Old 06-21-10, 08:13 PM
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Well, I took apart an old headset and found some balls with flat sides and distinct fore and aft spalling or brinelling damage. That was pretty extreme though. I've also seen headsets in both bicycles and motorcycles that again had obvious brinelling damage only in the fore and aft zones due to the preload loosening up and play developing. In those cases the balls were OK to the naked eye. On the cases that occured with motorcycles the "fix" was to go with tapered roller bearings. In the case of the couple of bicycles I just tossed and replaced the headsets.

But like you I've also run into a couple of fretted bicycle headsets as well. I guess I was "lucky"? to find the other ones where the damage was more clearly caused by improper or lost preload tension.
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