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Old 04-16-13, 08:45 PM   #1
orcas island
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Perhaps a dumb question regarding headset bearings...

Does the orientation of either the top or bottom headset bearing race make any difference? I'm not sure that they were correctly oriented in an older bike I'm rebuilding, and then I thought that perhaps there was no correct way to load the bearing races in a headset. Any experts who can help me out with this? Thanks!
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Old 04-16-13, 08:56 PM   #2
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They do have an up/down orientation... putting them in the wrong way, or up-side down, would cause the bearing retainer to contact the race.
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Old 04-16-13, 09:03 PM   #3
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not sure what you mean. refer to this schematic and maybe elaborate a bit...

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Old 04-16-13, 09:04 PM   #4
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The more exposed part of the bearing normally sits against the bearing cup. That picture pretty much sums it up though.
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Old 04-16-13, 09:15 PM   #5
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Don't use caged bearings.
End of problem!
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Old 04-17-13, 09:08 AM   #6
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Don't use caged bearings.
End of problem!
Heh. I didn't even know those things existed, until I took apart my newfangled 1993 Trek 2100.
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Old 04-17-13, 09:38 AM   #7
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i'll trade the minuscule knowledge needed to put a caged bearing in right side up for dealing with loose bearings all the time any day.
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Old 04-17-13, 09:43 AM   #8
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In most headsets, like the logic posted above, the difference in the upper and lower cups (although they are called races in the pic) is pretty evident. I have seen some cheap headsets (mostly like you find on Huffy, roadmaster and other lowend bikes) that it seems there is no difference to which is which. When in doubt test fit the parts in your hands to ensure they are smooth and align well.
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Old 04-17-13, 10:08 AM   #9
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i'll trade the minuscule knowledge needed to put a caged bearing in right side up for dealing with loose bearings all the time any day.
Use thicker "green" or "red" grease. Turn the bike upside down to add the balls and fork. Loose balls, unlike caged balls, are not prone to false brinelling.
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Old 04-17-13, 10:37 AM   #10
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i'll trade the minuscule knowledge needed to put a caged bearing in right side up for dealing with loose bearings all the time any day.
For real!
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Old 04-17-13, 03:43 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by eschlwc View Post
not sure what you mean. refer to this schematic and maybe elaborate a bit...

That schematic is all screwed up. The upper head-tube race shown isn't a race, it's a cup. And it's not going to fit inside of that adjustable "race" shown, which is also a cup.

I've always used the term race for the "inside" contact of the caged/loose bearing, and cup for the "outside". Calling all 4 pieces races just confuses the situation. A threaded headset has a crown race, a lower cup, an upper race, and an adjustable cup. Having clearly definable terminology for each part makes it a lot easier to understand.
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Old 04-17-13, 04:20 PM   #12
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I agree that diagram is seriously mislabled. Adding to the confusion is that from what I've seen there are two different types of headsets used on 1" threaded forks, differing mainly in the cup/bearing/race arrangement on top:



In this diagram the lower headset (#10) is considered the "Deluxe" model, where a fixed race (#13) is inserted into the top of the headtube, followed by the bearing retainer and an adjustable cup (#11).

The upper headset (#3) is considered the "Standard" model, and differs from the Deluxe model in that instead of having a fixed race and adjustable cup, it has a fixed cup (#7) and an adjustable race (#5). Note that the upper and lower cups and bearings in the standard model are identical parts.
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Old 04-17-13, 05:14 PM   #13
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That schematic is all screwed up. The upper head-tube race shown isn't a race, it's a cup. And it's not going to fit inside of that adjustable "race" shown, which is also a cup.

I've always used the term race for the "inside" contact of the caged/loose bearing, and cup for the "outside". Calling all 4 pieces races just confuses the situation. A threaded headset has a crown race, a lower cup, an upper race, and an adjustable cup. Having clearly definable terminology for each part makes it a lot easier to understand.
Oh no, Sheldon Brown used the wrong terminology!

The world is ending!
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Old 04-17-13, 05:35 PM   #14
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I've always used the word "race" to identify any surface that touches the bearing in a generic way. Then I further clarify by using either the word "cup" or the word "cone."
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Old 04-18-13, 07:14 AM   #15
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I've always used the word "race" to identify any surface that touches the bearing in a generic way. Then I further clarify by using either the word "cup" or the word "cone."
Yeah, that's how I differentiate. The bearing cage should be oriented toward the cone, with the exposed side of the bearings installed toward the cup. This way the cone slips inside the bearing cage. If you try to install the bearings the other way, the cage will contact the cup.
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Old 04-18-13, 08:15 AM   #16
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I wonder if the OP's question has been answered. Sort of seems like (s)he used "race" to mean bearing cage. In which case I suppose the answer has been given.
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Old 04-18-13, 08:56 AM   #17
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Yes, Thanks for all of your input on this. Appreciate it!
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Old 10-06-13, 09:12 AM   #18
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FWIW, Park Tool website also refers to the "four races" in it's headset maintenance instructions.
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Old 10-06-13, 09:45 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by furballi View Post
Use thicker "green" or "red" grease. Turn the bike upside down to add the balls and fork. Loose balls, unlike caged balls, are not prone to false brinelling.
+1 on the green grease. Those balls won't move while you're installing the headset. Plus, you get to use more of them.
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