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  1. #1
    Senior Member TromboneAl's Avatar
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    Centering "Detent" on Headset

    I just got a Craigslist Peugeot for my daughter to ride while she's visiting, and it's got this feature or problem that I've never heard about.

    It's a little hard to describe. As you turn the handlebars, when you get to the center position, it kind of sticks. Hope that makes sense.

    Is this intentional or does it indicate some problem???

    I can't wait to hear the answer.
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  2. #2
    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    Sound like a problem.
    Bad fork bearings.
    I don;t really know,
    I have a 82 Peugeot. It does not have that problem.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member TromboneAl's Avatar
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    OK, I found out more about it on this thread.

    Can someone explain why removing the bearing cages solves the problem?
    My Book: Drive, Ride, Repeat: The Mostly-True Account of a Cross-Country Car and Bicycle Adventure

  4. #4
    surly old man jgedwa's Avatar
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    The balls in the headset have sort of worn little depressions to sit in. No matter how well you clean, lube and adjust the HS, the balls will want to just sit in those same depressions again.

    Unless you change the number of balls, then the balls will not be able to jostle each other into those holes. When you go from caged to non-caged bearings, you add a ball or two. So, this is an old trick to try to milk a little more mileage out of a worn headset.

    It sort of works. The races are worn however and it will never feel very smooth again. But, depending on how lucky and picky you are, you might find that it works for you.

    jim
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  5. #5
    Senior Member Grand Bois's Avatar
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    You might as well do it right and replace the headset while you've got it apart.

  6. #6
    Senior Member TromboneAl's Avatar
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    Thanks for the good explanation. Until I can get into town to get new bearings or a new headset, is it dangerous to ride it in it's current state?
    My Book: Drive, Ride, Repeat: The Mostly-True Account of a Cross-Country Car and Bicycle Adventure

  7. #7
    Senior Member Road Fan's Avatar
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    If she tries to ride it no-handed, definitely. If there is a lot of drag in the bearing, maybe.

  8. #8
    surly old man jgedwa's Avatar
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    Most probably perfectly safe.

    Dirtdrop is right that the only real solution to a worn headset is to replace it. It really makes a subtle, but important difference to have decent headset performance. Consider that the way you balance a bike is by subtlely steering right or left to keep the bike under you. When that process is smooth, riding is a joy. When it is crunchy, it seems like a small chore. But I can't see it would really be unsafe. Maybe someone will correct me though.

    jim
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  9. #9
    100% USDA certified the beef's Avatar
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    Brinnelled headset is what you likely have. Google the term.

    It's caused by age, basically. When you ride a bike you spend 95% of your time with your handlebars pointing basically straight forward. Over time your bearings leave a slight indent in the straight-ahead position, which causes a very gentle 'clicking' sensation when you steer, as if the bars are locking into the straight-ahead position.

    A temporary solution can be to loosen the headset slightly if you have an over-tight headset. But my advice is to basically replace the thing.

  10. #10
    Fossil Lurch's Avatar
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    I picked up a beater Huffy (is that redundant?) from a Bonita Beach thrift shop for riding in FL during the few weeks we stayed there each winter. The headset bearings races were really bad and riding it required a lot of concentration to keep it headed in the right direction. It was like riding on grooved pavement all the time. I carried some loose balls down the second year and that made a big difference in the handling. It was much more relaxing to ride and the effect lasted at least the 8 weeks we were there. We won't be going back to that place this year so the Huffy is our landlord's problem now. She was tickled to get it to include in her list of amenities.
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  11. #11
    Senior Member TromboneAl's Avatar
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    If I were keeping the bike, I'd definitely get a new headset. I got it so that my daughter can ride with wife and me while she's home for Christmas break. Then I'll sell it, with full disclosure.

    OTOH, how much would a new headset be? Would this one be one that would work?
    My Book: Drive, Ride, Repeat: The Mostly-True Account of a Cross-Country Car and Bicycle Adventure

  12. #12
    100% USDA certified the beef's Avatar
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    That one would work, yes. It's on the cheap end but it'll get the job done.

    And by the way I saw the pics of the Peugeot in the other thread you posted. Nice catch at that price.

  13. #13
    Sometimes knows stuff. rmfnla's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by the beef View Post
    Brinnelled headset is what you likely have. Google the term.

    It's caused by age, basically. When you ride a bike you spend 95% of your time with your handlebars pointing basically straight forward. Over time your bearings leave a slight indent in the straight-ahead position, which causes a very gentle 'clicking' sensation when you steer, as if the bars are locking into the straight-ahead position.

    A temporary solution can be to loosen the headset slightly if you have an over-tight headset. But my advice is to basically replace the thing.
    I don't think so.

    Riding with a loose headset causes this. The repeated impact when the front wheel hit bumps pounds dents into the race (the balls are harder than the race).
    Today, I believe my jurisdiction ends here...

  14. #14
    cycles per second Gonzo Bob's Avatar
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    That Ritchey headset might works but it seems awfully tall at 40mm stack height. Most 1" threaded headset are around 33-35mm. A headset that is too tall will not engage enough threads to secure the fork. A headset that is "too short" can always be made taller with headset spacers. If you really want to get the Ritchey, you should measure the current headset to make sure that 40mm will work OK.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post
    .... is it dangerous to ride it in it's current state?
    Well, it'll have lost some minor fraction of its performance, and if I stretch my imagination I might just be able to come up with a situation (apart from riding no-handed) where it might have some importance. Still, IRL I'd be much more worried about oil slicks, tire blowouts and suchlike.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Grand Bois's Avatar
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    Now that I've seen pictures of the bike I think it deserves better than that Richie Logic headset.

  17. #17
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    Well, that bike is definitely worth a new headset. I don't know if sizing for a peugeot would be a problem. I had the same problem, pretty bad actually, with "indexed steering" (Sheldon's term.) I removed the bearing races, rotated them about 1/4 turn, and reinstalled them. That made a huge improvement. I forget where I saw this tip, possibly Sheldon Brown, but it definitely worked. And it really wasn't that difficult to do.

  18. #18
    Day Tourer blue steal's Avatar
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    Marlin that's what I was told to do also by my LBS.
    Also, went to loose balls on the bottom because that takes all the abuse. Problem of indexed steering was much reduced, but not totally eliminated.
    Blue Steed

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