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Break-In Period of Headset(8 posts)

Break-In Period of HeadsetSingleThreaded
Oct 25, 2001 5:30 PM
Just purchased a 2002 Lemond Zurich that has a Cane Creek S2 headset. Do these headsets, or others for that matter, typically require a break-in period?

When getting out of the seat to crank, this bike starts dipping to the side like a fighter pilot. Also, after returning to the seat after quick (300 meter) climbs out of the seat, the steering seems to continue to oscillate for 3 or 4 periods before settling.

This feels nothing like the 2001 Zurich I test road that had the same geometry and same headset, which is why I wondering if it's a break-in issue or a defective part.

On an otherwise awesome bike, this wrinkle in the steering is troublesome.
Had similar problems...battaglin
Oct 25, 2001 7:20 PM
with a cane creek zs 1inch on my 2001 Giant TCR1 bike. I e-mailed cane creek and they sent me replacement bearing kit. Anyway check the bolt tightness I believe these headsets are pretty sensitive.
There isn't oneKerry Irons
Oct 26, 2001 4:57 AM
A bearing system like a HS cannot have a breakin period if properly manufactured. What is going to change in shape or fit? A seal may erode a little bit, but that would not change the handling you have described. Your handling problems could come from aggresive geometry, an improperly adjusted HS, an improperly installed HS, or improperly faced head tube, which would prevent you from every getting your HS adjusted properly. Not from a lack of "break in."
re: Break-In Period of Headsetbrider
Oct 26, 2001 7:58 AM
What may be happening here is that the races are just getting seated properly. Sometimes it's difficult to press in the headset races fully, and it only happens after tha bike has been ridden on a rough road or two. Try readjusting the headset, to see if the problem goes away.
Oct 26, 2001 9:46 AM
Having messed witha bunch of Cane Creek HS on both road and MTB bikes I'm here to report that the unit isn't that well made. It's tricky to get some of them working well and keep them that way. While there can be problems with the HS itself, there can also be problems with the frame/fork. Once the frame has been faced and the HS is set correctly with a HS press you have a decent chance of getting the thing adjusted correctly, but it takes time. There is no break in period per se - it's all a question of the unit staying position which will never happen if it hasn't been installed correctly and the head tube surfaces aren't square and parallel. The problems you describe aren't a function of the HS.

Things to check would be frame alignment, wheel alignement and dish. Riding no handed gives you and idea if everything is straight, but you really need to measure things to find the problem. A frame builder can easily do this.
re: Break-In Period of HeadsetCT1
Oct 27, 2001 6:48 PM
I had this same problem with my TCR until I cleaned the carbon steerer tube with rubing alcohol and put in a very tight shim spacer between the steerer tube and stem. That seems to have fixed the loosening stack problem.

good luck
Thanks for your slantsSingleThreaded
Oct 30, 2001 8:24 AM
Thanks for the varied inputs. All raise valid points.

I'm three weeks, 250 miles into the evaluation and the oscillation is still there when I get back on the seat after a rigorous climb. Although, as I am more aware of the behavior when getting out of the seat I have a much firmer grip on the bars and have it under control when doing solo training rides. Close quarters while racing, however, could be nasty.

Regarding the Cane Creek headset, I talked with another LBS and described the problem. And what did they do but come out of the back with two of the same "S2" headsets in a plastic bag saying they had the same exact problem with those.

On the upside of the steering, normal riding on flats and descents provide really nice straight-line tracking, with virtually no jitter.

I'm going to take my final ride today and then have the LBS ride it for evaluation.

Thanks again for the responses :+]
40 Days Later...SingleThreaded
Nov 17, 2001 6:37 PM
Brought the bike back in for 30 day check up and mentioned the steering problem. Eight hours later, the steering has improved. Their reasons for the problem were (a) I had not been tightening the wheel as much as necessary prior to riding and (b) the bike shop typically sends new bikes out the door initially with the headsets tighter than normal.

I can believe it was a combination of the two and possibly other things. I am tightening the wheel more, and the oscillation is pretty much gone. However, as I have about 450 miles on it now, I'm pretty cognizant of the need to maintain a firm grip with optimal leverage when getting out of the seat. I'm still don't love the handling for all out sprinting though, but that also could be a function of the geometry of the bike.

Anyway I have seen improvement and I can live with it -- just stay away from me when I'm going for the line! ;)