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Old 10-03-07, 10:47 AM   #1
sjmayclin
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Steering issue with threaded headset

I ride a 1983 Eddy Merckx track bike as my around campus machine, and I noticed that at least for the last two weeks, the steering has been a bit odd. It turns freely, except when it is at, or close to center (ie you would be riding in a straight line). At that point, there is almost a spring loaded centering feel, that snaps the steering to center. I haven't worked much with threaded headsets, or with track bikes in general, so perhaps this is a result of the design of the bike. I haven't had it long, and I don't really recall if it was like this since I got it or not. I thought the headset might be too tight, so I loosened that a bit, but to no avail. Any ideas?

-Steve
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Old 10-03-07, 10:55 AM   #2
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Your bearing races are indented where the balls set when straight ahead. Could be from too being tight or just from old age and normal wear. Only fix is to replace the headset.
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Old 10-03-07, 10:57 AM   #3
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You need to overhaul.. sounds like it conveniently bumps back to center. It could very well bump to the left/right.
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Old 10-03-07, 11:02 AM   #4
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The headset is worn out. There is only one real cure and that is to replace the headset. Any bike shop can fix you up.
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Old 10-03-07, 11:56 AM   #5
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Turn your cups and races 90 degrees for a cheap and dirty fix.
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Old 10-03-07, 12:58 PM   #6
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If the headset has caged bearings, toss the cages and put in loose balls. Put them in until they begin to jumble up, then remove two. You can get some more service life out of your "indexed" headset by doing this. Or just replace the headset-
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Old 10-03-07, 03:20 PM   #7
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If the headset has caged bearings, toss the cages and put in loose balls. Put them in until they begin to jumble up, then remove two. You can get some more service life out of your "indexed" headset by doing this. Or just replace the headset-
Don't you have this backwards?

Loose balls can go where they want, like back into the dents (dints?) that are causing the indexing.

Caged balls are held into position so even if one indexes the rest are maintained in positions that are (hopefully) not where the dents are.
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Old 10-03-07, 03:34 PM   #8
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Even with shifting the brinnelled spot on the race, the new position may still catch a bearing and give you a click. You could always try anyway. As others have already said, it is probably time to change out the headset.
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Old 10-03-07, 04:03 PM   #9
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Upgrade time; wheeeee!
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Old 10-03-07, 04:12 PM   #10
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Don't you have this backwards?
Nope, packing with loose balls should make the indexing go away for the time being, assuming the OP's headset currently has caged bearings. But it's just a stopgap measure, so it's a matter of getting a little more life out of it, or just replacing the whole thing now-

Last edited by well biked; 10-03-07 at 06:26 PM.
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Old 10-03-07, 06:28 PM   #11
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Don't you have this backwards?

Loose balls can go where they want, like back into the dents (dints?) that are causing the indexing.

Caged balls are held into position so even if one indexes the rest are maintained in positions that are (hopefully) not where the dents are.
First, there is not one pockmark in the race (usually the crown race is the most affected) but a whole circle of them corresponding to the original ball spacing. Also, loose balls can't go everywhere they want as their movement is limited by the balls on either side.

Substituting loose balls for retainer held balls lets you get more of them in the same race and, therefore, their centerlines are closer together. That way, the balls don't line up exactly with each of the pockmarks in the races they way they did when the retainer was present so the steering is less indexed and smoother. It is a stopgap but it will improve steering accuracy enough that you can probably get one more season out of the headset.
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Old 10-03-07, 07:04 PM   #12
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You can get a ritchey threaded headset for about $20. Replace it.
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Old 10-16-07, 05:46 AM   #13
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get a new headset, and tell the shop to ream and face the head tube and fork crown,one shot deal,go for it!
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