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  1. #1
    dmp
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    '84 and '09 Pinarellos dmp's Avatar
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    headset bearings

    I'm rebuilding my Pinarello and have taken the fork out in preparation to relube the headset (Campy SR, circa 1984). The races are pristine, and the bearings appear to be so as well. Do you think (after cleaning and re-greasing) I should reuse the old bearings (they are Campy), and do people recommend loose bearings or using the retainer (which is what I had used before)?

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    Senior Member FlatFender's Avatar
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    Ive re-packed old bearings a number of times with good success. That being said, new bearings cant be more than a buck or two.

  3. #3
    Senior Member z415's Avatar
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    Someone has said that they firmly believe in never reusing bearings and always using new ones. Unless you are sorely strapped for cash, get new ones and keep the old ones for back-up... I'm sure there are times where the LBSs are closed and your headset needed an overhaul and you really really really want to ride.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member onbike 1939's Avatar
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    Can I suggest that you source your bearings from Campy. Not only are these of top quality but each set has been matched and should not be mixed. I'm assuming that Campy quality has not changed recently.
    Last edited by onbike 1939; 08-06-08 at 05:59 AM. Reason: typo

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    If the races are good, just clean, repack and reuse the current bearings. There is no reason to change them.

    Yes, Campy uses good bearings and, indeed, may even "match" them in sets but that's an unneeded refinement and more a marketing claim than a performance benefit. Any manufacturer's Grade 25 bearing balls will work every bit as well.

  6. #6
    dmp
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    any strong feelings about caged vs loose bearings? I was going to just use the retainer cage (original Campy bearings and cage), or should I get a new set of Campy bearings and pack them loose (I know I will need an extra couple of bearings to do this)?

  7. #7
    Senior Member onbike 1939's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dmp View Post
    any strong feelings about caged vs loose bearings? I was going to just use the retainer cage (original Campy bearings and cage), or should I get a new set of Campy bearings and pack them loose (I know I will need an extra couple of bearings to do this)?
    Pack them loose. In my opinion the load is shared more equally by doing this and the risk of the cage collapsing (as has happened to me) is lost.

  8. #8
    rebmeM roineS JanMM's Avatar
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    If the races are in good shape, and if you promise to overhaul the headset on a regular basis, then caged bearings are fine.

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    I change out the retainers and balls. It's cheap, and I'd rather grease new stuff than try to get the old stuff clean enough to reuse. It makes it a quick and easy job, which promotes doing it more often. Save the old ones in a ziplock bag so you can get the right ones, in advance, next time. bk

  10. #10
    Senior Member Thumpic's Avatar
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    use new bearings and lose the cage.... you'll add a bearing (maybe 2) and the new (more) bearings will run in a slightly different path; on new race surface. It's like replacing the races too.........

  11. #11
    cab horn
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    Quote Originally Posted by onbike 1939 View Post
    Can I suggest that you source your bearings from Campy. Not only are these of top quality but each set has been matched and should not be mixed. I'm assuming that Campy quality has not changed recently.
    Wrong.

    Anybody elses grade 25 bearings will be equally good.
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  12. #12
    Senior Member onbike 1939's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by operator View Post
    Wrong.

    Anybody elses grade 25 bearings will be equally good.
    Thank you for that courteous and considered reply.

  13. #13
    Senior Member onbike 1939's Avatar
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    Here's an interesting thread on this very topic.

    http://forums.roadbikereview.com/showthread.php?t=23985

  14. #14
    dmp
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    Thanks, everyone- and thanks, onbike, for the link. The posts by the guy who was an engineer at a bearing factory were very informative.

  15. #15
    Your mom
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    My bike: new bearings.

    A bike I'm flipping: reuse.

  16. #16
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    If you do cages, just make sure you put them in the right way. Just had a new headset installed because I got it wrong.
    Good luck.

  17. #17
    Klaatu barada nikto cascade168's Avatar
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    Just casting my vote/s here ...

    Loose bearings are much better for headsets. No question about that. Get grade 25. Never reuse bearings. For the time it takes to clean the old ones, it's false economy to reuse them. Yes, if you are living in Timbuktuu and the nearest source of new bearings is three days away by camel, then, by all means, re-use them. Otherwise, it's just dumb.

    Grade 25 bearings are just that. Campy grade 25 bearings are no better - just considerably more expensive (i.e. a waste of money).
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  18. #18
    Senior Member Homebrew01's Avatar
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    Keep in mind that we're talking about a headset, not hubs. The bearings in a headset just sit there supporting a load. There's no spinning, or friction to take into account.
    Bikes: Old steel race bikes, old Cannondale race bikes, less old Cannondale race bike, crappy old mtn bike

  19. #19
    Klaatu barada nikto cascade168's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Homebrew01 View Post
    Keep in mind that we're talking about a headset, not hubs. The bearings in a headset just sit there supporting a load. There's no spinning, or friction to take into account.
    This is EXACTLY why headsets are problematic and require a different thought process. For spinning bearing sets, the rule of thumb is to insert loose bearings until the bearings become jumbled (i.e. they won't line up in a perfect circle) and then remove one bearing. For headsets, the rule of thumb (as stated in detail in Barnett's), is to insert until jumbled and then remove TWO bearings. This is done to give the bearings the maximum chance of random positioning.

    Another good tip about loose bearings is to NEVER expose them to a magnetic screwdriver or part bowl. This will make them try to attach (magnetically) to each other. The whole idea of loose bearings is to make their relative positioning random, and, to get a higher number of bearings into the race.
    "Work is the curse of the drinking class."
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  20. #20
    Senior Member Thumpic's Avatar
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    In 5 years, 45% of Americans will be in the minority.



    I love deep thinking.................

  21. #21
    Senior Member Homebrew01's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thumpic View Post
    In 5 years, 45% of Americans will be in the minority.



    I love deep thinking.................
    It'll be much worse in 10 years !
    Bikes: Old steel race bikes, old Cannondale race bikes, less old Cannondale race bike, crappy old mtn bike

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