside but we all live happily with it. The Schmolke plug was designed to support the top of the steerer, which is supposed to be a weak area, and that seems like a fine idea already. Lots of people mount their stem right at the top of the steerer tube without any excess anyway.

I think if there's a huge problem with crushed steerer tubes people would have abandoned using light weight expanders but that's clearly not the case. (look at the outrage over the shimano 9000 cassette failures on this forum for example). You can't go wrong with being cautious and sticking to with oem plugs but you aren't necessarily reckless for using something good else too.

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Lewn777
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by Lewn777

Kayrehn wrote:
Sat Apr 07, 2018 6:08 am
On the other hand, loads of people use ww expanders that does nothing to support the steerer from the inside but we all live happily with it. The Schmolke plug was designed to support the top of the steerer, which is supposed to be a weak area, and that seems like a fine idea already. Lots of people mount their stem right at the top of the steerer tube without any excess anyway.

I think if there's a huge problem with crushed steerer tubes people would have abandoned using light weight expanders but that's clearly not the case. (look at the outrage over the shimano 9000 cassette failures on this forum for example). You can't go wrong with being cautious and sticking to with oem plugs but you aren't necessarily reckless for using something good else too.

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Problem is that it's all just opinions. We really need some real data to be sure exactly what's going on.

JerryLook
Posts: 127
Joined: Thu Dec 07, 2017 2:18 am

by JerryLook

The current Orbea expander plug is the same length as mine, but only weighs 43.5 grams instead of 70. Might be worth a look. It still seems like such a small expansion area.
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2010 Orbea Opal 54cm
6.5kg

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Kayrehn
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by Kayrehn

Lewn777 wrote: Problem is that it's all just opinions. We really need some real data to be sure exactly what's going on.
Many people on this forum using light expanders for years and years without ever getting crushed steerer tubes isn't opinions. It is field-tested conclusions that's not even anecdotal. Opinions are when people say frame x is faster than frame y.

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hannawald
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Joined: Sat Dec 17, 2016 7:28 pm

by hannawald

You will see Orbea reply, but I don´t think they will tell you something valuable..they will just protect themselves without going into details. I had this experience with Ridley some months ago when I wanted to change their heavy 60mm long expander for something lighter..they will tell you that it may avoid warranty and you should only use original parts supplied with the bike..I think they use these heavy expanders because they are some cheap OEM parts..

I was afraid of using some extralite non supporting expanders so I ended with something like 40mm and slightly lighter but not weightweenie expander..although i thought i should work, i didn´t want to take the risk..

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Kayrehn
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by Kayrehn

Not sure there's data on this but my guess is that the seatpost experienced more stress than the steerer tube (I imagine 90kg bouncing on it at an angle to the clamp area) and it doesn't require an expander within. If the steerer cracks, it is likely due to shock load and not because the steerer suddenly gives in to the tightened stem bolts for no reason (and even then, shock load on the fork will probably break it at other sections, and not exhibit crushing damage). I used extralite stem torqued to only 3.5nm and it's good enough, so if you attach the stem with 4nm it will not crush the steerer for sure if you want to be absolutely safe.

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JerryLook
Posts: 127
Joined: Thu Dec 07, 2017 2:18 am

by JerryLook

When researching expander plugs, I found a bunch of people who are using lighter plugs, or no plugs at all. I haven't read anything where a fork steerer failed because of the plug itself, and not because of a crash or something like that.

I was just curious if anyone had used one of these on my gen Orbea.

I’ll probably try to find one the same length as my existing plug, just lighter. It only really supports one bolt anyways.

And I agree on the seatpost comment. The seatpost and the handlebar are clamped and don't have expanders. I would think that both of those have more pressure and weight exerted on them than the steerer.
2010 Orbea Opal 54cm
6.5kg

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Lewn777
Posts: 396
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by Lewn777

I felt the exact same way until I heard way Raoul Luescher said, and thought that carbon steerers were fairly tough and could take a strong amount of forces. I suppose I just want another expert that disagrees with him to change my mind, rather than random non-expert internet users. :?
Last edited by Lewn777 on Sat Apr 07, 2018 11:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

g00se
Posts: 34
Joined: Fri Feb 21, 2014 11:22 pm

by g00se

Withe regard to the Cervelo expander plug, Cervelo use 3T forks and I've got the same sleeve in my 3T Rigida fork. The sleeve itself was about 7-8cm long and came with the star nut inserted. the instructions say to run the bike for a little while with a regular expander plug to work out where the steerer needs to be cut down to - then once cut, glue the sleeve into place. It's regular Araldite-like epoxy (24-hour dry). You have to alcohol wipe the steerer and sleeve before glueing.

I didn't weigh it but it's lighter than those big Deda-style bungs.

You could buy them here but they're out of stock. If you google it, you should be able to find it.

https://store.3tcycling.com/en/spare-pa ... t-181.html

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The shop that originally glued it made a mistake and later had to cut the steerer down futher AFTER the sleeve was glued it - but as it was only another 20cm, they pushed the star nut down and the sleeve still covers the whole stem area. I'm got the bike stripped down at the moment, so if you want, I could get the vernier callipers out and try to measure the insdie diameter of my steerer?

by Weenie


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