Stupid Headset Question
This probably should be in the mechanics forum, but wth I was here already. So how bad is it to ride on a loose headset? How hard is it to adjust?
Mine has been getting loose for a while* and on the ride home last night I noticed that it hasn't gotten to the point where you can watch the spacers and cones (I think they are cones) move from side to side. I had to bus today for other reasons so tomorrow i'll be able to deal with this. I read the park tool website, is it really that easy? Any suggestions? One thing park tool was unclear about: how do I know if the headset is hosed?
*I don't recall but it has been a long time.
You need a new bike
Riding a loose headset will ruin the headset. For most headsets, it doesn't take long to damage it.
You'll know if your headset is damaged when you can feel the steering want to settle in at specific places. Often, this is called "index steering" and is caused by the bearing balls beating small indentations into the headset races. The only good solution to this is replacing the headset.
Modern threadless headsets take less than a minute to adjust and need no special tools.