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Headset recomendations

Old 06-22-14, 10:53 PM
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Headset recomendations

I have an 09 Redline Conquest Pro and need to replace the headset. It has a Cane Creek headset, with the press in cups for the bearings, on it now but have no idea what model. The fork is an aluminum steer tube and is an 1 1/8". Looking for suggestions on a replacement headset. Also how easy or difficult will it be to remove the old cups and install the new ones, or should I let the LBS do it?
Thanks in advance for any and all tips or recomendations with this.
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Old 06-23-14, 06:49 AM
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Are the headset cups actually damaged/worn out? Cane Creek headsets use replaceable cartridge bearings, so if it's just the bearings, you can replace those (cheaply and easily) without replacing the cups.

It's certainly possible to R&R headset cups with makeshift tools, but it takes a little skill and patience and there is a risk of damaging something. You can, of course, buy proper tools. But you'll need to replace a LOT of headsets to make that pay off. This is one of those really infrequent jobs where having the LBS do it costs so little and saves so much time/effort, that it's hard to come up with an excuse to DIY.
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Old 06-23-14, 12:59 PM
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Not sure if the cups are good bad or otherwise. I do know that they have seen better days and that one of the seals is torn in half. I am in the process of rebuilding the bike and figured I might as well put in a new headset.
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Old 06-23-14, 03:36 PM
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Honestly, it sounds like the cups are fine (I would be surprised if otherwise), so you just need to replace bearings and seal, which are all available. If you insist on replacing the headset, I am fond of Cane Creek 40 series; a good, long-lasting headset at a decent price, though not as blingy as a King...
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Old 06-24-14, 11:56 AM
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Cane Creek has a wide range of price points of their various headsets . stating just the brand is not concise ..

Buy one of theirs from the top of their range , I doubt the OEM picked their better models.

Shop 'Rocket tool' makes removing the old one easy. & quick .
(I've tapped them out a little at a time with a long flat blade screwdriver, , and going around it, catching the inside edge of the cup.)

pressing the new one back in has been done by many with a length of All Thread + washers and Nuts on the 2 ends .

Last edited by fietsbob; 06-24-14 at 12:07 PM.
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Old 06-26-14, 12:06 PM
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I feel like headsets tend to have fairly binary performance. Either they're working or they aren't. An "upgrade" in this department just changes the rate at which they stay in the "working" category. I know that's a bit of an oversimplification, but I think it's a decent starting point from which to think.

I've got Chris King headsets on a few of my bikes. Two of them were there when I bought the bikes, one I bought to let me use a tapered fork in a non-tapered head tube (InSet 7). I've never had one of these "not working" and have never so much as checked the bearings on them. I should probably do that some day, at least for the one that's been on my CX race bike for the last three years -- I just haven't felt motivated to do so.

That said, I'd give a similar report on Cane Creek S-3/40-series headsets which cost about 1/3 what a King costs. I haven't really put my Cane Creek headsets through the grime that I have put my Chris King's through, but I haven't had any problems with them. Maybe I'll have a Cane Creek fail on me some day. If I did, I'd try new bearings before I bought an upgrade.

When I bought the 2013 Kona Jake that I use for commuting, I planned to immediately upgrade the FSA-branded caged bearing headset to something with cartridge bearings since this bike sees a lot of rain use. I wrote to Kona and asked for sizing specs. The guy at Kona suggested I give the stock headset a try. I bought a NOS Cane Creek Z-3 that I found for a good price, but decided to let it sit on the shelf at least until the stock bearings needed an overhaul. About 2500 miles later I decided to splurge on a carbon fork and I needed a new headset (the aforementioned InSet 7) but the stock bearings were still reasonably smooth and the cups were in fine shape. The Z-3 is still sitting on a shelf in my garage, now with an FSA No. 10 next to it.

So I guess what I'm saying is, if you've got some spare cash and want to trick out your bike, get a Chris King. If you're looking to squeeze out the best return-on-investment, do some maintenance on what you have. Legend has it that a Chris King headset will last long enough to make it a good investment relative to a string of cheaper headsets, but I doubt I'll ever put enough miles on a single bike to make that so. A Chris King headset is a nice line item to offer when you sell a bike though, and they generally look really nice.
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Old 06-26-14, 05:51 PM
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I've got one of those Redlines too and based on the looks of the headset and my experience with my MTB as long as the cups are OK you can just replace the drop in bearings with parts for a 1 1/8" 40 series.
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