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Headsets do my head in

Old 11-03-11, 02:45 AM
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Headsets do my head in

Hi,

I'm stuck with a headset issue.

I've got a Super Elliott with a TDC headset. The frame has the headset cups incorporated into it i.e. they are brazed onto the head tube rather than interference-fit cups:



The upper internal bearing race is stuffed and I'm having a tough time sourcing a replacement.





I've seen one image on the web of what I need and that was an old ebay ad. A lot of the TDC headsets or 1" headsets I've seen have interference-fit cups and the cups form the bearing race. I've only seen one with seperate bearing races that sit inside the cup (the old ebay ad).

I'm evaluating options:

1. Keep searching for a NOS or original replacement.
2. Have the bearing race I need manufactured (CNC or hobbyist lathe)
3. Cut the Head tube and have it reamed & faced to accept a standard 1 " headset

option one seems an exercise in frustration (unless anyone knows where I can source one).... option two seems unlikey, no fabricators/engineering firms I've contacted have been interested in turning out such a small sample. Three seems like the more likely way to go ... but.... having measured the headtube ID with verniers it looks out of round. Taking two perpindicular measurements of the ID

top of head tube: 29.2 - 29.8mm
bottom of head tube: 29.3 - 29.8mm

ID bearing cups 37mm
OD of bearing race is 36.4mm


So with option three I'm not even sure the out-of-round head tube will take a modern cup ...and i can't measure it but I'm guessing the steel may not be that thick and may not withstand reaming.....

what to do, what to do?
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Old 11-03-11, 03:01 AM
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You have some issues, that's for sure. I will try to help because I do have a similar headset kicking around somewhere. However...

Before I start looking for it, and looking for stuff in my parts stash is an adventure every time, I need to know a couple of things.

First, was the cup, or cups brazed into place by the builder or after the bike was built? If after, then you will likely have an out of round head tube and that can spell alignment problems. I have that problem on an early seventies special Bottecchia Special. The bottom cup fit is out of round, a result of a loose fit to begin with, made worse by not repairing it right away.

Do you need the complete headset can you get by with some parts that will replace those that are damaged? This is important because I cannot remember if the headset I have is complete.

Next, measure the inside diameter, outside diameter, and height of the pieces you need. Get thread counts, if required.

Armed with the information requested, I will seek out my headset and compare measurements.

How does that sound?
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Old 11-06-11, 02:39 AM
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Hi randyjawa - thanks for the offer.

I finally got some time today to have a tinker with the bike. I've taken photos and measurements (in mm) so hopefully you get an idea of what I'm looking for. It's a race for 1/8th bearings....

Side/profile:


Top:



Bottom:



Internal Diameter:



Outside Diameter:



Height:




Don't bust a gut too hard to find something, I don't want to take up too much of your time. Your help is very much appreciated though!

I tidied up the damaged race with the dremel today and fitted the headset back together. It feels OK .... and it looks like the bearings stay in place. Will do for a short-term measure and I hope one will turn up online at some point. I did the tour of my local bike shops and basically they all want to ream and face the frame of course - and all were very keen to inform me that new headsets are better than ones made in the fifties
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Old 11-06-11, 07:05 AM
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Isn't that a Brampton headset? Even if it isn't, my first inclination would be to see if a Raleigh loose-ball crown race would fit. At first glance (without measuring them) they appear to be similarly designed.

-Kurt
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Old 11-06-11, 09:33 AM
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If you've gotten the races out, look up a good machinist, and see if they might re-machine the bearing track. Wouldn't last forever, if original was surface-hardened, but it's the lower compenents on a headset that really take a beating. Though others will shout me down for this suggestion: maybe as a last resort the "internal" flanges could be cut off, and the head tube machined to take a standard headset. Might also have to cut steerer tube, and extend threads, but whatever it takes to keep an old bike going.
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Old 11-06-11, 10:49 AM
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I do know if you choose option 3, then option 1 will show up the next day

Seriously, some of the worst choices I've made restoring bikes was because I was not patient enough waiting to find the right parts. Try Via Bicycles in Philadelphia.

And look for a retired machinist with a home shop. I know a business will have no interest in making one of these but a skilled old guy with a lathe should not have a problem with it.
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Old 11-06-11, 11:41 AM
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Originally Posted by cudak888
Isn't that a Brampton headset? Even if it isn't, my first inclination would be to see if a Raleigh loose-ball crown race would fit. At first glance (without measuring them) they appear to be similarly designed.

-Kurt
Don't know about whether the swap would work, but as to them being the same, T.D.Cross and Brampton were both Birmingham based, but not the same company nor the same product(s).
Here's a bit of info from a seller in AUS who had 3 NOS HSs for sale (all sold I guess)
"This headset is suited to frames having cast in races, not suited to frames with press fitted frame races. These are typical of 1940’s Malvern Star Roadsters, fitted as original equipment. Natural patina, diamond knurling on thrust nut and lock nut perfect/unfitted. All parts NOS.

Thread: 1”x 24 t.p.i.
Stack Height: 37.9mm (Excludes Ball Bearings)
Fork Crown Race Diameter: ID 26.9mm, OD 37.6mm."
If all else fails, I'd contact Hilary Stone in UK, he seems to frequently have vintage HSs for sale, maybe spare parts, too.
he has posted here, but you're more likely to reach him via email
https://hilarystone.com/
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Old 11-06-11, 12:25 PM
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Originally Posted by unworthy1
Don't know about whether the swap would work, but as to them being the same, T.D.Cross and Brampton were both Birmingham based, but not the same company nor the same product(s).
Sorry, missed the reference that its a T.D.C. headset.

Either way, I'd check to see if a crown race from a Raleigh headset would fit, seeing that they're easy to find. If not, perhaps the crown race from a T.D.C.-brand headset may fit.

-Kurt
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Old 11-11-11, 08:13 AM
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OK, I had time to look and guess what. Top of the first box I went to. That's a first!!! Anyway...

I have the set. The measurements I get are very close. Inside Diameter = 27.1+ Outside Diameter = 36.6mm Height = 5.5mm. Not sure if this would be too far off or not depending on how the pieces fit.

I stopped looking the second I found this one. It is the only one I can recall running across and this one was salvaged from a Dawes Galaxy.

Hope that is a help.
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Old 11-17-11, 12:58 AM
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Cudak888s comment sent me looking for brampton headsets..... and there was a NOS one on ebay. Great I thought. The price got above my limit though - someone really wanted it more than I did

But what I did end up buying was a headclip headset:



predictably purchased it just before Randyjawa found his!

I took a gamble on it as it looks like it has the bearing races I need - it's 1inch x 24tpi - I guess I'll find out once it's made the trip from the UK to Australia..... if it doesn't work out I'll be in touch Randyjawa....thanks for looking anyways, headsets must be like buses..... you wait and wait and then two come along at once
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