Recommended maintenance/mod - headrace bearings

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Crimson
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Recommended maintenance/mod - headrace bearings

Post by Crimson » Sun Jul 30, 2017 10:48 am

Just a quick note to say I replaced my ball-bearing original type head bearings with tapered roller bearings a couple of days ago, but I only got around to testing the bike today (also replaced the front tyre with a softer one). What a massive difference! It's like night and day...
Bear in mind I only replaced them because there was a slight dead-ahead notch.. That's all you could tell that was amiss, when riding the bike with the original bearings. But they probably had uneven tension side to side as well even though you couldn't tell this from just turning the bars - just little imperfections too small to note but which added up to a huge difference in the way the bike behaved.

But the new tapered roller bearings seem to have the perfect blend of tension and looseness. For the first time, you can actually carry out one-finger steering, and it's extremely easy. The bike still orients straight forward with both hands off the bars at all real-world speeds. Cornering is much, much easier, and requires far less concentration. I used to have slight tension in the shoulders, which I put down to over-tensing on the bars, so I would consciously tell myself to relax my shoulders when riding. But that wasn't the problem...
I would never have guessed that head bearings that were only just slightly shot would have had such a detrimental effect on the way this bike handles. I am convinced that the tapered ones are much better than the ball type. Silky smooth. So I highly recommend doing them, even if you have just the slightest notch in your steering.
A record of maintenance items carried out on my bike:
https://crimsonxj.wordpress.com/

XJLiverpool
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Re: Recommended maintenance/mod - headrace bearings

Post by XJLiverpool » Sun Jul 30, 2017 12:12 pm

Crimson wrote:
Sun Jul 30, 2017 10:48 am
Just a quick note to say I replaced my ball-bearing original type head bearings with tapered roller bearings a couple of days ago, but I only got around to testing the bike today (also replaced the front tyre with a softer one). What a massive difference! It's like night and day...
Bear in mind I only replaced them because there was a slight dead-ahead notch.. That's all you could tell that was amiss, when riding the bike with the original bearings. But they probably had uneven tension side to side as well even though you couldn't tell this from just turning the bars - just little imperfections too small to note but which added up to a huge difference in the way the bike behaved.

But the new tapered roller bearings seem to have the perfect blend of tension and looseness. For the first time, you can actually carry out one-finger steering, and it's extremely easy. The bike still orients straight forward with both hands off the bars at all real-world speeds. Cornering is much, much easier, and requires far less concentration. I used to have slight tension in the shoulders, which I put down to over-tensing on the bars, so I would consciously tell myself to relax my shoulders when riding. But that wasn't the problem...
I would never have guessed that head bearings that were only just slightly shot would have had such a detrimental effect on the way this bike handles. I am convinced that the tapered ones are much better than the ball type. Silky smooth. So I highly recommend doing them, even if you have just the slightest notch in your steering.

I've just removed my steering stem and the bottom race (with plenty of profanities/hammering and heat it finally budged)
Now i can't get the new sealed unit in place... any hints on how you've fitted the new set?

Thanks in advanced

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Re: Recommended maintenance/mod - headrace bearings

Post by Crimson » Sun Jul 30, 2017 1:38 pm

XJLiverpool wrote:
Sun Jul 30, 2017 12:12 pm

I've just removed my steering stem and the bottom race (with plenty of profanities/hammering and heat it finally budged)
Now i can't get the new sealed unit in place... any hints on how you've fitted the new set?

Thanks in advanced
Just brute force and patience (lots of both). I used a long mild steel bar to drift out the old bearing races/cups (stuck very tightly inside the frame, top and bottom interference-fit). Wasn't easy, as you've begun to realise lol. To put the new bearing cups/races in, top and bottom, I set the old races against the new ones to protect the edges, then whacked very, very hard with a hammer. I hit them harder than I felt comfortable with, to be honest, but the frame took it well. To sit the lower bearing (new) on the bottom yoke, I used the same principle. Used the old inner lower bearing over the new one, to protect the edges, then hit it violently with a big hammer, at the 12 o'clock, 6 o'clock, 3 o'clock then 9 o'clock position, lots of times. Takes time and force, but it works. You can take a marker and mark the edge of where your bearing sits, to watch the progress. It proceeds by the fraction of a millimetre but it eventually gets there. It's well worth doing all this as it transforms the handling.

Make sure you don't hit the outer part of the new bearing, because it deforms very easily. Use the old lower bearing's inner part to transfer force from the hammer directly to the new lower bearing's inner part.

https://crimsonxj.wordpress.com/2017/07 ... gs-fitted/
A record of maintenance items carried out on my bike:
https://crimsonxj.wordpress.com/

XJLiverpool
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Re: Recommended maintenance/mod - headrace bearings

Post by XJLiverpool » Sun Jul 30, 2017 4:06 pm

Thanks again for the advice

Ahhh just what I thought... better get the big muscles ready for a heavy hammering tomorrow lol
My bike suffered from the exact same symptoms yours was "notch in headbearings but looked alright to naked eye" then bham whack bang and whallom.

How have you found the new tapered bearings?

I'll let you know how I get on tomorrow night if I haven't thrown a hissy fit and walked away haha

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Re: Recommended maintenance/mod - headrace bearings

Post by Crimson » Mon Jul 31, 2017 5:14 am

XJLiverpool wrote:
Sun Jul 30, 2017 4:06 pm
How have you found the new tapered bearings?
Amazing! You'll be singing their praises too - I'm sure of it. When you look down at the speedo, you find you're taking a familiar corner about 10mph faster, because the old ones were holding you back with their demands on concentration. So, overall, it makes the bike faster as it increases average speed. Best of all, it makes it all feel much easier, so you stay fresh. It's just incredible.
A record of maintenance items carried out on my bike:
https://crimsonxj.wordpress.com/

XJLiverpool
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Re: Recommended maintenance/mod - headrace bearings

Post by XJLiverpool » Tue Aug 01, 2017 1:05 pm

Crimson, I've got the bottom race and bearings all back together... I'm struggling to get the Top race off, can't see any lips/notches to hit. Even tried a dremel but can't do anything.

How did you get the Top race out, sorry to bother you and Thanks in advanced :)

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Re: Recommended maintenance/mod - headrace bearings

Post by Crimson » Tue Aug 01, 2017 1:34 pm

No worries, it's not easy. There is no notch there. I didn't cut one. I used two tools - one to start it off with the slimmest of gaps, and another to bash it out.

Examine these photos.

https://ibb.co/mCdCn5
https://ibb.co/ce6MfQ
https://ibb.co/bC6yS5
https://ibb.co/curbEk
https://ibb.co/m5m9Zk

They show a small tool, which is a broken sort of nail-removed which used to have a screwdriver handle attached, and a long steel bar, which is my drift. What I did was, I set the sharp, hooked, side of the small tool to that ultra-thin line where the upper bearing cup sits in the frame. The other side of it, I held against the top of the frame (where the two locknuts that require a C-spanner usually sit). Then I took a hammer in the other hand, and struck the tool very hard, lots of times. This eventually created the thinnest of gaps, to start me off. I then shoved the drift up through to that gap, or lip, and started bashing away.

In short, the hooked tool was hammered in between the steel bearing cup and the frame. This created a lip. Then the cup was drifted out with a large drift, from below. Note that my drift is massive, and it's cut off sharply at either end. If it's rounded at all at the end, it won't work. You need a sharp-edged drift to stick in the gap you created with a small, leveraged tool.
A record of maintenance items carried out on my bike:
https://crimsonxj.wordpress.com/

XJLiverpool
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Re: Recommended maintenance/mod - headrace bearings

Post by XJLiverpool » Tue Aug 01, 2017 1:48 pm

Crimson wrote:
Tue Aug 01, 2017 1:34 pm
No worries, it's not easy. There is no notch there. I didn't cut one. I used two tools - one to start it off with the slimmest of gaps, and another to bash it out. Let me take a photo and I'll show you..
Rightio it's finally out... fitting the new tapered bearings... once fitted there is no movement on the Top set... Just wondering if I've potentially put then in wrong

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Re: Recommended maintenance/mod - headrace bearings

Post by XJLiverpool » Tue Aug 01, 2017 1:53 pm

The stem still moves but the bearings don't and I'm not sure if they're meant too.

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Re: Recommended maintenance/mod - headrace bearings

Post by Crimson » Tue Aug 01, 2017 1:57 pm

The inner part of the top bearing should turn if you put your fingers inside, but the outer part of the top bearing should just rest in the bearing cup.
The inner part of the lower bearing should remain still, and locked with the steering column, but the outer part of the lower bearing should turn freely with the hand.
A record of maintenance items carried out on my bike:
https://crimsonxj.wordpress.com/

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