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Internal headsets(4 posts)

Internal headsetsSteve Wyatt
Mar 27, 2001 9:05 PM
I am thinking about buying a Lemond titanium road bike and am concerned about the internal bearing headset. Does anyone have experience with this? What do you do if the bearing race is damaged or pitted and it needs to be resurfaced? Is this anything to be concerned about?
re: Internal headsetsPete
Mar 28, 2001 5:57 AM
The new internal headsets use cartridge bearing. In my understanding there is almost no way to pitt the races. I would definitely suggest keeping good care of your headset, and apply a small amount of grease to the surfaces as needed to keep things kosher.
re: Internal headsetsCracker
Mar 28, 2001 6:19 AM
He's right,the bearings don't actually contact the surfaces in the frame in a way to cause damage,but actually 'run' within the sealed cartridge.
No concerns other than standardsBipedZed
Mar 28, 2001 6:24 AM
I have a titanium frame with the integrated headset. Most of these use the Cane Creek integrated headset which has cartridge bearings that drop in the machined headtube. No bearings actually contact the headtube so there is no risk of pitting, galling, etc. I suppose you could argue that in the case of a serious head-on crash, the headtube could get damaged or elongated, but if that happened, I'd be more worried about the rider ever riding again. Normal racing/riding shouldn't be a problem at all for longevity.

The Campagnolo Hiddenset is being used by Cannondale on the CAAD5/6 frames. This is a non-cartridge (ball bearings and retainer) design, but I haven't seen one personally. Most shops recommend the Cane Creek headset.

There probably isn't any significant weight savings, although headset installation is much easier and doesn't require a cup press. I suspect this reason alone will make the design more popular to manufacturers as it is a significant reduction in labor cost to assemble the bikes.

My biggest concern is whether this design will gain industry acceptance and become a standard (like 1 1/8" headtubes). My hunch is it will due to the cost savings for manufacturers, much like threadless forks.