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Threaded headset overhaul - is it necessary?(4 posts)

Threaded headset overhaul - is it necessary?Matno
Jun 25, 2002 2:58 AM
Just wondering if it's worth the effort to take it apart. I've only done threadless headsets before, but this one has been untouched in 10 years of riding. It's still perfectly smooth, so I hesitate to mess with perfection, but I'm wondering if I may prolong its life by cleaning and repacking the bearings. It's a Shimano 600 "Sealed mechanism" headset.
Headset OverhaulCalvin
Jun 25, 2002 5:48 AM
It is very likely you will get even more life out of your headset with an overhaul. It is not very difficult. See http://www.parktool.com/repair_help/howfix_headset.shtml
It's an easy job, kind of soothing...cory
Jun 25, 2002 7:17 AM
I don't generally enjoy bike maintenance--it's just the price you have to pay for riding--but there's something sort of peaceful about rebuilding old cup and cone bearings. They clean up so nice, and the new balls are so shiny and they run so smoooooooothly when you're done.
On the other hand, while I've probably done a dozen threaded headsets, I have NO IDEA how to do a threadless one. I'm not even really sure I understand how they go together...
One tip: When you take the thing apart, do it over something that will catch and keep the balls so you can count them and take a sample to the shop for size. First time I pulled mine off, I did it on an unmowed lawn. I imagine the guy who bought that house is still finding bearings.
Yupthe dad
Jun 25, 2002 8:06 AM
I don't know if that particular headset has the bearings in retainers or not. A lot of the older bikes are nots. On a bike that old, there is a good chance that all of the grease has washed out through the years. When you loosen the top cone, all of the bearings will fall out the bottom. I like to work with the bike laying on its side over a great big rag.

I'm also a believer in buying all new bearings. They're cheap. Headset bearings don't normally rotate very much, so they tend to wear into kind of a football shape. You'll never get them oriented back exactly the way they were and it takes a couple of adjustments before the headset will stay tight.