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Old 05-04-10, 07:30 PM   #1
mikeylikesbikes
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Effect of multiple headset instillations?

Howdy Folks,

I just got a used Basso. I am trying to mostly use parts scavenged from my old road bike that was hit by a jeep. I have a threaded headset, most likely Tange, that is questionable. There is some damage to the races, but not terrible. Sheldon (RIP) brown suggests replacing the retainers with loose balls as a way of extending the life of a slightly damaged headset (more balls will fit in and sit closer together, therefore changing where/how they sit on the race). I like this idea and think it will work, however I wonder the effect repeated headset installations will have on the head tube should I ultimately need to replace the old (slightly damaged) headset?

Asked more clearly: what are the effects of repeatedly removing and installing headsets on the same bike? Will it damage the head tube?

Thank you,

Mikey
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Old 05-04-10, 07:37 PM   #2
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In a theoretical sense it would produce face wear and eventually produce play, but this is a minimal factor. If you have a steel frame and aluminum headset the effect is less and more if it is a steel cup aluminum frame. If the wear is on the cup, the cup is replaceable and mostly expendable. If the frame ended up being worn beyond tight fit, shim stock(super thin brass) could be pressed in with the cup to compensate for the wear.

Bottom line, don't go nuts but it shouldn't be an issue.
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Old 05-05-10, 01:42 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mtbikerinpa View Post
In a theoretical sense it would produce face wear and eventually produce play, but this is a minimal factor. If you have a steel frame and aluminum headset the effect is less and more if it is a steel cup aluminum frame. If the wear is on the cup, the cup is replaceable and mostly expendable. If the frame ended up being worn beyond tight fit, shim stock(super thin brass) could be pressed in with the cup to compensate for the wear.

Bottom line, don't go nuts but it shouldn't be an issue.
You can also take a punch and hammer to the frame/cups if it becomes an issue, theres a stein tool that does this for crown races, prehaps they have one for frames/ cups
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Old 05-05-10, 05:27 AM   #4
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Assuming correct sized headsets are installed correctly, there is zero impact from multiple installations. The level of interference is well within the elastic range of the frame, so each headset stretches the headtube slightly which then shrinks back to it's original dimension when the cup is removed, ready for the next time.

Metal frames can go through this cycle many thousands (if not hundreds of thousands) of times with no ill effects, or permanent change. The only way the headtube would be damaged causing loose fits if an oversized cup were pressed in, expanding the headube beyond it's elastic limit, or if it were reamed removing more metal.

By analogy, consider a spring. You can flex it millions of times and it'll always spring back to it's original size, but if you stretch it to far, it'll rebound to a new size and act like a spring starting from there.
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Old 05-06-10, 03:21 AM   #5
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Great answers, thanks for the help!
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