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headset indexing(5 posts)

headset indexingchumbly
Aug 17, 2001 6:40 AM
My Ultegra 1" threaded headset will index after a few months of riding. If I pull it and reinstall the problem goes away but comes back in 500miles. What gives?

Hmmm, just notices the little teeny, barely noticible indents/marks in the races. Next q = how did they get there? Was my headset too tight? I may have an ovalized headtube courtesy a flying trip into a ditch which trashed a front wheel. Thanks for the insight.
Get the head tube facedMike Prince
Aug 17, 2001 6:57 AM
The top and bottom surfaces of your head tube may not be parallel to each other. Most good shops have the tools to do this. Before having this done (unsure of cost) have them inspect the head tube for deformation. A crash shouldn't have ovalized the head tube, although you could have a bent frame or the head tube could be bent along its long axis. Best to get the alignment checked first then start looking at facing the HT if everything checks out.

Good luck.
Pitted headsetBipedZed
Aug 17, 2001 7:16 AM
Most likely your headset is pitted due to improper adjustment of the bearings. Headsets use two opposing races which can be moved relative to one another. If the adjustment is too tight there will be too much pressure on the bearing surfaces and balls and the system will quickly wear out. If the adjustment is too loose there will be movement or "play" between the parts. This will cause a knocking in the bearing surfaces and they will wear out prematurely. You don't mention how old your current headset is but you probably just need a new headset.

Even if you headtube was ovalized or improperly faced you wouldn't have "indexed" steering. These conditions usually lead to inconsitent binding in the headset most noticed as a tightening while the bars are turned, but now a distinct "locked on center" feeling of a pitted headset.
Your headset is pitted. Replace it.MB1
Aug 17, 2001 7:23 AM
Headset bearings and races take some tough hits, the damage you have is not unusual. It can be from 1 hard hit and wear or bad adjustment and wear. The only fix is replacement. You ought to have your fork alignment checked too as well as looking at the head tube.

There can be a lot of hidden damage after a crash hard enough to trash a wheel. Things like this are why ATBs are built so much tougher than road bikes.
Double a headset's life...StraightBlock
Aug 17, 2001 3:40 PM
...by replacing the caged bearings with loose ball bearings of the same diameter (it will take about twice as many loose bearings as are in the cage), or use caged bearings if you've got loose bearings. That will move the balls out of alignment with the "indexed" spots (actually "brinnelled).