19. How to Overhaul a Threaded Headset

Overhaul your headset at least once a year to check for wear and re-grease the ball bearings.

IMPORTANT: Nuts and bolts on your bike should always be tightened to the manufacturer's specifications.
How to Overhaul a Threaded Headset
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If you ride your bike a lot, you should overhaul your headset at least once a year to check for wear and to make sure the bearings have enough grease.

Required Tools

For this tutorial, you’ll need some waterproof grease, an old toothbrush and some cleaning solvent. If you have an older 1″ headset, you’ll need a set of 32mm spanner wrenches. Larger 1 1/8″ headsets usually require a set of 36mm spanner wrenches.

Brake Cable, Wheel and Stem Removal

Before you begin, you’ll need to disconnect the front brake and remove the brake cable from the lever. You’ll also need to remove the front wheel. To remove the stem, simply loosen the stem’s tightening bolt far enough so you can give it a light tap with a hammer. This will knock the inner wedge loose and allow the stem to slide up out of the fork.

Headset Disassembly

Now loosen and remove the locknut. Holding the fork in place with one hand, remove any spacers and unthread the adjusting race. Make sure to note how many spacers there are, and what order they came off. Gently slide the fork down and out of the frame. Make sure to make a note of which way the bearing races are facing before you remove them.

Headset Cleaning

Wipe clean all of the bearing races located on both the frame and fork as well as the upper threaded race. Inspect all four of the bearing races to make sure they are not grooved or pitted. If so you will likely have to replace the entire headset unit.

Thouroughly clean the ball bearing cages with your toothbrush and solvent. Then wipe them dry with a clean rag, and set them aside to air-dry. Inspect the ball cages to make sure they aren’t bent or worn. You can replace the cages without replacing the entire headset, but you’ll have to bring the old set to your local bike shop for proper sizing.

Headset Greasing

If all of your parts are ok, apply a layer of grease to all of the bearing races. Then install the ball cages the same way they came out and add another layer of grease on top of them.

Headset Assembly

Once the bearings are in place and fully greased, carefully slide the fork back into the frame and finger-tighten the adjusting race. Wipe off any excess grease that may have squirted out the sides. Slide the spacers back on and thread the locknut on finger tight.

Headset Adjustment

To adjust the headset, hold the lower adjusting race with a spanner wrench and use a second spanner to tighten locknut against the adjusting race.

To test the adjustment, check that the headset turns freely and check for play by rocking the fork back and forth in the frame. Re-adjust as needed until the bars spin freely and have no play.

Brake Cable, Wheel and Stem Installation

Reinstall the front wheel. Before reinstalling the stem, coat the shaft and wedge with a thin layer of grease. Then reinstall and tighten the handlebar stem, and reconnect the front brake.

Final Adjustment

Then re-test the headset adjustment by making sure the bars spin freely, and using your front brake, rock the bike back and forth to double check there is no play in the headset.

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Discuss this topic in the Headset Forums

11/22 How important is a keyed washer?

I'm going to be installing a new fork on a bike with a threaded headset, and the new steerer tube doesn't have a keyway, the way the old one did.
What's the better option, to cut a keyway into the steerer tube, or file off the tab on the keyed washer? Is there some other choice I haven't thought of?... Read more >>

11/07 Headset parts order

Hello

first post, but I have found a lot of good info on this site.

I have an old garry fisher Hoo Koo E Koo 1997/1998. The headset was missing the top seal part and I couldnt find a good replacement part. I found a cheap techno glide j-27 to replace the whole thing.
http://www.tangeseiki.com/tangeseiki_news/Glide-1-1a-200902050641394.png.html

Now I have 2 problems.

1. I need a new crown race as the new headset ... Read more >>

11/03 Threaded headset to threadless

If I have a threaded headset with a 1-1/8" steerer tube, would I have to have the bearing cups on the frame replaced to use a threadless steerer tube?... Read more >>

08/29 Help with threaded stem

I brought a new 1" threaded rigid fork to replace old one. The Old fork tube diameter is 22.2mm, however I've just found out the new one has tube diameter of 21.1mm therefore my stem doesn't fit into the forks. Is there any way around this or do I need either a new stem or new set of forks again. I can return the forks as I I've scratched them when fitting the crown raceSad thanks. They are both 1", it's annoying as I assumed there was only one type of 1" threaded for... Read more >>

08/11 FSA Headset

I have a 2006 Bianchi 928 with a FSA Orbit ZS headset. I have a creaking sound coming from the head tube when I am out of the saddle and climbing. I replaced the headset parts other than the plastic cups that are pressed into the frame and the crown race which is pressed onto the fork. I have tightened the headset bolt up to almost 4 NM but I still have the creaking sound.

I cannot tell exactly where the creaking sound is coming from but I assume there is some play in the fork. When I turn the front wheel sideways and hold the brake on I can feel only a tiny bit of movement i... Read more >>

08/09 Headset/Stem confusion

Hello.
I've recently rounded off a screw (pictured) and firstly I'm confused weather that part comes with my headset or my stem? Also can any headset fit with any stem?
I'm sure I could just buy a new screw but I'd rather buy a new headset.

If it helps I have a Social Narc 2013 bmx and the stem is a social freeloader it says the headset is just a "internal headset" now I don't know if that is internal the brand or how it's situated.

Any help would be great

Thanks
Jordan... Read more >>

07/22 42mm Inside Diameter Head Tube

Hi Everyone.
New to the forum.
I have an older dual suspension mountain bike, a giant ATX900. It has a weird head tube inside diameter of 42mm, which puts it somewhere in between the old 1 1/4" standard and the 1 1/2" standard.
Anyone know what type of head set was intended for this diameter head tube?
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07/01 Headset wont tighten

So I got a cheap bike from craigslist that I'm trying to fix up. The headset to this thing is really loose, if I lift the handle bars I can shake the whole fork easily. (Sorry if my terminology sounds retarded, I'm not super bike savvy)

I tried to loosen handle bars and tighten the bolt the youtube guy told me to tighten, with no luck. The bottom of the fork near tire seemed just fine, but the top still shook around. It almost seems like I'm just missing an important part. Im including pictures of it all put together, taken apart, and all the parts from the problem area. Because I... Read more >>

06/18 Won't come off

Hello!

I am trying to remove a headset so I can service it but one part won't come off, I'm trying lubricating it and leaving it overnight. But I don't know if I should be trying to screw it off or trying to bang it off.

Any help would be appreciated!... Read more >>

05/30 Headset into carbon

I have pressed headset bearings into steel frames many times, but in a couple of weeks I'll be doing it into carbon fiber - I do have the headset press in tools. In a video I watched, the guy checked the sizes with a digital Vernier gauge on the frame and the bearing piece - is this absolutely necessary? If so, does anyone know the tolerances for a light press fit? It'll save me looking it up in my old books.... Read more >>

03/20 What kind of headset and crownrace do I need?

advertised as 1 ⅛” headset. chinese carbon mountain bike frame on ebay. it has v brake tabs so i wouldnt' be surprise if it was a pretty old design. so do you think the fsas i linked above would work. Let me take some better pics.

here you go with some additional measurements.
[Image: mYFQhWWl.jpg]
cups are metal with black paint on them.
those numbers are 43.84mm, 35.05mm, and 8mm.

here's the fork
[Image: bn9req...					<a href= Read more >>

01/03 What do i need for my headset?

[attachment=4796]I just got this bike and it needs work, the headset moves alot, i thought it was the bearings, it still might be, i cant see any, unless they are sealed? if they are sealed it seems everythings fine, though the gap from the forks to the stem is small so it wont lock all into place, making it move, i added a spacer but now the bolt will not reach the fork thread, the bolt is also slighty bent making it harder to tighten and work out whats up with it, do i need bearings? a new bolt? something completely different? im not very good with bearings at all so i need help please,... Read more >>

12/24 2 bearings?

Is there one or two bearings in this assembly? If there is two .... then im gonna need one. Elgin 1938. Does anyone by chance have any diagrams of the Elgin 37,38?
[Image: IMG_0360_zps9e5552a6.jpg]
Thanks,
Monk... Read more >>

10/26 Folding bike headset question

Hi all

Thanks for taking the time to read this.

I just got my hands on a 2nd hand Dahon folding bike.

There seems to be a little play in the headset but as this is my first folder I'm not sure if this is inherent in folders or not.

Would anybody know if it is inherent and have any ideas on how to fix it? I have some experience of changing threadless headsets on mountain bikes but I'm not sure about folder headsets.

Thanks again
Best

Ben... Read more >>

07/11 Threaded or threadless?? what to go for??

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