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 Post subject: Headsets
PostPosted: Sun Nov 11, 2012 9:40 am 
Old School Grand Master
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Joined: Sat Oct 06, 2012 5:17 pm
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Location: Norn Iron
This post is similar to my recent bottom bracket post. As part of my Raleigh Rapide restoration i want the headset replaced or serviced. I think it is a Tange. The chrome is showing signs of age but it is not too bad yet. I will replace it, if it needs it but i can live with the signs of age. I am sure someone will ask what type the current headset is - i do not know, but i believe it will have unsealed bearing in it and there are perhaps 3 locknuts/nuts where the stem goes in. Pics are here - http://www.retrobike.co.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?t=228672 although headset may not be clear.

The queries -
1. If i need to replace it what is the best replacement part?
2. What type of headset would i require? Is there an 'upgrade' which would be best to fit now?
3. Will i need tools and if i purchase tools, will i get further use out of them?

Having received the advice regarding BB's, i am going to get my LBS to remove the old one (and i will keep it - just in case!). I have bought a new BB and will order the tools to fit it myself. As the bike is going to the LBS for this, i could get them to replace/service the headset at the same time. But, i am thinking of buying other frames and a little investment now may help me do the headset work on them myself.

As always, all advice is very welcome


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 11, 2012 11:28 am 
Old School Grand Master
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Location: Cumbria
http://www.sjscycles.co.uk/tange-levin- ... prod10953/

http://www.cyclebasket.com/m9b56s400p24 ... set_/RS_GB

Any 1" threaded headset will do :) Steel are new alloy cheap as chips compared to second hand Campag / Shimano which will set you back £30 plus.

All you need really for headsets are a hammer, block of wood and a long screwdriver. If it's in the LBS they could replace the headset in 15 minutes.

Shaun


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 11, 2012 12:25 pm 
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Ribble have steel and aluminium versions of the "classic" Stronglight A9.

I think you could reasonably call the aluminium version an upgrade over your existing headset.

If you do fancy one, let me know because I'm after one and if we buy together they're discounted; even with the extra postage it's still worthwhile.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 11, 2012 1:53 pm 
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If you replace the headset, it makes things easier if you can find one with the right 'stack-height'. Stack-height is the difference in length between the head-tube of the frame, and the steerer-tube of the forks, measured from the shoulder that the crown-race sits on. If you get a headset with too much stack-height, you will not have enough thread left on the steerer-tube to secure the locknut. (Your headset is too tall for your frame). If you get a headset with too little stack-height, you will have to improvise with spacers to build up the stack-height of the headset sufficiently to be able to tighten the locknut without it's shoulder 'bottoming out' against the end of the steerer-tube. (Your headset is too short for your frame). I hope I've described this clearly.

Chances are your headset is OK and just needs cleaning and relubricating, maybe with new ball-bearings. It's the 'crown-race' that seats on the forks, that is most likely to have suffered damage to it's bearing-race....In use, it's the bottom part of the headset that absorbs road shock etc., the top part is really just there to keep the bottom part in alignment.

Regarding tools, the old 'three big spanners' set of headset/bb tools would be a good investment if you have enough 'retro' spannering planned to justify it... giving you the leverage to move fixed and adjustable bb cups, headset locknut/adjustment, and remove pedals.
As for removing the two parts of the headset that press into the ends of the head-tube, and the crown-race that presses onto the fork-steerer tube, they can, as Midlife says, be removed with a long screwdriver and hammer, provided it is understood that these components are an 'interference fit', and you need to be gentle. Once you have minimally freed one part of the circumference from it's seating against the end of the head-tube, you need to move across to the other side, all the while trying to keep the component parallel to it's original location. Failure to do this could mess up both the headset and the frame.

For pressing these parts back into the head-tube, you can improvise a headset-press with a bit of threaded bar and a couple of bits of wood with a hole drilled through them.

Obviously you can buy special purpose-built tools to do these jobs. If you remove/refit headsets often, it makes sense to have them. FWIW, I have the 'three big spanners', but for the rest, I improvise, as described above.

Hope this makes things clearer!


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 11, 2012 2:44 pm 
Old School Grand Master
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Location: Norn Iron
Thanks, the answers make some sense to me, i may give youtube a look to see exactly what to do.

As with everything, when you mention damaging the frame i get worried!

Can i take it that all headsets are essentially the same - only height, type of thread and manufacturer vary?

Thanks all


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 11, 2012 3:08 pm 
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"only height, type of thread and manufacturer vary?"

Reminded me of the scene from Life of Brian.......what have the Romans done for us LOL

There were also road and track variants, the track one's being a bit thinner generally with a lower stack height and different sized balls :)

Shaun


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 11, 2012 3:41 pm 
Gold Trader
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Taking the old headset out is pretty easy - just a long screwdriver and a hammer. make sure you hit the inside edge of the cups at several points, to keep it coming out straight. I've found the proper split-pipe headset removal tool is only really needed if they're very very stubborn, or have a thin walls that a screwdriver can't hit against easily. Taking the crown race off is also usually pretty easy - same sort of method really.

Installing a new headset can be done quite easily. I have a homemade press that's just a length of 8mm threaded rod and a selection of washers and nuts. Just tighten everything carefully and make sure the cups are going in straight. The crown race can be tapped on with a screwdriver, but only in the lip, don't tap the bearing race itself!

I don't know what thread your raleigh will have - probably english, but I know raleighs sometimes used their own thread sizes - there are plenty of experts on here who know more than me and should be able to tell you one way or another!

Stack height is important, but only really limits you if the headset you want to use is taller than the one you have. You can use a shorter headset and add some spacers between the race and locknut, that way you don't have to cut the steerer and have more options should you need to change again in the future. On my Nortelle I'm stuck with the ultegra 6400 headset it came with, as it has a very low stack height, and on top of that is french threaded...

You might find your existing headset just needs a good clean and regrease, maybe with new ball bearings. You don't need to remove the cups or crown race to do it, but you do need to remove the forks.

When adjusting the headset, I always find it's best to tighten down the upper race just a bit too far (maybe a 1/4 turn), then tighten down the locknut before backing off the race, locking it against the locknut. with a bit of practice it's easy to do, leaves the race locked tightly in position but with the headset perfectly adjusted. You only need one headset spanner with this method too :)


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 11, 2012 6:08 pm 
Old School Grand Master
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Thanks to everyone for the advice - as always, there is an incredible amount of knowledge here.

I owe a lot of people a beer!


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 11, 2012 6:28 pm 
Old School Grand Master
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Tightening down the race a bit too much and then backing it out to lock it against the locknut also works for hubs :D

Shaun


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Nov 11, 2012 9:22 pm 
Retro Guru
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Joined: Mon Sep 24, 2012 9:10 pm
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Quote:
Can i take it that all headsets are essentially the same - only height, type of thread and manufacturer vary?


Well, these days I hear that there is something called an "A-Headset", which performs the same function in a slightly different configuration. Me, being stuck in a c.1975 timewarp, I've got no first-hand experience whatever with these.....Retrobikers of a younger vintage may be able to help..

Also, there could be a few headsets about with needle-roller bearings instead of ball-bearings. Possibly the alloy Stronglight A9 that Scilly suffolk linked to... I remember Stronglight had a needle-roller bearing headset, don't know if it's that one.

Yes basically AFAIK apart from that, all headsets are the same. At the bottom of the head-tube: crown-race, bearings, bottom cup. At the top of the head-tube: top-race, bearings, top cup. Plus a spacer, and a locknut.


I believe this pic. shows both an "A-headset" and a headset, someone will correct me if I'm wrong about that... :)Image


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