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Replaced bearings, how smooth is smooth?

Ive just replaced the caged bearings on a threaded headset with some new loose bearings. Ive greased them and there is no signs of indexing / brindling on the race but they dont run as smooth as before. They turn ok and the forks easily spin to one side when let loose but i can hear them turning and you can feel a slight unsmoothness if that makes sense, its not exactly 'rough' but its not smooth as silk or silent like id expect. I unfortunately discarded a seal, could this be the cause or I wonder if i have the right size of bearing in there.

Any thoughts much appreciated.


are you sure you have the bearings in the right way? its easy to put one upside down. betcha cant guess how i know that!
Get on your bad pedalscooter and ride!
when doing loose bearing vs caged you still use the same size but you have to add one or two more. and you should look at all races with a magnifying glass to be sure you have no pitting
There are two kinds of people in the world, "Those who help themselves to people, and those who help people!"
oops, i missed the part about them being loose. i dont think even i could put loose bearings in upside downSmile
Get on your bad pedalscooter and ride!
Ye its loose bearings mr. X. I know what you mean putting races in the wrong way too. This site and the Parker site both showed that as correct. Guess they had different set up.
So always take notes and photos as you disassemble, especially vintage bikes. I did not think they could fit the wrong way but they did. Steering felt funny. DUH.:-)))

As per your bearings did you fill the race with the bearings leaving one out. Use lots of good grease. Ride a bit and recheck tightness. Check for any inteferance the seal might have been a spacer too.
Never Give Up!!!
Thanks for the replies.

Unfortunately i through away the old bearings / cages and washer, I had a feeling i shouldnt be disposing of them at the time so I cant check the size of the bearings, doh!

Yes, I left one bearing out, fillled with grease etc... but i havent reassembled it to ride yet, thought id tackle one issue at a time but I'll give it a go.


thats exactly what i did, george. being a used bike, i it was put together wrong before i got to it and the same 2 sites you used were right. now, i reassemble them in the correct order on a zip tie, so they dont get messed up before reassembly.
Get on your bad pedalscooter and ride!
I try to take pictures of my setup so that way I can refer to them later! Think bearings are bad? Try and pressing the races in the wrong way lmao! Been there a couple times.
Good maintenance to your Bike, can make it like the wheels are, true and smooth!
Hi Bill em struggling with my old bike in its smoothness, i have tried every thing to reduce the friction in the bearing setup but no positive results, what should i do?
Which bearings (location, style)? For regular cup and cone bearings: check for wear and carefully set them up. Watch the tutorial on wheel bearings on this site, cup and cone bearings all work the same way.
If you are getting more friction with new bearings, I have to assume one of two causes:
- You just have the headset adjusted too tight (the "loose as possible without any play rule" applies)
- or something is rubbing. If you did put in too small bearings, it coudl cause two races to rub against each other when there used to be a very tiny gap. Check all the places where one part is still next to a part that moves.

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