Forum home Road cycling forum Workshop

Vintage racer headset bearings

alamb200alamb200 Posts: 74
edited May 2012 in Workshop
Hi,

I have a vintage Falcon Tornado racing bike, I bought it second hand 25 years ago, and have just taken it to a bike shop because I was thinking of getting rid of it and getting a new racer through the cycle to work scheme.

They have convinced me that the bike is worth keeping and doing up. They also suggested I should be able to do some of the work myself to keep costs down.

One of the jobs that needs doing is the crank bearing but I am leaving that to them.

The job I was going to start with was the headset bearings which I have been told need changing.

Can anyone give me any advice on how to do this? All the videos I have found on-line are to do with the newer style head sets.

If I can do this then I need to start looking at the free wheel, back wheel bearings and respray. After this I think I will need to go back and be reminded of the other things that need doing. :)

Ant help at all would be gratefully received.

Thanks

alamb200

Posts

  • ugo.santaluciaugo.santalucia Posts: 26,441
    Finding headset bearings is not easy. Easier to get a new threaded headset... About 40 pounds for a top end one, bit less for a stronglight
  • ynyswen24ynyswen24 Posts: 703
    If you're just looking to service the headset then it should be easy enough.
    As it's 25 years old it'll have a 1" threaded headset (32mm across the flats of the locknut), you'll need a pair of 32mm spanners to work the two nuts on the top of the set and a supply of loose ball bearings, probably 5/32".
    as for servicing (and any advice on basically anything) have a look at Sheldon Brown
    http://www.sheldonbrown.com/gloss_ha-i.html#headset

    One point - does the headset have a self centring tendency, ie lift the front wheel off the floor and turn the bars: do they want to settle into the straight ahead position as if theres a notch there? If so the heaset is definitley sh###ed and ask the bike shop to fit a new one when they do the BB. The only other problem that would require a new headset is if the bearing races are pitted but you'll only find that out by opening it up.
  • ugo.santaluciaugo.santalucia Posts: 26,441
    ynyswen24 wrote:
    If you're just looking to service the headset then it should be easy enough.
    As it's 25 years old it'll have a 1" threaded headset (32mm across the flats of the locknut), you'll need a pair of 32mm spanners to work the two nuts on the top of the set and a supply of loose ball bearings, probably 5/32".
    as for servicing (and any advice on basically anything) have a look at Sheldon Brown
    http://www.sheldonbrown.com/gloss_ha-i.html#headset

    One point - does the headset have a self centring tendency, ie lift the front wheel off the floor and turn the bars: do they want to settle into the straight ahead position as if theres a notch there? If so the heaset is definitley sh###ed and ask the bike shop to fit a new one when they do the BB. The only other problem that would require a new headset is if the bearing races are pitted but you'll only find that out by opening it up.

    If the balls are not in retaining cages, they'll end up all over the place every time you open the headset, that added to the hassle of having to fit them in one by one, avoiding them going all over the room.
    Spare balls in cages for headsets are not easy to find, maybe Nigel at Campyoldy has some, maybe Ebay... problem is the races might be pitted too, so a new headset is the simplest solution... Stronglight ones sell for 20 pounds or so and they are excellent
  • rolf_frolf_f Posts: 16,015
    I renovated a mates Peugeot Triathlon from about 1990. It had a Shimano 105 headset but the lower headset bearing was cracked (probably from new!) - even a relatively recent bearing from probably one of the most common headsets of the time was impossible to source over about 6 months googling.

    In the end I bought a Stronglight one for about £15 from Spa Cycles.
    Faster than a tent.......
  • alamb200alamb200 Posts: 74
    Thanks for all the replies.

    I think I am going to have to go replace the headset. Mine does self center so it does sound dodgy.

    How easy are they to fit?

    Thanks,

    alamb200
  • rolf_frolf_f Posts: 16,015
    They need to be pressed in. You can do it yourself but unless you plan to make a habit of it it is probably best to pay a small number of £s and get your LBS to do it. No doubt there are You tube vids aplenty if you fancy having a go though. Not without risk.....
    Faster than a tent.......
  • keef66keef66 Posts: 13,123
    I too did up an old Peugeot last year. Far easier to replace the whole headset. I got a really cheap Ritchey headset from CRC and whacked the cups in carefully using a hammer and a block of wood.
  • ynyswen24ynyswen24 Posts: 703
    Get the LBS to fit the new headset.

    If it had been just a case of new bearings then some grease in the cups holds the loos balls in place. Problem solved.

    Using loose bearings rather than clipped bearings means you can fit more in, spreading the impact loads and helping avoid the bearings ruuning into any 'grooves' in the cups caused by brinneling. Another problem solved. Double whammy, everybodies happy.

    Clips are only used to make the pricess that bit quicker for assembly in the factory, they have no use for DIY mechanics.
  • lpretro1lpretro1 Posts: 237
    Bearing races are not THAT hard to find :) - http://www.freemanscycles.co.uk/bicycle ... rings.html or http://www.halfords.com/webapp/wcs/stor ... yId_210157

    5/32" is the usual size on older bikes but do check - other sizes are also available

    It isn't really a problem using loose balls which are readily available - they will saty in with plenty of grease - jts be careful as you feed the fork back up through the sterer not to dislodge them.
  • pdwpdw Posts: 315
    Just done this job for the first time on my 15 year old LeMond. Thanks to bikepedia.com I managed to find the model of headset on it currently, and get a new one off ebay. Getting the right size is potentially tricky - there is a "standard" 1" size (see the table on Sheldon's page - http://www.sheldonbrown.com/headsets.html) but you've also got to consider stack height otherwise you can end up with too little or too much steerer tube sticking out the top. Getting the exact same headset makes life easier.

    I made a race removal tool out of a bit old pipe for the headset races. Fortunately the old crown race had a nice overhang on it, so came off easily with Sheldon's bench vise method.

    Wiggle do a headset press for just over £30, and it worked very nicely. For the crown race I used the old crown race upside down, and a piece of PVC tube (£2 from B&Q).

    I'm sure I could have got it done a bit cheaper at the LBS, but I prefer doing things myself.
Sign In or Register to comment.