Advertise on Bikeforums.net



User Tag List

Results 1 to 14 of 14
  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    My Bikes
    A few
    Posts
    896
    Mentioned
    2 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Threaded Headset bearing direction???

    I just took apart the headset on my old touring bike and got interrupted in the middle of the process for a while. Now I can't remember the direction the caged bearings were installed. It is an old Tange, threaded headset. Does anyone have the answer? Were they all the same? Stumped here and do not want to ruin the headset.
    Be the person your dog thinks you are.
    T.J.

  2. #2
    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Saratoga, CA
    Posts
    11,507
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Usually those retainers lay with the cage centre inwards towards the cup. So that the tips of the fingers are aimed out of the cup. Test fit by putting the cone on by hand and spinning. Usually the cone will rub on the centre of the cage if you have it on backwards.

    Even better is to pop the bearings out of the cages and install them loose in the cups (lay a strip of grease down 1st to hold in place). This lets you almost double the number of bearings in there, spreads out the load and extends headset life by quite a bit. Really only needed on the bottom cup. Fill cup full with bearings and remove 1 (some say 2).

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    My Bikes
    A few
    Posts
    896
    Mentioned
    2 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I've tried installing them in both direction on both the bottom and the to and can't tell any difference. That's why I am asking if anyone knows for sure. In fact, I am not even sure which side the races are on. Both sides of the bottom and top seem curved and smooth to me, like races. I just took the fork off to get the old grease out and put new in.
    Be the person your dog thinks you are.
    T.J.

  4. #4
    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Saratoga, CA
    Posts
    11,507
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I've seen them both ways, cheaper headset with smaller bearings typically have the fingers pointing into the cup. Nicer headsets like Tange and Shimano has the fingers pointing out of the cup.

    Take the bearing retainer out the bottom cup and slide them down the fork to see how they lay on the crown-race. If the bearings touch the race evenly both ways, they either orientation will work.

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    My Bikes
    A few
    Posts
    896
    Mentioned
    2 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Thanks DannoXYZ. Seems like they work either way. I put the fingers pointing up on the bottom and down on the top. I guess i will get some indication if it is wrong upon taking it for a spin. I also may do the loose bearing thing in the near future if it will prolong the life of the headset. I'm grateful for the advice.
    Be the person your dog thinks you are.
    T.J.

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    New Rochelle, NY
    My Bikes
    too many bikes from 1967 10s (5x2)Frejus to a Sumitomo Ti/Chorus aluminum 10s (10x2), plus one non-susp mtn bike I use as my commuter
    Posts
    22,556
    Mentioned
    69 Post(s)
    Tagged
    1 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Ciufalon View Post
    I just took apart the headset on my old touring bike and got interrupted in the middle of the process for a while. Now I can't remember the direction the caged bearings were installed. It is an old Tange, threaded headset. Does anyone have the answer? Were they all the same? Stumped here and do not want to ruin the headset.
    Here's a simple way to check, so you'll always know which way retainers go.

    Flex your index finger into an arc. The knuckle simulates the cone, and underneath simulates the cup. Now place the retainer and see which way the balls will meet the respective part without the retainer touching.

    Do this twice and it'll be so obvious that you'll never have to think about again.
    FB
    Chain-L site

    An ounce of diagnosis is worth a pound of cure.

    “Never argue with an idiot. He will only bring you down to his level and beat you with experience.”, George Carlin

    “One accurate measurement is worth a thousand expert opinions” - Adm Grace Murray Hopper - USN

    WARNING, I'm from New York. Thin skinned people should maintain safe distance.

  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    My Bikes
    A few
    Posts
    896
    Mentioned
    2 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I don't quite get the easy way to tell. In fact, I am not sure I understand it at all. The two races on the top at the top and bottom of the head tube are pieces the bearing cages can fit up into. Are those the cups? Those pieces set down onto pieces at the top of the fork crown/bottom of the steerer tube and top of the head tube where the races angle up towards the center. Can you tell me which is which - cone and cup? It seems I must have one (top one) of the bearing cages in backwards.
    Last edited by Ciufalon; 04-02-12 at 10:27 PM.
    Be the person your dog thinks you are.
    T.J.

  8. #8
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    New Rochelle, NY
    My Bikes
    too many bikes from 1967 10s (5x2)Frejus to a Sumitomo Ti/Chorus aluminum 10s (10x2), plus one non-susp mtn bike I use as my commuter
    Posts
    22,556
    Mentioned
    69 Post(s)
    Tagged
    1 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Ciufalon View Post
    I don't quite get the easy way to tell. In fact, I can't understand it at all. The two races on the top and bottom are pieces the bearing cages can fit up into. Are those the cups? Those pieces set down onto pieces at the top of the fork crown/bottom of the steerer tube and top of the head tube where the races angle up towards the center. Can you tell me which is which - cone and cup? It seems I must have one (top one) of the bearing cages in backwards.

    Typical loose ball (or retainered) headsets are angular contact type bearings. They consist of a conical (inside) race and a cup like (outer) race. (Notice I didn't say upper and lower, because, while the cone is usually the lower component and points up, some designs are inverted.

    The above applies to each bearing, so it repeats on the upper and lower end of the head tube (see picture here)

    Now lets look at how it would work if the cone points up. The ball contact area is the lower inside of the retainer, and the cup touches the upper outside area. So the metal ring of the retainer has to be to the lower outside or the upper inside otherwise it would get in the way. The fingers that hold the balls don't count because they're actually between the balls and wouldn't touch anyway.

    You might drop a retainer over the cone, and and hold the cup section and spin it (without the fork) to see if you can feel the the retainer rubbing.

    Or try this. Roll a sheet of stiff paper or cardboard to form a cone (like a party hat) but as shallow as possible. Drop the retainer over the cone, and see if the balls can touch the cone with the retainer touching. Flip it over and see how that works out.

    You can also flip the cone over and try the same experiment on the inside, looking again for balls to touch but not the retainer.

    Once you can visualize the areas where the rolling contact happens, and those out of the way, you'll know which way the retainer has to be.
    FB
    Chain-L site

    An ounce of diagnosis is worth a pound of cure.

    “Never argue with an idiot. He will only bring you down to his level and beat you with experience.”, George Carlin

    “One accurate measurement is worth a thousand expert opinions” - Adm Grace Murray Hopper - USN

    WARNING, I'm from New York. Thin skinned people should maintain safe distance.

  9. #9
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    My Bikes
    A few
    Posts
    896
    Mentioned
    2 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Thanks for the link and great explanation. I think I got it together right, but I'll find out for sure tomorrow when I ride. It was very difficult to tell how the bearings contact the cones and cups. I have them both with fingers up into the cups now and base of retainer down towards the cones. Was able to get it adjusted well, but it still doesn't feel as smooth as I would like, even with new bearing grease in there. The races were all in good condition. At least I know more about headsets now. It is a Tange Falcon headset.
    Be the person your dog thinks you are.
    T.J.

  10. #10
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    799
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I know from experience that if you get it wrong, you won't be able to remove the play from the bearings and have them run smooth.

    - Mark

  11. #11
    Senior Member JonathanGennick's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Munising, Michigan, USA
    My Bikes
    Hifi 29er, Stumpy 29er, Rockhopper 29er, ...
    Posts
    1,762
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by markjenn View Post
    I know from experience that if you get it wrong, you won't be able to remove the play from the bearings and have them run smooth.
    +1. Wrong is pretty darned obvious. Please don't ask how I know that.

  12. #12
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    NW,Oregon Coast
    My Bikes
    7
    Posts
    3,394
    Mentioned
    50 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Or.. just buy balls, loose, same size, stick them in the grease.
    might even find the lack of the retainer allows space for another bearing ball.

  13. #13
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    My Bikes
    A few
    Posts
    896
    Mentioned
    2 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Well, I think I got it right after several tries since I finally got all the play out of the headset and was able to adjust it correctly. Took it for a ride today and it's fine. I could not get it adjusted correctly no matter how I tried when the bearing cages were in other configurations. I do have a bearing kit, so I think I might just try the loose bearing method next time (or soon), as that sounds like a good alternative. Thanks for all the help and advice! I learned a lot from all the input.
    Be the person your dog thinks you are.
    T.J.

  14. #14
    Senior Member IthaDan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Ithaca, NY
    My Bikes
    Click on the #YOLO
    Posts
    4,658
    Mentioned
    8 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I always told students at the coop that you should be able to see a full "ring" of the bearing cage with it seated in the cup.

    Like this-



    If the bearing were flipped, the ring would be broken up, and there wouldn't be that full, continuous ring of the bearing cage.

    ** No idea why that picture has a scalpel to get a caged bearing out of a cup, it was the first useful image from a GIS of "caged headset bearing". **

    EDIT: that's a damn good FBNY post.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •