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Headset dilemma

Old 09-25-09, 06:27 PM
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miamijim
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Headset dilemma

The Merckx headset is dead so I need a replacement for the original 600 Ultegra tri-color. My dilemma is what to replace it with. Needing to balance component consistency with price I've come up with 3 or 4 options. There aren't alot of 1" threaded headsets availble in the mid-range. Its either $25 or $75+. If the bikes only worth $800 it doesnt make sense to drop $100 on a headset. 9I have checked ebay and I am keeping my eye on a few)

So, without further rambling.....the bike and the posssible headsets. I'm thinking all silver. Whats C&V's opinion? BTW....$50 cap with shipping.

1. Shimano 105 with black top cap $38. I'm not thrilled about 'downgrading' to 105 but its Shimano.
2. Ritchey Logic with black top cap $21. Ritchey makes a fine headset. I consider these to be at least 105 quality but certainly not an Ultegra downgrade. Not Shimano so it doesnt give the appearance to being a downgrade.
3. All black Ritchey Logic. $18.









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Old 09-25-09, 06:37 PM
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Tange Levin:



They're usually $35-40 or so. Trick is to find the NR knockoff model, though I'd be concerned about stack height. What size crown race?

-Kurt
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Old 09-25-09, 06:49 PM
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Originally Posted by cudak888 View Post
Tange Levin:

They're usually $35-40 or so. Trick is to find the NR knockoff model, though I'd be concerned about stack height. What size crown race?

-Kurt
Thats a possibility, stack heights listed at ~38mm so it should be OK. Crown races have different sizes?
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Old 09-25-09, 06:59 PM
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I just picked the first YST I found, click the pick for ebay $17 shipped. I bought one without the clone 600 top nuts, very plain, no markings, alloy+steel for $13 shipped. It's at least the equal of the Ritchey Logic I installed on another frame.

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Old 09-25-09, 07:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Bob Barker View Post
Too old looking and out of place. The previously mentioned Tange may look out of place as well due to its bulky looking nature.
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Old 09-25-09, 07:03 PM
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Originally Posted by miamijim View Post
Crown races have different sizes?
Well, it depends how big a hammer you have.

-Kurt
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Old 09-25-09, 07:05 PM
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Originally Posted by cudak888 View Post
Well, it depends how big a hammer you have.

-Kurt
If its a 27.0 I could file down the race. Right?
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Old 09-25-09, 07:06 PM
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which one fits the the fork crown and your existing stackheight? the YST looks like an old 600ex
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Old 09-25-09, 07:08 PM
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If you want to go for "good enough" go back to a Shimano 600 from Peter White. $56. The bike though, is worth far more in our market. I had a legit offer last weekend for $1,100 at the Minneapolis Bike Classic. I went for a Campy Record headset for mine, but I have the 600 in two other bikes and it works well. Nice bike by the way, I really like mine.
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Old 09-25-09, 08:17 PM
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1" Grand Cru from Velo Orange. Nice sealed unit for $40.

Last edited by canopus; 09-25-09 at 08:19 PM. Reason: added pic
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Old 09-25-09, 10:05 PM
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Another pretty option:

https://cgi.ebay.com/1-inch-threaded-...d=p3286.c0.m14
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Old 09-26-09, 06:42 AM
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Good luck, Miamijim! This is what I've referred to in the past as "headset hell." One of the problems is getting definitive readings on the stack height and crown/cup sizings, without buying and measuring.

I would not file down the crown race mount on a Merkcx (or any decent) frame. There's a risk you won't get the new surface round or concentric, or will make it too small. Then you'd have to get it knurled to build out a slight interference fit. The fit it has now is the result of rather precise machining. It has interference, but can be pressed on. You can measure with a mike or caliper to detect out of round, but it's much harder to measure it for true concentricity with the steering axis. Get the right size. This might be harsh, but IMO to bugger up the crown race is tantamount to Drewing.

I'd suggest a modern NOS Campy, a Shimano 600 from Peter White, a roller-bearing Stronglight, or a Tange of some sort. I would definitely prefer silver color for that bike. The Tanges can be confusing since there are so many, and the characteristics of the Levin changed over the years. At one point they really were Campy Record clones, but later they shrank to a much lower stack height. My Trek 610 was designed for a Stronglight delrin, but I found a 2005 or so Campy Chorus was a good fit.

Other good ones that might be hard to find in unworn used condition: Campagnolo Nuovo Record, Dura Ace, Suntour Superbe. I'd not hesitate to put a good Campy NR on that bike if I had one. With maintainance it will last decades more. Same for the 600 and I presume the Dura Ace.
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Old 09-26-09, 07:15 AM
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Those Ritchie headsets are serviceable, but they're heavy and very cheap looking with the black plastic cap. They used to be all over eBay for around $6. I'd put one on a cheap flipper mountain bike, but a midrange road bike deserves something better.
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Old 09-26-09, 09:13 AM
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DA AX/Tange Levin Aero headset?



-Kurt
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Old 09-26-09, 10:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Dirtdrop View Post
Those Ritchie headsets are serviceable, but they're heavy and very cheap looking with the black plastic cap. They used to be all over eBay for around $6. I'd put one on a cheap flipper mountain bike, but a midrange road bike deserves something better.
how can you say a merkcx is midrange? these are high end, and deserve the best you can find reasonably.
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Old 09-26-09, 10:36 AM
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Is this not the model with sealed bearings ? I had both 600 and 105 headsets at some point, and the bearings looked interchangeable. If so, the easiest option would be to buy a 105 headset and use the bearings.
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Old 09-26-09, 10:43 AM
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There's a 600 Ultegra headeset ending shortly on eBay

https://cgi.ebay.com/Shimano-600-Ulte...d=p3286.c0.m14
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Old 09-26-09, 11:36 AM
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Agreed on Road Fan's noting the "mid-range" comment. My wife and I just returned from a nice forty miler. I took my Merckx, she chose her Primato. If a Merckx Century is mid-range, is a Primato also so? At any rate, just order up a Record or 600 headset from your favorite vendor/LBS. This will solve the issue promptly. You really can't miss with these choices.

edit: I just noticed your $50 limit, so do what I do. No fancy coffee for a week or two! Voila, cash.
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Old 09-26-09, 11:36 AM
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Originally Posted by MetinUz View Post
Is this not the model with sealed bearings ? I had both 600 and 105 headsets at some point, and the bearings looked interchangeable. If so, the easiest option would be to buy a 105 headset and use the bearings.
Earlier 600 EX (should be a 6207 marked on it) were loose bearings. Can't say about any of the later ones, but I have the 6207. I know that one for sure.
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Old 09-26-09, 04:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Road Fan View Post
how can you say a merkcx is midrange? these are high end, and deserve the best you can find reasonably.
I probably meant to say "midrange or better" or something to that effect. Note that it was early on Saturday morning. I barely remember posting.
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Old 09-26-09, 04:44 PM
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Heh Dirtdrop, this is no big deal. Have a good day, and sorry I even bothered with the initial post.

P.S. I think I posted a couple of items on my company blog last night. After your post just now, I might need to review those late night posts.
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Old 09-26-09, 09:21 PM
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Originally Posted by miamijim View Post
If its a 27.0 I could file down the race. Right?
You need some way of ensuring that the race seat is concentric and coaxial with the steering axis; that's why crown race mills were invented.

They're very expensive, though, so don't bother trying to buy one for a one-off project. Take the fork to your LBS and have them mill it to ISO dimensions.
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Old 09-26-09, 10:34 PM
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I recently put a Tange Falcon on a frame, and it's very pleasant-looking. Cartridge bearings. Downside is that I suspect they don't make it anymore -- I bought mine from VeloOrange, who no longer lists it; Harris sez "sorry all gone", and the only place I could find one now is Ben's in Milwaukee. $39. Stack about 35 mm. Standard 26.4/30.2 size, if that fits.

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Old 09-26-09, 10:42 PM
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Originally Posted by cudak888 View Post
Tange Levin:



They're usually $35-40 or so. Trick is to find the NR knockoff model, though I'd be concerned about stack height. What size crown race?

-Kurt
+10

I've had my Tange Levin on my vintage PUCH since 1983. Overhauled yearly - it's still in perfect shape and never has caused me any problems. The worst it ever did was need a spacer. I put a Campy spacer on it. I'm sure this violates some law somewhere. But they coexist peaceably.
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Old 09-27-09, 07:09 AM
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I think that Velo Orange Grand Cru is a beautiful piece at a bargain price, but maybe it's not suited to your Merckx. I've got one that's waiting for the right bike to come along. I love the split crown race! It snaps on with just finger pressure.
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