Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Classic & Vintage
Reload this Page >

French headset, stack height 35mm, really?

Notices
Classic & Vintage This forum is to discuss the many aspects of classic and vintage bicycles, including musclebikes, lightweights, middleweights, hi-wheelers, bone-shakers, safety bikes and much more.

French headset, stack height 35mm, really?

Old 04-06-18, 07:12 AM
  #1  
tiger1964 
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
tiger1964's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Maryland, USA
Posts: 1,853

Bikes: Drysdale/Gitane/Zeus/Masi/Falcon/Palo Alto/Raleigh

Mentioned: 30 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 692 Post(s)
Liked 322 Times in 225 Posts
French headset, stack height 35mm, really?

I figured easy to measure, the frame and fork are sitting there on two wheels, there's no headset installed so the bottom of the head tube is resting on the fork crown. The amount of steering tube sticking up from the head tube is only 35mm.

I was considering Velo Orange's French headset but the stack height is 41mm, so I suspect no-go. I have the bike's original headset, in decent shape but the cups are not even plated, a cheapie (I recall from my youth the Stronglight #s of P3 & V4, are those valid?). So what is commercially available that fits?
__________________
Larry:1958 Drysdale, 1961 Gitane Gran Sport, 1974 Zeus track, 1988 Masi Gran Corsa, 1974 Falcon, 1980 Palo Alto, 197x Raleigh Gran Sport. Susan: 1976 Windsor Profesional.

tiger1964 is offline  
Old 04-06-18, 11:07 AM
  #2  
Chombi1 
Senior Member
 
Chombi1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Posts: 4,082
Mentioned: 100 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1467 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 593 Times in 391 Posts
IIRC, the shortest stack height I have dealt with yet is something like 38mm. 35mm sounds awfully short. I'm wondering whether one of those headsets without a top locknut was installed on that bike. Stronglight and JPR made headsets that had a Delrin ring in the top race piece that acts like the nylon bushing at the tip of locknut, eliminating the need for a top locknut. That may result in being able to have a shorter steerer tube the usual.....
__________________
72 Line Seeker
83 Davidson Signature
84 Peugeot PSV
84 Peugeot PY10FC
84 Gitane Tour de France.
85 Vitus Plus Carbone 7
86 ALAN Record Carbonio
86 Medici Aerodynamic (Project)
88 Pinarello Montello
89 Bottecchia Professional Chorus SL
95 Trek 5500 OCLV (Project)
Chombi1 is offline  
Old 04-06-18, 12:13 PM
  #3  
Ghrumpy
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 790
Mentioned: 14 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 382 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 4 Times in 4 Posts
Originally Posted by tiger1964 View Post
I figured easy to measure, the frame and fork are sitting there on two wheels, there's no headset installed so the bottom of the head tube is resting on the fork crown. The amount of steering tube sticking up from the head tube is only 35mm.

I was considering Velo Orange's French headset but the stack height is 41mm, so I suspect no-go. I have the bike's original headset, in decent shape but the cups are not even plated, a cheapie (I recall from my youth the Stronglight #s of P3 & V4, are those valid?).
Yes. The Stronglight P3 has a stack height of 34mm. A front brake cable stop will add a couple mm. There's also a P3 copy made by Lightrace, often seen on bike-boom Peugeots. That might be what you have.

The V4 has more stack, around 39-40mm.
Ghrumpy is offline  
Old 04-06-18, 12:36 PM
  #4  
El Chaba
Full Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2016
Posts: 450
Mentioned: 10 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 145 Post(s)
Liked 290 Times in 102 Posts
The Lightrace headset has a stack height of 34mm, too.....Allow another 2-3 mm for a centerpull cable hanger if needed....
El Chaba is offline  
Old 04-06-18, 01:25 PM
  #5  
lostarchitect 
incazzare.
 
lostarchitect's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Catskills/Brooklyn, NY
Posts: 6,976

Bikes: See sig

Mentioned: 18 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 40 Post(s)
Liked 49 Times in 32 Posts
Tange Passage is my go-to when stack height is an issue (it's something like 30.x mm), but I don't think I have ever seen a French threaded one. Couldn't hurt to look around, though.
__________________
1964 JRJ (Bob Jackson), 1973 Wes Mason, 1974 Raleigh Gran Sport, 1986 Schwinn High Sierra, 2000ish Colian (Colin Laing), 2011 Dick Chafe, 2013 Velo Orange Pass Hunter
lostarchitect is offline  
Old 04-06-18, 02:30 PM
  #6  
gaucho777 
Senior Member
 
gaucho777's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Berkeley, CA
Posts: 7,248

Bikes: '72 Cilo Pacer, '72 Gitane Gran Tourisme, '72 Peugeot PX10, '73 Speedwell Ti, '74 Peugeot UE-8, '75 Peugeot PR-10L, '80 Colnago Super, '85 De Rosa Pro, '86 Look Equipe 753, '86 Look KG86, '89 Parkpre Team, '90 Parkpre Team MTB, '90 Merlin

Mentioned: 82 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 747 Post(s)
Liked 1,543 Times in 436 Posts
I don't know how particular you are in terms of style/era. That said, the Shimano 105 headset has a very low stack height of 33.5mm. Here's an ebay seller with several French-threaded units:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/vintage-NOS...4AAOSwLF1X9ooh

VeloBase.com - Component: Shimano HP-1055, 105SC

You might even need a spacer!
gaucho777 is offline  
Likes For gaucho777:
Old 04-06-18, 07:48 PM
  #7  
thumpism 
Bikes are okay, I guess.
 
thumpism's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: Richmond, Virginia
Posts: 8,484

Bikes: Waterford Paramount Touring, Giant CFM-2, Raleigh Sports 3-speeds in M23 & L23, Schwinn Cimarron oddball build, Marin Palisades Trail dropbar conversion, Nishiki Cresta GT

Mentioned: 64 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2447 Post(s)
Liked 1,736 Times in 1,186 Posts
If you need a centerpull hanger and the 3mm of space for it is crucial, you can get a hanger that clamps to the stem's quill. Or use sidepulls.
thumpism is offline  
Old 04-07-18, 07:24 AM
  #8  
tiger1964 
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
tiger1964's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Maryland, USA
Posts: 1,853

Bikes: Drysdale/Gitane/Zeus/Masi/Falcon/Palo Alto/Raleigh

Mentioned: 30 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 692 Post(s)
Liked 322 Times in 225 Posts
Originally Posted by Ghrumpy View Post
The Stronglight P3 has a stack height of 34mm.
The V4 has more stack, around 39-40mm.
Thanks for input!

The headset I have I have looks to be in decent condition, just not pretty. As I am taking a bunch of other small parts to the chrome shop anyway, I possibly could get the non-chromed races chromed.
Originally Posted by El Chaba View Post
The Lightrace headset has a stack height of 34mm, too...
Originally Posted by lostarchitect View Post
Tange Passage is my go-to when stack height is an issue.
Originally Posted by gaucho777 View Post
I don't know how particular you are in terms of style/era. That said, the Shimano 105 headset has a very low stack height of 33.5mm.
I'll keep an eye out for these. I guess I could deal with a Tange or Shimano headset, both not made in France, but I think the black finish would be a deal-killer.

Originally Posted by thumpism View Post
If you need a centerpull hanger and the 3mm of space for it is crucial, you can get a hanger that clamps to the stem's quill.
Still using the stem I had on the bike as a teenager in the mid-70's, a Pivo (yeah I know) drilled to pass the cable and act as a stop. I presume when I got the bike, as a frame and bag o' parts, it had a hanger. Once.
__________________
Larry:1958 Drysdale, 1961 Gitane Gran Sport, 1974 Zeus track, 1988 Masi Gran Corsa, 1974 Falcon, 1980 Palo Alto, 197x Raleigh Gran Sport. Susan: 1976 Windsor Profesional.

tiger1964 is offline  
Old 04-07-18, 11:27 AM
  #9  
unworthy1
Stop reading my posts!
 
unworthy1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 12,213
Mentioned: 78 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1111 Post(s)
Liked 661 Times in 516 Posts
don't chrome-plate the working surfaces of races or cups, it will wear off and muck up bearings.
unworthy1 is offline  
Likes For unworthy1:
Old 04-07-18, 11:46 AM
  #10  
fietsbob
Banned
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: NW,Oregon Coast
Posts: 43,599

Bikes: 8

Mentioned: 197 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7607 Post(s)
Liked 1,343 Times in 850 Posts
An overhaul & new balls after the chrome wears through , takes care of that..

Low Cost, headsets may not bother with grinding /polishing the races after plating ..
fietsbob is offline  
Old 04-07-18, 12:52 PM
  #11  
tiger1964 
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
tiger1964's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Maryland, USA
Posts: 1,853

Bikes: Drysdale/Gitane/Zeus/Masi/Falcon/Palo Alto/Raleigh

Mentioned: 30 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 692 Post(s)
Liked 322 Times in 225 Posts
Originally Posted by unworthy1 View Post
don't chrome-plate the working surfaces of races or cups, it will wear off and muck up bearings.
Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
An overhaul & new balls after the chrome wears through , takes care of that..

Low Cost, headsets may not bother with grinding /polishing the races after plating ..
+1, will have a discussion with the plater, maybe there's nothing to be done about plating the races but other headsets come plated...
__________________
Larry:1958 Drysdale, 1961 Gitane Gran Sport, 1974 Zeus track, 1988 Masi Gran Corsa, 1974 Falcon, 1980 Palo Alto, 197x Raleigh Gran Sport. Susan: 1976 Windsor Profesional.

tiger1964 is offline  
Old 04-07-18, 01:53 PM
  #12  
Salamandrine 
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 6,287

Bikes: 78 Masi Criterium, 68 PX10, 2016 Mercian King of Mercia, Rivendell Clem Smith Jr

Mentioned: 120 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2317 Post(s)
Liked 586 Times in 422 Posts
Originally Posted by tiger1964 View Post
+1, will have a discussion with the plater, maybe there's nothing to be done about plating the races but other headsets come plated...
FYI. Masking is done all the time when chrome plating. All the plater needs to do is brush over the ground races with a liquid masking material.
Salamandrine is offline  
Likes For Salamandrine:
Old 01-29-20, 06:35 PM
  #13  
TallRider
Senior Member
 
TallRider's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Fresno, CA
Posts: 4,454
Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 128 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 12 Times in 10 Posts
I realize I'm almost 2 years later here, but I wanted to express my annoyance that the V.O. French headset has 41mm stack height. Lots of older bikes have low-stack headsets (I have a Centurion Ironman with 33.2mm diff between steerer and headtube, and a mid/late-70s Peugeot with 35.5mm).
I appreciate that they are making/sourcing a French headset, but odd that they went with a design that simply won't work on a lot of the bikes that would want a new French headset.
__________________
"c" is not a unit that measures tire width
TallRider is offline  
Likes For TallRider:
Old 12-11-20, 04:39 PM
  #14  
bikemig 
Senior Member
 
bikemig's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Middle Earth (aka IA)
Posts: 19,641

Bikes: A bunch of old bikes and a few new ones

Mentioned: 169 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5544 Post(s)
Liked 2,511 Times in 1,614 Posts
Originally Posted by TallRider View Post
I realize I'm almost 2 years later here, but I wanted to express my annoyance that the V.O. French headset has 41mm stack height. Lots of older bikes have low-stack headsets (I have a Centurion Ironman with 33.2mm diff between steerer and headtube, and a mid/late-70s Peugeot with 35.5mm).
I appreciate that they are making/sourcing a French headset, but odd that they went with a design that simply won't work on a lot of the bikes that would want a new French headset.
Agreed. I'm rehabbing a 1970s Mercier 300 and the headset is shot. I measured the stack height and it's right around 34 mm which is crummy. I have a french threaded stronglight A9 I was hoping to use as a replacement but it has a 38 mm stackheight.

So looks like I'll be shopping around for an old headset.

There's a great post here by verktyg on stack height for French headsets. gitaneusa.com :: View topic - Headset stack height

The crown race can be an issue too. Looks like I'll be spending some time on eBay France looking for a headset (after I measure the crown race), lol.


Last edited by bikemig; 12-11-20 at 04:45 PM.
bikemig is online now  
Old 12-12-20, 08:53 AM
  #15  
JohnDThompson 
Old fart
 
JohnDThompson's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Appleton WI
Posts: 24,091

Bikes: Several, mostly not name brands.

Mentioned: 147 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3198 Post(s)
Liked 2,514 Times in 1,479 Posts
Originally Posted by bikemig View Post
Agreed. I'm rehabbing a 1970s Mercier 300 and the headset is shot. I measured the stack height and it's right around 34 mm which is crummy.
Usually, the crown race and lower pressed cup are what wears out on headsets; the upper pressed cup and threaded race don't carry load (they just provide alignment) and so don't really wear. You can often just replace the crown race and lower pressed cup with any ISO headset parts of similar stack (e.g. Tange Levin, etc.) and keep the current upper race and threaded parts.
JohnDThompson is offline  
Likes For JohnDThompson:
Old 12-12-20, 09:01 AM
  #16  
bikemig 
Senior Member
 
bikemig's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Middle Earth (aka IA)
Posts: 19,641

Bikes: A bunch of old bikes and a few new ones

Mentioned: 169 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5544 Post(s)
Liked 2,511 Times in 1,614 Posts
Originally Posted by JohnDThompson View Post
Usually, the crown race and lower pressed cup are what wears out on headsets; the upper pressed cup and threaded race don't carry load (they just provide alignment) and so don't really wear. You can often just replace the crown race and lower pressed cup with any ISO headset parts of similar stack (e.g. Tange Levin, etc.) and keep the current upper race and threaded parts.
Thanks! Yeah that's what I was thinking as well. I need to take it apart and see what is going on. I've never seen a headset binding quite as much as this though so I may need the uppers as well.

I have a Stronglight P3 competition headset english threaded on another bike. If the crown race is the same, I might just swap out the cups and crown race from the english threaded P3 and keep the original threaded bit from the Mercier. The inside diameters are close (26.4 for ISO, 26.5 French if I'm lucky 27 if I'm not) (if I'm reading the Sheldon Brown crib sheet right):

https://www.sheldonbrown.com/cribsheet-headsets.html

Last edited by bikemig; 12-14-20 at 07:00 AM.
bikemig is online now  
Old 12-12-20, 12:04 PM
  #17  
unworthy1
Stop reading my posts!
 
unworthy1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 12,213
Mentioned: 78 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1111 Post(s)
Liked 661 Times in 516 Posts
If it's a FR fork (and not a Tange replacement) I'd bet money you would not encounter a 27.0 crown race, as that's JIS standard. I like JDT's suggestion but you also need to confirm the crown race physically fits the OEM cup if you keep that cup, sometimes the diameter is a tiny bit too big (NG) or too small (just makes a wide gap that's asking for grit to invade. If you swap both the race and lower cup then just confirm the cup fits the headtube: Tange HSs usually have matched cup with the race so you get the 30.2mm cup with a 26.4 race HS (what you'd want to try for most FR applications) and the 30.0 cup with a 27.0 race HS
unworthy1 is offline  
Old 12-13-20, 10:32 PM
  #18  
rustystrings61 
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Greenwood SC USA
Posts: 1,987

Bikes: 2002 Mercian Vincitore, 1982 Mercian Colorado, 1976 Puch Royal X, 1974 Allegro No. 76, 1973 Raleigh Competition, 1973 Raleigh GS, 1971 Gitane Tour de France and others

Mentioned: 51 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 701 Post(s)
Liked 946 Times in 510 Posts
My Allegro was apparently originally the “C” grade variant that left the factory with a Stronglight P3. A previous owner recut the crown for 26.4. I have been very pleased with the basic Tange lower assembly mated with the upper parts of a generic steel headset that was original issue on a lesser Motobecane. If memory serves, Chas./verktyg has said Motobecane’s budget low-stack headsets were actually made as O.E.M. units by Stronglight.
rustystrings61 is offline  
Old 12-14-20, 06:56 AM
  #19  
tiger1964 
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
tiger1964's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Maryland, USA
Posts: 1,853

Bikes: Drysdale/Gitane/Zeus/Masi/Falcon/Palo Alto/Raleigh

Mentioned: 30 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 692 Post(s)
Liked 322 Times in 225 Posts
I had had any sense, when I took the frame to a frame builder to have some braze-ons added, I could have asked for a new, longer steerer tube.
__________________
Larry:1958 Drysdale, 1961 Gitane Gran Sport, 1974 Zeus track, 1988 Masi Gran Corsa, 1974 Falcon, 1980 Palo Alto, 197x Raleigh Gran Sport. Susan: 1976 Windsor Profesional.

tiger1964 is offline  
Likes For tiger1964:
Old 12-14-20, 10:57 AM
  #20  
CMAW 
Pining for the fjords
 
CMAW's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Brussels
Posts: 643
Mentioned: 14 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 99 Post(s)
Liked 348 Times in 114 Posts
Campagnolo Gran Sport (and Pista) headsets have a 34mm stack height and were available in 25x100. There's one for sale on French ebay right now.
CMAW is offline  
Old 07-28-21, 09:34 AM
  #21  
tiger1964 
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
tiger1964's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Maryland, USA
Posts: 1,853

Bikes: Drysdale/Gitane/Zeus/Masi/Falcon/Palo Alto/Raleigh

Mentioned: 30 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 692 Post(s)
Liked 322 Times in 225 Posts
Been checking out eBay looking for any of these options mentioned for a while now, unobtanium unless I want to spend $350+ on a used headset.
__________________
Larry:1958 Drysdale, 1961 Gitane Gran Sport, 1974 Zeus track, 1988 Masi Gran Corsa, 1974 Falcon, 1980 Palo Alto, 197x Raleigh Gran Sport. Susan: 1976 Windsor Profesional.

tiger1964 is offline  
Old 07-28-21, 09:39 AM
  #22  
bikemig 
Senior Member
 
bikemig's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Middle Earth (aka IA)
Posts: 19,641

Bikes: A bunch of old bikes and a few new ones

Mentioned: 169 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5544 Post(s)
Liked 2,511 Times in 1,614 Posts
Originally Posted by tiger1964 View Post
Been checking out eBay looking for any of these options mentioned for a while now, unobtanium unless I want to spend $350+ on a used headset.
Post 18 gives you a cheaper solution. See if you can find the top to the French threaded P3 (the cup, the locknut etc) as those tend to survive. The problem is nearly always the bottom. So find a low stack height headset and use the bottom. The crown race will be 26.4, not 26.5, but posters here have made that work.

Here is some useful tech info:

https://velo-orange.com/pages/threaded-headset-basics

https://www.sheldonbrown.com/cribsheet-headsets.html
bikemig is online now  
Likes For bikemig:
Old 07-28-21, 09:46 AM
  #23  
rustystrings61 
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Greenwood SC USA
Posts: 1,987

Bikes: 2002 Mercian Vincitore, 1982 Mercian Colorado, 1976 Puch Royal X, 1974 Allegro No. 76, 1973 Raleigh Competition, 1973 Raleigh GS, 1971 Gitane Tour de France and others

Mentioned: 51 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 701 Post(s)
Liked 946 Times in 510 Posts
Originally Posted by bikemig View Post
Post 18 gives you a cheaper solution. See if you can find the top to the French threaded P3 (the cup, the locknut etc) as those tend to survive. The problem is nearly always the bottom. So find a low stack height headset and use the bottom. The crown race will be 26.4, not 26.5, but posters here have made that work.

Here is some useful tech info:

https://velo-orange.com/pages/threaded-headset-basics

https://www.sheldonbrown.com/cribsheet-headsets.html
And it bears repeating - the generic steel headsets Motobecane used were allegedly built by Stronglight and are low stack height. The top half I have has been working beautifully with a Tange lower unit; perhaps I should fish out the lower half and see if someone needs it.
rustystrings61 is offline  
Likes For rustystrings61:
Old 11-01-22, 03:20 PM
  #24  
awac
Newbie
 
Join Date: Oct 2022
Location: UK, New Forest
Posts: 30

Bikes: 1980 Gitane sprint and the start of Motobécane!

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7 Post(s)
Liked 9 Times in 6 Posts
Ha! Four years on, and I have found this because I have exactly the same measurement, well 34.4mm! You would think someone would be making them by now! LOL. Well my search goes on!
awac is offline  
Old 11-01-22, 04:35 PM
  #25  
El Chaba
Full Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2016
Posts: 450
Mentioned: 10 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 145 Post(s)
Liked 290 Times in 102 Posts
Cycles Grand Bois has a reproduction headset of a vey high quality that matches the appearance of a Stronglight P3 or a Lightrace. It has some alloy parts in the mix as well as steel and includes a ball set in retainers. It has an advertised stack height of 35 mm, so it is designed to solve exactly the problem that is the subject of this thread. If you look up Cycles Grand Bois on Google, you can utilize
Google translate. The Grand Bois reproduction parts are all made to a very high standard.

PS…Measure your fork crown seat/crown race carefully as there is likely to be some hanky panky with the dimension from that era.

PPS….Oops…It looks like they are out of stock on the French threaded version, so no help unless they are restocked….

Last edited by El Chaba; 11-01-22 at 04:41 PM.
El Chaba is offline  
Likes For El Chaba:

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell or Share My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2023 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.