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Old 04-01-10, 01:16 AM   #1
DRietz
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Threaded Headset...Gaskets (?)

Hey there. As some may know, I'm building up a beautiful Tange #2 frame, and I also acquired a threaded headset and fork for it. Now that I've pressed in the headset cups, I feel as if there's no going back to get a sealed bearing headset. Because I'm lazy. So, as this bike is going to go live in the soggy atmosphere that is Tacoma, and as it's going to be under the supervision of a college student, are there headset gaskets I can purchase? Now, when I say gasket, I mean a rubber part that will fit in the space between the top cup and its corresponding adjustable race. Maybe even one for the crown race and bottom cup?

Thanks for any help.
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Old 04-01-10, 01:23 AM   #2
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I used to use a bit of MTB innertube for my 1" threaded steerer lower races. A bit ugly, but it worked.
I'd advise against doing the top race. You need to allow moisture some opportunity to get out.
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Old 04-01-10, 01:52 AM   #3
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there's a product called 'lizard skins' but yeah, stretching a section of inner tube around the lower cups works to keep road spray from putting gunk in the headset. I periodically squirt some oil in under the tube too.

But full fenders work just as well for keeping gunk off the headset, and with long mudflaps will also deflect water and gunk away from the bottom bracket, drivetrain, rider....
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Old 04-01-10, 10:29 AM   #4
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all good advice. If you use the section of inner tube, you have to put it on when the fork is removed, or use a tube that you can stretch all the way over the fork blades and crown. I found that a tube that big wasn't a snug enough fit on my HS...YRMV. The Lizardskins job is thin neoprene "wetsuit" fabric with velcro, so it can be attached and removed with everything in place, but I also found it wasn't as tight a seal as the innertube kludge. Both of these will degrade due to grease contact, the neoprene holds up much better to grease than the butyl tube, but both are "disposable"...and the innertube is practically free.
Many conventional HS come with a small contact seal for both top and bottom, I'm servicing a Tange Levin right now that has them, but the cups/races are designed with a lip to accommodate the seals, so I don't think you can just put them on any HS.
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Old 04-01-10, 01:44 PM   #5
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That's what I thought about a ridge. I don't have one, unfortunately. So, do you just slide the tube onto the cup, or does it go between the cup and race? I'm just trying to visualize it.
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Old 04-01-10, 04:49 PM   #6
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If I were only going to protect only one bearing, I would definitely protect the lower bearing. It gets 10X more dirt than the upper.
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Old 04-01-10, 07:15 PM   #7
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Get a "non-latex" condom (I think they are vinyl), unroll it completely, and knot the two ends snugly around the bottom end of the headset. Quite inconspicuous and not as immediately obvious what it really is as you might think, (especially if you use one without a reservoir end.) The vinyl holds up quite well to headset grease. Friction from steering movements will eventually wear it through but they're pretty tough.

Agree, a proper fender is much better but this does protect the headset very nicely.
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Old 04-01-10, 07:18 PM   #8
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That would be an interesting purchase at the local convenience store.
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Old 04-01-10, 07:42 PM   #9
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Just be sure to show the installation to your spouse/significant other *before* he/she finds the wrapper in the wastebasket. Or, worse, in your trousers pocket.
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Old 04-01-10, 08:25 PM   #10
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Well, that significant other would be my mother...

I think I'll give a spare mountain tube a try.
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