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  1. #1
    Dropper of Carbon Humongous's Avatar
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    Panama City, Panama; Spring Hill, FL
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    need help with headset assebly

    Hey guys, I'm in a bit of a bind here... I just moved and the packers completely dismantled my brand new Trek 8.3 DS. In fact, the idiots lost the top cap and bolt, which was a real pain to find replacements in Panama...

    Anyways, my problem is that I can't figure out where my split ring is supposed to go. If I put it on top of the bearing ring, the metal ring that goes on top won't seat properly and if I tighten the top cap, there is noticeable resistance when I steer. Does this mean my bearing ring is upside down? The metal ring that holds the bearings is facing upward.

    Thanks for your help!
    2008 Motobecane Jubilee DLX
    2009 Cannondale CAAD9 5 / Double
    2012 Trek 8.3 DS

  2. #2
    Senior Member mechBgon's Avatar
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    It sounds like you have a traditional headset, the type with two rings of ball bearings in an open form (called retainers), rather than in cartridges. There are two common types of retainers, and how to orient them depends which type you have. In lieu of a photo, go by this:

    If the ring is on the inside, like this one, with fingers reaching outwards to hold the balls, put the ring facing inwards towards the frame.

    If the ring is on the outside, like this one, with fingers reaching inwards to hold the balls, put the ring facing outwards from the frame.

    The idea is that the ring shouldn't get in the way as load is transferred from the bearing cone through the balls to the bearing cup. Simple enough, right?

    At the top, the split ring acts like a collet to keep the fork centered in the upper bearing cone. So it'll have its bevelled side facing downwards into a matching part of the upper bearing cone.

  3. #3
    Dropper of Carbon Humongous's Avatar
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    Mar 2009
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    Thanks mech, I have the bearing retainers like #2 so they are properly oriented. I swapped the split ring and the metal ring that has a downward facing collar that seems to fit snug between the bearings and the steerer. the split ring also seems to fit into the conical inner neck of the metal ring and I guess it keeps the metal ring centered around the steerer without actually rubbing metal-on-metal against it... does that make any sense? Not sure if its a new design but haven't seen it anywhere else.
    2008 Motobecane Jubilee DLX
    2009 Cannondale CAAD9 5 / Double
    2012 Trek 8.3 DS

  4. #4
    Senior Member
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    Aug 2005
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    Pittsburgh, PA
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    '''96 Litespeed Catalyst, '05 Litespeed Firenze, '06 Litespeed Tuscany, '12 Surly Pacer, All are 3x8,9 or 10. It is hilly around here!
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    The split ring for threadless headsets is conical and should face with the narrower end downward. And, yes, it's there to keep the bearings centered on the steerer.

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