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Bicycle Headset – How to install it

Geplaatst door: op 21 Nov 2014 | Geen reacties

A bicycle headset gets a constant banging

On many of the vintage bikes I work on it appears to be the bicycle headset that has suffered most. Shown by little indentations in the cups caused by bearings that received too little care and got stuck. This means the end of your bicycle headset and it will need to be replaced. To prolong your headset’s life I recommend you clean and grease it once a year.  However it may already be too late for that and you need to put in a new one.

Let me explain how you do that in case you don’t have the appropriate tools. What you need to change your bicycle headset are a hammer, a flat tip screwdriver with a large tip and a piece of (hard)wood. First we remove the old headset. Take out the front fork, if you have not already done so. Place the tip of the screwdriver inside the head tube on the edge of the cup. Carefully give a few blows on the top the screwdriver. Now place the tip on the opposite edge of de cup and give a few more blows. Then put the tip back in the original position and hammer it. Keep repeating this until the cup comes out of the tube. Do the same for the other cup. Removing the fork crown is done likewise. Take the fork, turn it upside down, support the end on a piece of wood and place the tip of the screwdriver on the edge of the crown. Give it a few blows, move the tip to the other side, more blows, etc.

Now it is time to put in the bicycle headset. Grease the inside of your head tube where the cups will come. Support one end of the head tube on something solid, a table top for example. Place the cup – make sure you have the right one – on the other end. Put the piece of wood over it and carefully hammer it in. Do the same for the other cup. Now comes the new fork crown. Place the fork upright on a solid underground, drop the crown over the fork tube. Place the hardwood on one edge of the crown and hammer it down. Move the wood to the crown edge on the other side and hammer it give it a few gentle blows.. Keep going until it is fully in place. It may be that the fork tube is too wide for the crown to fit. In this case you need to file the tube until the crown fits.

Bicycle HeadsetNext the new bearings can be placed in the cups of the bicycle headset. Put a nice helping of bearing grease in the cups (I use Cyclus Lagerfett). Too much is better than too little. Any excess gets pushed out when you install the fork and can be wiped off. Nowadays bearings come in so called cages but loose ones work just as well. If you have a cage make sure the ‘teeth’ of the cage point towards the cup. This may seem logical as it makes a better fit, but some people get confused. In case of loose bearings, fill up the cup with ball bearings until they are tightly pressed against one another. Than take one out. Headset bearing sizes most frequently are 3/16″ or 5/32″.

Reassemble your front fork and your bicycle headset is ready for use. In the video I demonstrate what changing a bicycle headset looks like, using both ordinary and appropriate tools.

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