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caged ball bearing upghrade

753 Views 2 Replies 2 Participants Last post by  r.dunne71
I just got handed a 2005 Specialized Hardrock sport. It's got a non original front end on it but it appears that the levers and possibly the bars are original. It's missing the frond brake, has crappy Suntour XCT fork and the headset is shot, including the star nut inside the fork tube. I don't have much funding for the project at the moment but I had one similar to this that I liked riding but as soon as I got it tuned up and accessorized, somebody decided that it should rather be theirs than remain with me. Anyway it's a freebie and I miss being able to go for a simple bike ride. I'm just a casual rider, I like to cruise around Denver metro's trail system. I live west of the city so it's pretty chill out this way and I don't do any extreme or even moderate trail riding for the most part. Once in awhile I'll go with somebody that wants to do a mild switchback course. Anyway, I'm wondering if anyone would be kind enough to recommend a decent low budget sealed bearing conversion that I can use to replace these caged ball bearing nightmares. I would like to get a decent set of forks for it but with the holidays beating the stuffing out of my wallet, it's just not gonna happen at least until spring so if that's a factor, I'll just stick with the stupid cages for now. I'm not sure but I think if I recall some forks have a removable crown race and some don't and I'm not sure about these Suntours but the bike is over at my storage unit and I probably won't get back over there until Monday or Tuesday but if anyone knows if this is a simple deal or not, I'd like to order the headset now because that's all it really needs before I can ride it and adjust the gears and rear brake. I'm also looking into a new front brake but where I believe it has the original levers, I might need to track down an original brake and that might take some digging. I have an original build parts list that I got from Specialized customer service so it's just a matter of tracking one down or finding a suitable replacement but I might wait on that until I decide what I'm going to do about the forks because I've read that the RSTs that came stock on these bikes arent much good either and I don't have $200 pluis to drop on a set right now. Thanks in advance for any input that anyone would be so kind as to share.
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please put some line breaks in that giant block of text. it will make it easier to read. use bullet points and remove some of the extraneous information to make it easier to answer your questions.

  • recommend a decent low budget sealed bearing conversion that I can use to replace these caged ball bearing nightmares.
  • I'm also looking into a new front brake
  • I would like to replace the fork, what's a good replacement fork?
it sound like you are talking about the headset, which includes the bearing cups that press into the frame, the bearings, the crown race, and the upper bearing cone/wedge assembly. you just need a new headset. the crown race is always part of the headset, so it would have replaceable. (there are some more obscure standards for a fork that has a built-in crown race, but that certainly not the case on your bike.) it's very unlikely that you can just replace the bearings with sealed units, as the cups in the frame are rounded inside and shaped to hold round balls.

the "unsealed" bearings in headset are not difficult to service, so you would not be gaining much out of a new sealed-bearing headset other than keeping dirt and grime out with better seals. I recommend cleaning and repacking the bearings in the existing headset for now.

I'd have to confirm visually, but it looks like that bike takes a standard 1-1/8" threadless headset. it's not "tapered" so you don't have to worry about that. there are so many options out there, I don't know where to start.

does your bike have a brake that grabs the rim (a v-brake aka linear pull brake) or a brake near the hub that grabs a disc (disc brake). I looked up that model, and it appears to come with rim brakes. just about any "v-brake" should fit and work on your bike.

for the fork (not forks, because there's only one fork on your bike), you need something with a "straight steerer tube" (not tapered), something that is designed for a 26" wheel, and posts to mount a linear-pull rim brake, aka v-brake. 100mm of travel would suffice and I can't recommend going much longer than that. something that works with a standard quick-release axle (not any sort of "thru-axle") would be necessary as well. there are not a lot of options on the market for a good suspension fork, but they still exist. another option is a rigid fork. it does not sound like you're making full use of rowdy trails with drops and jumps, so a rigid fork might save you a lot of hassle and money.
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Sorry, kinda forgot I posted this and sorry for my "huge block of text" also. I get flack for that a lot. It's funny because I don't do it when I write with a pen. I took writing classes back in the day, long before anyone had computers in their homes and that sticks with me with pen and paper but when I get going on a keyboard... Well you've seen it first hand.

So I got a cheap sealed bearing headset for now. It works good for the time being while I'm deciding what to do with the bike. I like the frame geometry but the aged parts, which weren't the greatest to begin with as this was/is an "entry level" bike, are definitely showing their age and I'm in need of some upgrades. What I'm looking at is the entire groupset. The bb is ok for now, as well as the crank arms and pedals but all 3 sprockets have definitely seen better days. They are both bent and the teeth are in bad shape, worn, a few missing/broken etc. They are "twisted" but I'm not sure whether that's damage or the way they were designed.

It does have a v-brake on the rear but it's not OEM, it's a ProMax and it works. I was going to just buy a similar one for the front but now that I'm looking at a complete set, I'll probably go with Shimano replacements, both front and back.

The derailleurs are both pretty beat up but somehow still semi functional. I only have the use of the 2 smaller sprockets in front and the rear varies. on a good day I can grab 7 of the 8, more often it's the larger 7 but every once in awile it will grab that smallest one for a nice high gear (on the middle front lol) but I'll lose the low gear of the largest diameter cog on the rear cassette, which is in about the same condition as the front. I can't tell if this is all derailleur or a combination of them and the shifters because they are just as, if not more beat up than the derailleurs and the cables are pretty shot too. I think part of the issue with the rear derailleur is because the cable has been cut short and there isn't enough left on it to get a proper adjustment. I have it at the very end just poking out a fraction of a mm and it's really only holding on by a thread.

The fork is basically a lateral replacement for the RST Gila that was originally on it, the major difference being 20mm of travel difference, the RST at 100mm and this Suntour being at 80mm. Other than that they seem about the same build, quality, and price wise and looking into better forks is just out of the price range that I'm willing to put into this bike IF I decide to keep going with it. I guess I'll see what the drivetrain is going to run me all told and go from there but first I have to cross reference what I can use from modern parts because I can't find much in the way of NOS or decent used/rebuilt OEM parts and I don't want to buy cheap Chinese knock off replacement parts. I sent Shimano and a few larger bike shop chains emails but haven't got a response from anyone and it's been a few weeks now so I'm not expecting to get any answers from them. I got some new tires from Wheat Ridge Cyclery here in the town I live in but the parts guy there didn't seem to want to be bothered with my old beast. He had a newer Marin up on the stand he was working on and I was surrounded by 10 to 15 thousand dollar Specialized behemoths with these fancy new 1x12 drivetrains so I just grabbed my cheap tires and headed home to put them on.

When I was installing the tires though I did notice that the rims are mismatched also and the rear hub will need to be replaced at some point so I'll be looking at replacing both wheels as well. So as much as I do like this frame, I'm not sure if I want to go as far as this bike needs me to go with it. I'm still on the fence about it but I know one thing for sure... Even if I could afford it, there ain't no way in hell I'm paying anywhere near 10 grand, or even 5 grand for a bike. The most I would ever spend on any kind of non Harley Davidson 2 wheeled vehicle would be maybe $1500 to $2000 and that's if I made about 10 times what I do now for an income. Anyone spending $15,000 on a bicycle, or even over $5000 is both insane, and has more money than brains and should just give us all some. That's ourageous and even if I won a huge lottery like Powerball or otherwise got millions of dollars dropped in my lap, never. Some things are only meant for people to say "hey, look how much money I have... and you don't!" Yeah maybe a $15,000 bike is a great bike, but it can't be all that much greater than a $2000 bike.

The same is true for anything really. I love cars but I wouldn't own a Ferrari, Lamborghini, Bently, Bughatti, or any other "small dick guy" car as my gf refers to those shiney show off cars. I don't even have a desire to own a Cadillac, and it's not just because I don't have the means because even if I did have tons of money, I don't like to show off or otherwise direct attention to myself. I never have had any desire to be any kind of center of attraction. I like to be low key, average. Give me a Chevy Tahoe LTZ and a nice Dyna Glide and I'm a happy man. I'm a huge music enthusiast and if I were to spend huge amounts of money on anything, it would be things to do with that but even then I'd have limits. $25,000 for a turntable? NO, maybe a grand. $7,500 for a cartridge for the turntable? NO, I can get a kick a$$ cartridge for less than $500! Insanity abounds when there's money floating around. Sometimes I'm actually thankful to be "financially challenged"
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