Old 10-21-13, 07:43 PM
Andrew R Stewart 
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Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Rochester, NY
Posts: 11,609

Bikes: Stewart S&S coupled sport tourer, Stewart Sunday light, Stewart Commuting, Stewart Touring, Co Motion Tandem, Stewart 3-Spd, Stewart Track, Fuji Finest, Raleigh Pro, Trek Cycle Cross, Mongoose tomac ATB, GT Bravado ATB, JCP Folder

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John- I strongly disagree, or my experience does. I have used, maybe, 6 or 7 different A-9s or the unsealed equivalent. This is over 20 +/- years. Two aspects stand out.

First is the dent ability of the conical surfaces. One of the challenges of these types of headsets is the many elements at play. I have found that they settle in on each other and this results in a loosening of the preload. I come from a side of the fence that wishes as little bearing preload as possible. So with the A-S a slight initial preload becomes a loose adjustment. If not readjusted this looseness this looseness has lead to dented surfaces. My wife's bike seemed to suffer from this a few times. And her head tube lengths were longer then mine (she rode Terry like bikes). My bikes, even with their shorter HT lengths, didn't have as much a problem with denting but I would be able to recognize and readjust the unit without asking "how's the bike riding, dear?"

Second is the lack of internal open space to contain grease within the bearing area. The plastic carrier of the rollers takes up a bunch of volume. The shape of the cups don't have much extra space either. So the amount of grease which fits in the unit during the rebuild is minimal. Maybe it is my roof rack mounting and high speed driving but i found I would rebuild these headsets often, "O" ring seals be dammed. Of course this nature to bleed out the lube and then the need to rebuild gets us back to the first issue of the settling in of the many parts and then a readjustment or two soon after.

I will say that being able to leave the cups and crown race in place and just the elements is nice, as long as you can source them...

Now that i have moved on to Chris Kings for my current bikes I am happy but still wish for more internal grease volume. Andy.
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