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

 

CLEANING AND INSPECTING VINTAGE THE HEAD SET

 

Once apart it becomes pretty obvious that there is not all that much to a head set.  The parts are pretty simple and figuring out how everything works is almost a no brainer.  That said, the cleaning and inspection phase of rebuilding a head set is not necessarily all intuitive and adding a trick or two to the tool box is always a good idea.

There are two fundamental issues with head set cleaning.  Clean the mechanical and the cosmetic.  Bad mechanical condition demands replacement.  But damaged cosmetics will not impede performance but might hurt not prove all that appealing to the eye.

Address cosmetic issues with a brass brush, a bit of aluminum foil and some wax.  Rusted chrome plating is not much of an issue if the rust has not started to pit the metal.  Consider the head set top nut and cup race on this Mercier.

Start by cleaning everything.  Unless you see that a part is worn out or damaged so badly that it warrants immediate replacement, clean it well.  I prefer to avoid using solvents for cleaning but when it comes to bearings, sometimes there is no escaping the need to use a liquid cleanser of some kind.  This is particularly true when it comes to the caged ball bearing sets that are more frequently found in vintage road bicycles of more recent vintage.  My choice for cleaning is WD40 but I am sure that other choices would work just as well.

With everything clean and dried off, look very closely at the bearing races.  You will see a uniform line circling the cup and also the cone of every bearing set.  Look very closely at this line of bearing wear.  Can you see anything that looks rough or pitted?  If so, that head set part is worn out and needs to be replaced.  But don't get all grumpy and pitch the part out.  Finding a replacement might be difficult.  And if you can't get a replacement, guess what?  Yep, you will have to use the old one unless the wear is so extreme as to render the head set completely useless.

After looking at each of the four bearing races, inspect them again but this time do your looking with a fine ball point pen.  Being pretty old, wink'in & blink'in don't work as good as they used to, but my sense of feel seems to be just fine.  If you gently slide the point of a ball point pen around the wear circle of a bearing race, you just might be surprised at what you can feel but could not see.  For me there is no better way to quickly check a bearing race's surface.  If it feels rough with the ball point pen test, the race is probably pitted.  Replace the pitted race at the very least, if you can.

If you did encounter a worn or pitted bearing race, then the matching ball bearings are contaminated and need to be replaced also.  And, if you have gone this far, replace the matching race as well.  Assuming, of course that you can find what you seek.  That said, most head sets come as a complete set at the time of this writing.

With all of the pieces that make up the head set cleaned and/or replaced, it is time to install and assemble the whole works back into the frame set.

NEXT - INSTALLING THE VINTAGE HEAD SET

 

 

 

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