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PostPosted: Sat Apr 27, 2013 11:52 pm 
retrobike rider
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Location: In trubble'fsumthin r'uther....North Warwickshire
widowmaker wrote:
Just done it, all seemed to go well. Just a little grease oozing out of the seals.

I do though have a slight notchy feeling through the steering in regular increments )??) , i have checked the races and they appear ok. Am i right in assuming there is some wear on the races that i cant see :?



a headset will 'index' with use.....the majority of impacts will occur with the bars pointing straight ahead and the bearings in the same place on the races, causing pitting to the front of the upper race and the rear of the lower race.....this will result in the notchiness as the steering is turned one bearing space at a time right or left and the next ball reaches the pit left by the previous ball.....the damage is permanent, and only cured by replacement of the headset, but can be minimised by turning the races through 180 degrees to extend its life a little.... :D


Last edited by feetabix on Sun Apr 28, 2013 12:11 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 28, 2013 12:02 am 
retrobike rider
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Location: In trubble'fsumthin r'uther....North Warwickshire
also if the bearings are held in a cage to allow you to put them in in one go, discard it and pack them in individually....you will get another one or two balls in the extra space it leaves, spreading loads and disrupting the previous regular spacing....this will minimise the indexing i just described......

the bottom line is, however, indexing is permanent damage.....

weve all experienced it though, if that helps......a regularly used headset has a finite shelf life....


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 28, 2013 12:05 am 
Retro Guru

Joined: Sun Aug 07, 2011 10:55 am
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Location: Dorset
feetabix wrote:
widowmaker wrote:
Just done it, all seemed to go well. Just a little grease oozing out of the seals.

I do though have a slight notchy feeling through the steering in regular increments )??) , i have checked the races and they appear ok. Am i right in assuming there is some wear on the races that i cant see :?



a headset will 'index' with use.....the majority of impacts will occur with the bars pointing straight ahead and the bearings in the same place on the races, causing pitting to the front of the upper race and the rear of the lower race.....this will result in the notchiness as the steering is turned one bearing space at a time right or left and the next ball reaches the pitt left by the previous ball.....the damage is permanent, and only cured by replacement of the headset, but can be minimised by turning the races through 180 degrees to extend its life a little.... :D



I see :D

Ill whip them off again tomorrow and keep my eye out for a new headset. Its only a low spec Saracen so should be able to pick a new one up cheap.

Thanks for the advice chaps:D


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 28, 2013 12:10 am 
retrobike rider
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ive used indexed headsets beyond a point where i have noticed the problem in the past......it will have to be bad to notice it when riding, and a shagged headset wont take any other components kicking and screaming to the dustbin with it as it goes, as would be the case with worn drivetrain components for instance....... :D


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 28, 2013 12:27 am 
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Location: Dorset
feetabix wrote:
ive used indexed headsets beyond a point where i have noticed the problem in the past......it will have to be bad to notice it when riding, and a shagged headset wont take any other components kicking and screaming to the dustbin with it as it goes, as would be the case with worn drivetrain components for instance....... :D


True, and its only barely noticable :D

I am starting to worry about small things in my old age though :oops:


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 28, 2013 1:39 am 
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Joined: Wed Apr 24, 2013 8:09 pm
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Location: cheshire
little notching will be fine, have you done it up to tight as that somtimes makes it feel worse than it is, for general use with the gease stick a fare bit in it will work its way out if theres to much, if it was a top spec racer looking to stay light an be free ect then i would worry about it, i race rc cars an we clean all the grease out of the bearings an put a drop or two if that of real thin oil to make them realy free but they dont last long doing that wheres when standard full of grease last ages


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 28, 2013 1:08 pm 
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Joined: Sat Oct 03, 2009 2:37 pm
Posts: 1726
Location: UK Southwest
Over greasing driveside rear wheel bearings can cause the excess grease to get into the freehub and onto the pawls making them slower to engage and hence slip sometimes!!!


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 28, 2013 6:51 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jul 26, 2010 10:46 am
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Location: Leamington, UK
Naah. Too much is just enough. The waterproofing point is a good one - unlike aircraft our mtbs tend to get quite muddy.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 29, 2013 10:35 am 
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Joined: Tue Oct 09, 2007 1:55 pm
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Location: New Forest, UK
Dale cannon wrote:
Standard aircraft engineering practice is pack bearings to 1/3 of the space with grease. I would think that this practice will suffice for bicycle bearings as well.

Too much grease may pic up dirt and grit and turn it into grinding paste that can be detrimental to bearing life.

If you clean and re grease on a regular basis you should be fine.

Hope this helps.


I doubt that many aircraft bearings are directly exposed to mud and grit. Pack in as much grease as possible: this minimizes the space that water can occupy. However, in the end you do need to clean it out as grit inevitably gets into the bearings. Personally I fit an inch of old inner tube onto the steerer before reassembling the lower headset bearing - it then covers the entire lower headset and stops the grease getting washed out (and grit entering). Other people deplore the approach as it prevents the headset logo from being seen. :D

Alternatively buy a Campagnolo Record headset: it has grease ports in the side and you can give it a squirt of grease from time to time: the excess pushes the dirt out of the headset.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 29, 2013 8:51 pm 
retrobike rider
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Location: Manchester
I heard the other day that you can now buy headsets with a cartridge bearing that solves all of these problems.


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