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  1. #1
    Oil it! sfrider's Avatar
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    1" Ahead threadless headset

    I just noticed today that the steering on my road bike is a little stiff and gritty feeling in one direction. So I'm thinking of replacing the headset. The bike currently has a 1" Ahead type threadless, which means little to me... (Other than what I read about headsets on Sheldon Brown's site.) Can I swap this for, say, a 1" Cane Creek S2 threadless? I have a torque wrench and an allen for the top/cover. Will I need any tools beyond this plus some teflon grease? Anything else I need to make sure is compatible? Any gotchas? It sounds like a pretty easy job to replace it.

    First the front hub, now this... I think the bearings of the world are ganging up on me...

  2. #2
    Oil it! sfrider's Avatar
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    Park tools has service instructions... looks like I might need a headset press. Should I invest in one or just take the bike to the LBS?

  3. #3
    LF for the accentdeprived
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    I guess you should first try repacking the current headset if the bearing surfaces don't look too bad. (You can change the ball bearings)

    I have a 1" threadless Cane Creek which says "Aheadset Pat. 5095770", which through some idiotic decision by Cane Creek has a 27mm crown race, instead of the widely accepted ISO standard of 26.4. Of course, you only notice stuff like this on assembly, and you only learn why the race is loose on the fork from Sheldon's databases. (27 used to be an Italian and Asian standard used on some bikes. Now it's supposed to be obsolete.) So I had to put back the fork crown race and lower cup of my old threaded headset.


    Installation is fairly easy, and if you have hand-eye coordination and common sense, youll only need a 1' threaded rod with 2 nuts and 2 very big washers for the cups (That's your headset press for $1. Do one cup at a time, and go slowly. making sure it goes in straight.), and a disposable heasdet spacer or a bit of scrap tube and a hammer for the race.
    For removal of the old HS, a 1" or smaller tube to knock the cups out, and hammer and screwdriver for the crown race.

    All these removal and installation methods are a bit ghetto, and only work well if you know what you're doing. You have to go slowly, working around the part evenly. Don't come back to me crying that you screwed up your frame with a hammer...

    Park and Sheldon have good instructions, photos, part lists, etc.
    Quote Originally Posted by dutret
    Do you deny that you are clueless or do you just think that "moron" didn't need to be tacked on there?
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  4. #4
    Senior Member
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    If you change the headset and aren't familiar with the procedure, pay the LBS a couple of bucks to do it. The installation tools are so expensive that they are justified only if you do a lot of headset work.

  5. #5
    Senior Member capwater's Avatar
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    C2 works well and I second the advice to have your LBS install the cups. It's cheap and not woth messing up your frame. All that's left to do is assemble te heade and stem.

  6. #6
    LF for the accentdeprived
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    Quote Originally Posted by HillRider
    The installation tools are so expensive that they are justified only if you do a lot of headset work.
    Installation tools cost $1 if you have a hammer, and a scrap headset spacer. Removal also requires a 1' long 1" tube (if you're afraid to use your fork's steerer) and a screwdriver. If you buy your threaded rod, nuts and washers at a really posh place, it may be $5.

    When my nearest lbs installed my headset cups with a hammer and a 2x4, I decided I'm more competent then them, and I don't want to take a frame further away.
    Quote Originally Posted by dutret
    Do you deny that you are clueless or do you just think that "moron" didn't need to be tacked on there?
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by LóFarkas
    Installation tools cost $1 if you have a hammer, and a scrap headset spacer. Removal also requires a 1' long 1" tube (if you're afraid to use your fork's steerer) and a screwdriver. If you buy your threaded rod, nuts and washers at a really posh place, it may be $5.
    All of this is true but not the kind of advice I'd give someone who has no knowledge or experience installing and adjusting headsets.

    When my nearest lbs installed my headset cups with a hammer and a 2x4, I decided I'm more competent then them, and I don't want to take a frame further away.
    If your LBS actually used that technique to professionally install a headset, you certainly need a new LBS.

  8. #8
    LF for the accentdeprived
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    Oh, they sure did. The mechanic actually asked me to help hold the frame while he was hammering away. He was the only guy in the shop at that time. I was cringing when I saw one cup start to go in sideways. Another whack straightened it. Ouch. I was pretty pissed when he charged the full amount posted in the shop. ('Course, that's about as much as a US mechanic would ask for... I dunno, telling you if the wheel you bring in is a front or a rear, or for installing a bottle cage.) I was helping, goddammit!

    Obviously, not every shop in the city is this crappy, but I'm not walking farther with a frame under my arm. I don't normally go to this shop, of course. But it sure is convietent for jobs I don't have a tool for... it's 200 metres from my house. (BTW, it's a somewhat reputable shop, actually. They build affordable custom tandem frames and stuff.)
    Quote Originally Posted by dutret
    Do you deny that you are clueless or do you just think that "moron" didn't need to be tacked on there?
    Bike on flickr and on FGG

  9. #9
    Perineal Pressurized dobber's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LóFarkas
    Installation tools cost $1 if you have a hammer, and a scrap headset spacer.
    Remember boys & girls, there is a distinct difference between a hammer and a mallet. Choose your tools carefully.
    Last edited by dobber; 08-12-06 at 05:45 AM.
    This is Africa, 1943. War spits out its violence overhead and the sandy graveyard swallows it up. Her name is King Nine, B-25, medium bomber, Twelfth Air Force. On a hot, still morning she took off from Tunisia to bomb the southern tip of Italy. An errant piece of flak tore a hole in a wing tank and, like a wounded bird, this is where she landed, not to return on this day, or any other day.

  10. #10
    Cardiac Case Drag's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LóFarkas
    Installation is fairly easy, and if you have hand-eye coordination and common sense, youll only need a 1' threaded rod with 2 nuts and 2 very big washers for the cups (That's your headset press for $1. Do one cup at a time, and go slowly. making sure it goes in straight.), and a disposable heasdet spacer or a bit of scrap tube and a hammer for the race.
    For removal of the old HS, a 1" or smaller tube to knock the cups out, and hammer and screwdriver for the crown race..
    This is well worded and is what I did when I built my mountain bike up from the bare frame. However, please acknowledge the bolded portion of LoFarkas' following statement:

    Quote Originally Posted by LóFarkas
    All these removal and installation methods are a bit ghetto, and only work well if you know what you're doing. You have to go slowly, working around the part evenly. Don't come back to me crying that you screwed up your frame with a hammer.....
    All of this may make more sense once you've watched somebody do it first. I paid a LBS $20 IIRC to install the crown race on a fork. While I watched him do that, there was another mechanic in the background installing the races on the head tube of a (beautiful late '80s Klein with custom paint) frame with a (beautiful in its own right) Campagnolo headset press. Once I observed these acts, I made my own homebrew tool identical to what LoFarkas described above. If I can get away from the keyboard, maybe I'll dig it up and post a pic of it (if I can find it).

    Installing the race on the crown requires a lot of precision, or else you'll damage the race. I recall using a piece of PVC tube to install it, since the PVC would be more forgiving to the race if I mis-hit vs a section of metal pipe from Home Depot or something.

    Personally, given how infrequently a normal consumer would do this type of maintenance, I'd readily recommend just taking the frame and parts to your LBS. It's worthwhile insurance. My problem is I just like doing things myself.

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