Integrated headsets

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Eat My Dust
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Integrated headsets

Postby Eat My Dust » Fri May 25, 2007 10:45 am

I put my bike into my LBS for a service. They've had it for over 2 weeks now, telling me that it needs a new headset. Just got off the phone with their tech guy, who to be honest wasn't filling me with confidence. He told me that when he lifted the headset off, the bearings fell out, he said he <i>thinks</i> that this means that the frame is ready for the bin. Can anybody shed any light on this, as this is my summer bike and is would cost well over œ1000 to replace.

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MartinCcp
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Postby MartinCcp » Fri May 25, 2007 11:32 am

If it's an integrated headset then there are no cups pressed into the seat tube - the races just sit in the head tube and will come out when you dismantle it. Maybe the guy hasn't seen one before. Integrated headsets aren't a good idea in my opinion because they can wear the machined seats in the head tube and junk your frame. If this has happened then even with a new headset you won't be able to adjust it without any play.

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Eat My Dust
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Postby Eat My Dust » Fri May 25, 2007 11:55 am

Thanks MartinC, the tech guy was using a lot of "I think", "Hmm, not sure" and "maybes". To be honest I'm feeling really pis*ed off with myself for taking it there in the first place.

If the machined seat are worn, is this dangerous? I had noticed that there was a bit of movement when holding the front brake and pushing forwards.

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sjcpcp
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Postby sjcpcp » Fri May 25, 2007 12:57 pm

If you search any cycling forum you'll find that the general consensus it that, from an engineering point of view, integrated headsets are a bad idea, as they can damage your frame if incorrectly fitted or adjusted.

They look nice, are slightly cheaper to make and are the current 'fashion' so manufacturers fit them. Whereas bikes that rely on durability, such as most MTB's and touring bikes, and manufacturers who won't compromise on quality e.g Litespeed still fit conventional headsets.

I'd be suprised if the bike shop didn't know about integrated headsets, as most road bikes now have them, but if they only usually service MTB's it could be new to them.

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giant man
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Postby giant man » Fri May 25, 2007 14:28 pm

Oh dear. Sounds suspect to me. There's bike shops and there's bike shops, right?

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SIZE IS EVERYTHING! or at least that's what my LBS tells me.

maybrick
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Postby maybrick » Fri May 25, 2007 15:12 pm

just because they were unsure doesn't mean they're total amateurs, integrated headsets have no standard i think so it's possible to find something out of the ordinary.
read what chris king(the god of headsets) has to say about them:

http://www.chrisking.com/pdfs/Int%20Hea ... lained.pdf

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MartinCcp
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Postby MartinCcp » Fri May 25, 2007 15:19 pm

If the headset itself is worn (pitted races) then you can maybe replace the bearings or the whole headset depending on the make. Be careful 'cos there are 2 standards for the machined seats in the head tube so make sure you replace it with the same or compatible. If the headset is ok but you can't remove all the play, roughness or noise then the frame itself is worn. It can only get worse. It would have to be quite bad to be dangerous but nobody likes rough steering. I believe that Ritchey make a headset that uses very low profile cups that sit in integrated seats, whether you can use this successfully in a frame that's already worn or not I don't know. I think it fits the Campag standard seats. Think it gets a mention somewhere on the CTC site.

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Eat My Dust
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Postby Eat My Dust » Fri May 25, 2007 15:20 pm

<blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"><i>Originally posted by maybrick</i>

just because they were unsure doesn't mean they're total amateurs, integrated headsets have no standard i think so it's possible to find something out of the ordinary.
read what chris king(the god of headsets) has to say about them:

http://www.chrisking.com/pdfs/Int%20Hea ... lained.pdf

_______________


baby elephants!!? i love 'em, what do you think my jacket's made from?
<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">

Yeah, I've already been through that link, it's made me depressed. With reference to the LBS, they've had the bike for over 2 weeks, and only told me today about the potential fault. I was actually told by another bike shop not to go there, but I thought it was just bad feeling between the 2 bike shops, turns out maybe not.

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Eat My Dust
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Postby Eat My Dust » Fri May 25, 2007 15:24 pm

Thanks again Martinc,

The odd thing is that the bike was handling like a dream before I put it into the LBS, I had no problems at all with the stearing, although there was the movement I mentioned earlier when the front brake was applied.

[:(][:(][:(]

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wotbus@
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Postby wotbus@ » Sat May 26, 2007 10:08 am

<blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"><i>Originally posted by maybrick</i>

just because they were unsure doesn't mean they're total amateurs, integrated headsets have no standard i think so it's possible to find something out of the ordinary.
read what chris king(the god of headsets) has to say about them:

http://www.chrisking.com/pdfs/Int%20Hea ... lained.pdf

_______________


baby elephants!!? i love 'em, what do you think my jacket's made from?
<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">

[:(] Pretty scary stuff there, especially as my new LOOK555 has integral, but very informative so thanks. Probably think twice about continual use of the front brake when in the peloton now [;)]

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Postby wotbus@ » Sat May 26, 2007 10:51 am

[:)] Bit of re-assurance here at FSA FAQ - the home of my headset:
Quote:
Q.With an integrated headset, is there danger that my frame could be damaged by being in direct contact with the bearing?

A.Because all FSA integrated headsets use sealed cartridge bearings, there is no direct contact between the ball bearings and the inside of your frame. Instead, the balls ride against a race on the inside of the bearing. Should this bearing race wear out from normal wear and tear or improper adjustment, only the sealed cartridge unit need be replaced. Simply purchase a new sealed cartridge unit and drop it into the frame.

That being said, riding with a poorly adjusted headset can cause damage to an otherwise perfectly good frameset.

Unquote.

The last sentence may be what your LBS is getting Eat My Dust, but I hope not. Good luck anyway.

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Postby wotbus@ » Sat May 26, 2007 11:01 am

I don't really see why a frame should be trashed just because the face where the bearing cup sits becomes worn [?]
Conventional head-tubes require facing with special tools to ensure top and bottom faces match, so why can't a similar tool be used to restore/re-cut slightly the worn face [?]
Anybody [:)]

Eat My Dust - If I were in your position I would recover bike and bits and get a second opinion, even if there is a small charge for doing so.

Edit: Adds last sentence.

andrew_s
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Postby andrew_s » Sat May 26, 2007 23:26 pm

On a conventional headset, the only bits that touch the frame are a tight press fit, and won't move at all under pothole impacts etc. Any wear takes place on the press fit cups, and if they get too bad, you take them out and put new ones in. This applies to cartridge bearing headsets as well as loose ball headsets.

On an integrated headset, the outer race of the cartridge bearing sits against the frame. It also isn't anything like as tight a fit as a press-fit cup, and will thus move slightly under pothole impacts and vibration. This movement wears the frame, which means the cartridge bearing moves about more, which wears the frame faster... Eventually there's so much movement that you can't get rid of it by adjustment.
You can't do anything about it because the cartridge bearings are all the same size and the hole they have to fit in is too big. Any machining will just make hole bigger and matters even worse. Either that or take several millimetres off the height of the head tube.

FSA's FAQ is just trying to reassure people without telling any direct lies.

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<edit>
<blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"><i>Originally posted by Eat My Dust</i>
If the machined seat are worn, is this dangerous? I had noticed that there was a bit of movement when holding the front brake and pushing forwards.
<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">
Only to the extend that the handling will get worse as the amount of movement increases. It's unlikely you'd put up with it becoming so bad you crash as a result.

If it's a Campag pattern integrated headset, then the Ritchey press-fit headset mentioned by MartinC would be worth investigating
(I also remember mention of it).

wotbus@
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Postby wotbus@ » Sun May 27, 2007 09:40 am

[:)] Quite another unnecessarily lengthy pessimistic explanation - take it you are a disciple of the god King already mentioned!
On my headset, and it may not be the same for all, the cup which sits in the frame is tapered and sits in a taper, not flat and not parallel. Therefore any "dressing" would not enlarge anything, just recede a fraction more into the head tube. It was this point I was trying to address; but none of this gloom and doom prophecy helps Eat My Dust with his problem so perhaps there is no need for further replies unless there is a head tube repair guru out there somewhere [;)]

wotbus@
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Postby wotbus@ » Sun May 27, 2007 11:07 am

For sure, if it's such a naff piece of engineering, it begs the question "Why do frame set manufacturers of several thousand pounds continue in this direction"? I find it hard to believe that in the interest of fashion purchasers of such expensive items are prepared to replace them each time they wear a headset/head tube [:0]
Anything maladjusted will wear prematurely so maybe therein lies the answer.
I imagine the progress into composite frame materials necessitated a different method of fitting headsets. I don't think pressing traditional headset bearing cups into a carbon head tube to be a good idea, but I may be wrong.
Has anyone out there ever had to trash a frame because of the King Hypothesis [?]


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