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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Over the last few years I've had multiple headsets (different bikes/forks) making ticks/creaks that have ultimately needed to be replaced despite no real indication of wear. These are good quality headsets like King and Cane Creek that have been well maintained, rarely have been ridden loose, and everything has been well greased for noise/barrier to elements. Back in the day a King HS seemed to be indestructible so this issue seems odd...

My current theory is that possibly something with the upper compression assemblies slowly loses its tolerances and allows for a little slip... figured I'd ask about it here.

Anyone?
 

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I guess it is the impacts. And dirt and water. Not necessarily wear from rotating.
The newer ones I have are sealed bearings, so i guess when worn or damaged, I'd just replace them with the same type bearing.

The loose or cage ball bearing HS fond in cheaper bikes need to be cleaned and lubed frequently. But I don't think yo have those since you said CK.
 

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Elitest thrill junkie
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Bearings are wear items.
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I should have mentioned... the bearings have all been fine. No play, spin smooth, and replacing them hasn't helped. Replacing a whole CC upper assembly did do the trick again (for now) which brought me to start this thread.

No doubt slacker HA's are contributing to their short lifespan.
 

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Trail Ninja
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Before King switched to a split ring for their upper headset (patented by cane creek), they used an o-ring that was notorious for being pinched on hard impacts on gravity bikes.
 

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Elitest thrill junkie
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Before King switched to a split ring for their upper headset (patented by cane creek), they used an o-ring that was notorious for being pinched on hard impacts on gravity bikes.
Fixed.

You should not have to replace an upper (cup). If you do, it means something real bad is going on, like your HT is ovalizing, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
You should not have to replace an upper (cup). If you do, it means something real bad is going on, like your HT is ovalizing, etc.
I suspect I could have just replaced above the upper bearing but I wasn't about to part it to death.

This has been in a couple different bikes. The cups press into the carbon frame(s) fine, and there's been no indication of binding/settling when rotating on axis under a fairly high amount of preload. It's also been a few different forks so bent steerers/CSU's are also ruled out.
 

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No known cure
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I don't think a slack HT puts too much extra stress on the headset. My 1/1/8th King has been on two frames with 67* or less since 2006, and my newest frame's HT is 44mm. Maybe your crown race isn't fully seated.
 

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I remember a needle bearing headset from the ancient days of I believe the 80s. With the slack HTAs and more forces I'm surprised there aren't any super expensive models around.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I think one of the telltale signs in my issues might be the ring of slightly marred finish on the steerer right where the compression ring sits. I wonder if steerer tube flex is creating wear on the thin alu ring rubbing against the steel race.

I stopped using carbon spacers. I wonder if they compress just enough that I couldn’t keep a HS tight on my SB5.5. I switched to aluminum for my most recent build.
FWIW I've had the same issue that I traced back to the binding power of the stem. Some of those fancy cnc stems are nice to look at but seem to lack durability. In fact I keep forgetting to order one of those problem solvers locking HS spacers to add for giggles.
 

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This all sounds very strange.

Sounds like something was never quite seated, or the HT is not parallel (faced). I've had a 500mm rigid fork on CC 40 headset for a long time. It has taken some incredible impacts, including front wheel broken spoke/nipple, with no fuss. To think that 2 high-end HSs gave it up long before my cheapy seems odd.

-F
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
This all sounds very strange.
I agree.

There's prob 15mm of spacers... I vaguely recall seeing FEA fork modeling that showed much more flex then I would have imagined which sorta leads me to this weird theory. In my unedumacated layman's mind it doesn't seem like too much of a stretch to imagine that the load on wide bars could promote a small amount of flex as well. Dunno.

If this was an issue with things not working on the correct plane/axis... I would think it would manifest itself via binding etc under a good amount of preload while in the stand.
 

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I've had similar issues and had to replace the headset about once a year but I do ride about 10-15 hours a week. It's been with both king and cane creek as well, I just chalk it up to wear and tear.

Sent from my moto g(7) supra using Tapatalk
 

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I agree.

There's prob 15mm of spacers... I vaguely recall seeing FEA fork modeling that showed much more flex then I would have imagined which sorta leads me to this weird theory. In my unedumacated layman's mind it doesn't seem like too much of a stretch to imagine that the load on wide bars could promote a small amount of flex as well. Dunno.

If this was an issue with things not working on the correct plane/axis... I would think it would manifest itself via binding etc under a good amount of preload while in the stand.
Sometimes FEA results are normalized or amplified to enhance the visualization of what's happening. So 0.1mm looks like 1mm, etc.

I guess if it's happening across various bikes and components, it's just wear and tear. No common component.

-F
 

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I get in a little over 1000 miles per season on trails. Most of my riding is on pretty tame, XC style dry dirt though, and I've never had to replace a headset.
 
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