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Can. Someone please explain how a headset gets “shot”?

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Can. Someone please explain how a headset gets “shot”?

Old 11-17-22, 07:54 PM
  #1  
LBCwanabe 
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Can. Someone please explain how a headset gets “shot”?

Aka worn out. Thanks!!!
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Old 11-17-22, 08:20 PM
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1. Rust
2. No lube or contaminated lube
3. Hard hits (pot holes and bumps)
4. Ridden while loose
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Old 11-17-22, 08:33 PM
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5. Overtightening
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Old 11-17-22, 08:42 PM
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Age and use. Everything has a life span.
Even me.
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Old 11-17-22, 08:47 PM
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Usually the crown race goes first. Sometimes you can bring them back to life by repacking with loose balls. I've picked up new crown races for the Tange Levin and just replaced that too.
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Old 11-17-22, 08:47 PM
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And just plain wear. If the balls always get rolled back to the same position, eventually that spot will wear. (A good way to prevent that is to spin the fork 360 degrees every so often. Too bad only kid's bikes and stunt bikes can do that without removing the front brake, the front wheel, fender, rack, handlebars ...)

Better headsets go further. Poor headsets aren't worth paying for if you plan to ride the bike. Not when a Tange headset for less than $40 will go an easy 8000 miles (if the conditions of the posters above are met). Chris Kings go much further. So do the roller Stronglights, (Tanges are easy because of both the price and the fact that Tange makes them to so many different standards and most of their headsets mix and match beautifully.)
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Old 11-17-22, 08:52 PM
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Originally Posted by rccardr View Post
Age and use. Everything has a life span.
Even me.
Not me. I'm gonna figure out a way to cheat death, and live forever. 🙄😉

Hey, what's this doing in my pile'o'smilies?🦃 🤔
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Old 11-17-22, 09:22 PM
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check here.
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Old 11-17-22, 10:40 PM
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Too tight, too loose, too old.
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Old 11-17-22, 10:54 PM
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Originally Posted by nlerner View Post
Too tight, too loose, too old.
You talkin’ ‘bout headsets?
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Old 11-18-22, 12:02 AM
  #11  
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I'd rather have it a little tight than at all loose.
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Old 11-18-22, 05:55 AM
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You pull out your trusty Red Ryder and shoot it full of BBs. Be careful or you might shoot your eye out.
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Old 11-18-22, 06:12 AM
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The Bianchi that joined the stall has its original head set which is integrated. There are 35 balls top and bottom. Amazingly, it is in great shape despite being 51 years old.
PXL_20221028_121629414 on Flickr
The Frejus has a stock Frejus head set that feels good and looks fine and it is 54 years old.
68FrejusHTUpperLug on Flickr
The 83 Colnago has a Super Record HS with a crown race that is split. It is smooth as silk and is original..'P9201322 on Flickr
I have been blessed with used bikes whith good HS.
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Old 11-18-22, 03:25 PM
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Originally Posted by seypat View Post
You pull out your trusty Red Ryder and shoot it full of BBs. Be careful or you might shoot your eye out.
I was thinking that some cyclist had one too many while listening to Springsteen's "57 Channels (And Nothin' On)" after finding out they need a new headset. But what you suggested works too.

Or maybe both.
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Old 11-18-22, 04:06 PM
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Besides all the previously mentioned factors. misaligned cups do a fantastic job of accelerating the wear.
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Old 11-18-22, 04:38 PM
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Originally Posted by nlerner View Post
Too tight, too loose, too old.
Originally Posted by gugie View Post
You talkin’ ‘bout headsets?
Did you have your annual review?
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Old 11-19-22, 03:34 AM
  #17  
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107-ish years and not worn out yet.

Rola 04 by iabisdb, on Flickr
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Old 11-19-22, 11:15 AM
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Don't forget the elements, particularly those suspended in rainwater spraying the lower cup during inclement weather.

'Keep it dry, it'll never die' is a good rule of thumb

DD
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Old 11-19-22, 11:59 AM
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Volunteering at a high-volume bike Co-op, the #1 cause of 'shot' headsets that we see is false brinelling which leads to 'indexed steering'. You have to think at an atomic level to fully understand this problem, and it has little to do with everything previously mentioned, except perhaps excessive bearing preload. Google it.
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Old 11-19-22, 01:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Dave Mayer View Post
Volunteering at a high-volume bike Co-op, the #1 cause of 'shot' headsets that we see is false brinelling which leads to 'indexed steering'. You have to think at an atomic level to fully understand this problem, and it has little to do with everything previously mentioned, except perhaps excessive bearing preload. Google it.
You may be right, but if any of the other factors are also going on as is often the case, it will be a far shorter trip to the bin.
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Old 11-20-22, 11:10 AM
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Originally Posted by nlerner View Post
did you have your annual review?
:d
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Old 11-20-22, 05:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Dave Mayer View Post
Volunteering at a high-volume bike Co-op, the #1 cause of 'shot' headsets that we see is false brinelling which leads to 'indexed steering'. You have to think at an atomic level to fully understand this problem, and it has little to do with everything previously mentioned, except perhaps excessive bearing preload. Google it.
It's fretting damage due to lubrication failure. Unlike hubs, pedals, bottom brackets, etc., headset are not in constant rotation when in use. Stationary balls under load will displace the lubrication between the ball and the race, allowing microscopic welds to form, which tear out when the ball is eventually rotated, leaving a pit. These pits grow over time, allowing the balls to fall into them and causing the "indexed steering" effect.

From the late Jobst Brandt:

Ball bearings make metal-to-metal contact only under fretting loads
(microscopic oscillations) while the bearing is not turning. Any
perceptible steering motion will replenish lubricant from the oily
meniscus surrounding the contact patch. Peering over the bars at the
front hub while coasting down a road at 20+ mph you will notice the
fork ends vibrating fore and aft. This motion does not arise at the
fork end, but at the fork crown, as it bends the steer tube. Both
head bearings rotate in fretting motion crosswise to the normal plane
of rotation, as the steer tube bends. Dimples form in the forward and
rearward quadrant of both upper and lower bearings from this fretting.
That they also form in the upper bearing shows they are not directly
load related.

Lubrication failure from fretting causes metal to metal contact to
form microscopic welds between balls and races. These welds
repeatedly tear material from the softer of the two causing the
elliptical milky dimples in the races. Were these brinelling marks
(embossed through force), they would be shiny and smooth. Various
testimonials for the durability of one bearing over another are more
likely caused by the lubricant than the design of the bearing. The
rigidly mounted ball bearing has survived longer as a head bearing
than it should, considering its poor performance record.
https://www.yarchive.com/bike/indexed_steering.html

Last edited by JohnDThompson; 11-20-22 at 05:44 PM.
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Old 11-20-22, 06:02 PM
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That's doggone interesting. 😎
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Old 11-22-22, 01:55 PM
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Originally Posted by JohnDThompson View Post
It's fretting damage due to lubrication failure. Unlike hubs, pedals, bottom brackets, etc., headset are not in constant rotation when in use. Stationary balls under load will displace the lubrication between the ball and the race, allowing microscopic welds to form, which tear out when the ball is eventually rotated, leaving a pit. These pits grow over time, allowing the balls to fall into them and causing the "indexed steering" effect.
Thank you.. this is exactly correct and saved me typing. Again, this failure mode is NOT caused by impacts or water or corrosion or lack of maintenance. It happens largely on road bikes.

How you deal with false brinelling? Disassemble the headset. The pits or dimples are always on the lower crown race and cup. Remove the ball-bearing retainer which houses roughly 20 or so balls. Replace this with a greater number of loose balls of the same size as original. Basically pack the race with as many balls as you can minus one. Now the new larger quantity of balls cannot line-up with the old pits. Presto: you've doubled the life of your old headset, with no apparent deterioration in headset smoothness or tightness.
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Old 11-22-22, 02:09 PM
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And the fun take:

Can. Someone please explain how a headset gets “shot”?


This just might happen literally if you ride through a gang war. My Mooney got bombed, exactly on the handlebar/stem. By a seagull. Fortunately, no explosion. Both bicycle and rider survived. (I don't think this was an accident. I doubt the typical gang member is anywhere near as good a shot.)
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