Replacing headset on an iron horse

bice Posts: 772
edited December 2013 in Workshop
I am doing up an old bike for a friend who rode it to India in 1978. So, it is precious in every sense except financial.

I have stripped the frame, had it resprayed by Armoutex in Hackney (not cheap, but good), and am now reassembling.

I am surprised by the headset: the larger bearing race cup seems to be the upper bearing, while the lower one is not as wide and will take smaller balls.

This seems odd to me, and it is possible that the cups are not a true pair (but as they have been on the bike for years, and travelled thousands of miles, they obviously work.

Any thoughts?

Also, the bearings have no seals of any sort: you just compress them. Can I make a seal, may be with inner tube?

This is an old bike, with cotter pin cranks. I think it was a branded Triumph.


  • Monty Dog
    Monty Dog Posts: 20,614
    Does sound as though a new top race and bearings has been fitted. Replacement ball bearings are easily sourced but check first whether the races/cups are corroded/pitted - replacement headset should be relatively easy to find. A section of inner tube stretched over the lower cup was a common fix years ago
    Make mine an Italian, with Campagnolo on the side..