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Pitted headset(6 posts)

Pitted headsetSteve Davis
Jun 4, 2001 8:01 PM
I've got a Chorus headset (1 inch, threaded) with about 6000 miles on it. After riding this weekend, I had the bike on my workstand and noticed that the front wheel "self-centers". In other words, when I move the wheel from left to right, it wants to lock into the straight ahead position.

Two questions:

1. Is this unusually fast wear (I'm 200 lbs)?

2. I haven't noticed any negative handling problems, but should I replace the headset anyway?

Index headsetcarbonguy
Jun 4, 2001 8:56 PM
I have heard that you can pull your headset cups out of your frame turn them 90 degree's on cup one way one cup the other way and keep riding it. But to me it sounds like you put a good amount of miles on that bike so go ahead and upgrade it. get your self a chris king headset might as well.
re: Pitted headsetHank
Jun 4, 2001 10:22 PM
regrease and readjust. It might just be a little tight. If that doesn't do the trick, and if it's a headset with loose ball bearings, you can sometimes remove (or even add) a ball bearing. I've been milking a very old DA headset along for a long time by doing this - and by now mine is so thrashed it does the same thing you mention, only in the stand (can't feel it at all). If it's a cartridge headset, you might be able to get a replacement cartridge.
re: Pitted headsetMel Erickson
Jun 5, 2001 7:56 AM
This headset has reached the end of it's life. You could fiddle with it and maybe eek out a little more but is it worth it? You can get the whole thing replaced with a good quality headset at your LBS for $50-$75. You can go whole hog with a Kris King for $100-$150. 6000 miles is not bad for mileage. You don't say how you ride or how the headset was maintained. Overtightened or loose headsets will be damaged sooner rather than later. Hitting potholes and railroad tracks on a regular basis will also do the trick. 200lbs is no flyweight climber but within the norm and shouldn't put undue wear on the headset. IMHO regular maintenance will do more to prolong the life of a headset more than anything else.
A new headset is in the cards...Greg Taylor
Jun 5, 2001 9:00 AM
But you can milk some more miles out of it if you don't want to have the bike disappear into the shop for a while.

Get some new loose bearings from Nashbar (Campy uses two different sizes top and bottom -- I don't remember what sizes right now). Take the fork off, clean up the races, and put a light coating of grease in the cup. You will now reassemble the headset without the "cage" that traps the ball bearings. Take the loose ball bearings, and line them up in the cup. Add bearings until they line up all the way around. I then remove two or three bearings. This way, the bearing spacing is uneven so it won't "key" into the divots that are in the race and cup, yet full enough to support the load. Grease it, button it up and adjust.

This will work for a while, but it really doesn't totally "fix" the problem.
Quick fix for pitted headsetsSteve Davis
Jun 5, 2001 7:58 PM
First, thanks for your responses. I've ordered a Chris King headset and will have it installed next week, but in the meantime, here's what I did to fix the "indexing":

My shop suggested that I take off the front brake and handlebars. Then I was told to turn the fork all the way around three full times. By doing so, the worn and pitted parts would shift enough to solve the problem temporarally. I did everything they suggested and put it all back together tonight. A five minute job and it worked to perfection!

I'm off to do the King's Tour of the Quabbin Century this weekend.