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Thread: Brinelling

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    a77impala a77impala's Avatar
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    Brinelling

    I searched threads and found this term referring to a fork self centering. A friend has a '82 Peugeot that does that and he claims it is designed that way. I have had bikes do it and have serviced the bearings to correct it.
    I don't want to tell him he is wrong without being sure. Does he need to service the headset or not?
    Thanks.
    Last edited by a77impala; 02-23-14 at 06:37 AM. Reason: spelling
    Treks, 85-420, 87-560, 90-930,92-970, 95-930, 96-1220, LeMonds, 2000 Zurich, 05-Etape, 06-Versailles

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    Your friend is absolutely wrong. It is not "designed that way", it is a defect and should be repaired.

    "Brinelling" is a misnomer but it's used to describe the pockmarking of the headset races (usually the lower race) due to impact, lube breakdown and wear. The pockmarks align with the bearing balls and cause what is called "index steering" or the self-centering you mentioned. It interferers with the proper steering of the bike and in serious cases can be dangerous.

    A quick and temporary fix is to replace caged balls with loose balls. That requires one or two more balls per race and the pockmarks no longer line up with the balls. The proper fix is to replace the headset with a new one followed by proper adjustment and lubrication to keep it from happening again. .

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    You can also remove the lower race that's installed in the head tube, rotate it slightly and reinstall.
    There's no such thing as a routine repair.

    Don't tell me what "should" be - either it is, it isn't, or do something about it.

    If you think I'm being blunt take it as a compliment - if I thought you were too weak to handle the truth or a strong opinion I would not bother.

    Please take the time to post clearly so we can answer quickly. All lowercase and multiple typos makes for a hard read. Thanks!

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    on occasion, i've been able to purchase a new bottom race for a few dollars...

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    Keep in mind that today's ultra-stiff cable housings, especially when installed on the short side, can contribute to fork centering. If the bike in question has under-tape cable routing, the cables are just long enough, and the housings are very stiff, you may want to try disconnecting all the cables from the derailleurs and brakes and retesting the effect. No sense redoing the head set if that is not the problem.
    Robert

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    Quote Originally Posted by cny-bikeman View Post
    You can also remove the lower race that's installed in the head tube, rotate it slightly and reinstall.
    That's another only temporary fix and nearly as much work as replacing the damaged race with a good one.

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    Sounds like your friend may have been and old customer of FBinNY! I found this last night while searching this topic myself:
    When I was in retail eons ago, this was a common issue affecting all good road bikes, and we learned that we could still ride even with really badly fretted headsets. But many people would be concerned so I started the rumor that Campy made special Cyclocross headsets that indexed this way so the front wheel wouldn't swing around when you carried the bike up embankments. That worked fine until someone walked in one day and insisted on buying a cyclocross headset.
    -Andy

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    a77impala a77impala's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AB@WDW View Post
    Sounds like your friend may have been and old customer of FBinNY! I found this last night while searching this topic myself:-Andy
    You may be right, he insisted it was designed that way. I don't really want to tell him he is wrong!
    Thanks for the replies.
    Last edited by a77impala; 02-23-14 at 07:58 AM. Reason: added
    Treks, 85-420, 87-560, 90-930,92-970, 95-930, 96-1220, LeMonds, 2000 Zurich, 05-Etape, 06-Versailles

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    Quote Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
    That's another only temporary fix and nearly as much work as replacing the damaged race with a good one.
    Temporary can be a long time, and finding a compatible lower race can take a long time as well.
    There's no such thing as a routine repair.

    Don't tell me what "should" be - either it is, it isn't, or do something about it.

    If you think I'm being blunt take it as a compliment - if I thought you were too weak to handle the truth or a strong opinion I would not bother.

    Please take the time to post clearly so we can answer quickly. All lowercase and multiple typos makes for a hard read. Thanks!

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    Quote Originally Posted by a77impala View Post
    You may be right, he insisted it was designed that way. I don't really want to tell him he is wrong!
    Thanks for the replies.
    Tell him he's wrong because he is. FBinNY's tongue-in-cheek comment is not to be taken as a reason to keep a damaged headset. Yes, you can ride a badly indexed headset if you keep both hands on the bars but it is a bug, not a feature.

    Temporary can be a long time, and finding a compatible lower race can take a long time as well.
    cnybikeman's posting above has merit because headsets for an early 1980's French bike are going to difficult to find.

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    Old fart JohnDThompson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
    That's another only temporary fix and nearly as much work as replacing the damaged race with a good one.
    But has the advantage of being readily available, which isn't always the case for acquiring lower headset stack parts separately. While not a permanent fix, it can extend the life of the headset until a suitable replacement can be found.

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    a77impala a77impala's Avatar
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    That is a good point, I had completely forgotten that!



    cnybikeman's posting above has merit because headsets for an early 1980's French bike are going to difficult to find.[/QUOTE]
    Treks, 85-420, 87-560, 90-930,92-970, 95-930, 96-1220, LeMonds, 2000 Zurich, 05-Etape, 06-Versailles

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    Quote Originally Posted by a77impala View Post
    You may be right, he insisted it was designed that way. I don't really want to tell him he is wrong!
    Thanks for the replies.
    He's wrong. The "cyclocross headset" was something I started as a gag. No headset is ever designed to index this way. OTOH the hazards of such headsets are greatly exaggerated. They're rarely noticeable when riding and even bikes with fairly severe indexing headsets still ride OK. However, they may be harder to ride no hands.

    In my experience in retail, nobody ever brought in an index headset complaining of handling problems. It was always noticed while walking or working on the bike. The fact that it posed no riding problems is what made my XC gag credible.

    IMO, the OP should ride the bike, and if it rides OK, not worry about it yet. It will get worse over time, and at some point he can decide it's time to replace it.
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    Another temporary fix is to swap the upper and lower cups and add new bearings, caged or not. bk

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    Quote Originally Posted by bkaapcke View Post
    Another temporary fix is to swap the upper and lower cups and add new bearings, caged or not. bk
    While there were a small number of headsets with the same cup in the frame upper and lower, (>> -HT- <<) the vast majority are not symmetrical and have both cups open downward, probably to shed water better, (>>--HT-- >>), so swapping upper and lower cups isn't possible because the upper HT cup is a cone.
    Last edited by FBinNY; 02-23-14 at 11:20 AM.
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    I'm confused. I usually tighten my headset adjuster ring tight enough to where the steerer locks forward. This is damaged? or is this only bad when it becomes this way naturally?
    First God made the fixie, then he made the freewheel because he was tired of pedaling.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr_Wrench View Post
    I'm confused. I usually tighten my headset adjuster ring tight enough to where the steerer locks forward. This is damaged? or is this only bad when it becomes this way naturally?
    Steering is supposed to be a smooth motion across the arc. Indexing is always a bug and not a feature.
    The traditional rule for headset tightening is to the point where there's no discernible play when the bike is rocked forward against a locked front brake.
    Old townies sometimes have a spring between fork and downtube to help keep the front wheel aligned (during handling other than riding I presume).
    Many mechanics keep either a bungee cord or a strap from a pedal clip handy to secure the front wheel of a bike that gets hoisted onto a workstand.
    I think I've seen a properly engineered steering damper on a DH bike once. But again, that'll give a smooth motion across the arc.

    Now, "bad" is a tricky word in these circumstances.
    Is it meant to be like that - No.
    Will it cause the bike to self-destruct, or you to lose control in a critical moment - hugely unlikely.

    Revise your headset adjustment parameters.
    Ride and be happy.
    Replace when troubled by it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dabac View Post
    Steering is supposed to be a smooth motion across the arc. Indexing is always a bug and not a feature.
    The traditional rule for headset tightening is to the point where there's no discernible play when the bike is rocked forward against a locked front brake.
    Old townies sometimes have a spring between fork and downtube to help keep the front wheel aligned (during handling other than riding I presume).
    Many mechanics keep either a bungee cord or a strap from a pedal clip handy to secure the front wheel of a bike that gets hoisted onto a workstand.
    I think I've seen a properly engineered steering damper on a DH bike once. But again, that'll give a smooth motion across the arc.

    Now, "bad" is a tricky word in these circumstances.
    Is it meant to be like that - No.
    Will it cause the bike to self-destruct, or you to lose control in a critical moment - hugely unlikely.

    Revise your headset adjustment parameters.
    Ride and be happy.
    Replace when troubled by it.
    I think I remember reading somewhere that the steerer should be smooth. I'll probably keep it the way it is, it's packed full of grease. Maybe it will cause early excessive wear, but I don't know any other way to make it easier to pedal with no hands!
    First God made the fixie, then he made the freewheel because he was tired of pedaling.

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    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr_Wrench View Post
    I'm confused. I usually tighten my headset adjuster ring tight enough to where the steerer locks forward. This is damaged? or is this only bad when it becomes this way naturally?
    Just where do they call you Mr ?


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    In all fairness, years ago my local bike shop gave it to me that way. Good to know the "right way" but I'll keep doing it the "wrong way" on my bikes. Sure is an easy way to pedal without hands.
    First God made the fixie, then he made the freewheel because he was tired of pedaling.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr_Wrench View Post
    In all fairness, years ago my local bike shop gave it to me that way. Good to know the "right way" but I'll keep doing it the "wrong way" on my bikes. Sure is an easy way to pedal without hands.
    Is no hands riding really that important to you? I doubt freezing the steering like that really does anything for no hands riding. You're kidding yourself.
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    It seems to me that "locking" a bike's steering at all, whether forward or any other position, would hinder hands-free riding, not help it. When riding hands-free, you're constantly making small steering corrections by shifting your weight and you would want the headset to turn freely to allow it. It's the steering geometry that'll keep steering roughly centered, not friction in the headset resisting turning forces.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sixty Fiver View Post
    Just where do they call you Mr ?

    My friends call me The Inventor, but I thought was too high praise. Hence, Mr. Wrench
    First God made the fixie, then he made the freewheel because he was tired of pedaling.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SkyDog75 View Post
    It seems to me that "locking" a bike's steering at all, whether forward or any other position, would hinder hands-free riding, not help it. When riding hands-free, you're constantly making small steering corrections by shifting your weight and you would want the headset to turn freely to allow it. It's the steering geometry that'll keep steering roughly centered, not friction in the headset resisting turning forces.
    I'll loosen my headset back to "non-locking" and see how the hands-free pedaling is. Now I'm curious which way is better. I welcome you to try it my way, although you'll need a plumbing wrench and a shop rag to get it tight enough.
    First God made the fixie, then he made the freewheel because he was tired of pedaling.

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    Jesus Christ.

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