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What headset

gbsahne001gbsahne001 Posts: 1,973
edited August 2010 in The workshop
1996 (ish) Ridgeback Adventure needs new headset.

Current one uses a threaded nut at the top to keep it all together and presumably press the ballbearings against a cup, with a further locking nut to stop it from coming loose. Unofortunately this doesn't work so well and it keeps coming loose.

LBS claims it needs a new headset with new cups but appears reluctant to just buy the parts for me (wants to fit it themselves). So how do I determine what I need as a replacement?

Posts

  • crankycrankcrankycrank Posts: 1,830
    What you need is called a threaded headset. Price generally determines longevity and you sometimes have colour options, mainly polished silver or black but others are sometimes available. For your bike you might as well get one of the less expensive versions seeing how that's probably what's on there now and it has lasted you 14 yrs. Examples here.
    http://www.chainreactioncycles.com/Sear ... ed+headset
    http://www.wiggle.co.uk/p/cycle/7/Dia-C ... 360051745/
    Usually on a headset the bearing surfaces start to become rough and a complete replacement is the only solution. But, it's difficult to know if your current headset is unusable without seeing it. Your LBS may very well be telling you the truth about what you need and would probably have to install it themselves as well. You could always get a second opinion if in doubt.
  • rjsterryrjsterry Posts: 22,311
    About 14 years is a good innings for a headset, especially if it's your daily commuter, so I wouldn't be surprised if it's due for replacement. Replacing them is tricky to do at home, as the cups are pressed into the head tube. Getting the old ones out can be done with a piece of wood, and a mallet, but needs care to not dent the head tube. Getting the new ones in is more tricky, and the LBS will use a headset press (a bit like a corkscrew but in reverse - about £35 for something you'll use maybe a handful of times) to push the cups evenly in to the head tube. It probably is possible to get the cups in without a press, but is a bit of a gamble, and you could end up with a bent head tube, rendering the whole frame useless. I'd let the LBS get on with it.
    1985 Mercian King of Mercia - work in progress (Hah! Who am I kidding?)
    Pinnacle Monzonite

    Liberal metropolitan, remoaner, traitor, "sympathiser", etc.
  • gbsahne001gbsahne001 Posts: 1,973
    Thanks, for the heads up, might try and get it through the winter first.
  • rjsterryrjsterry Posts: 22,311
    Do you have the right sized spanners? These are fairly readily available and make servicing a threaded headset much easier.

    To give it a quick service, strip the whole fork/headset assembly down, clean and re-grease, then reassemble. Slacken the lock nut (top) off, then adjust the top cup until it is just loose enough to turn without binding, but gives no noticeable 'play' in the fork*. Then, holding the cup steady with one spanner, tighten the lock nut down onto it with the other, taking care not to turn the top cup relative to the fork. there should be a washer with a small lug, that fits into a groove on the threaded end of the steerer that goes between the top cup and the lock nut - this stops the locknut from turning the cup as it is tightened.

    *With a bit of luck, you will find a point that is just right, but if the headset is always either binding, or loose, then it's too far gone and you'll be better off replacing it. I have a Shimano STX headset on my commuter, which was only about £15, and it's a quick job for the LBS, so it shouldn't be too expensive, even as a one-off visit.
    1985 Mercian King of Mercia - work in progress (Hah! Who am I kidding?)
    Pinnacle Monzonite

    Liberal metropolitan, remoaner, traitor, "sympathiser", etc.
  • gbsahne001gbsahne001 Posts: 1,973
    rjsterry wrote:
    Do you have the right sized spanners? These are fairly readily available and make servicing a threaded headset much easier.

    To give it a quick service, strip the whole fork/headset assembly down, clean and re-grease, then reassemble. Slacken the lock nut (top) off, then adjust the top cup until it is just loose enough to turn without binding, but gives no noticeable 'play' in the fork*. Then, holding the cup steady with one spanner, tighten the lock nut down onto it with the other, taking care not to turn the top cup relative to the fork. there should be a washer with a small lug, that fits into a groove on the threaded end of the steerer that goes between the top cup and the lock nut - this stops the locknut from turning the cup as it is tightened.

    Yep, done all that but it still keeps coming loose
  • alan_shermanalan_sherman Posts: 1,157
    Thread lock :D

    When you replace it look for the stronglight roller bearing headset - you can replace the bearings and bearing surfaces without needing to use a headset press.
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