Trek 5900 Superlight bearing Problem PLEASE HELP!!

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by John-L, Jun 16, 2006.

  1. John-L

    John-L New Member

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    HI,

    I have got a 2002 USPS Trek 5900 Superlight with shot headset bearings.

    Basically the bike is in for a service, my LBS has found the problem with the headset bearings but they cant get the new bearing and it is taking an eternity!

    Can anyone suggest where to get them or what they are part number etc so I can try and source some myself as racing season is here and I cant wait weeks for my bike to be repaired.

    It is standard set up with Oversized superlight Aero OD fork and the headset has the Superlight Bearing System.

    I live in the UK so this side of the water would be helpful but I'm getting desperate so am willing to ship them in.

    Also does anyone know what other trek bikes have the same bearings in the head as my 5900 superlight??

    Please someone help me!!

    Thanks

    John.
     
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  2. alfeng

    alfeng Well-Known Member

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    Did you notice your headset "binding"/grinding BEFORE you brought it in for service?

    Unfortunately, the problem you have is/was epidemic with the Trek 5900!

    Your bearings, themselves, may not be shot ... check this thread:


    All you need to do is remove the fork, remove the lower bearing from the fork, reinstall the bearing and then reinstall the fork (with bearing attached). In 90% of the cases, that takes care of it. It doesn't seem to be a misaligned cup, but rather an issue with how the lower bearing seats in it.

    Also:



    I have a 2003 5900 with a binding headset. Long story short, Trek recommends the lower bearing be loctited (Loctite 680) into the lower cup. Mine didn't come from the factory like that. I followed their advice and viola! I would recommend this to all of you with this problem (which is probably just about everybody with a 2000-2003 5900. If that doesn't work, Trek will (under warranty) face your fork crown, mount a new bearing and tell your shop to remount the fork using Loctite 680. If that doesn't solve your problem, Trek (under warranty) will remove the lower cup, add a sleeve and mount a 1-1/8 lower cup and give you a new fork (1-1/8 top and bottom).

    AND:



    Re: Replacement headset for Trek 5900
    >I had a 2001 Trek 5900. Had to replace the lower headset bearing at about 4000 miles.

    Mine made it about 12,000, but was in sad shape by that point.

    > The real problem was that this design (the 1 1/4 inch lower bearing) locked me not just into the
    > nonstandard headset but also the Trek 110 fork--which I think was the cause of much bigger grief.

    It's actually 1 5/16", I believe.

    >From day one I had handling problems. The bike was EXTREMELY squirrly at speed on anything but a
    >perfect surface. It also felt strange in a sprint--like it was winding up and springing back.

    Might want to check the fit of the *upper* bearing in the cup. Mine had .007 *clearance*!!!

    I cut a piece of .003 stainless shimstock and did a full circumference wrap of the upper bearing and
    slid it into the cup.

    Voila! -- a whole new bike!

    -- disclaimer -- I'm 140 lbs, so I know I'm a bit easier on the parts that quite a few people out there.



    FWIW. Some have suggested (elsewhere) that the bearings are CANE CREEK ...

    CANE CREEK uses two types of bearings (that I've seen) in their headsets ... the cartridge type that Chris King uses in their headsets which I think are in the S-type headsets (a "bearing" shop which caters to autombiles can order these), AND the quasi-cartridge bearings in the C-type whereby the bearings are held by a set of toroidal half-shells (these can be opened & cleaned and/or the ball bearings replaced, if necessary).

    The 1" Campagnolo "hidden" headset used the equivalent of the Cane Creek C-type bearings; so, there is an outside chance that the bearings for a 1 1/8" Campagnolo "hidden" headset (I think they made one) will fit your TREK ... it might be worth investigating.
     
  3. John-L

    John-L New Member

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    Basically I took the bike in for service and pointed out that the bearing felt a bit gritty, aparently it fell apart when they removed the fork, did'nt see it with my own eyes though.


    thanks for the reply and digging out the other posts.
     
  4. alfeng

    alfeng Well-Known Member

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    Is the bad headset bearing still with the bike?

    MOST cartridge bearings CAN be cleaned ...
    • cleaning the cheaper (?) type (e.g., in the CANE CREEK C-type headsets) is obvious ... separate the two halves & clean.
    • with the more expensive (?) type, there is USUALLY a gasket that can be peeled away to expose the ball bearings ... flush (WD-40 or other light oil ... Do NOT use a degreaser) and re-grease ... replace the gasket. SLATHER the outside of the bearing with heavier grease (e.g., the heavy, RED type) to further seal the bearings.
    Cleaning the bearing(s) will, at least, get you back on the road ...
     
  5. John-L

    John-L New Member

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    Thanks for the reply,

    My LBS have stripped the head for me and I have not seen it myself but aparently it is totally shagged so I need to source a new bearing, unfortunatly it seems there isnt one in the entire UK!!!

    Thanks again

    John
     
  6. alfeng

    alfeng Well-Known Member

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    Okay, I just cannot believe that your shop can't get a replacement headset ...

    What about contacting Trek, directly?





    THEY owe you (and, apparently every other 5900 owner)! There should have been a "recall" ... AND, there should already be a supply of replacement headsets in every major venue AND/OR wherever more than 10 of those bikes were sold.​


    Remind them that there "tagline" is that: Trekbikes.com can meet your needs wherever you are in the world.


    They should expedite a FREE replacement bearing EVEN IF THEY HAVE TO CANNIBALIZE A BIKE IN THEIR WAREHOUSE ... EVEN IF THEY HAVE TO PAY TO HAVE IT AIR-FREIGHTED FROM THE US or ASIA ... note for them the excessive failure rate which can be readily GOOGLEd if they balk.


    ASK THEM IF THE "CAMPAGNOLO" HIDDEN-HEADSET BEARINGS ARE THE SAME.


    Can you say, "Colnago ... Pinarello ...Orbea ..."​


    IMO. There is no reason to buy a Trek in the future if you can't get satisfaction from the UK distributor ... AND, you should let them know that is not only how you feel, but that you will let your kith & kin know the type of service you received. ​


    Of course, they may not care ... OR, they may step up and actually service what they sell! The choice is their's ... as, it will be your's in the future.​
     
  7. John-L

    John-L New Member

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    Thanks for the post Alfeng,


    I have contacted trek personally and so have the Bike shop, the shop has told me that the bearing should arrive mid next week however they said "we have been let down by trek sending us parts before"!!! I havent had a reply from Trek yet.

    Can you believe this!!! A trek dealer that cant get trek parts!!!!

    With regard to owning another Trek this hasn't put me off so far, the 5900 is a stunning bike.

    Just hope that waiting for this bearing doesn't ruin my race season as its my race bike, if its not ready in a couple of weeks I'm going to be competing on my 26 lb winter training bike!!!

    If anyone should spot this post and have any suggestions where to try for this bearing I would be eternally grateful, it is only the lower bearing that I need.

    Thanks

    John
     
  8. John-L

    John-L New Member

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    I bet Lance never had this problem!!!
     
  9. alfeng

    alfeng Well-Known Member

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    Which frame(s) did Armstrong ride which had a Chris King headset?

    Just how proprietary is that headtube?

    Is it possible to use a PROBLEM SOLVER headtube reducer OR any other type of shim so you can install a "regular" 1 1/8" headset -- Chris King, or any other brand?

    Can you use your current fork locked into the SuperLight Bearing system OR can a regular race be fitted to it?
     
  10. BeeGuy

    BeeGuy New Member

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    I've got a 2006 5.9SL and have a very nice King Solus headset installed. My first 2000 OCLV had a Cane Creek S2 headset, a total piece of s**t which lasted about half a season before the bearings failed. I replaced that with a Record headset. When my new frame came, I decided to have the shop swap the headsets; no regrets since.

    chris
     
  11. supergrill

    supergrill New Member

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    What's a King Solus? Familiar with the Cane Creek Solos, and Solos IS but not the aforementioned.
     
  12. John-L

    John-L New Member

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    Hi Folks,


    Mine has a cane creek headset but that is not the issue, the 5900 has a cup on the bottom of the head tube which a trek superlight bearing system sits in, not the usual cane creek you would expect to see.

    It is a trek only bearing, which I have found out today is not in stock in Europe at all and apparently very hard to find in the USA!!

    I feel I may have a bit of a problem here!!!

    John.
     
  13. lks

    lks New Member

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    My 2002 Trek 5900, had an off center fork binding. I backed off the pre-load, without any change. I removed the top headset bearing and still had it, which meant it was in the bottom bearing. I removed the fork and there was no bottom bearing binding. To make a long story short, I found the bottom of the steerer tube O.D. was too big, for the inner race I.D. and was pushing the outer race out just enough that it was too tight a fit when pressed up into the bottom headset bearing cup. Trek said that the fork steerer tube is machined oversize and then honed down to a tighter tolerance. IF DONE RIGHT! I didn't want to give up my bike so I honed it a little bit at a time, until I had no more binding. Hone too much and you throw the fork away. Be aware that Trek specs a special locktite be used on the bearing race before the fork is put back into the bike. Don't be surprised if your Trek dealer has never heard of it. Of couse, the safe way is to send your fork back to Trek. They supposedly also put in a new bearing. The one you have, could have worn out of spec. Customers were blaming Cane Creek, for a problem that wasn't theirs.
     
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