Earlier we showed you how to check and properly adjust
your bike's headset, but what do you do if it's time to replace the entire unit? A lot rides on how well your headset is working and if the bearings are shot or if the cups are damaged, your bike will not handle how it's supposed to. It may be time to replace the entire unit!There are a number of different types of headsets on today's bikes, from integrated, semi-integrated, and the standard threadless headset that is still most common. Today we'll focus on the standard threadless headset, but many of these same principles will apply to other kinds as well that use cups pressed into the frame.
A headset is made up of a number of pieces that allow it to turn freely under the preload that keeps it from rattling around. The two main and most obvious parts are the upper and lower headset cups. These are pressed into your frame and require tools to remove and install. Within these cups is where you'll find the headset bearings. Many different types of bearings are used throughout the industry, ranging from inexpensive loose balls, to different variations of sealed bearings. One of the most important parts of a headset, even though some brands elect not to use one, is the wedge. The wedge sits on top of the upper bearing and the outer circumference usually has a 45 degree angle that makes contact with the bearing. It is usually split and this allows it to conform to the inner diameter of the inner bearing race, as well as hold it's tension better. Above the wedge is the headset's top cap that helps to seal the bearings from the elements. At the bottom end of the headset is where you'll find the crown race. This small, but necessary piece, is what the lower bearing turns upon. Without it your fork crown would come in direct contact with the bottom headset cup. Certain headsets may also use separate seals to protect the upper and lower bearings. While they will all differ slightly in appearance, most will follow the above description. This tutorial will guide you through removing and installing just the cups
. Follow the instructions provided with your new headset to complete the installation and have a read through Tech Tuesday #5 where we show you how to properly tighten your headset.Watch the video to learn how to remove and install headset cups:
Step by step instructions:Tools needed: Headset cup remover
, headset cup press
and a hammer
Cup remover, headset press, hammer, and some grease
Before we start, a word about using the proper tools. This job is possible to accomplish without a proper cup remover tool and headset press, but we highly recommend using the correct tools. Using the wrong tool to remove your headset cups could result in a gouged headtube at best, or fatal damage to your frame at worst. Likewise, when pressing headset cups into your bike's headtube, having them go in crooked can have dire consequences. Using a proper headset press minimizes this risk. Take your time and use the correct tools, and if you don't feel that you're up for this job, take your bike to the local shop to have them do the work.
Step 1. Begin by sliding the cup removing tool into your head tube. You can remove either the top or bottom cut first
Step 2. Before you use the hammer, be sure that the edges are resting only on the inside lip of the cup and not any part of your frame
Step 3. With one hand over the opposite end of the headtube to keep the frame from moving, begin to hammer out the headset cup. Holding your hand over the cup will also keep it from flying out and giving you an embarrassing black eye
Step 4. Ease up as the cup starts to exit the headtube. Repeat the above process on the remaining cup
Step 5. Now it's time to install your new headset cups. Begin by checking the inside of the headtube for any damage from removing the old cups, and then greasing the inner surface to ease installation.
Step 6. Only install one cup at a time to minimize the chances of one going in crooked. Once the cup begins to enter the headtube, stop to make sure that it is perfectly straight. If so continue pressing it in, but if not you'll need to use your cup remover and try again.
Step 7. Once you've fully pressed the cup into the headtube, have a very close look to make sure that there is no gap between the outer edge of the headset cup and the face of the headtube. Repeat the process on the remaining cup and then follow your headsets directions to finish off the installation.
Past Tech Tuesdays
:Technical Tuesday #1 - How to change a tube. Technical Tuesday #2 - How to set up your SRAM rear derailleur Technical Tuesday #3 - How to remove and install pedals Technical Tuesday #4 - How To Bleed Your Avid Elixir Brakes Technical Tuesday #5 - How To Check And Adjust Your Headset Technical Tuesday #6 - How To Fix A Broken Chain Technical Tuesday #7 - Tubeless Conversion Technical Tuesday #8 - Chain Wear Technical Tuesday #9 - SRAM Shift Cable Replacement Have you found this tutorial helpful? Share any of your hints or tips below!
to see their entire lineup of tools.