MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

 

 

MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

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MY "TEN SPEEDS"  

HEADSET REBUILD - INTRO

DISASSEMBLE HEADSET

CLEAN & INSPECT

INSTALLING THE HEADSET

ADJUSTING THE HEADSET

 

DISASSEMBLING THE HEAD SET

  Before one can even consider rebuilding a vintage road bicycle's head set, some preliminary work is in order.  The handlebars and steering stem assembly must first be loosened and removed from the bicycle.  This does not mean that brake cables need be disconnected.  The handlebar assembly, once loosened and removed from the fit in the steering tube of the fork set, can just be left to hang somewhere on the bicycle, ensuring that there is no chance for the assembly to chip the paint work.

With the handlebars out of the way, the head set can be easily accessed.

Begin by loosening off the top nut of the head set.  Clamp the front wheel between your knees and, using an appropriate wrench, loosen and remove the top nut.  Set is aside for cleaning prior to reassembly, assuming of course that its condition does not warrant out and out replacement.

Next, remove the brake cable guide bracket that will be present in the case that either center-pull or cantilevered are part of the brake system.  These brackets are usually absent when side pull callipers are mounted.  After removing the brake bracket, loosen and remove the bearing adjusting lock nut.  Once again, setting it aside for cleaning and inspection.  Remove any spacers present...

Steering stems come in three basic styles: no grove, one grove and one flat side.  Be sure you understand which it is you are working with.  Look closely at any washers or spacers mounted and ensure that they have not rotated out of their fit.  If they have, simply grip them carefully with large pliers and rotate them back into alignment with the steering stem.  Now remove any of these washers and set them aside with the other components.

Now it the time to stop since the next part of the head set to be removed is the top bearing race.  The race is threaded into place, a feature that allows for pretty precise adjustment of the bearing clearance during assembly of maintenance.  Once you begin to remove the top bearing race the risk of loosing small ball bearings soars.  But there is a way to help reduce the chances of bearing loss simply by placing frame set on the floor with a large rag under the head tube.  Set up in this fashion is the best way to disassemble a vintage road bicycle head set.

Place a rag or some other means of catching any ball bearings that happen to fall out of the bearing races.  Remember there are two races, so you must watch both the top and bottom races at the same time, sort of.  Unscrew the top bearing cone and be aware of any bearings that begin to fall out.  Ensure that you do not allow the fork steering tube to slide out of the bottom of the head tube.  This is as good a time as any to learn about a little ball bearing trick that I always use when working with bicycle bearing sets...

Use a small magnet to help grab, catch or collect the balls.  In fact, when dealing with wheel hubs, it can be incredibly difficult to grab ball bearings that don't want to fall out.  Pencil magnets can be purchased as most automotive parts stores for very little cost.

Once the bearings collected from the top race, set them aside as a set in a secure place.  Now, turn your attention to the bottom head set bearing race and carefully pull the forks partially out of the head tube.  Stop and collect all of the ball bearings,  Set them aside as a separate bearing set.

The forks can now be fully withdrawn from the frame and the frame can go back into the work stand.

With the forks removed and the head set placed in a secure spot, turn your attention to the bearing races press fitted into the frame set and onto the fork steering tube.  If you do not have the proper tool each of these races can be removed with some pretty ordinary items.  I use a small hammer and a long screwdriver blade to work inside the frame or a solid block of nylon plastic if working outside.

Basically, you are going to try to impact the races away from their fits.  Work slowly and move around to different spots after each impact.  You will see a line form between the frame set and the race.  Try to keep this line or widening gap as even or square as you can.  The race fitted to the forks can also be removed in a similar fashion.

And that about takes care of disassembling a vintage road bicycle's head set.  Other than a bit of learning how when it comes to removing the races, the task is pretty much straight forward and should prove to be well with-in the grasp of most people who are interested enough to try.

With everything removed and sitting on the bench, it is time to clean, inspect and replace when necessary.

NEXT - CLEANING AND INSPECTING THE HEAD SET

 

 

 

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