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Headset Indexing Options

Old 08-14-22, 01:06 PM
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Aardwolf
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Headset Indexing Options

Hiya Folks,
My headset has started indexing a noticeable amount and examination shows pits on the crown race.
So it's "false brinneling" or "fretting" or something.

I did a complete service of the steering a year back, but it's an original 1982 headset with caged ball bearings:
This should be a 1" 1981/1982 Tange of some sort - it's a 1982 Holdsworth.
(yes I know the stem is 8mm too high - it's still got 2.5" inside the tube)




And here's the marks on the crown race (bearings are 14 x 5/32" in a cage), marks go all the way round



My short term solution is going to be to replace the caged balls in the bottom bearing with loose balls.
But does anybody think that crown race has had it ?

It looks to me like a new Tange Levin CDS (20) would fit - stack 33.3 and my max is 36 I think
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Old 08-14-22, 01:45 PM
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csport
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I may be saying an obvious thing, you can replace the bottom headset only.
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Old 08-14-22, 01:48 PM
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Is that the minimum insertion line on the stem that I see well above the top locknut?
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Old 08-14-22, 01:52 PM
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Yep that's the min insertion line: it's 6mm too high, but there's still 50mm inside the steerer so I think it's fairly safe.
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Old 08-14-22, 02:06 PM
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Originally Posted by csport View Post
I may be saying an obvious thing, you can replace the bottom headset only.
Fair point, I could just fit a new crown race - I checked all the other bearing surfaces and they're fine.

Would any 26.4mm internal diameter crown race fit ?
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Old 08-14-22, 04:14 PM
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Overall, that doesn't look too bad.

Some people have had good luck with simply replacing the caged bearings with loose bearings, as many as you can fit.

If you choose to replace the crown race, there should be some flexibility from one to another.
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Old 08-14-22, 04:22 PM
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The caged bearing takes 14 balls, I think loose I can fit 23 with some space left.

As others have mentioned that should be a bit stronger.
Also 23 is prime so there's no chance of the balls lining up with the holes

So if it doesn't look too bad it's definitely worth a try.
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Old 08-14-22, 04:31 PM
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I thought it looked like the bearings were spaced out quite a bit.

It doesn't cost much to try the loose bearings.

Prime would be good. But, 25 balls would also have no common divisors with 14. 24 may not be bad either.
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Old 08-14-22, 06:26 PM
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This was my solution, I like sealed bearings.

Stack is 5 mm high though.

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Old 08-14-22, 09:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Aardwolf View Post
Fair point, I could just fit a new crown race - I checked all the other bearing surfaces and they're fine.
Would any 26.4mm internal diameter crown race fit ?
I do not know. From my limited experience I think not all crown races are interchangeable.

Originally Posted by hevysrf View Post
This was my solution, I like sealed bearings.
Stack is 5 mm high though.
Maybe it will work if the OP replaces the lower headset only? Also, I think the lower headset is the same for threaded and threadless. Some manufacturers (Cane Creek, Hope) sell the lower headsets separately, though I did a quick search and did not find any for 1".
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Old 08-14-22, 09:52 PM
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...that original headset doesn't owe you anything more. I have always had the best luck with replacing entire headsets as a unit, like that Tange you mention in your original post. There are people on very tight budgets who root around in the parts drawers over at the co-op, and bodge something together. Some of those seem to work better than others. It's a bad idea to simply grab a different crown race and assume it will have a similar bearing surface curve to your original, and will work with it.

But it is possible to replace the crown race and the lower head tube race, along with the bearings that fit, as a unit. I just don't think it's worth the added trouble.
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Old 08-14-22, 10:28 PM
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Tanges are good headsets. Not great. Not Stronglight roller bearing or Chris King but they will get you a solid 8000 miles to where you are now and another 2000 after you go loose ball. I'd put loose ball in that headset bottom race (all that fit minus one), order the Tange and swap when the indexing comes back. (Corollary to Murphy's La; once your headset knows its replacement is in-house, it will go near forever.)

Oh, won't matter here but nice to know - Tange headsets are interchangeable. I've done lots of mix-and-matching to achieve stack heights. Don't have enough stack for the Levin? Use just the high quality bottom cup and cone and the upper and locknut from the el cheap OEM HS that bike shops carry for the low end bikes. You'll never know it when riding. The middle Tange line is intermediate stack, looks more like a Levin and has closer tolerances and gets less grit and water but doesn't have the full Levin seal. Works quite well on top. (But even that OEM top will go the full 8000 of the Levin bottom.) And keep all your Tange parts. It's fun what you can cobble together when a new bike shows up.

Tange is one of those Japanese firms that has been making bicycle stuff forever. We think of the Japanese starting at the '70s bike boom. No, they were solidly into bikes 70 years before that.
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Old 08-15-22, 02:32 AM
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Originally Posted by 79pmooney View Post
Tanges are good headsets. Not great. Not Stronglight roller bearing or Chris King but they will get you a solid 8000 miles to where you are now and another 2000 after you go loose ball. I'd put loose ball in that headset bottom race (all that fit minus one), order the Tange and swap when the indexing comes back. (Corollary to Murphy's La; once your headset knows its replacement is in-house, it will go near forever.)

Oh, won't matter here but nice to know - Tange headsets are interchangeable. I've done lots of mix-and-matching to achieve stack heights. Don't have enough stack for the Levin? Use just the high quality bottom cup and cone and the upper and locknut from the el cheap OEM HS that bike shops carry for the low end bikes. You'll never know it when riding. The middle Tange line is intermediate stack, looks more like a Levin and has closer tolerances and gets less grit and water but doesn't have the full Levin seal. Works quite well on top. (But even that OEM top will go the full 8000 of the Levin bottom.) And keep all your Tange parts. It's fun what you can cobble together when a new bike shows up.

Tange is one of those Japanese firms that has been making bicycle stuff forever. We think of the Japanese starting at the '70s bike boom. No, they were solidly into bikes 70 years before that.
Thanks for that, I like interchangeable a lot.

I've also found the Tange catalogue: https://m.tangeseiki.com/jm/products...levin-cds.html
My current headset doesn't have any seals - so there was road muck in the bottom bearing.
So I'm going to order the Levin CDS for a winter project.
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Old 08-16-22, 12:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Aardwolf View Post
The caged bearing takes 14 balls, I think loose I can fit 23 with some space left.

So if it doesn't look too bad it's definitely worth a try.
I am a mechanic at a big-city bike Co-op. Do this. I've done this hack many times, and when properly adjusted, you won't be able to tell the difference from a new headset. Doing the loose ball thing avoids traps such as stack height differences, ISO vs. JIS, installation problems etc. Plus it only consumes about 20 minutes and $2 worth of ball bearings.
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Old 08-16-22, 01:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Dave Mayer View Post
I am a mechanic at a big-city bike Co-op. Do this. I've done this hack many times, and when properly adjusted, you won't be able to tell the difference from a new headset. Doing the loose ball thing avoids traps such as stack height differences, ISO vs. JIS, installation problems etc. Plus it only consumes about 20 minutes and $2 worth of ball bearings.
Just did a short test ride and it's working perfectly with 23 balls installed - steering is back to 'slightly twitchy' which is normal for this bike.

I'm still going to swap to a Tange Levin CDS nearer winter though because it's "fully sealed", less rusty, and has 20 x 5/32" caged ball bearings.
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