Pitted headset



Does anyone else here find there headset is pitted after a few months?
I've tried all sorts of road and MTB bke ones over the years, but nothing seems to last. They have all been installed properly (no play) i'm getting sick of handing over $80 everytime this happens.

Hi Admin. Very unusual, imho. You could try putting a dead straight edge against the head tube, at the front,between the bearing cups, to check that the head tube has not warped or bent. Sight for daylight between the straightedge and the tube. But best you take your frame or complete bike to a framebuilder for further checking. e.g. the ends must be cut dead parallel to each other; the headtube should be checked that it was reamed at both ends, again, square on and dead parallel. The steerer tube of the front fork may need to be checked in case it too could be bent or warped. The new headset may have been overtightened on installation,
this is the most likely cause. Also, the mechanic could be installing the new cups using a length of threaded rod and a set of old bearings to pull the new cups into place. This is a sure way to literally give the new cups the pits. The tool for quality results should have bits of machined metal, formers, which will fit the cups exactly and pull them down without any distortion whatsoever. But definitely have that headtube checked for proper and true reaming. Sounds like you need better service, if this problem is so soon repeated. Best.
Sometimes the paint causes the upper and lower edges not to be perfectly square (great use of english...). I know it's painful to do but I file the paint off both edges....always file inwards (towards the centre of the tube) or you could take a chip off the edge.

If the edges just aren't square you can double headset life by turning top and bottom cups through 90 degrees - generally only the front and back of the cups get worn.
Have you tried the Roller Bearing Headsets? I believe these are far better than the traditional Ball Bearing type. Stronglight have a v. good reputation for these, among other things. The 'stack' height may be greater, tho, hence your stem may be too short to accept it.

Roller (or needle) bearings are the way to go. Ball bearings put a 'point load' on all surfaces and are very prone to pitting. Roller bearings have a much larger surface area (friction is increased but hey cyclists have weeny arms and could do with the extra work out!).
The surfaces of your head tube HAVE TO BE PARALLEL for the headset to work right and last for very long! Do Not take a file to it. The head tube ends MUST be "faced" with a special tool that cuts precision parallel surfaces into the tube ends. Some bikes come assembled from the factory WITHOUT being "faced", so you have to take them apart in the shop to do the the job, others have been "faced" but have been painted over the facing, so it has to be done again to remove the paint.
Most headsets come with bearings that mounted in "cages" for easy assembly, get rid of the cages and put the bearings in the cups loose/by themselves you will need to add more bearings usually, if memory serves, you'll have a total of about 22 or 23 bearings, more on an 'oversize" headset. There are several reasons to do this:
1. More bearings willl distribute the load better for less wear
2. The cages hold the bearings the same distance apart at
all times so the bearings tend to sit in the same place and
then get "pounded into" the cups, loose bearings move
more freely and tend not to sit in the same place
3. With more bearings your head set will turn a little smoother
4. Often when your headset is lightly "brinelled" or pitted, if
you add bearings you can still use the headset for many
more miles beacause the bearings are no longer sitting in
the pits! ( It sounds like a personal problem doesn't it)

Ride Pitless
hi ya pat, welcome to the forum you can register as a memebr HERE

Well i'm gonna buy a new one tomorrow, can anyone recormend a good brand?

Shimano and Campy both do good ones but my personal favourite is Cane Creek. Really well made stuff and good looking too.