In the past, bike steering used to be rough and clunky. But, nowadays, bike engineering technology provides excellent steering for your racing bicycle through an advanced headset. A headset is a vital bearing assembly fitted in your bike head tube to facilitate the fork and wheel turning. However, choosing a headset is confusing due to different names and standards. Luckily, headset establishments have developed a standard headset information system (S.H.I.S.) for recognizing headsets.
When does your headset need to be changed?
Your racing bicycle consists of two bearings fitted at the head tube’s top and bottom. Over time, your headset bearings conditions worsen, especially if dirt or water gets in.
The state reduces your headset performance, and your handlebar starts being rough when cycling. If you notice such complications, the best action is to replace your headset bearings.
Here’s how to select the best headset bearing for your racing bike.
1. Confirm your headset if your headset is press fix or integrated
Press-fit headsets include headset-bearing cups between your bicycle frame and its bearing. A pair of headset bearings with a star-fangled nut and a top cap are identifying features of an integrated headset. And the headset bearing sits directly in the frame for an integrated headset.
When choosing your headset, first identify if your bicycle requires a press fit or integrated headset. If your headset cut falls outside your bicycle frame, you’ll need a press-fit headset. However, when your headset fails to fits entirely inside your head tube, you’ll have to select an integrated headset bearing.
Using S.H.I.S. standards, your press-fit headset can be of two types. External Cup (‘E.C.) or Zero stack (‘Z.S.’). The bearing sits outside the frame for an external cup, while your headset bearing sits inside the frame for a Zero stack. But be keen as your bicycle may contain different upper and lower headset types.
2. Identify the inside diameter of your frame head tube
To measure the diameter, remove the existing headset from your bicycle frame. Use the right measuring tools, or a hammer and flat-blade screwdriver will be suitable. But with the latter, you must be extra careful around the head tube.
Measure your top head tube inside diameter followed by the bottom head tube diameter, and round the measurements to the nearest millimeter. When choosing your headset bearings, use the measures to ensure their compatibility with your head tube.
3. Confirm your fork steerer tube
When measuring your fork tube, measure the top fragment’s outside diameter and the bottom section’s external diameter where your steerer goes into the fork crown. For an integrated fork, you measure your built-in crown race angle, which typically is “45”. However, an old frame may have an obsolete 36 degrees.
Additionally, when selecting your headset, it’s a bad idea to choose headsets that are tight on the stem cap. Such a tight headset complicates your handlebar activities and can destroy your bearings.
If your handset is working at optimal conditions, you won’t likely notice it. But you should be concerned and grease it if you start having trouble. However, regularly upgrading or replacing your headset for out-and-about activities with your racing bicycle is best. Apply the above information to choosing the best headset bearing when replacing your headset.