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  1. #1
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    Headset binding - 1966 Raleigh Sport? (AMF Hercules)

    'Hey',

    I bought an AMF-Hercules, everything including the inner tubes is Made In England. The Sturmey AW hub code is '11-6' which I guess is for 1966. Not sure, but it may be a rebadged Raleigh Sport w/ Hercules details (far-out chainguard & what else?).

    I'm doing a quick-over to make it roadworthy. New tires, tighten & lube the things I can. Oil in the hubs and the BB port, I ain't touching the AW which seems to be in great condition anyway, or the cottered crank BB if I can possibly avoid it. Judging from the lack of wear on the chain, sprockets, and tires, I'd guess it doesn't have 100 miles on it.

    I did drop the headset though, got 50 tiny balls out. It wasn't binding before I took it apart, just wanted to give it its 40-year overhaul. Didn't notice any obvious problems with the races or balls. Got 50 balls back in, 25 top & 25 bottom, mixed the top & bottom balls though (Doh!?). Now, I can't find an adjustment that is not either too loose or binding. Always binds in the same place: fork turned far to the right, farther than would ever be done in an actual ride. In my effort to solve this, took it apart again & wiped off the polyurea grease & put motor oil instead. No change. Thought maybe taking it off the stand & riding it a bit might help, but no change, still binds when cranked all the way to the right. (Haven't ridden it much yet, only a couple of blocks, have to fix some other stuff.)

    Do I need to get to the 'root cause' & solve it to avoid damaging it? Any ideas what the 'root cause' is? As is, it doesn't impact normal riding. Just don't want it to get worse or damage a part.

    This is my 2nd lifetime 'overhaul', so I'm not sure of my skills on setting the headset adjustable cup. Is this just a very very hard thing for newbies?

    Thanks,

    -Rich
    Last edited by duffer1960; 09-04-06 at 09:12 PM.

  2. #2
    cyclist/gearhead/cycli... moxfyre's Avatar
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    Replace the balls The upper and lower balls are stressed very differently and may wear differently. To make matters worse, some headsets use different sized balls in the upper and lower cups... though I'm assuming you would have noticed if that's the case.

    Getting a headset adjusted carefully IS a rather tricky job for newbies. A few tips: Hold BOTH the adjustable race AND the lockring with cone wrenches while you tighten the lockring. Inspect the races for any sign of pitting.

    Replacing headset balls can make an AMAZING difference even if nothing is visibly wrong with them. On my new fixie, I had given up the headset for dead, since it was so rough and no adjustment helped it. So I went out and bought new balls from the LBS. I popped them in, greased it up, and adjusted it... and lo and behold the headset is smooth as butter and good as new
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  3. #3
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    Update

    Bought new balls, but only 24 ea. would fit instead of 25. Still the same problem -- either was loose or it bound when turned to the left (did i say right? meant left.).

    Took it to Ben's here. They tried with the old parts-- refaced the head tube, etc, couldn't get it to work. They ordered a new headset cups, cones. Still seems just a tad loose, but, after all this (and the $ damage wasn't too bad) I ain't complaining. It probably won't be ridden too many miles anyway.

    Thanks for the suggestions Mox.

    -Rich

  4. #4
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    What is the diameter for these ball bearings? I will need to purchase a new set for my Raleigh Sports, too. Thanks.

  5. #5
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    One possibility is that the headtube faces aren't exactly parallel and the headset binds when turned all the way to either extreme. I don't know why yours binds only when turned left. Facing the headtube may be the cure.

    However, if it is smooth and play-free straight ahead and when turned a few degrees either way as during normal riding, I'd use it as is. Old Raleighs had unique fork threading so getting a replacement headset won't be easy.

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