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Headset bearings

My old threaded headset had loose bearings. I am going to replace them. Can I use caged bearings or should I go back to loose bearings? is there any hard and fast rules?

You can use either. The cages make it easier to install the bearings. However, you typically end up with slightly fewer bearings in the race when you used caged ones. That means the load is distributed among fewer bearing and could wear faster.
loose bearings: you end up with 10 to 20% more balls than caged balls, thus the head set is 10 to 20% stiffer and stronger.

caged balls: http://www.nolimitscooters.com/communities/2/004/007/765/032/images/4531501917.jpg

loose headset is an indication of improper adjustment, which by now has probably caused problems with both the balls and the raceways.

When you say "caged"; do you mean sealed bearings; as are typically used in threadless headsets?
sealed: http://www.tamiya-model.com/shop/images/tamiya_rcmodel/53065.jpg
Lovely thanks.

Loose bearings sound like the thing then. Unfortunately some of the bearings I took out are a little past it. I'll get some more. Can anyone suggest a suitable number? I believe also that bottom and top races have different size bearings. Is this true?
Replace all bearings and take close look at the races to make sure they are not worn. Use quality grease to hold bearings in place and reassemble. (I use Bel Rey waterproof marine grease since I have that on hand for my motorcycle) There are bike specific Teflon greases too.

Unlikely to use two different sizes but we have no info re your bike or photos.

Bearings are cheap get extra for when you drop one. Available at bike shops and at some hardware stores too.

Where are you? Can get more specific local info.

The advantage of loose bearings is that you cannot install them upside down. Do not ask how I know.:-))
Never Give Up!!!

Interesting that you ask specifically what I have! Basically I have bought a reasonably new Leader frame (1 1/8 steerer) but I have parts from my old 80's raleigh frame . I recently bought a new 1" fork. I was hoping to use the raleigh headset with a headtube reducer set.


(06-14-2011, 04:43 AM)LeonardLeatherhead Wrote:  Interesting that you ask specifically what I have! Basically I have bought a reasonably new Leader frame (1 1/8 steerer) but I have parts from my old 80's raleigh frame . I recently bought a new 1" fork. I was hoping to use the raleigh headset with a headtube reducer set.

not a good idea. you are adding more interfaces, each interface increases wobble (reduces rigidity). You are also adding more weight, more things to go wrong, etc.

And by the time you are done, you will have spent more money than if you just did it right the first time.
what should I do then? :-O
get a headset and fork compatible with the Leader frame you have; for example:

The above are examples only.

I like the Raleigh, it is much better suited to my riding than the Leader frame.
Hi Nigel

Thanks for your help. I ended up going into the LBS to get the dimensions accurately measured. Apparently it is a 1" steerer and as luck would have it I have my old inch headset, cups etc and new chrome forks :-)

My next challenge is removing a nearly new crank set and bottom bracket.

I bought these which another LBS put on for me along with a new BB. http://www.oldbikeshit.co.uk/proddetail.php?prod=100-2918

I would like to remove the crank myself and was watching some youtube vids. Am I to believe that the above will need a diamond taper crank puller tool?

definitely need a crank puller.

Something like this:

first remove the nuts or bolts holding the crank on, then thread the dark piece all the way in - making sure not to cross thread - this is critical, I have seen many damaged (basically recycle bin) cranks because some _____ did not carefully put this piece on and all the way in (finger tight). Then thread the lighter piece in, it pushes the crank off.

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