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Headset Service, How Often?

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
After three years and about 7500 miles, I removed the fork and cleaned out the headset races. They were in great shape, smooth and clean. I bought new retainers & balls, greased everything up and reassembled. After adjusting, it works very smoothly. I was surprised at how easy it was to do for (my) the first time. It's a Power-On headset, which I think is Chinese.

My Question; How often should I do this clean & regrease chore? Once a year sounds like too much, but there wasn't as much grease in there as I would like. bk
post #2 of 4

Re: Headset Service, How Often?

Once a year is what is recommended for a loose, non-sealed bearing headset. Sealed bearing headsets usually last the life of the bike.

Recommendations aside, if you ride in an area where there is little dust and you don't get dirt all over the bike, three years probably is a more sensible interval. After all, the headset does not get the same type of wear as a hub set or bottom bracket. In most cases, it is moved very little during a ride. However, this little bit of movement is very critical so you don't want to neglect it.
post #3 of 4

Re: Headset Service, How Often?

Suggest you replace headset bearings when they are needed, but not before. A fixed interval of years or miles really isn't a good indicator of anything for the headset as the bearings are subject to wear from contamination, rust, crashes or heavy road impacts which can ruin the bearings at any time. Ridden on smooth, clean roads, and kept dry, bearings should last just about "forever".

Check for play and smoothness of operation often, but as long as everything is OK, leave them alone and ride the bike. Same concept works fine on the BB and hub bearings too....check them often for play and roughness, but only replace when their condition reveals they need replacing.
post #4 of 4

Re: Headset Service, How Often?

I've never had a headset bearing dry out on me, but I suppose it is possible. The main thing to do is make sure that the bearing never develops play that is neglected beyond the time it takes you to notice it.
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