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headset caged bearings

Old 02-13-12, 06:05 PM
  #1  
kevmk81
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headset caged bearings

I'm replacing 5/32" caged bearings from both top and bottom races on my headset. The cage has 16 bearings.

If I'm going to use non-caged bearings, what would be a good amount? Is it just as simple as 'put as many as you can in, minus 1'? Have 21 in both top and bottom currently.
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Old 02-13-12, 06:09 PM
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That's fine - do it. Just be sure to use all new bearings.
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Old 02-13-12, 06:12 PM
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Originally Posted by kevmk81 View Post
I'm replacing 5/32" caged bearings from both top and bottom races on my headset. The cage has 16 bearings.

If I'm going to use non-caged bearings, what would be a good amount? Is it just as simple as 'put as many as you can in, minus 1'? Have 21 in both top and bottom currently.
I'd put as many of the existing size in that will fit, with there still being a minimal amount of space left over. Put them in first without grease and count.
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Old 02-13-12, 06:38 PM
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Originally Posted by kevmk81 View Post
Is it just as simple as 'put as many as you can in, minus 1'?
Yes, it's that simple. With headsets, put as many balls in that will sit in the cup without jumbling, and then remove one ball. With loose-ball hubs, bottom brackets, etc you should put in as many balls as will fit without jumbling, and that's it; don't remove one. Loose ball headsets will bind and not work smoothly if you use the same method as with other bearing assemblies on the bike.
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Old 02-13-12, 09:06 PM
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Yep, I redid the headset, instead of 21, I fit 25 total. I should have known better, but this was my first loose ball headset. Thanks for the help everyone.
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Old 02-15-12, 10:30 AM
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Put them in until the "Jumble" and then remove two. That usually means 25.
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Old 02-15-12, 10:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Grand Bois View Post
Put them in until the "Jumble" and then remove two. That usually means 25.
Yes, for headsets n minus two with "n" being the number of balls that has the cup full with one additional ball not able to sit down in the cup correctly (the "jumble"). Or just fill the cup to capacity (all balls sitting in the cup correctly with room for no more) and remove one........ Same thing, different words.
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Old 02-15-12, 01:04 PM
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You're right. I just wanted to say "jumble". That's what it says in the book.
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Old 02-15-12, 01:24 PM
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I don't quite understand why the headset should have one fewer bearing than hubs and bottom brackets, but I'll take your word for it.
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Old 02-15-12, 01:42 PM
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Originally Posted by JiveTurkey View Post
I don't quite understand why the headset should have one fewer bearing than hubs and bottom brackets, but I'll take your word for it.
I think as a general rule, loose bearings need to be put into a race minus 1. You don't want bearings to completely fill up a race otherwise there would be too much friction causing problems.
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Old 02-15-12, 01:50 PM
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Originally Posted by bobotech View Post
I think as a general rule, loose bearings need to be put into a race minus 1. You don't want bearings to completely fill up a race otherwise there would be too much friction causing problems.
No, loose-ball hubs for example should have as many balls as will fit in the cup without jumbling. Bottom brackets, too. Headsets are different in that they tend to bind and not be smooth unless you remove an extra ball.
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Old 02-15-12, 02:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Grand Bois View Post
I just wanted to say "jumble".
I don't blame you.....it's a cool word.
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Old 02-15-12, 02:38 PM
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Originally Posted by bobotech View Post
I think as a general rule, loose bearings need to be put into a race minus 1. You don't want bearings to completely fill up a race otherwise there would be too much friction causing problems.
Shimano certainly doesn't agree with you for their hubs.
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Old 02-15-12, 03:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Bill Kapaun View Post
Shimano certainly doesn't agree with you for their hubs.
Well i am just learning. So I have learned something new. I just am thinking in general whenever I have dealt with loose bearings in the past. Like bearings on my moped or old ATC three wheelers. I always put as many bearings as I could in the race and then when they filled it up to the point where they started to push each other, I would remove one of them..

Last edited by bobotech; 02-15-12 at 03:11 PM.
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Old 02-15-12, 03:07 PM
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Originally Posted by well biked View Post
No, loose-ball hubs for example should have as many balls as will fit in the cup without jumbling. Bottom brackets, too. Headsets are different in that they tend to bind and not be smooth unless you remove an extra ball.
Hmm... maybe it has to do with the fact that the headset doesn't rotate completely like hubs and BBs and the bearings sort of settle into an optimal place for short movements?
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Old 02-16-12, 10:14 AM
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After all this discussion, I now would like a real logical scientific mechanical reason for removing one or two balls.

If the reason is that since the headset doesnt turn clear around, and the balls will stay in the same place and wear, what about caged bearings. The cage will stay in the same place, so that reason doesnt seem valid.

Last edited by rydabent; 02-16-12 at 10:18 AM.
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Old 02-16-12, 01:38 PM
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Maybe the reason is because the headset is the only bearing that is regularly reversing direction? And it is important that this reversal happens smoothly.
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