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Just had my headset bearings replaced

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Just had my headset bearings replaced

Old 05-25-22, 07:36 PM
  #1  
Random11
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Just had my headset bearings replaced

This would not be too remarkable, except that I first asked my LBS about this last July, more than 10 months ago. The steering was rough in places on my Specialized Diverge. The LBS said I needed new headset bearings, which were sold only by Specialized. The parts were back-ordered and they would let me know when they were in. After checking with the LBS frequently, in January I contacted Specialized and got a reply that they had supply chain issues. It seemed as if whoever answered my question didn't even check--just made up an answer and sent it to me, so I checked back. This time they sent me a part number and said the bearings were in stock, so I gave the message to my LBS. It still took a few months after I gave the part number to the LBS to have the repair done. Fortunately the bike was still rideable, but it doesn't seem like I should have to wait 10 months to get something like this done. Specialized was still selling bikes, so they must have had bearings available to do that.

Supply chain issues? COVID? Problem at the LBS? Has anyone else had issues like this, or is my experience unusual?
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Old 05-25-22, 07:46 PM
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rosefarts
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I donít know your particular model, but Iíd have replaced the whole headset long before I waited that long on a few bearings.

Does your model have a proprietary headset that renders the whole frame garbage if itís not available? Some do and thatís insane. If not, Iíd gladly drop a King or Cane Creek in there and move on with my life.

Effed up headset bearings can be scary. My wife once dropped me off after a picnic about 40 miles from my house, it had road and gravel and a few wicked descents (that Iíd done many times). I had a new replacement fork that had shoddy races and this was the first ride. It was a slow and terrifying trip home.
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Old 05-25-22, 07:53 PM
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bargainguy
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AFAIK, the Big Three all use proprietary components in their builds. Generally not a problem, until said components become unobtainium for whatever reason.

Pre-pandemic, it wasn't unusual to wait for months, and sometimes even years, for certain proprietary products to come in. Now with the pandemic and supply chain / logistics issues, multiply that some more. I don't think it's as unusual as you might think.
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Old 05-25-22, 08:04 PM
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Random11
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Originally Posted by rosefarts View Post
Does your model have a proprietary headset that renders the whole frame garbage if itís not available?
I don't know. I haven't been riding that long (less than five years) and my thought was that I'd ride the bike and have the LBS maintain it. I don't know that much about bike maintenance. Increasingly, I'm thinking I should take on more maintenance myself. At this point, I'm changing my own tires and replacing my chains myself. I've also bought some replacement cassettes and will try doing that myself when the time comes. (I've always had the LBS do it in the past.) Beyond those basic maintenance items, I'm relying on the LBS to keep my bike in running order.
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Old 05-25-22, 10:04 PM
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As a child (early 70s), I had smashed my bike head-on into a wall and damaged the headset bearings. I took it to the LBS who had been there for a hundred years. He had one of those old wooden wall cabinets with 50 drawers. He went to one, pulled out the new bearings, replaced it in 10 mins and I was on my way.
How I miss those days
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Old 05-26-22, 01:59 AM
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TiHabanero
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Nope, not unusual at all. I had been working at a SBC dealer up until last fall and the supplier issue is real, not made up and no one dropped the ball. You are no longer riding a Chevy, you are riding a purpose built bike using proprietary components throughout the frame. Just wait a few more years when those bearings are no longer available from SBC, then you will really be miffed!
They may have bikes available, however support parts come after production is satisfied.
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Old 05-26-22, 05:39 AM
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I ordered a Trek Roscoe 8 MTB in October of 2020, it just came in last week!

Supply chain issues suck and most of our bike stuff comes from China so….hurry up and wait!
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Old 05-26-22, 05:59 AM
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Kai Winters
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I work in a LBS that is a Spesh dealer and yep it is a supply chain issue. Parts, etc. are coming in in dribs and drabs and are gone as fast as they arrive.
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Old 05-26-22, 06:16 AM
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If you know the bearing specs shown here.In this case 45.8 OD X 36.8 ID X 6.5 H, angle 45/45
https://www.performancebike.com/spec...500006/p864849

You can then find them somewhere else. Bearings are typically not something custom sized and made. Engineers will design for off the shelf parts.
https://www.google.com/search?q=bear...hrome&ie=UTF-8
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Old 05-26-22, 06:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Random11 View Post
Supply chain issues? COVID? Problem at the LBS? Has anyone else had issues like this, or is my experience unusual?
Originally Posted by bargainguy View Post
AFAIK, the Big Three all use proprietary components in their builds. Generally not a problem, until said components become unobtainium for whatever reason.
In such a situation as we've seen this past 2yrs, it's become much more commonplace I think.

The whole Covid / supply-chain mess has chewed up a lot of people's patience and focus on the bigger picture. That of long-term customer service and satisfaction, and the impact on repeat business.

Seems about par for the course, anymore. The average company has gotten so thin with quality staff, so thin on patience, so focused on immediate tasks, that the "big picture" gets lost. And service suffers. Many companies have still upheld the finest they were capable of, even through this mess.

As for proprietary parts, this sort of situation is a major reason why I won't do proprietary parts if at all possible. Had a Cannondale with HeadShok, years ago, but then it got tough to get it serviced; so I sold it. I only have bikes that use "standard" headsets, drive train, brakes, or which can be fitted with such. When building up my most-recent bike, I placed orders for the parts while Covid was making its initial damage trail. Took months, but I could easily continue seeking out sources of inventory when it occasionally popped up, which allowed me to (in a few instances) nix a given part from the LBS order and acquire it sooner. Done with the LBS's approval and support, given it would get the job through the shop quicker. Not preferable, for me or them, but the supply issues necessitated finding another way. Having all standard parts made simpler such changes of course.
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Old 05-26-22, 06:55 AM
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"Hurry up and wait" is, unfortunately, the new normal. It's bad enough having to wait for standard parts. Proprietary parts? When Covid hit, and we were all pretty much cooped up inside, I built up my current bike. When looking at framesets, I noticed that many of the "aero" designs came with a seat post that was specific to that frame. Great, you get a 0.001% reduction in drag, and two years later, when that frame is no longer produced and something goes awry with your seat post, you end up tossing the frameset. I opted for a frame that used "readily available" (at least pre-Covid) parts, including a 27.2 mm round seat post.
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Old 05-26-22, 06:55 AM
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Are we sure those bearings are a proprietary size?

If so, I would have just bought a new headset 9.5 months ago.

Or is the headset itself also a proprietary size?
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Old 05-26-22, 08:51 AM
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smd4
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Proprietary headsets? Ugh...
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Old 05-26-22, 09:16 AM
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The headset might be proprietary, but the actual bearing sets may be something that can be had at the local bearing supplier for industry in ones own area. However without seeing all the pieces parts anything is a maybe.

The supply chain issues are real and not just for one reason that can easily be solved. But it's getting better.
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