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Old 10-22-06, 06:07 PM   #1
teiaperigosa
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ever bust a headset bearing?

overhauling my headset I find that I busted a bearing inside the race on the stem side of the headtube. i ride a peugeot road frame that takes abuse at times (including wheelie/bunny hop landings). I know that a road frame is not meant to take the type of abuse I give it sometimes (although it is double butted steel), and the lack of give in the tires at 80-115psi will be harsh on the components, but to bust one bearing seems abnormal to me. could it be because I had the headset too tight, or that it became too loose? defective bearing? has this ever happened to anyone? busted a bearing, on any other part even?
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Old 10-22-06, 06:16 PM   #2
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A steel ball bearing actually cracked in two?
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Old 10-22-06, 06:35 PM   #3
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The really odd thing is that, based on your description, an upper bearing cracked. The abuse you admit to should have damaged the bearing(s) in the lower race.
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Old 10-22-06, 06:59 PM   #4
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I broke the bearing cage in the top of my headset on my '95 M2. The headset was the original Aheadset, and was about 10 years old when it broke. The bottom bearing cage was intact. The bike was used for trail riding and killed several suspension forks (I'm currently on my fourth and need a new one), so I guess you could say that it has been abused. The new headset in a Cane Creek with sealed bearings and has not had any issues.
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Old 10-22-06, 07:31 PM   #5
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I've seen all kinds of flintstones-looking bearings in headsets, and not always in the bottom, either. Pure hemispherical splits are kind of rare, but I've seen plenty where what was missing clearly didn't wear away but rather broke off. I think sometimes the ones that happen to be at the back in the top race get whacked pretty hard during landings, especially on a fork with a lot of rake and on a loose headset. That's a pretty BS theory, but it would make sense here. Also, some road headsets are such that if it's really loose the bearings can fall out of the race and end up getting smushed in all kinds of weird ways.

I would just repack it, grease well, adjust properly, and send the offending bearing to ripley's.
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Old 10-22-06, 08:08 PM   #6
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I've had bearing break on me -- my guess is a defective bearing. I bought a (very) used Canadian Tire bike (Supercycle -- equivalent to Walmart brand, I would guess) at a police auction. One of the bearings in the front hub was broken. I don't know the history of the bike, but the wheel itself was in good shape, so I don't think the ball broke due to excessive forces being placed on the wheel and hub (maybe the forces of the 50lb frame on the hub ). I guess my point is that it seems these things can break without taking excessive abuse.

The broken ball looked like it was made of shell wrapped around a smaller bearing of about half the diameter. It is this shell that cracked away from the inside 'bearing'. Did yours look similar?
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Old 10-22-06, 08:50 PM   #7
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Those who take pride in abusing their bikes have to expect broken, excuse me busted parts.

FWIW: Double butting in tubes is intended to reduce weight, not transform a roadbike into a BMXer.

Perhaps I could show the "gentleman" something along the lines of a mountainbike..?
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Old 10-22-06, 08:59 PM   #8
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it cracked into more than two(maybe not initially, but by the time I opened it up)....there's one big piece, and a bunch of small chunks (and I'm sure plenty of tiny pieces too). Skillie, mine does look similar...the inside of the pieces look gritty and rough ( a dull color) with only the outside shiny/metalic, and yes there does seem to be a smaller ball bearing that remained intact(part of the big piece) as if the outer shell had cracked from around it

HillRider, I'm not sure you say why the damage 'should' have occured on the set in the lower race...i feel like any force i exert on the handle bars should put force on both upper and lower races

thanks Landgolier and others for responses....I guess maybe it's not THAT rare of an occurance...why would I send the bearing to Ripley's though (lol...even jokingly)? maybe it is tHAt rare...what kind of weight are bearings supposed to be able to endure?
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Old 10-22-06, 09:07 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by teiaperigosa

HillRider, I'm not sure you say why the damage 'should' have occured on the set in the lower race...i feel like any force i exert on the handle bars should put force on both upper and lower races
The lower bearings support your weight (and receive the force of your admitted abuse); the uppers essentially just maintain alignment.
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Old 10-22-06, 09:16 PM   #10
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rmfnla, I didn't say that I took pride in 'abusing' my bike. However, I do take pride in using my bike to the fullest of its capabilities, and if that involves a bit of abuse...then fine. It holds up, and I maintain it. I know what a mountain bike is, and I prefer a road bike for city streets, thanks.

also, from what I understand double butting reduces weight while also making the ride less stiff...no not into a mountain bike, but a more 'forgiving' ride (just as steel is more 'forgiving' than aluminum)...someone correct me if I'm wrong
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Old 10-22-06, 09:33 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by teiaperigosa
rmfnla, I didn't say that I took pride in 'abusing' my bike. However, I do take pride in using my bike to the fullest of its capabilities, and if that involves a bit of abuse...then fine. It holds up, and I maintain it. I know what a mountain bike is, and I prefer a road bike for city streets, thanks.

also, from what I understand double butting reduces weight while also making the ride less stiff...no not into a mountain bike, but a more 'forgiving' ride (just as steel is more 'forgiving' than aluminum)...someone correct me if I'm wrong
Cracking bearings is hardly what I would call holding up, but to each his own.

My remark about DB tubing was in response to your implication in the OP that butting somehow increased resistance to hard use:

I know that a road frame is not meant to take the type of abuse I give it sometimes (although it is double butted steel)

Perhaps I am missing something here...
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Old 10-23-06, 08:49 AM   #12
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I would say it is holding up...I have ridden my bike for prob over 6 years...a cracked bearing is relatively a verY small problem...yea, to each his own

maybe I am missing something here too...I WAS implying that DB tubing 'somehow' increased resistance to hard use

this is my logic....although I'm no frame builder or bike expert...
stiffer frames (ie...aluminum) don't 'absorb' as much of the shock of the road and other riding forces as softer frames (ie...steel). because the frame gives less, shock is distributed more to other components on the bicycle (ie...your butt)
likewise, where an aluminum frame might crack(unable to distribute the shock), a similar steel one might just bend
I was under the understanding that double butting not only makes a difference in weight, but also makes the ride 'softer' compared to, say, straight guaged steel tubing
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Old 10-23-06, 09:10 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rmfnla
The lower bearings support your weight (and receive the force of your admitted abuse); the uppers essentially just maintain alignment.
Exactly. Downward force on the handlebars is taken through the steerer, fork blades and wheel. The upper headset race doesn't see it at all. Pulling back or pushing forward on the bars will slightly load the upper bearings but nowhere near what landing off a drop will do to the lower race.
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Old 10-23-06, 09:29 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HillRider
Exactly. Downward force on the handlebars is taken through the steerer, fork blades and wheel. The upper headset race doesn't see it at all. Pulling back or pushing forward on the bars will slightly load the upper bearings but nowhere near what landing off a drop will do to the lower race.
if a headset is very loose (for the sake of example), there will be a rattling sound when the front end of the bike is dropped...are you saying that this is because there is looseness only in the bottom race? that the top race wouldn't get abused?

I understand that the stem is connected through the fork(steerer?) tube...but when u are leaned over the handlebars, not only are you exerting force on the bars, but your weight on the frame (through the seat) is leaned over the center of the frame, and force IS being exerted on the headtube of the frame

also, if the headset is loose, and force is exerted on the bottom race (even through the handlebars) wouldn't the frame 'bounce' up and hit the top race?

I'm really trying to figure out how this happened
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Old 10-23-06, 09:32 AM   #15
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where are the guru's ?...the bottom race explanation seems to simple to me

sheldon brown, Ken Cox (i think that's the name), unsung gurus...where yall at?...lol
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Old 10-25-06, 08:16 AM   #16
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bump
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Old 10-26-06, 08:26 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by teiaperigosa
if a headset is very loose (for the sake of example), there will be a rattling sound when the front end of the bike is dropped...are you saying that this is because there is looseness only in the bottom race? that the top race wouldn't get abused?

I understand that the stem is connected through the fork(steerer?) tube...but when u are leaned over the handlebars, not only are you exerting force on the bars, but your weight on the frame (through the seat) is leaned over the center of the frame, and force IS being exerted on the headtube of the frame

also, if the headset is loose, and force is exerted on the bottom race (even through the handlebars) wouldn't the frame 'bounce' up and hit the top race?

I'm really trying to figure out how this happened
Ignoring the guru remark, yeah, there is some lateral force excerted on the upper bearing set but it's not much compared to what the lower gets.

A loose headset can crack bearings but it can also trash the headtube, makeing it deform or even crack.

It's not my intention to be rude, but I love bikes and I've spent too much time in shops dealing with the "Hey dude, look what I did!" morons to have much patience left for people who think it's cool to neglect them.

Bikes are really simple; if you can't handle them there's always your skateboard.
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