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WTB: some Unoptanium Low-Stack-Height Headsets

Old 07-31-20, 02:13 PM
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WTB: some Unoptanium Low-Stack-Height Headsets

searched all over for quite a while, finally decided to search 'within'.
looking for a functioning, aka fair-to-good condition vintage threaded headsets with low stack-height <33mm ish. one headset or source-able partial.
(i've returned a Tange Passage, didn't like the overall finishing quality, wasn't like the earlier ones)

the list of the ones i'm looking for is here. no specific order. BSA or ITA* threaded + 26.4 crown race, pls.

Dura Ace HP 7500 or 7600: literally an unobtanium but shooting anyway. both models were for Track/Pista hence some of them are with NJS stamps. 7500 has a couple mm lower SH.
Campagnolo Pista* or Gran Sports: pretty much same looking, in terms of shape. both have non-scripted round cups. (vs most of Campy HS w 'Brev Campagnolo Italy' script on the outside curve on the cups).
(1. we do see these on the 'bay but mostly located in Eastern Euro. don't want to wait another 2 months. *2. i realize Tange Passage is a poor copy of Campy Pista)
Shimano 600 (Ultegra 6400): only the one for 600 Tricolor group, also with rounded cups, Not the EX or Arabesque or Arrow. last choice, as not a fan of anodized mat finish.

i understand that any of 'em are hard to come by, would be generous to the aesthetic condition as long as with no grinding/pitts where matters.
willing to mix-match if partially—upper only or lower only—available. holler, pls.


(all images from Velobase)
DA 7500


DA 7600 (one has whopping 31mm SH!)


Campy Pista


Campy GS


Shimano 600 (HP6400)

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Old 07-31-20, 02:39 PM
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Since you mentioned a Passage, got one (I think) with a fork I bought a while back if you want to give it a try. Circa 1999 (LeMond Tourmalet fork - should be a Passage). I know itís not on your preferred list but if you strike out otherwise. Still dirty I never even cleaned it up. Also got a Vantage DX2 (1999 LeMond Buenos Aires) but looks a bit taller stack on that one. Happy to measure whatever youíd like.

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Old 07-31-20, 04:40 PM
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Originally Posted by AJI125 View Post
Since you mentioned a Passage, got one (I think) with a fork I bought a while back if you want to give it a try. Circa 1999 (LeMond Tourmalet fork - should be a Passage). I know itís not on your preferred list but if you strike out otherwise. Still dirty I never even cleaned it up. Also got a Vantage DX2 (1999 LeMond Buenos Aires) but looks a bit taller stack on that one. Happy to measure whatever youíd like.
the one in the pic seems made of alloy, perhaps DX model (vs. regular Passage being steel). also should be in better quality comparing to the recent ones being from '90s. good option. let me hold on to it as the last resort, trying to give a few more days to see if any in the list popping up?

thanks very much, Alex!
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Old 07-31-20, 05:58 PM
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Tange Seiki Levin CDS headsets are decent low stack alternatives for Campy Gran Sports (which seem to be identical to the Pistas). I've used the Levin CDSs on a few Italian frames and they work well and look good IMO.

Good luck on your search.
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Old 07-31-20, 06:20 PM
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The Tange headset with very low stack height is their OEM model. Cheap, no seals. Both races and hardware above are low stack. It mixed and matches with the other Tanges. $8 at any bike shop. (As I said, no seals, You need either a cover over the bottom race, a fender or lots of marine grease to keep road dirt out. I've used them many times to reduce stack, trying to keep the better sealed higher model lower race if possible.)

Ben
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Old 08-01-20, 06:31 AM
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Seconded on mix+match: i've been able to use Tange Levin hardware at the lower end and also the upper cone, and a Passage top cup + locknut, and ended up with what seems like Passage stackheight but without the worst of the Passage fuglies
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Old 08-01-20, 06:37 AM
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Originally Posted by orangeology View Post
the one in the pic seems made of alloy, perhaps DX model (vs. regular Passage being steel). also should be in better quality comparing to the recent ones being from '90s. good option. let me hold on to it as the last resort, trying to give a few more days to see if any in the list popping up?

thanks very much, Alex!
Take your time, this headset wonít be anywhere other than the drawer. Some quick measurements yesterday were just <33 stack with the washer but Iím talking quick so no guarantees. I actually have the fork with the race still installed so Iíll pop that off whenever I remember (steerer was wrong length, from a 53 not a 55 I gander).
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Old 08-01-20, 08:55 AM
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Tange Low Stack Height Headsets

The Tange Passage is an inexpensive headset that's fine for replacement on a low usage beater or gas pipe bike.

They're better quality than many OEM headsets but they're "case hardened", only the surface is hard. The steel underneath is softer and wears out quickly as the bearings wear through the case hardened layer. Also the chrome plating covers the bearing races and starts to flake off in short order. The chrome flakes are abrasive and add to the quick wear.

The darker areas on these 1/2" test samples show the depth of the case hardening which can range from <.005" to .050" deep (.13mm to 1.3mm thick).




Passage headsets have a stack height of 30.3mm. They come in Satin Chrome, "C. P." Polished Chrome and Black finish. The standard crown race is 26.4mm but they are made in hard to find 27.0mm too. They have plastic dust shields to protect the bearings.



Tange Levin CDS headsets are much higher quality. They have a 33mm stack height and are made of through hardened Chrome Moly steel with polished bearing races. Levin CDS headsets come in the same finishes as the Passage and same plastic dust shields. 26.4mm crown races are standard but they are also made in hard to find 27.0mm.


The Levine CDS headsets are far better quality than the low stack height Campy Pista headsets. Same thing with the Shimano headsets with the plastic "skirts" on the cups.

Quick and dirty was to measure the stack height on a frame with the headset components removed:



Headset Stack Height measurements.

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Old 08-01-20, 09:02 AM
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At one point, I had a Shimano 105 (HP-1055) headset that seemed to have a much lower stack than anything else in the bin. I think it was this one on Velobase, which lists a 33.5mm stack. It seemed even lower than that, iirc. I think I ended up putting it on a flip that had a steerer a smidge too short for any other headset, but I can look in the bin when I'm home (which won't be for another week).
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Old 08-01-20, 09:14 AM
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Originally Posted by nlerner View Post
At one point, I had a Shimano 105 (HP-1055) headset that seemed to have a much lower stack than anything else in the bin. I think it was this one on Velobase, which lists a 33.5mm stack. It seemed even lower than that, iirc. I think I ended up putting it on a flip that had a steerer a smidge too short for any other headset, but I can look in the bin when I'm home (which won't be for another week).
Haha. You sent it to me, and it's here in the bin. I was just about to send it back.
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Old 08-01-20, 09:16 AM
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Originally Posted by TimmyT View Post
Haha. You sent it to me, and it's here in the bin. I was just about to send it back.
Hah! Maybe you should send it directly to orangeology .
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Old 08-01-20, 09:17 AM
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Originally Posted by verktyg View Post
The Tange Passage is an inexpensive headset that's fine for replacement on a low usage beater or gas pipe bike.

They're better quality than many OEM headsets but they're "case hardened", only the surface is hard. The steel underneath is softer and wears out quickly as the bearings wear through the case hardened layer. Also the chrome plating covers the bearing races and starts to flake off in short order. The chrome flakes are abrasive and add to the quick wear.

The darker areas on these 1/2" test samples show the depth of the case hardening which can range from <.005" to .050" deep (.13mm to 1.3mm thick).
ahhhh, thanks for the awesomely detailed info, sir. had always believed so but with skepticism that: Levin was higher model to Passage but their naming structure: CDS, WTF, and another "Levin" model more look like Record Campy etc etc on top of crazy price fluctuation on the web. at some point, it was hard to see which one is better or lesser in Tange world. now it makes total sense. used to have Levin CDS one point (pretty sure i used it when i rebuild a Ralleigh Gran Sport). also good to know it's better quality than Campy Pista. had no idea.

i mean in this case, no meaning of trying mix-match up with Passage part. 33mm is low enough, i can work it out. sans-washer, it will be around 31mm, i've got 30.5mm clearance on the fork!

*another funny thing i've noticed. correct me if i'm wrong. the 'recent/current' production of all Tange headsets seem lesser quality than the ones from 90s or early 2000's even same models. new ones are definitely cheaper in terms of price but not with convincible quality. it's like still rolling the dice in cases.
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Old 08-01-20, 09:20 AM
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Originally Posted by nlerner View Post
Hah! Maybe you should send it directly to orangeology .
LOL.
thanks but hold on to it, pls. i'm giving a few more days to this. i still have a wild dream of a DA's popping up like a dream. lol
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Old 08-01-20, 08:07 PM
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Tange Headset Naming???

Originally Posted by orangeology View Post
ahhhh, thanks for the awesomely detailed info, sir. had always believed so but with skepticism that: Levin was higher model to Passage but their naming structure: CDS, WTF, and another "Levin" model more look like Record Campy etc etc on top of crazy price fluctuation on the web. at some point, it was hard to see which one is better or lesser in Tange world. now it makes total sense. used to have Levin CDS one point (pretty sure i used it when i rebuild a Ralleigh Gran Sport). also good to know it's better quality than Campy Pista. had no idea.
Also niliraga and 79pmooney

Just to set the record straight, the Tange Levin model headset was/is a Campagnolo Record Strada # 1039 knockoff headset that's been around for decades. Very different from the Levin CDS model which was essentially a Campagnolo Record Pista/GranSport Strada knockoff...







Now to clear or muddy the water....

1. I've measured steel Campy Record Strada # 1039 headsets with stack heights from 40+ mm to 43mm!!! I've also seen specs of 38mm, 39.1mm and so on. Tange lists the Levin model with a 38.2mm stack height.

2. Sutherland's Handbook For Bicycle Mechanics - I still have my 2nd Edition from 1977 plus I have 1990 5th Edition.

Olde Russian proverb: DoveryŠy, no proveryŠy = Trust But Verify!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

For example the 1977 2nd Edition lists Campy Record Strada with a 39.1mm stack height. The 1990 5th Edition lists a Nuovo Record Strada with a 39.1mm stack height. There was NEVER a Nuovo Record headset, only Record...picky, picky picky.

BITD, we'd lookup specs in Sutherland's and scratch our heads - WTF?

Caveat Emptor: It a good starting point for reference but in reality we could never figure out how they got some of their measurements

BASTA EDITORIAL....


Originally Posted by orangeology View Post
i mean in this case, no meaning of trying mix-match up with Passage part. 33mm is low enough, i can work it out. sans-washer, it will be around 31mm, i've got 30.5mm clearance on the fork!
It's always a good idea to reface the head tube and crown race when you work on a headset. I've seen high zoots top quality holy sacred Italian frames that were never properly faced from the get go.

Refacing can easily buy you 1+ mm of stack height.

Finding someone with the correct tools and... how to use them can require some research but the results will be worthwhile.

Originally Posted by orangeology View Post
*another funny thing i've noticed. correct me if i'm wrong. the 'recent/current' production of all Tange headsets seem lesser quality than the ones from 90s or early 2000's even same models. new ones are definitely cheaper in terms of price but not with convincible quality. it's like still rolling the dice in cases.
Tange Seiki private labeled the Levin CDS headsets for Specialized BITD. I used them on a number of bikes from the late 80's to early 2000's.



I started using these Specialized/Tange Levin CDS headsets in the late 80's. Never had a problem. They were great for bikes that needed a short stack headset. Also used a few Passage headsets with lower end frames.

Specialized headset in my 2004 Gitane Super Corsa that I got as a bare frame. Replaced a plastic skirted Shimano headset.



As far as quality is concerned, never saw a problem but about 10 years ago I bought a bunch of new Tange Levin headsets for $16.00 to ~$22.00. Still have some of them in boxes.

Got a few Passage headsets too for cheap low stack height frames.

One other thing, it's usually only the crown race and lower cup that get indentations. I've replaced those parts with Passage or Levin CDS crown races and lower cups on a number of bikes.

Works great with metric headsets because the upper parts are usually OK and the Tange lower parts look C & V.

Hope this helps...

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Old 08-01-20, 09:41 PM
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thanks for another detailed breakdown and the photos, verktyg
1. aware of the difference between high-stack-height Levin & Levin CDS. have used both. 2
2. facing the headtube is not an option at the moment. Masi 3V headtube shape would become like a knife blade with even a mm more cut. luckily, Cudak888 helped me shaving about .75mm on the crown when he knurled the race seat.
3. guess the verdict at the moment is Levin CDS. looks like i can get one less than $30 inc shipping. found a NOS DA7500 (Pitch 10 track headset) from a seller in Taiwan, but it's $200 + with JIS crown race that would require me to use shim on top of already knurled surface. don't think it's worth the hassles. unless another 7500 or 7600 miraculously pops up, which is never likely.
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Old 08-01-20, 10:21 PM
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Tange Levin CDS Headsets On eBay

Originally Posted by orangeology View Post
thanks for another detailed breakdown and the photos, verktyg
1. aware of the difference between high-stack-height Levin & Levin CDS. have used both. 2
2. facing the headtube is not an option at the moment. Masi 3V headtube shape would become like a knife blade with even a mm more cut. luckily, Cudak888 helped me shaving about .75mm on the crown when he knurled the race seat.
3. guess the verdict at the moment is Levin CDS. looks like i can get one less than $30 inc shipping. found a NOS DA7500 (Pitch 10 track headset) from a seller in Taiwan, but it's $200 + with JIS crown race that would require me to use shim on top of already knurled surface. don't think it's worth the hassles. unless another 7500 or 7600 miraculously pops up, which is never likely.
There are a bunch of new Tange Levin CDS C.P. polished chrome headsets with 26.4mm crown races on eBay with free shipping for $29 to $32.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Tange-Levin...sAAOSwg3FUfjkw

https://www.ebay.com/itm/NEW-Tange-L...r/303374903106

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