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Headset question on a new frame(7 posts)

Headset question on a new frameNRG Climber
Dec 29, 2001 11:08 AM
Zinn and Barnett's both mention the importance of reaming and facing a head tube if needed before installing a new headset on a new frame. Only, it seems the LBS don't have any experience doing it. I'm building up a new Kestrel frame and wondered if anyone on here knows if this is really an important factor anymore?
Production bikes sometimes need facingBernie
Dec 29, 2001 2:21 PM
but reaming? I doubt that. That's more of a European steel frame preparation. Just take a look at your head tubes. If you notice that the two end surfaces (where the cups press in) are not flat or parallel with each other (slanted at angles) then it might need some facing. I once noticed this on a production trek, not good for the headset. Unfortunately not every shop has facing tools. I seriously doubt your bike needs facing. But if it does (one of them production bikes that slipped by quality control)bargin for a good price on the facing job since you're bike is aluminum which is soft. Steel bikes shorten the lives of facing tools much more rapidly than aluminum.
New head sets (campy for example) accomodate head tubes that are not perfect. But if you notice the two ends of your head tubes don't look remotely parallel than facing the ends of these tubes will prolong the life of your headset.
Visible misalignment?Kerry Irons
Dec 29, 2001 5:09 PM
If you can "notice the two ends of your head tubes don't look remotely parallel" then you frame is hugely in need of facing. You need a much more precise measure than a visual inspection, if you want the HS to last and the bike to ride well. In general, frames are well prepared these days and thread chasing (e.g. BBs) is often the only prep required. However, it doesn't hurt to check with the proper tools. Since your LBS is clueless on this topic, you have two choices: find a shop that has the tools or put it together and only worry if the HS doesn't work well. The latter choice is reasonably safe, but if you have any HS problems, head to a shop that knows what it is doing. You CANNOT rely on visual inspection to see if the head tube faces are parallel.
Sure make the kid paranoid about his bike.Bernie
Dec 29, 2001 6:49 PM
If you can't rely on visual inspection, this means that every frame needs to be checked by more precise means? You're crazy. Visual inspection definately can give you a clue, and headsets today can accomodate small imperfections. Why don't you shut up and ride.
Thx for your kind and thoughtful comments (nm)Kerry Irons
Dec 30, 2001 7:04 PM
re: Headset question on a new frameDY
Dec 29, 2001 5:28 PM
Yes it is a very important step and it is still required. Bikes start out in spec but the heat of welding can distort tubes and slightly out things out of square. Look in any instruction sheet, Chris King, Campy and they all specify it. On a new frame several things need to be checked and then done if necessary, (1) Face and size the head tube for the headset, (2) Ream seatpost, (3) check threads on bottom bracket and face (in Campy's case you need to face the right side only), (4) Prepare fork for bottom bearing seat.

This is all necessary. Is it imparative? No, you could get by with just installing the components with the risk being shorther life and reduced performance from your bearings. Do LBS do it...unfortunately many don't. They consider it the manufacturers' responsibility, while the manufacturer considers it the LBS job. The plus is that when buying your own frame you get to make sure it IS done and that your bike will be put together right. When you buy an expensive frame, $50 is not a lot to do it right.
My Altec 2 Gitane needed to beJS
Dec 29, 2001 6:20 PM
both reamed and faced. I think it is something European manufacturers don't do (they leave it to the shops) and American manufacturers do. It's especially important if your using a high quality sealed bearing headset like a Syncros or Chris King as small missalignments will be magnified by the tight tolerances of these headsets with the possibility of binding.