I noticed some friction in my headset in my Motobecane Gran Record since I began riding it again recently. It had been hanging upside down in my garage over the late winter/early spring while I was riding my mtb. (This is ok to do isn't it ?) I pulled it apart last night and noticed one of the smaller plastic rings was broken. It was still holding it's shape but was no longer in one piece. The bike is coming up on 3 years old and I'm figuring it might be time for a new one ?
I see headsets on ProBikeKit for $20 and for >$130 ??? What's the difference ? I want something good but I don't need to spend an extra $50 to drop 17 grams either......how do I determine what size I need ?
Give me the Ultegra of headsets as that's what level most of my components are anyways.....
Also, is this something I can install myself ? Any special tools ? I can change tires, brake pads, wrap handlebar tape but I'm no gear head....
2003 Specialized Hardrock, 2004 LOOK KG386i, 2005 Iron Horse Warrior Expert, 2009 Pedal Force CX1
Your bike, from what I can tell, uses a Cane Creek cartridge bearing headset. The only serviceable part of this headset is the cartridge bearings themselves and all you can do is replace them. With that said, 3 years is hardly enough time to wear out a headset. If the headset is tight, it likely just needs to have the preload set properly. When headsets wear out, they become rough and ratchet-like as the balls pop from one groove to the next. This condition is usually the result of the headset being set too loose at some point or the grease becoming contaminated. Neither sounds like the case in your situation though.
Can you post a picture of the "broken" plastic part? Often, cartridge bearing headsets use split rings either as crown races (really just a support plate) or support rings that go around the steerer tube on the inner diameter of the top bearing.